Called to Serve

Called to Serve

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Week 46 - Merry Navidad!

Heya guys!

Hope everyone had a stinkin sweet Navidad! Things here in Costa Rica were crazy and loud but you could still feel that Christmas Spirit :)

Well, things have been good here. Coolin down a little and no rain so I'm stoked for that! 

We had a Christmas party here in the office with half of our mission! It was super sweet and we did a bunch of funny skits and songs and even had Santa! Haha so speaking about Santa, he had a gift for every missionary and he'd read off their names, and then they'd come up and get their present and take a picture. Everyone skipped or jogged up and took a goofy picture with Santa. When it was my turn, I pulled a good ol' Elf move and screamed SANTAAAAAAA! Haha and and pretended to tackle him, I think I scared him. And then later, I got this picture of me carrying Santa in my arms. It was a good party :)

Oh hey, I forgot to say, so last week, we had an activity in central San Jose. We (Elder Black, Elder Kepo'o and I) played our ukuleles and sang feliz Navidad to a big group of people and in the street in San Jose. Well, one lady took a video and posted it up on Facebook and now it has some 15k likes or something like that. Pretty cool!

Man, I was so thankful to see my family yesterday! They all look so much older haha. And they say I don't look fat so that's good too haha. After years of saying we were gonna get one, they got a puppy (while I'm on my mission, of course) haha. I don't like little dogs anyways, so when I get back, she'll be just the right size.

The picture that I have attached are little cards that say "Èl naciò para que yo..." Which he means "He (Jesus Christ) was born so that I..." and I put "can be like him." Why was Jesus Christ born for you guys. It's a great way to realize what He has done for us and what we can do for Him.

I love this Christmas season, I love my mission, I love my family, I love both my Savior and my Heavenly Father, I love my new puppy Lucy, and I love this Gospel. 

Thank you for all the Christmas wishes and prayers! Keep sending them my way!

Pura Vida
"Feliz Navidad, prospera año y felicidad"

Love you guys!
- Elder Stott

Some of the Elders and me doing the Rudolph Conga

Also - Our church puts out short, inspiring and motivational videos.  Several weeks ago, one called "Good Things to Share" was released.  Josh is in it!  Although it's only for a split second, it's still pretty cool :)  Check it out.... he's at the center-bottom of the screen at about 1:36-38.  

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Week 45 - Tamales and Christmas drink

Hellooooo Ladies and Gentlemen!

Hope things are flippin sweet (Napoleon Dynamite reference) over there in the states! Because things are pretty great here!

First off, it's SO FREAKING HOT! We had sacrifice week this week so that was a great mix haha. So for sacrifice week, we get up extra early to study, and then we're out working by 10 in the morning, which is early here. My new area is HUGE, so I wouldn't be exaggerating if I said I probably walked 30 miles this week. My feet are killing me today haha but hey, it's all in the name of the game! 

This Sunday, we had our Stake Conference here en Estaca La Sabana (The 
Sabana Stake) which is the same stake that I've been in FOREVER (Alajuelita and Hatillo are wards in the stake). Well I walked in and probably spent 20 minutes saying hi to everyone I know haha - it was pretty cool getting to see everyone :) This week (tomorrow) I get to give a talk in Sacrament Meeting to introduce myself to the ward too.

Things are crazy busy in the office but it's fun too haha. We work regular office hours here, then after about 4:00 I head back to San Jose to do my missionary work, find and teach. The food is exactly the same haha as anywhere else. Breakfast and Dinner we just usually eat something in the house and for lunch, we take lunch from a mamacita to the office to eat.

I like my companion, Elder Larsen.  He's really quiet and chill and from the States (Arizona) he has almost 15 months so just a little more than me in the mission.  I'll be with him until February, and then I'll be with Elder Contreras again.
We'll see how Christmas is here. I'll probably be eating a boat load of tamales and a ton of a drink that literally tastes like Christmas haha. We have eaten SO much.  I'll be eating dinner at the Bishops house on the 24th and no idea what I'm gonna do on Christmas! But I will get to skype home and see my family y abuelita :) Pretty excited for that! 

Not much else to report this week. Life is good, I'm loving the mission, and working hard!

Love all you guys!

Have a great Christmas - remember why we celebrate it! He is the Reason.

Pura Vida,

- Elder Stott :)

My buddy, Elder Black, and me - selfies in the office

Playing ukuleles out in the streets

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Week 44.5 - Secretary Stott

Howdy y'all!

