Sunday, March 27, 2016

A wedding and a birthday

Firstly, sorry about the delayed email, Sunday night  I started throwing up and well, to spare you the imagery, it was prolific. Needless to say, we didn't leave the house, I seem to have a knack for getting sick only on P-days. Or maybe that's Heavenly Father's way of saying, "Get to Work". Who knows?

I suppose the biggest news is that our investigators actually GOT MARRIED. And boy was it a whirlwind. This past week was also the week of sacrifice, so in between traveling hours by bus in several different cities, we were making arrangements for a wedding.

 You could say I've been busy.

 Also just as a minor side note, a disclaimer, if you will. NEVER LET MISSIONARIES PLAN YOUR WEDDING. We do not know what we are doing, we are bone heads, as my uncle Matthew would say. Beyond that, people seem to think that we DO know what we're doing, and seek our counsel. This whole past week I've been thinking, "what the heck do I know about marriage?" This is when I believe that a loving Heavenly Father steps in and helps the not-so-wise.wise missionaries. The thing is, we weren't planning on having the wedding so quick, but the lawyer said that he'd be in town, and we had to take advantage of that because that means he'll cover the wedding for less. Oh that's another thing, we also had to plan a way to raise money for the wedding, because the couple doesn't have much. So we're going to sell arroz con leche. Turns out people are willing to lend a hand every once in a while in the walk of
Divine Providence.

We have yet to make the rice, that comes this week, along with the baptism, So we're still not off the hook, but I believe that everything will work out alright. That being said, I've learned a couple things this week. 1. How to plan a wedding (I´m pretty sure I´ll do a better job the next time) 2. How to be a witness at the wedding, I got to sign some cool document (and on a slightly more serious note, be a part of a beautiful union) 3. I should never try to help find the dress for the bride, even if they ask me, I REALLY am out of my league in that area, and, Finally, 4. The Lord qualifies whom he calls. I may not be the wedding planner of the year, and I surely will not receive any awards for style or flare, but darn it if that wedding didn't come off alright, despite me.

I also learned that CTR rings make great wedding rings! You can adjust them and everything! I know you told me to give them to the children, mom, but the situation seemed worthy, and ain't nobody got money, so all is well :) Admittedly I like the idea of a wedding being founded on the principle of Choose The Right, with a ring to remind you. I sure do hope it helps..

The work has been going well, I´m excited for this weekend, we have a lot planned so keep me in your prayers. My companion and I get along famously. We surely aren't perfect, and well, it ain't easy (don´t censor the ain't:) But we have a pretty good rhythm going, we´re teaching a lot of great families. At this point I've been in Santa Cruz for about six moths, and I´ll likely be here for another month and a half. That being said, I seem to know a good number of people. My companion and I are generally well liked, and well received. So I have been eating A LOT. What a nice change. As previously mentioned, I did a lot of vomiting yesterday, but on a normal Sunday, things are pretty slow, as a lot of people are at the beach. Every other Sunday we have ward counsel, so I get to play the piano while I wait. I´m teaching myself to play hymns. I´m not very good, but I enjoy it. It really stresses my patience, but I've found that I have a lot more patience to work through it then I ever have before. I´m learning lots :)

This past P-day (a week ago) we celebrated the birthday of an hermana by smashing eggs, throwing flour, and flinging honey. Knowing that you reap what you sow, I threw nary an egg (but I did take the video) What started with a cake in the face of our zone leader three months ago had escalated. And guess who´s birthday is next? I think I´ll just stay in my house on my birthday, for fear of my life. My only hope is that they´ll have mercy on me because I haven´t been the one throwing eggs. I do believe said hope is in vain.

I hope all is well at home, I love you all bunches.


Elder Noah M. Toney

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Walking and walking

Hello Everyone!

This week has been fairly eventful. Wednesday we went searching for the house of less active member. We really had no idea where it was, just that it was past a lumber mill. So we walked. And walked. And walked. And walked. We ended up walking a good 12 to 15 kilometers. On the way there a car stopped, at first we thought that it might be rich members offering us a ride, because no one else stops to talk to us. Turns out it was a bunch of pot smokers who wanted to give us money to buy water. I told em that they could help us better by going to the church. They didn't like that as much, I´m afraid. He was holding a bong in his hand and driving, I hope that he drives safe! We finally found the house have three hours of walking, and the guy wasn't there

The second rather cool story of this week is about a couple named Keilor Y Yolanda. They're a wonderful couple who are progressing really well. The problem is that they aren't married. And getting people to marry can be very difficult. I suppose I didn't have a lot of hope, or faith. But we continued teaching them. This past Sunday we fasted (where you go without food for 24 hours for a special purposes, asking help of God) for our investigators. This Sunday after church they came up to us and told us that they had news. My heart dropped, surely they were going to tell us that they didn't want anything more to do with this church. Never have I been more glad to be wrong (and I´m wrong a lot) They told us that they had decided to be married. Suffice to say I was excited, I might have let out a little squeal. Maybe.

The wedding is in two weeks, I´d love to have your prayers.

