This is the way we go to church…
…so early in the morning!
Actually since the girls wake up at 5am (darn bright sun, honestly I am used to it now and do enjoy the 6pm bedtime even more) we don’t leave so early in the morning. We leave a little before 8am to get to the 9am church. Our church is 45 minutes away but on these long windy jungle roads if you get stuck behind a big truck—your commute becomes much longer. It is in a town called Orotina here in Costa Rica.
Oh the people are wonderful. I remember sitting in a few past wards in my lifetime listening to people open their talks with, “Oh this ward has been SO FRIENDLY! Everyone has welcomed us with such open arms” and I think to myself, “Uh are we in different wards, what the heck is she talking about?” Which was always 99.999999% my fault because when I am nervous, or lonely, or feeling down, or nervous, or feeling shy, or overwhelmed in groups larger than 4 people, or nervous (did I say that yet?) I give off a —don’t talk to me, don’t look at me, I am not friendly—vibe. I have gotten better over the past decade but I still have a long way to come. But in this ward I tell myself, “SMILE! Smile big! No not a weird smile…no not a fakey smile. Just smile at everyone!” It has helped and I try hard to speak spanish, I say ¿Cómo se dice…? a lot and Estoy aprendiendo Espanol and I tell them something is LINDA on them (their kids, shirt, whatever). It is all I can do right now.
I try my hardest to speak spanish and they try their hardest to speak english to me or help me understand what they are saying. The girls today said their primary parts in spanish and everyone was so genuinely proud of them. It does mean a lot to people to just try even if you sound a fool (I sound a fool for shiz).
Like I said the people are wonderful, they are so lovely, friendly, warm, excited to be at church. Today the kids did their primary program and they sang ARMY OF HELAMAN and guess what? It is a favorite primary song out here too, which means the kids with beaming faces, shining eyes, and loud voices sang, “We are as the Army of Helaman, we have been taught in our youth. And we will be the Lord’s missionaries, to bring the world his truth.”
And then I bawled like a baby. Because I love the kids of this little branch so much already, I am so proud of them, and hope every single one of them becomes a missionary for the church.
This branch is our new branch with the upcoming move, the first week we went to church was in another branch. That was in a tiny tiny building and I quickly gained a stronger testimony of being grateful for chapels and showing respect to them. At our current ward they do have a building, it is simple, clean, and beautiful. Let me show you, I hope to take some pictures with the members too, but didn’t want to do it just yet: