Hello and welcome to my LDS mission blog! My name is Tiani and I have been called to serve a misison for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in the Costa Rica, San Jose mission. I'm very excited for the opportunity to spread the gospel!
If you have any questions, feel free to check the church's website!
I hope you are all doing well! This week was truly a week of miracles. The Lord's hand was part of every second we spent. We are reaching and even passing weekly goals. There are still a few to work on but we are getting a lot better. Hermana Hidalgo and I are getting along wonderfully. The members have commented that they like our companionship because of the love we seem to reflect. Could it be true? ;)
We had interviews with President Wilkinson on Tuesday. He truly is a man called of God! I am so grateful for him and his lovely wife. They have done so much for the Lord's cause in Costa Rica and I will be devastated to see them go in July.
G was baptized yesterday (finally!). He's one of those "golden" investigators that you just can't drop. He's been investigating the church for about 6 months (which is a long time in "missionary years"). He even pays tithing. The only thing that held him back from being baptized were doubts he had about the church. But, he came to church every Sunday and came to activities! So, the first time I was able to meet with him with Hna. Hidalgo, she put a baptismal date with him (that's something I love about my companion! She has a gift for receiving key spiritual impressions and acts upon them.) He accepted, which surprised us, and we prayed and fasted and prayed some more. It was amazing how the Lord placed him in our paths every day of this week so that we were able to always know how he was doing. For example, we called G one morning and asked if we could see him that day. He said he couldn't because of all of the things he had to do. So we went to see a recent convert (who is G's friend and neighbor). We were about to close the lesson and leave when G came walking by! The recent convert called him to come inside and he was so surprised to find us there! It was pretty funny.
Yesterday, when he came to the chapel, he kept joking that he had changed his mind and that he would escape after sacrament meeting. But, we could see that he was actually very happy. All of the members were happy as well! He's going to be such an amazing leader in the church. I know it!
Speaking of members, there were a lot of less-actives that came to church yesterday! We were so happy! One of the members, C, is such an amazing member. She really understands the importance of missionary work and always helps us out. The sad part is that only her son, daughter-in-law, and she are active. Her other 3 children and husband are inactive. But, her oldest son, S, has started reading the Book of Mormon again and gave us referrals of two of his friends. We started teaching them on Tuesday. Yesterday, almost the whole C family came to church (we were just missing the dad), and S brought one of his friends, J. His other friend, E, couldn't make it because he was sick, but promised to come this coming Sunday. Several investigators came and members brought friends to the chapel and other less-actives came (mainly to see G's baptism or they came by surprise). It was a beautiful Sunday!
There were many other miracles we saw and I am so grateful for God and His promised blessings towards us. I am beyond happy to see that G can now have the assurance, if he stays true, that he can return with his Heavenly Father to live with Him forever. One more soul! After his baptism he just said, "Como costò, ¿verdad?" which basically means " that took an effort, right?" We agreed with him. Gold does not come cheap.
I love you all! Read the Book of Mormon. It's true.
Already 2 weeks down in Montelimar! We can't believe it!
First of all, I would like to publicly announce that the Lord has blessed my life with some really amazing women. My mother, grandmothers, aunts, cousins, friends, etc. are all angels in my life. I never realized how good I've got it until I came on the mission. There are so many people with broken stories but still have the courage to smile. I admire these women and the incredible women in my life. I loved being able to see my family on Sunday. I love you so much and cannot wait to spend the eternities with you all!
This week was such a beautiful week! C and V were baptized on Saturday and confirmed on Sunday. On Saturday, after the ordinance was performed, they bore their testimonies. It was so beautiful! They talked about the cleanliness they felt as they left the baptismal font and V started talking right away as a member of the church (using "we", "us"), and how he was so excited to be able to have the opportunity to be sealed to his family in the temple in one year. C almost could not speak because of her emotions but testified how happy she was. It was amazing how strong the spirit was! Yesterday, they were confirmed and in the Relief Society, Cristina gave a beautiful testimony of the Book of Mormon. They are "una familia de oro!" (Golden family).
G, a man that's been investigating the church for about 6 months has put the goal to be baptized this coming Saturday! He comes every Sunday, to the activities, and even pays tithing. He used to be a preacher but now comes to our chapel. It's quite interesting, the only things holding him back are his doubts about baptisms for the dead, eternal marriage, and the Book of Mormon but he wants to be baptized. We would appreciate many prayers for him!
That's pretty much this week in a nutshell. I hope you all enjoyed your mother's day and made your mothers feel extra special (I say extra because we should value our mothers EVERY DAY)!
I love you all! This Church is true!
I am loving Montelimar. The members are great and I love my new companion. We laugh a lot together! She has only been a member for 1 year and 8 months! But, she knows the gospel very well! We're in a great district as well. It's strange being the only sisters (we're with 6 elders), but it's fun.
But, I will be honest, this week was one of the hardest weeks of my mission. It was difficult finding new investigators (especially for me because I don't know the area very well) and my poor companion just got done with her training so she was feeling a little bit of pressure.
But fasting, prayer, and obedience makes a real difference.
Yesterday we had a miracle! It was so beautiful. A member accompanied us to a lesson and was teaching us things about our area. At this point in the week, we had only found 1 new investigator: M. We asked the member what helped him on his mission to find new investigators. He (re)taught us what Preach My Gospel teaches us in chapter 9: find as you teach, teach as you find. Generally, when we talk with someone on the street or knock on someone's door for the first time, we introduce ourselves and ask first if we can share a message of Jesus Christ (that will literally change their lives) with them and their family. The general answer to this is: NO. The member taught us to just start teaching a gospel principle, specifically that families can be forever.
He soon had to leave us and we set off on our own, knocking, knocking, and more knocking. And nobody wanted anything. Honestly, door knocking is a very ineffective way to work but most (OK, all) of our plans and back-up plans had fallen through or changed and we were in an area where we had only 1 investigator. After leaving yet another rejection, my companion looked at me and joked, "I think I'm going to cry." We both started chuckling and stood on the sidewalk, wondering where we should go. Before I knew it, I saw tears in her eyes. As the older companion, I couldn't let her see me cry so I just hugged her and told her that this is what Satan wants. He wants to see us discouraged but we can't let him see that because there was a family waiting for the restored gospel.
She agreed and dried her tears. And without thinking (in the sense of not giving time to doubt because when we feel an impression and wait to give heed, doubt settles in and we generally let the opportunity pass), I pointed to a house and said, "Come on, we're going to knock here." We knocked on the gate and 2 women and a handful of young children poked their heads out of the door. We started a conversation with them and ended up teaching one of the women that was there, M. At first, she was very short with us and wasn't quite interested. We started talking about the family. She has 2 daughters and when we asked how long she'd been married, her face changed. She told us that her husband had just passed away a month and a half ago. We testified of the eternal family and she asked us a lot of questions about that and the Plan of Salvation. It was a short, powerful lesson and we will be seeing her tomorrow! She even told us that we can talk with her brother that lives next door.
When we apply what we can learn from the gospel resources, miracles can occur. I love this gospel!
V and C (the family that will be baptized on the 9th), are doing so well! I met them on Monday with the bishop and his wife and they made us dinner. V is really excited to be able to get the priesthood and about the fact that he they can be an eternal family. I almost started crying when I heard him talk about how much he loves his family. FAMILIES ARE FOREVER!
I love you all so much!
Transfers were this weekend and yes, I am leaving Flores. 6 glorious months, unforgettable converts and members, and an amazing companion. It's incredible how fast time goes. I loved my time in Flores but I am ready for a change.
My new companion is Hermana Hidalgo from El Salvador. She actually came on the mission in the same transfer as Hermana May. They're "sisters"! My new area is Monte Limar in the Toyopan Zone. It's less than 15 minutes from San Jose and it looks beautiful... lots of hills, but beautiful. My companion told me that we have a family that is planning to be baptized in the beginning of May.
I got very teary-eyed last night as I said goodbye to my converts and the members. Several did not come to church yesterday so I had to call them. It was hardest saying goodbye to I, O, and R over the phone. And it got worse as we passed by S's house last night. It was too hard to say goodbye that she invited us to have breakfast with her this morning. Then K and M helped us so much by giving us a ride to San Jose. I had yet another breakdown as we walked into her home to see that she had decorated her wall with a phrase that read: "Thank you Hna. Whitman. We Love U." Many tears were shed. All of these amazing people are like family to me! Truly chosen to have the gospel at this time.
I am hoping and praying that D will keep working for his baptism and that M, A, An, and M will be able to one day make the decision to be baptized as well. This gospel is amazing! I love it and the unity I feel that comes with being part of it.
Love you all! <3
This week has been a little better than the last few!