Man, it's weird to write on Saturday now. My week is going to feel like a normal work-week where work starts on Monday, my weekend or Pday is Saturday and the Sunday's are still the awesome days that they always are :)

So my area is HUGE! It's called Don Bosco and it's 15 minutes from Hatillo, 25 minutes from Alajuelita and 4 hours from Cañas! It's pretty cool. The people are kinda weird - a lady spanked me in the street as I walked by this week... I wanted to pop her in the face with the Book of Mormon that I carry around haha. Struck down by the word of God hehe ;)

My house is huge - it's the mission house so there's 10 bunk beds and it has a bunch of rooms. But there's only 4 of us living there and there'll be only us 2 in Febuary. When the new missionaries come, they stay with us and so do the missionaries that are going home. And they leave the house trashed and eat our food. I hide the good stuff in my room in my personal fridge hehe ;)

Oh man, things are NUTS in the office. I made my first excel sheet (I'm gonna come back and teach dad stuff on excel haha) of all the data of the Mission since it began.. It took me ALL day. I made Powerpoints for President and I talked with Salt Lake City and Guatemala about baptismal records - I always thought that the secretaries don't do much. Haha man, was I wrong.... It's super busy. Not to mention, the office gets about 30 calls a day from people thinking that it's a gym. It reminds me of Sponge Bob when people call the Krusty Crab "Is this the Krusty Crab?" "No this is Patrick!!" haha. But wow, it's crazy. There's a reason President says that I'm his his 3rd Asisstant haha.

Well things are good. I'm loving the mission and the cooler weather without rain! :) 

Hope all is well over in the States! Love you guys tons! Thank you for all your support and love - keep sending it my way!

Pura Vida!

- Elder Stott

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Week 44 - 10 month missionary, and a shopping spree

Hey everyone hope all is well stateside!

Another cool looking spider
Things have been good in Hatillo. I've been stressing out a little bit here because the baptisms don't come easy but hey, you've gotta work hard for things that you want! 

Just about cried at the store...tears of joy.  Food I recognize!!!
I bought a ton of food at a place that's a lot like Costco so there was a bunch of American stuff to buy there. I loved it :) I bought BBQ sauce, pancake mix, candy, Gatorade powder, peanut butter, pub mix, other stuff and BACON. I was stoked for the bacon part - it's sooooo good. And we bought a pizza there afterwards which was really good!

I played a guitar musical number with my comp on Sunday at church. We played Silent Night and it turned out really good.  

I got a call last night for changes... But all that my leaders told me is that I had an interview with President in the morning at 8.. That usually means something big so I got nervous while I packed all last night. By the way, I ABSOLUTELY HATE packing. It's the worst. But anyways got here at 7:30 this morning in the office and had my interview. He said that he's been watching and thinking about this calling for a long long time.

He asked if I would be his Executive Secretary... Oh my gosh. Of course I accepted, but this is gonna be a ton of work.. I'm in charge of President's schedule, Baptismal Records, Numbers and indicators for the whole mission, and whatever else he asks me to do. I talk with Salt Lake a lot too - you have to be considered bilingual. I'm in the Mission office every day now working right next to President so that'll be cool! Hey by the way, for now and until I change, my P-days are on Saturdays. That changes things a tiny bit. So big change for me in the mission! Oh, by the way, I'll be here in the office with Elder Black :) He's the best.

Not sure what else to write about.. My new companion (after I finish my training as a secretary in February) is really an old companion, Elder Contreras. Again. He's the one from Mexico who I was with a while back.. He's more mature now so maybe we'll get along better now.. I'll be with him at least 6 months so hopefully everything goes good!

Christmas time - Tico style
Well, I hope everyone has a fantastic week! Be safe and remember why we celebrate Christmas: Our Savior Jesus Christ. There's a new Christmas video that came out and it's really really sweet: A Savior is Born. 
I'm so thankful for Him and that our Heavenly Father loved us enough to send Him to and for us. I love my Savior Jesus Christ and I know that he lives and loves us. Share the true spirit of Christmas with everyone you can!

Love you guys! 

Pura Vida
- Elder Joshua Douglas Stott

Me and Rofino

Monday, November 30, 2015

Week 43 - 300 DAYS, and pork chops for dinner

Hey everyone! Hope this Thanksgiving week was SICK for you guys!

