Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Pictures from 4/11

Un jocote

Hermana Brinez, una amiga de la mision

Playing ping pong with the table....

The table won!

I'm agile!

Climbing a tree to cut jocotes

Santa barbara, bein dummies.

We went to the temple...

And I found my trainer

Ferrufino kissing the placque

These are from when Elder Cook came to speak to us. Hace muuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuucho.

Dare to Act

Hello All!

I understand Indiana finally received some warm weather!  Warm weather hit us too! Oh wait...it´s always warm here...I actually miss the cold. But it did rain for the first time in 5 months, that
was pretty cool. Costa Rica doesn't have air conditioning, that stuffs expensive. The chapel does have air conditioning, but only a couple rooms. It is very rare to find air conditioning any where else.

Speaking of companions....we have transfers today! I´m actually in San José as I write this. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand I´m still in Santa Cruz. But my companion got switched out, hence my being in San José. My new companions name is Elder Salazaro. He is also guatemalteco, and has a year in the mission, but from the hour or two that I´ve been with him, he seems like a great person and a savvy Elder. I will be sure to write more about him when I know more. I´m excited for this transfer, we´re gonna go help the world :) Also, there seems to be a mistake, because they have made me district leader. I am now in charge of seven other missionaries. four sisters, and three elders. Although I am grossly unprepared, I am extremely excited. Honestly I just can´t wait. I've got a lot of hopes, and a lot of plans, and with the Help of Heavenly Father, we´ll see how this adventure goes.

I got a bit of a crash course in leadership this morning. Almost all of my district had transfers, so we were all in San José, and while the majority of us were together, there was one companionship of
sisters that had to go to a different place. So trying to get everything figured out was a bit of a fiasco. To make a long story short, after getting chewed out by my zone leaders, I got all the right people in the right places, and off we went looking for a place to write our families. The problem is that half of my district had suitcases, BIG and HEAVY suitcases, and the majority were sisters, so I got a real good workout lugging baggage all over San José. I feel like this is the Lord's way of punishing me for never exercising in the mornings. Speaking of mornings, did I mention that I didn't get a chance to sleep last night? Our bus left at 2:30 in the morning. And after helping Elder Lopez pack an all that jazz, there just wasn't much time to sleep. Besides, I was too excited to sleep, or eat for that matter I am starving! Sorry that´s my belly talking. Because of all the heat an stuff, I've lost a little weight. Good news is, I´m not getting fat!

I am happy. I am doing good things. I´m am not perfect, in fact I´m so far from perfection you´d think I was allergic to it. It ain´t even funny. But I´m getting better, and I am ever grateful to a Father in
Heaven who helps me. Christ died for our sins, but also so that we could have some growing space, to strengthen us. I want to be here, I want to work. I once read "When you truly understand this message, you will have a strong desire to share it" I think I´m beginning to understand. But it´s an interesting topic, When we really understand something, we act.  If you´re not acting, I´m sorry, but you DO NOT understand. If you have knowledge of the church and you don´t act to find out if it´s right or not, you simply do not understand how important the message is, and how much it can help you. Listen, I´m not excluding myself from this, I've spent a lifetime not acting on what I heard, but it's because I didn't understand. Try to understand. Dare to act, dare to try, dare to live a better life than the one you have been living.


Elder Noah M. Toney
Brighten your day.

Thursday, April 21, 2016


I understand Indiana experienced cold temperatures and rain this past week!  It doesn´t actually rain here, not right now at least. It hasn´t rained since early December. 

So I should probably finish the story from last week. I believe I left you in the precarious situation of a young man with a need to use the bathroom (and nothing more) And a locked door. Emergency is the birth of genius. So we went out to the patio where there´s a tiny window about ten feet up the wall, that opens into the bathroom. Although we had previously tried unscrewing the screen, we had not succeeded, however, urgency lent me strength and I got that sucker open in 30 seconds flat. After I stood on a wobbly old fridge, and (carefully) with the help of my companion, went feet first into the bathroom. The problem is, I inserted myself up to the waist, but to let myself down gently (without dying) I had to turn myself around in the window, ten feet off the cold, hard, ground. This was no small feat seeing as the window was MINISCULE. This is where I almost died. But, somehow, I accomplished it, and did not die. Thankfully all turned out well.