We will have to drop M, A, and J for various problems, but we have found some great investigators! We are teaching I's (recent convert), ex-boyfriend, D. He's a great guy, but we just want to see if he is really interested in the church to get closer to God and not to Ingrid. We've only had 2 lessons with him, but he has already downloaded the church's application on his smartphone and reads what we "assign" him to read. It surprised me a lot that he already understood what we were going to teach. We are going to teach him tonight!
On Tuesday, we found 7 new investigators! It was an amazing feeling. The Lord really did guide us this day. Four of the 7 are (part of) a family: M and her daughters, A, An, and M. They are such a sweet group of young women! They are actively attending a Christian church that's pretty popular in this area, but we felt the spirit so strongly with them! They were a referral from an investigator. We are trying to find a way to invite them to be baptized. We will be seeing them tomorrow. We also found a young woman on Friday named Britani (great name, right? Haha). And she is so sweet! My companion contacted her while we did divisions one day, so I didn't meet her until we passed by her house the first time. She accepted a baptismal date for May and her mom is very supportive although we haven't been able to teach her yet. She was going to come to church yesterday, but didn't because she got really sick. But, we will be seeing her tonight.
Speaking of church, NO ONE came! It was such a downer! Every single one of the people we had committed to coming didn't show up for some excuse or another. But, it just means we have to plan better and work harder for them to come.
But, the good news that will always stay good news, is that the gospel is still 100% true. Yes, I know that the members are not perfect. We are all learning together. I've met too many people who believe the church is true but do not come because of the examples of the members. This is no excuse! If we are using this excuse, we are only prohibiting the Lord from blessing us. We must be humble and put our testimony and faith in God, not people. People change. God doesn't.
I bear testimony that this church is true! The kingdom is progressing!
Con muchisimo amor,
Photos below were sent on 13 April 2015.
Conference Weekend! A weekend we have been waiting for!
This week there isn't very much to report apart from:
L, an investigator that is just amazing. I love her! She has accepted to be baptized, but has not chosen a date. She is going through a hard time as she is going through a separation from her boyfriend. We saw them talking outside yesterday with all of his things on the front lawn. She is such a strong woman!
Divisions! We did divisions with our STL's this week and it was so great! My companion stayed in our area with Hermana Haggard and I went to Belen with Hermana Pizza. I love these two valiant, exemplary sister missionaries! They are always a good influence for me!
S! We were finally able to see her yesterday! We are trying to help her cut out coffee and have put a goal for her to only drink 3 cups today! And J, M, and A. They are doing well, but are not yet ready to be baptized. J and M came to the Sunday afternoon conference and seemed to like it. We must help them have a spiritual experience so they can feel a change in their hearts and feel ready for baptism!
Other than that, I wanted to share a few of my thoughts on General Conference:
1 - I truly am grateful for a living prophet. Without the direct guidance of real priesthood holders and those with the keys to guide the Lord's church under God's direction, we would be utterly and hopelessly lost in apostasy. And this is NOT the plan that a loving Father in Heaven has for His beloved children. He seeks to guide us. We are in the last days!
2 - There are those who have allowed the influences of the world to "choke" (as Dallin H. Oaks mentioned), their testimony and block their hearts from opening to the many extensions of love that God gives us. We must be strong in what we already do know. I loved what Sister Rosemary M. Wixom taught about trusting what we know! Holding to the ground we have gained, as Jeffrey R. Holland shared in a past conference. What we know may not be a perfect knowledge, as it states in Alma 32:21, but it is OUR OWN PERSONAL knowledge. "You have enough."
3 - We are truly in the last days! That's why we are the "Latter-Day Saints." More than 200 years have passed since the restoration of this glorious gospel! And it is still glorious! We must prepare! We must ask ourselves: Do we truly fear God more than the opinions of man and seek to please the Father without guile? Have we turned the music of the joy of the gospel down and shut out the marvelous light of these times that we live in? Are we trying to be proper, worthy Latter-Day Saints or just latter-day sinners/hypocrites?
4 - We live in amazing times! Elder Uchtdorf's and Holland's talks were amazing! Easter morning is a morning of victory! Victory paid through the blood of Christ for us! For you! He pleads for us to return unto Him! The price has been paid!
"This Easter, I thank Him and the Father who gave Him to us that Jesus still stands, triumphant over death, although He stands on wounded feet. This Easter, I thank Him and the Father who gave Him to us that He still extends unending grace although He extends it with pierced palms and scarred wrists. This Easter, I thank Him and the Father who gave Him to us that we can sing before a sweat-stained garden, a nail-driven cross, and a gloriously empty tomb: how great, how glorious, how complete redemption's grand design where justice' love and mercy meet in harmony divine." Jeffrey R. Holland
I testify of the words of this apostle of Christ and of the words of the other inspired speakers of this Easter General Conference. I testify that there is a living prophet of God who is guided by divine inspiration of the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ. This church is true and will continue to reach the ends of the earth! I love this gospel and invite you all to love it as well!