Here, I had a porkchop, and you guessed it! RICE AND BEANS! Woohoo! haha but man, rice and beans really fills me up now that I'm used to eating it every hour of the day haha. I really missed the turkey and gizzards (mom likes to eat those - me too). But there's a family here that invited me to eat a late Thanksgiving dinner - they've been to the states so they like Thanksgiving food! ME TOO :) haha

Things are good here in Hatillo. People are starting to blast-off fireworks like crazy - that's what's big here in CR during Christmas time. I'm more used to the quiet and chill Christmas at home with the family but hey, I don't think I'm in Kansas any more. Time to get used to that. And I had my first tamale of the Christmas season (I've had them before) and guess what? Still not a huge fan. haha but it's food - I'll eat it.

Speaking of food, I'm going to eat both pig and chicken feet here soon. And I'm gonna eat something called a tepezcuintle which looks like a rat and tastes like a pig - cool huh? haha and it doesn't have a tail either. I've eaten so many weird meats here. Iguana, gorrobo, a weird mountain goat thing, a fish that tastes like beef and a bunch of stuff haha. So yeah, it's pretty cool.

Finally got to put on the bloody mask from the movie, Scream. Mom never let me dress up like that for Halloween... until now hehe ;) 

Still trying to find ways to get big again - everyone that knows me always says "elder Stott you're getting skinny man" hahahahaha... SHUTUP! I know haha. Maybe if I eat a bunch of tepezcuintle I can get beefed up... We'll see. Or I'll just eat a bunch of turtle eggs!

My comp is still yodeling with the guitar. Man, I realize every day how short he actually is.. We measured and I'm more than a foot taller than him but he's totally a man at the same time... He shaves like 5 times a day otherwise he'll grow a duck dynasty looking beard :)

We had an international day of service here in Costa Rica. I got to mow a lawn of an elementary school...... with a machete haha. TICO STYLE! Chopeando, as they call it here! And I really suck at it.. But I love getting the opportunity to serve others. That's what the true love of Christ is.

Since it was Thanksgiving I just wanna say some of the things that I'm thankful for. I'm thankful for so many things in life: food, football, college football, guitar, piano, singing, my mission, my friends, my chance to study at BYU, the people I meet here in Costa Rica, my cat, the USA, the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ, the authority we have to perform saving ordinances that we do in the Lord's Temples, the opportunity to repent, and many other things. The list goes on and on. But none of that truly compares to how thankful I am for my family. I'm so thankful that my parents were sealed in the temple for time and all eternity and that I can be with my family forever. Not just in this life. Nothing matters more to me than them. I love you guys :)

Hope everyone has a great week. Be safe and smile! 

Pura Vida, 

Elder Stott   

Monday, November 23, 2015

Week 42 - A Math lesson and Mexican Yodeling

Hey everyone! Hope this week has been a great one for everyone! 

Things are good here in CR.. The rain is finally starting to leave us alone finally haha. SO SICK OF WET SOCKS! Saw a crazy bird-eating spider this week. I love this place.

Things are pretty good in our area. We found a family of three and we started to teach a lesson to them. We ended the lesson teaching 9 people! So that was super cool.. It was after a really long day of having doors slammed in our faces... We've been getting that a lot lately here but if we're diligent, the blessings really do come! People don't want to come to church on Sundays so that's really tough. Something that I like to do, is to teach a little mathematics brace yourself (we'll see if Sophie can do this math): We have 168 hours each week. Church (Mormon church, anyways) only takes 3 hours of that 168. So if we do a little bit of math, church is less than 2% of our week. Our Heavenly Father has blessed us with a 100% of our week. It really isn't all that hard to dedicate less than 2% of your week to the Lord.. We have the other 98% percent! Okay, that's enough math for today!

I'm starting to learn some good mariachi music.... force. I'm really not a big fan because to me, it just sounds like Mexican yodeling and a guitar haha. And all the songs sound the flippin same! But sometimes I just have to sing along. BUT, my companion is good at singing hymns - so that's a big plus. He's my first comp that doesn't sing like a dying goat. haha ;)

My Zone
Today we played some ultimate frisbee in the Sabana Park! I went hard, diving everywhere and snatching that frisbee outta the air! So now, I'm writing right now a little bit dirty and sore, but happy. It reminded me of Summer term at BYU playing some good ol' UF! 

Me, I'm doing good. Still getting used to all the Christmas junk that people have out already haha. And I'm bracing myself for a tsunami of tamales... That's pretty much all people eat during Christmas here... Or, they butcher a whole choncho (pig)! Mmmmm Now That, I can dig :) Still getting skinnier. I'm trying to eat as much as I can but it doesn't work too well... If you all truly love me, send me some protein! 

Well, Hope everyone stays warm this week. It's not too hard here being 86 degrees (but it honestly feels cool to me now)

Stay pretty pony boy y PURA VIDA!