The last experience that I am going to relate is about a five year old named Manuel. This kid is little hurricane of annoyingness. He´ll kick you, punch you, slap you in the face, hrrrg. I have exercised a lot of self control with him. But it got me thinking, why is he  like this? And what is the best manner of responding on my part to help him? I don´t really know, but I´m thinking. The other night I was at his house and he was acting up again. So we talked, he calmed down a little. I asked him to say the closing prayer with me, and the bugger said no. Nonetheless, when we about to say the prayer, he came over to me and said that he´d say it if I helped. So I whispered the words and he, dutifully, repeated them. It made me feel good, like maybe I can help him a little, when in his life he has zero male role models (Of the good sort) I couldn't help but think of the parents that go up with their kids on Sunday to the pulpit to help them bear their testimonies. I want to help. These are good people, and they are making me better. For that I am thankful to a Heavenly Father who loves me, and all of you.


Elder Noah M. Toney

Thursday, March 17, 2016


Hello Everyone!

I helped build this corral! We spend a lot of time with these recent converts.
My week was really good. They closed Huacas, one of the areas in our district, so all of their area has been added to ours. I don´t even know how big my area is now. REALLY BIG will have to do. They also closed it a week before transfers, so the two elders from Huacas came to live in our house and work in our area for a week. Needless to say. that was CRAZY. Our apartment really isn't that big, but we made space. With four elders it was a party. Pizza every night, the soda flowed. I was with one of the elders from Huacas (who also happens to be called Elder Lopez) and goodness gracious we worked well together.  It seemed that every lesson we had was powerful and guided by the Spirit. Every day is busy now as we are preparing four families for baptism. We´ll see how that turns out, I have hope. Six of them came to church (which is more than I've ever had at one time.) It really feels like Heavenly Father is doing a lot here, cause it certainly isn't me.

A baptism of the hermanas.
Thursday we had an appointment with a very old man. We arrived at his house and attempted to enter, but darn it if we couldn't figure out how to open it. It seemed to be tied shut. Finally after five futile minutes, we gave up and climbed over the fence (dumb gate) which is when I discovered, to my embarrassment, that yes, it was tied shut, but one only had to slide the rope loop off the post to enter. Oops.

I taught a couple people in my zone the game Durak (learned from Michael Anderson) And now literally all of my zone is playing it. It cracks me up, but I think I've started a trend. Thanks Michael!

I´m also told that I sound like a Russian/Italian when i speak in Spanish. I really have no idea how that works. And it hurts my head to try, so I´ll just stop thinking :)

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAnd I have no time, I will answer the questions the siguiente semana.

Love you all!


Elder Noah M. Toney

I'm not much for selfies (in fact I despise them) but these were just too funny not to send. 

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Trials are small

Howdy howdy!

In our zone, there are four major cities, Liberia is the largest and has an airport, that´s where the zone leaders work. Then there´s Santa Cruz, Nicoya, and Huacas. We worked in one city each day. In Santa Cruz, we've contacted just about all of the investigators, and three of them came to church last Sunday. Next week we hope to have eight. We are teaching some amazing families.

By the way, sorry for not writing yesterday, I got a little sick, so we stayed in house all day.

Also, I had no time to write in my journal this week, and I´m having a hard time remembering what happened, so if this email is short...sorry :) Also the man at the computer next to mine just exclaimed ¨I believe in Satan, Not God!¨ So I offered him a card with a picture of Jesus, it seemed to help.

They closed an area in our zone yesterday, so my area just got bigger, again. AAAAAAAAaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaall the way to the beaches. I´m going to figure out how many miles it is, all's I know is it´s a lot. Days of walking, hours by bus.

If you remember the name Cesar, it´s because he´s the first person I baptized. After his baptism, he kinda dropped off the edge of the earth, we called, passed by his house, sent texts, nothing worked, he was always busy or not at home. When we finally had a lesson with him, he informed us that he was moving away, and that he doesn't really have a whole lot of time at the moment for a lesson. So we left. And honestly I felt like a complete failure. It felt like it was all for nothing, this message can´t help those that choose not to live it, and I knew that if he moved away, he´d stop coming to Church for good. (He hadn't been coming for awhile.) Fast forward a month and a half, he shows up in church and tells me that he decided to stay in Santa Cruz, and he moved into the apartment under mine! Golly me it felt like a tender mercy. It felt like there is a Heavenly Father who looks out for His children. Now maybe you´re thinking ¨What about all the bad stuff that happens? Where´s the love in that?¨ I think about that a lot. And I have found a fairly simple answer. If our existence were limited to this mortal life, I´d have to say that it is all rather unfair. But I believe that there is more to us than meets the eye, and that it doesn't all end with an eternal sleep. That even though things may be hard now, there will be a recompense. I believe in Justice. I believe in Mercy. And I believe in a God who is both. With those premises the only logical conclusion is that this pain we endure can and will be alleviated. And that the end result (resultant of the pain, which equals learning and progression) is a person who is more like God. Therefore, happier, infinitely more able to Be. Trials are small when considered in a long perspective, they only loom indomitable when we put blinders on.


Elder Noah M. Toney