Photo: On divisions this week, an investigator's father gifted me this beautiful water bottle. Although it was quite dirty and used, I still felt touched as this man that I had barely met found something to give. What an example of love! This was what Jesus Christ taught and expects from each of us.
Not a whole lot to report! But, here are some pictures from this week:
Hello Family and Friends!
Here we are again, another week done and gone! And I almost have 9 months! It's amazing how fast time flies. There is no time we can waste here.
Not much to report this week. We had a re-baptism. We found out that M, who was baptized 2 Saturdays ago actually has different last names than what she was baptized with! Good thing she wasn't confirmed yet! Her mom who is a less-active told us that she has a different dad and that it embarrassed her to tell us. So M got re-baptized this last Saturday and confirmed yesterday... with the correct names. ;) She is so wonderful! Love her!
This week I have reached a greater appreciation for my companion. Yesterday, we were finishing lunch when I told her that I was feeling a little discouraged and that Sundays are the harder days of the week for me. She told me, "Sister Whitman, Satan wants you to think like that because he doesn't want you to find the families that God has prepared for us." I didn't say anything, in my stubborn, prideful manner, but it lightened my perspective. She is right! Anything that is not uplifting or edifying is not of God. I am so grateful for her.
On Tuesday, it was O and R's anniversary. We visited them and brought them the "Por la Eternidad" rings. It was so beautiful to see their faces light up when they opened the box. On Saturday, we brought R and their children to a primary activity we had. It was quite the adventure keeping the 3 together while trying to obey the mission rules about being around children. We had a good time! Oh! And O will be blessing the sacrament next Sunday! So excited for them!
On Friday, we had a mission conference with Elder Duncan and Elder Maynes. It was inspiring. We had all of the missionaries in all of Costa Rica together! I loved it! The new missionaries passed in front and introduced themselves and their new goal for our mission: 1000 baptisms. I would love to see that happen! It's going to take work, but hey, with the one true God on our side, we can do anything. DAME ESTE MONTE!
Well, I love you all! Don't forget that the Lord loves you!
Volcanos, a new haircut, and a beautiful baptism! Who could ask for a better week?
Hello Family and Friends!
Yes! There was a volcano explosion in Costa Rica. We weren't very close, but the ash still fell in our area. We had to wait in the chapel for a couple of hours. It was pretty surreal.
This Saturday, M was baptized! She is the sweetest 10-year-old ever. She's like a sister to me! But sadly on Sunday, the day of her confirmation, she came late and wasn't able to be confirmed. But, we are going to
work this week for her to hold to the rod until her baptism can be completed this coming Sunday.
O and R are doing very well! Today is their anniversary and we are going to teach them how to do Family Home Evenings and bring them a gift! We bought them matching rings that each say, "Por la Eternidad" (For Eternity). We want them to be sealed in the temple as soon as possible! They are so ready!
On Wednesday, we had Monthly Check-up for my trainee in San Jose. The meeting was very motivating and faith building! I loved it! The Assistants challenged all of the trainers to contact a bus afterwards. So, on our way back to our area, I stood up in our bus, asked the chofer [driver] if we could make an announcement, called my companion up to the front with me, and said loudly, "Good day, Brothers and Sisters! My name is Sister Whitman, this is my companion, Sister May, and we are representatives of Jesus Christ from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. My companion would like to share her testimony of Jesus Christ with you all today." It was so beautiful seeing my "hija" give her testimony. I testified of her words and bore my testimony as well. We passed out cards with our phone number on them and talked with a few of the people on the bus. It was nerve-racking, but we did it!
We taught A and N the Restoration this week and it was so amazing to hear A say that she felt it was true. We were also able to see E! Finally! He is doing well!
The other day I was reading the article by Elder Bednar in this month's Liahona about the Atonement and it really struck me. Even when I don't need the Atonement to repent of my sins, I can still use it to help me be better. Our purpose in this life is to go from bad to good to better. We go from bad to good through the redeeming power of the Atonement and good to better through the enabling power. If we know, understand, and apply the Atonement, we can be transformed and change our natural man. I invite all of you, along with me, to try to better understand and apply the Atonement in our lives. It's true!
I love you all!