Elder Stott

Monday, November 16, 2015

Week 41 - Mariachi man

Well howdy folks! Hope this week treated you guys well! Costa Rica is still pura vida!

So this week was a little bit slower than normal.. 

Elders Salazar, Tox, me and my new comp, Elder Irias

I'm starting to get used to my companion. So a little more about him: He's a convert from Honduras. He has almost 2 years since he was baptized. HE'S 26... haha my companion is literally a man-child. He's almost 5 feet tall but his needs to shave like 2 twice daily... So I'm the senior companion of someone who's more than 7 years older than me haha. He has this kinda high voice and he sings mariachi music. Sometimes it's entertaining but sometimes it gets old because all mariachi music sounds the same to me haha.  

Our area is doing pretty good. We're trying to find people who are really wanting to progress in the gospel. Sometimes we have to ask investigators if they really want us to keep coming by and that helps them think if they really want us to pass by and to progress in the gospel. 

We're going to have a family home evening with a really good family of 4 with some members tonight so I hope everything goes well with that! They seem really good and they have a real desire to learn.

It's weird here because people don't really celebrate Thanksgiving so everyone is starting to put up Christmas lights already.. It's weird because we're in the middle of NOVEMBER.. haha at least they're not playing Christmas music before Christmas! That's the worst..

Well, have a great week! Be safe and enjoy the nice fall weather - we don't have any here.. haha 

Pura Vida,

Elder Stott :)

Monday, November 9, 2015

Week 40 - A new companion, sacrifice week, gangs and pigeons

Hey everyone! Todo bien en los Estados? Hope everyone had a great last week!

Things are good over here in sunny Hatillo! 

My companion (who I was training) had changes! He's going to open an area in Heredia. I have a new comp here in Hatillo! His name is Elder Irias and he's from Honduras too! ANOTHER CATRACHO.. haha. He's literally like 4 feet tall. But he seems pretty cool - apparently he can play guitar and sing and stuff so I might have some fun with him :) He's younger than me in the mission but he's old.. He's 25 years old. So I'm the senior companion of a 25 year old... sick! 

Not much else happened this week! We had sacrifice week where we got up at 5 and left to go work at 8 in the morning (usually we leave at 12 or 1 depending on lunch). So I'm super tired but we found a boat load of people to teach and a couple of really good families! So I'm excited for that! 

This week I saw some straight up gangster from El Salvador. They were from the 18 gang - I know because I could tell by the specific tattoos and jerseys they wore. One of the members that we were with is from El Salvador and he was scared haha. He said these guys chop people to pieces if they don't do whatever they say. We're protected as missionaries though so it was cool.

A freakin pigeon dropped a bomb on my shoulder in San Jose this week... Stupid.

Hopefully pictures come through this week! 

Well, hope everyone will have a great week this week! Be careful and smile more! 

Pura Vida,

Elder Stott

Me and Rofino
Rofino's daughters
Mi Abuela - I have several

Monday, November 2, 2015

Week 39 - Protected by the gangsters

Hey y'all! I thought I'd change the "hey everyone" up haha 

Things are really going good here in Hatillo! It's still raining a ton and super hot at the same time.. What a superb combo ay? 

We had a baptism yesterday of Santiago! He's a 9 year old who's super duper awesome. He's pretty much my best friend here in the mish. He asked me like a month/2 months ago to baptize him and we finally did it! One time, I had to go with a different missionary when we had an appointment with him. I heard he about cried because he thought I left.. But I came back haha :)

I talked to a bunch of gangster this week and got their names and where they all live. It turns out that 4 of them have killed about 60 people between all 4... And they never give out there names because they think everyone works for the GOV when they do haha. But they were super chill with us and we taught them almost all of the Plan of Salvation which was pretty cool. Now they always say hi and even protect us when we come by that part of our area! 

Elder Carrion - feeling the heat
I ate a super hot chili that's smaller than my thumbnail. I didn't cry but my face went beet-red and my whole toungue and mouth went numb. I gave my comp 5 bucks to eat 4. (A mexican who LOVES chili here can only handle 4 so imagine how hot they are haha) My comp cried so much and it was super duper funny. Something that I think dad would like to watch haha. 

I started working out big-time this week. My arms are DEAD ahhh. I feel like I have nubs for arms because they won't bend more than 90 degrees... But no pain no gain right? Let's just say there better be a lot of gain for all this pain.... :)

Not much more to write about this week... I did help cook tortillas for a Hondureno food called valiadadas. SUPER RICO :)

Well, keep me posted on how everyone's doing! Love you guys!

Pura Vida

- Elder Stott :)

Monday, October 26, 2015

Week 38 - Machete Master

Hey everyone, hope (as always) that things are going good over in the US of A! I'm getting all gear-ed up for Halloween even though a lot of people don't know what it even is haha.

So this week was pretty dang sick! We had a Multi-Zone conference with President Duncan - a big 70 who's the President of the Central American Area. It was a really really long meeting (almost 8 hours) but we learned a ton! I was super stoked for all the good advice that he gave us and I'm excited to apply it in my area and in my mission. We got to sing in my little group to the Mission Hymn of Costa Rica San Jose Oeste which went really well. President Duncan said that we should all be in Mo-Tab haha. I didn't get a good video of it so that was kinda sad. I'll just have to do it again here sometime soon.

There's this little puppy that always comes running out when I come to the house of a member. The member is seriously like my 3rd grandma because she always gives us food and she's one of the sweetest old ladies that I know. The little puppy's name is Tommy and she's super duper cute haha. I like puppies :)

We did a little service project in a poor part of our area (where they kill a lot of people - it's a really nice place haha). We had to "chopear" someones back yard with machetes. Man, my hand was so blistered and sore afterwards. I felt like I was chopping through the jungle because the plants we're all bigger than me! Never under-appreciate a lawnmower haha they are a blessing!

Our area is doing pretty well. We're struggling with getting people to come to chuch on Sunday's because it always seems like something comes up! Dang it! We'll just have to keep working hard - we'll be blessed for efforts, it just may not be instantaneous.

Not much else to write about. I'm doing good and I'm loving the mission. It sure is making me skinny but I'm still me haha. I am able to say almost everything that I want to and I can almost understand everything that people say to me. I feel like Spanish has "clicked" for me finally and now I can really get to work!

Thank you everyone for prayers and support - keep it coming!

Sending some pura vida vibes your way!

Elder Josh Stott

Monday, October 19, 2015

Week 37 - Incense, Chicken and the Guitar

Hey everyone what's up?! 

Hope that life is treating you well, really missing the TRUE Fall season. We just have boat-loads of rain and mud and water and stuff. I'm now used to wet feet. But hey, welcome to the mission!

So this week was pretty good! We've worked a lot in the most dangerous part of the most dangerous part of my area. It's called Sagrada Familia or Sacred Family. Most of the houses are tin or plastic and there's a lot of pintas - or gangsters- walking the streets. One guy was chillin in his van smoking marijuana and had a gun that he tried to hide when I walked by. I just spoke some slang and he spoke back - so now you could say we're chill haha.

Serenading mi compañero
Things are going good with me and my comp. We're getting to the end of his training and he's still got a LONG LONG way to go but we're going, step-by-step haha. 

I've finally gotten used to the food here now and sometime.... I kinda.. crave rice haha. Not really, but it's pretty good. I bought a bunch or brown rice and chicken breast and veggies. I'm gonna try to eat better and get a really good work-out routine in - I REALLY miss working out :( haha but I'll get everything back sometime! 

Hey, this week we have a big multi-zone conference with President Duncan - the President of Central America and a big-whig 70. I get to do a special musical number with 5 other missionaries. We're gonna sing the mission hymn (it was written for only our mission) acapella. It doesn't have sheet music or parts so we had to make our own parts and it sounds REALLY good. I'll make sure to get a video of it! 

Me relieving some stress :)
I've been playing a lot of guitar here and I love it because it really takes my mind off the stress that you have in the mission. It can really eat ya alive if you let it. That's when I just get some incense, cook some chicken and play guitar haha :) 

Well, hopefully I'll have some cool experience to write about this upcoming week. Thank you everyone for all the prayers on my behalf - keep those suckers coming! haha

Love y'all! 
Pura Vida

- Elder Stott 

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Week 36 - Gotta get your protein!

Hey everyone!

Hope everyone is enjoying the pretty fall weather and the cool air - something that I honestly miss a lot! I have PLENTY of rain though haha and sun.. Tends to fog up my glasses a tiny bit.

So things are good here in Hatillo! I'm loving to be able to have 4 missionaries here! The work is a whole lot easier and we have more time to focus on smaller parts of the area - it's really a blessing for me.

Yesterday, Jose Perez got ordained to be a Priest in the Aaronic Priesthood and he'll bless the Sacrament next week. He'd asked that I'd ordain him too which was super special for me. I've seen the gospel change and bless his life as well as the life of his family. The gospel of Jesus Christ is meant to bless families - we have the chance to be together for ever, what can be better than that? :)

I got to FINALLY try turtle eggs this week! I'll try to attatch a video but here's how you eat them: You tear a hole in the egg, dump it into a little glass with some tomato, lemon, salt and then you drink it. I had 5 because hey, they're a good source of protein so why not? ;) I'd pay for that a little later with an upset stomach the next day but really, I think that was because I had a soda, bread and a bunch of other dense stuff. And no, I DIDN'T HAVE DIARRHEA, hahaha but my stomach did hurt a lot. So, if you decide to eat 5 turtle eggs, don't drink soda or eat bread the next day (along with many other things). The eggs look exactly like ping-pong balls and if you imagined those balls soaked in water - that's what they feel like. They kinda taste a little gamey but it's mostly just a glob running down your throat haha.

This week I've been getting good at playing and singing hymns in a park and inviting people to come to church. Nobody came to church (other than our normal investigators) but I'll keep trying. I had a big group listening and recording but I didn't get to take a picture of it :(

Well I hope everything has a great week this week! Really enjoy this time of year - don't take it for granted!

Love all you guys - keep praying and reading your scriptures! 

Pura Vida

- Elder Stott :)

Monday, October 5, 2015

Week 35 - 8 month missionary!

Hey everyone! 

Hope everyone had a great week this passed week and a FANTASTIC conference weekend like mine!

So first of all, we had another baptism! We baptized this girl named Nitzy who is 16 and is actually the sister of Jeimy - the girl who we baptized a few weeks ago. Nitzy has a super strong testimony and she has a heart-felt desire to follow Christ. She is going to be such a strong member as long as she sticks to it with tons of faith!

So General Conference was SUPER SICK! I was so stoked to see 3 new apostles called to the the Quorum of the 12. I felt the Spirit super strong as they took their seats and I knew from that moment that they were called by the Lord. My favorite talks were by Elder Holland, Larry R. Lawrence, and Russel M. Nelson. Elder Holland and Nelson both talked about the power of the women of the church and their importance. I want to add my testimony to theirs...the power that a woman has to influence the lives of others, as well as lead in the church is amazing. I loved how beautiful Elder Holland's talk was about mothers and how nothing comes closer to the Christ's pure love than the love of a mother for a child. THAT IS SO TRUE! And although it made me miss my mom a lot, I realized how true that simple truth is in my personal life and I'm so very thankful to have the pure love of a mother in my life. I love you Momma Stott :) The Prophet's talk was powerful and simple! He has lived his life testifying of Jesus Christ and he is doing an amazing job. He's looking pretty old and frail but I know that he's got a job to finish before he ends his ministry!

This week I had a really cool experience with some alcoholics. These guys live in the sketchy-est part of our sketchy-est area. This guys live in a old abondended school gym or something like that. We'll we've been working with them so fix their alchohol problem that got them living in the streets. They have families and lives but alcoholism took that away from them and I'm sure that they never imagined they'd be where they are today - no wonder the Lord needed to reveal the Word of Wisdom to us! I found that I really love this guys and have found that I see them as our Heavenly Father sees them, not as the world sees them. I see them in who they can become: their potential. So I was going to leave some Books of Mormon with them to read but they had been drinking just a tiny bit - even though they promised not to. So I was thinking to myself if we should leave the BofM's with them or not - when a thought came to mind, "Give them a blessing." I thought it was kinda weird but I followed this prompting and we went inside this dark and damp building to give them all a priesthood blessing (they're 3 guys in their 40's) As I put my hands on the head of one of them, I felt the Spirit the strongest I have in my whole life. I started tearing up as I blessed this man and for a moment, my eyes were opened and I could feel the love that our Heavenly Father had for him. It was so sacred and the Spirit was so strong. I'll never ever look at someone who lives on the streets or is "rough around the edges" the same. They are children of God too with a divine potential just like every one of us. Heavenly Father loves and knows them and I know that to be true!

This last week was long and tiring and this coming week is probably going to be even longer haha - we have sacrifice week this week. We're going to wake up at 5:30 every day and leave at 9 to work until 9 at night with only a 1 hour lunch break. That's 3 extra hours of working but I'm excited to see the blessings that will come through our work as we are diligent and faithful!

I got a package from my family.  It was AWESOME!  I loved it.  I laughed so hard for so long about those fox socks.  Pretty sure my President won't let me wear them.  They'll be P-day socks.  haha

I'm so thankful for this opportunity I have to be serving in Costa Rica! It is for sure the hardest thing I have ever done and it can be really tough at times, but I have loved it along the way!

Remember that we are all trying to get to the same place! Let's help one another get back home! 

Until next week: PURA VIDA!

- Elder Stott

Monday, September 28, 2015

Week 34 - Slanging with the Pachucos

Hey everyone! 

Hope things are going well in the states! Sure missing the Fall season which means football! haha but things are going well in Costa Rica baby!

So we had a baptism this week! His name is Jose and he´s super duper cool. He's chill and doesn't talk a lot but he's going to do big things in the church. A couple of weeks ago, we had a lesson with him where he talked about our Mission President and other 70's and how he likes how they take things seriously and are straightforward. I was prompted to say something direct and straight forward after but I had no idea what to say haha. So I told him (in spanish haha) "Jose I actually like to be straight forward as well. We missionaries, are here to baptize you. You need to get baptized and we'd like you to prepare for the 25th". He was shocked for a minute but the answered yes with a smile. The Spirit really is the teacher - I can read scriptures and testify but it's ALWAYS the Spirit that teaches. He had about 10 years investigating the church but hadn't committed to get baptized before we came by. And 3 weeks later, he was baptized! We don't have pictures because he wanted other elders to baptize him (that taught him a while ago) but he came back so that I could confirm him. So cool!

So to add the seccion of "Animal of the Week", we always have these big ol' cucarachas stuck on our glue traps. We found one in my companion's food and he was TICKED. He threw the rice bag and beat the snot out of this cockroach - I pretty much died laughing.

I was blessed to hear a ton of old songs that I loved before the mission! I heard Wild Boys by Duran Duran - you betcha that I love that song. And I heard Sister Christian in a little pulperia (the equivalent of a 7/11 here) and I jammed so hard!

Hey, funny story about photography. My comp DELETED ALL MY PHOTOS ON MY CAMERA... accidently but still. I wanted to kill the freakin guy. So I´m glad that I sent you guys all the good pictures at least haha. I´m gonna make sure that I keep copies of all my pictures on my USB now just to be safe haha

We have been working in the more sketchy parts of town because that's really the people who need the gospel most. We only take our scriptures and umbrellas - I leave the phone and watch with members before we head in. It's super funny to see peoples faces when they're surprised that I can actually speak Spanish! Haha their faces always light up. I can even speak slang with the Pachucos - the people who are always smoking drugs and in the streets and they love talking to me haha. 

Well, please keep praying for me and praying that I can at least stay a little dry.. haha thankyou for all of the prayers and well wishes!

Love you guys,
Pura Vida! 

Elder Stott

Monday, September 21, 2015

Week 33 - That's one way to get rid of them...

Hellooooo ladies and gentleman, welcome back to the The Pura Vida show staring Elder Stott.

Haha how have things been over in the states! I hear that Donald Trump and Bill Gates are running for President?! Hahaha just a bunch of rich people trying to buy the presidency, man, this world is just getting crazier and crazier. 

So this week was a normal week for me, but mom reminded me that a "normal" week for me is crazy for you guys, so I'll make sure to give you the good stuff: details and all haha.

So this week, some family moved in with a family in my ward. They're Ticos but they speak pretty darn good English. They all learned a bunch of slang and jokes. Get this: there's a little kid (he's like 9) that challenged me in a "Yo Mama" joke contest. And even though it's been like 10 years since I've heard those, I defended my Mama well and I won. But I'll give it to him, he was GOOD. He said that my Mama was so dumb that she tried to climb Mountain Dew and that she had an appointment with Dr. Pepper. But I know, that my Mama is WAY smarter than that ;) Haha

One of the family members who I met actually lives here too. He speaks good English too AND HE PLAY FOOTBALL HERE! I love talking about football with him and talking NFL and NCAA! He wants me to come to a practice of his sometimes but I don't think I can. But anyways, he's super legit.

Almost everyday, we pass by this bar that's by our chapel. There's ALWAYS drunks outside and they all (for some freakin reason) all try to hug me or speak in English. One guy (and I die laughing every time) always says to me in English: "God bless you every time" and it's hilarious. Well this week, I saw him but I beat him and greeted him with a good ol' "God bless you every time" and you bet your bottom dollar that he said it back - yeah baby! haha 

There's also a guy from Limon (where there are a bunch of African Americans who speak a language called patuah - English, Spanish, and french together) He likes to ask me, "Everything is good?" haha and that was pretty funny too.