Things are better than ever, my companion and I are really getting along well and having a lot of success. I really appreciate your prayers for me and the people I teach. Right now we are teaching a family of five that is AMAZING. They were investigators of Elder Ferrufino and I that we found my first month, and they have always been special, but the timing was never right, we were never able to focus on them, that changed recently. We started teaching them, inviting them to family home evenings, which they loved. I have found that making fun of the poor gringo who can´t speak English is a wonderful unifying factor :) We also invited them to church. When we passed by their house Sunday morning to walk to church with them we discovered that they had already left, not wanting to wait any longer. That Sunday was from Conference, and it had a wonderful effect on them. This message is making a change in this family, I see them happier, more at peace. And it´s something beautiful. One day I wasn´t feeling too good, emotionally I suppose. Just feeling a bit down. We went to their house for a lesson, and when Maryuri was praying (one of the moms) I felt a sweet spirit fill me. Truly a tender mercy. It´s hard to put it all into words, I ain´t the most wordy person you have ever met, but I learned a little lesson. Lately I have been pretty hard on myself. It´s hard not to expect perfection from myself, and naturally I tend to be pretty tough on myself when I make mistakes. For that reason I was feeling down. But during that prayer I felt a feeling of acceptance, that it´s okay that I´m not perfect, although that doesn´t mean that I shouldn´t continue improving, just that failure isn´t the end. Take the next step, and make it a good one, better than the last. The beauty of religion, of belief in God, is that we know that He has made room for our mistakes, that we can improve and that our mistakes aren´t the end. That there is forgiveness. Anyway, I felt better.

We also had the opportunity of going to the temple in San José. I find that hard to explain as well. There is a peace that exists there. An aura that surrounds the entire property but that is stronger on the inside. One finds himself feeling closer to God than in another place. And you are... filled I suppose. I honestly don´t know how to describe it. Go to the temple, it doesn´t matter who or where you are, figure out a way. It will make the difference, in whatever problem or trial you are passing through. I promise you that. Okay, my brain has been picked. 


Elder Noah M. Toney

(Sorry, he sent lots of pics this week. I cannot access them through my iPad. I will make a separate blog post of just pictures.)

Sunday, April 10, 2016


Howdy ho;

Someone asked me in their email this week how hard it will be keeping the three boys we just baptized active.  Keeping people active is just about the hardest thing I know of. Really it all comes down to getting them to come consistently to church, if they do that, they stay active. It´s like the coal taken from the fire: it cools rapidly. But when the coal is kept in the fire it stays nice an warm an happy. But sleep and the beach calls and people send the coals far from the fire. Such is life, such are my prayers. We have over 500 inactives, and so very few actives, it can be tough finding a suitable friend for people. But that´s where I try to trust that this Work is in the hands of Someone a whole lot smarter and cooler than me.
And that makes me feel better.

This is M, the troublemaker, with my backpack on.
Hah poor kid could barely stand.

Thinking about church I realize that as a missionary, we focus A LOT on getting people to church. And I got to thinking why. Just why is it so darn important? I mean, heck, who wants to get up early to go sit in a chilly room and be bored? These are hard working people and daggumit if they aren't gonna enjoy their sleep Sunday morning. I understand the sentiment. I empathize. Sometimes I´d rather stay in bed too.

But I can tell you, as someone who has a bit of an eagle eyes view of the lives of these people ( I see and talk with them nearly every day), That there is a marked difference between those who make the sacrifice, and those who don´t. There is a difference in happiness, energy, peace, unity in the family, and success in general. Now please understand me, I am not suggesting that the only factor in these equations is church assistance, nor that going to church is a magical pill that just changes everything. But when I see these people consistently in the chapel, I see a difference. Setting religion aside, I believe that doing something like going to church, where the results or rewards are not always clearly evident, doing something that requires "discipline" is good for us humans, I think it helps us better deal with life. Adding religion to the mix, it´s really a win win situation. If you go and this church is of Jesus Christ as we claim, and as I personally testify, then you are fulfilling a commandment of that all powerful being we call God, and that my friend, is good for your health, speaking figuratively. Because if there is one thing I have learned, it is that if there is a commandment, there is a blessing attached, and that applies to literally every single commandment. I could go on and on, I do believe that I can ramble with the best of ´em. To simplify, it sure doesn't hurt to try, especially when there are so many good things waiting.

´nuff with the preachin' stuff. This week I just about killed myself trying to break into our bathroom. My companion had accidentally locked, and shut, the door to the bathroom, and OF COURSE we don´t have the keys. So I tried opening it with my lock picking skills (people say I´m almost Salvadoran) Alas, unlike the last time, I did not prevail, that durned door stayed firmly shut, even after an hour of mind numbing tries. So we gave up and went to work for the day. We came back in the evening to try again, but to no avail. So I do what I always do in such situations, I ate. That was a bad idea because shortly after, nature called and well... I was up the creek without a paddle.

And I´m out of time, So I´ll have to finish the story next week.


Elder Noah M. Toney

This is all of the arroz con leche que tenemos que entregar... Who has room for food?

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Better than that

Hello Everyone,

Todo bien todo bien! ME interesa que habla en tú, es muy raro aquí. casi nadie habla en tú, casi solo en mexico. Eso dicho, realmente me gusta hablar en tú, y vos, vos es tuanis.

I didn't even know it was Easter. We have the Holy week here, which is pretty much a different holiday. Holidays here are an excuse to go to the beach, hence we didn't have very many lessons. Speaking of lessons, I remember that someone asked me how much we usually have, and I totaled them up the other day, we usually have thirty to the high forties, but it depends.

This week has been beautifully hectic, in that we have been cementing plans for six baptisms this past weekend (one from the sisters, five from us). My part in the baptisms was...teaching them, and baptizing them ;) But honestly it´s all a bit of a miracle. Ironically, the week in which I had the most success is the week in which I really realized how hopeless things would be by myself. Instead of feeling like I´m awesome and strong and wise and what not, I feel on the contrary, rather small, insignificant, and ignorant. And even more contrary to that, I´m grateful. Because the truth is, I ain't all that and a bag of chips, but I know someone who is. I don´t care what you say, I know myself, and I know what happened this week, and you would be wrong to attribute any of it to me. Things really hit home Sunday when I was sitting in the chapel, thinking. Listening to the talks in Sacrament meeting. I´m grateful for someone who makes up for what I´m not, and does good things through me, almost despite of me. I often find myself confused amidst the barrage of my changing life, and more specifically changing heart, and although there is oh so much I don´t understand, and although I feel constantly assailed because it feels like I´m built of one mistake after the other, and the second I do something good, I make another mistake that helps me feel sufficiently like dirt again, although all of that is true, I find my core strength, which is that I just want to be good. A good person, a good missionary, a good companion. Scratch that, I´m sick of good. I want to be better than that. And I´m done being satisfied with barely passing the bar. How often in our lives do we fall short of greatness, not for lack of ability or talent or even probability, but because of fear, laziness, disbelief? Because of past events, or a hard life, or because the odds seem to be stacked against us? I think that´s why I like the idea of baptism. That of having past wrongs being erased, and starting anew. What a blessing. Sorry. I kinda threw up some ideas there. I just hate mediocrity, especially when it´s in my own life. Mediocrity is so over rated. But greatness requires discipline, that whole "mind over matter" deal. And that can be tough. But to conclude my earlier thought, of what I was thinking while sitting in the chapel, I realized that although today I wasn't the best, I have tomorrow. I want to encourage you to break out of one of your molds tomorrow. Try greatness out, see how you like it. But if I may throw in a bit of what I personally believe (I am a missionary after all) I think you´ll accomplish said greatness a lot easier with the man upstairs. In fact it´s guaranteed. I´m more of who I want to be because of Him.

Anyways, back to the baptisms. Sorry about the mindless babble. it probably doesn't make any sense. If not, ignore it :) The couple, Keior and Yolanda, are amazing.

We had no doubts that they would show up the day of. (Although transportation was an issue, seeing as they didn't have money to take the bus, Keilor was ready to ride his bike to the chapel, a trip of 2 hours or more, but luckily that wasn't necessary.)

But the children were more of a worry. Their father, who is a bit of an unsavory character, that lives far away and normally has no part in their life, was initially opposed to the baptism, although he didn't know us, and had no desire to know us. So we were pretty sure that the baptisms weren't going to happen. But the day of, we saw one of the kids, and he said, I told my mom that I´m gonna get baptized, what time are you coming to our house to pick us up to get baptized? Alright then. So we talked with their mother, and she said that seeing as all of her children really wanted to get baptized, she would allow it. And that although she couldn't come, she would come the next Sunday, and bring friends. Things work out.

Okeedokee this letter is impressively long, I´m such a wind bag.

Love you all,


Elder Noah M. Toney

Kissin the ol plac. proud to be missionaries.