I've "decided" to bring back "Animal of the Week". This week, you guessed it, is mice! We have a good sized family of about 10 in our house eating my corn drink - I was pretty ticked when I found one chillin in the flippin bag. So we bought a glue trap that smells like Peanut Butter and left it overnight. The next morning there were two mice trapped. My companion (being the tough guy he is) folded the paper in two and STEPPED on the mice. It was pretty gruesome. We bought another glue trap and the next morning when my comp got up early, I knew that he was at it again. He said we should eat them but I shot that down REAL quick haha. Speaking of weird foods - I'm going to eat sea turtle eggs and snake here pretty soon, so I'm pretty stoked for that! 

So my companion is going good! He's finally getting used to the mission life and workload (trust me, it's a lot). He told me that he wants to lose weight because he's pretty dang chunky. But he bought this big pan of a Tres Leches cake and ate it for breakfast, lunch and dinner haha - I just think to myself "good luck with that!" 

Even though I don't talk about it much, when it rains here, it POURS! You can have a nice umbrella but you'll be soaked up to your thighs with these dress pants - they're really good for soaking up water. And then the water runs down into my socks - so much for waterproof shoes haha.  

On Costa Rican Independence day, there was this super rare cloud phenomenon that everybody was freaked out about.  Some people were saying it was the end of the world, or a sign from God.  I got a cool picture of it.  It was a cloud with a rainbow coming out of it.  It's called cloud iridescence.  SO COOL!!

I bought a big thing of powdered Gatorade (I bet Dillon's jealous) that makes 9 gallons of lemon lime Gatorade so I'm pretty stoked for that.

A guy that we taught showed off all his pistols that he has as well as 30/30 ammo which is illegal here! 

Well that's about all this week! Hope everyone will have a great week this week! Take care and go out and serve someone!

Pura Vida

- Elder Stott

Monday, September 14, 2015

Week 32 - Semi-dangerous

Hey everyone, hope things are going well in the USA! Woohoo haha

So I won't lie, this week was pretty average.. It flew by, but nothing really interesting happened haha

I did give a talk yesterday that had the congregation in tears as well as my Stake President. He told me after that he really wanted to talk but that the Spirit prompted him to have me take his time too.. I had to talk for 20 minutes! haha but it I guess the Spirit can speak Spanish because I don't think I can ;) 

So my area is semi-dangerous.. haha we had a bunch of appointments in a place called the 25th of June (I don't know why it's called that) but to say the least, it's pretty sketch. People are selling cocaine on the corners but hey, everyone needs the gospel! So we were headed over to this part of our area (and we were super close too) when a member called us and told us not to go over there. A guy that just got out of prison was shot a bunch of times and was killed right by all of our visits. Turns out that I kinda knew the guy too... He was pretty rough but I'm glad I got the chance to talk with him about Christ. Well, they closed the area so our WHOLE day was ruined haha but hey, I guess things happen sometimes.. but not sketchy things.

We're hoping for a baptism this week and for 2 the next week. The members work really well with us and give us lots of references - it's super stressful sometimes but it's better than 0 references! 

Kinda cool: So we have our mission hymn that's super cool. Well I was playing it in the President's house today on the piano and he asked me if I could somehow put what I was playing on sheet music for the mission. One of the medical assistants told me after that they're going to try to copyright the hymn and everything and that my name will be on it if I can get the music! Pretty sweet huh?! Also - President told me that when he asked for me to open this area here, that he felt that there were "big things planned for me". uh oh... we'll see what that means haha.

Well I hope everyone is doing well! I miss everyone but I love hearing how everyone's doing. Remember that it's the little things that count - a compliment or just a smile; it can change someone's day completely.

Love you guys,
Pura Vida!

- Elder Stott :)
One of my best friends - Elder Black

Monday, September 7, 2015

Week 31 - The train is still rolling!

Hey everyone! 

Things are going pretty well here in good ol San Jose Costa Rica! Hope everyone's had a great week this passed week!

So not much happened this week but I'll try to make it sound interesting!

So first off, people are feeding me way too much...But this will be a good thing! We don't have a mamacita who cooks us food everyday so a different member is assigned each day to give us lunch and so far, it has always been super good! It's usually a ton of meat with a cabbage salad that I like. And I'm proud to say that I am finally used to rice and beans now. It still doesn't taste like anything but I'm used to that!

A lady made us tamales too which were pretty good! They're really doughy here but they really fill you up. They're super thick and heavy so I only need one to be full haha.

We had a baptism this week too! Her name is Jeimy and she's this little girl who's 9 but she seems like she's 12 or 13 haha. I don't know what it is about Costa Rica, but everyone seems super mature for their age. One time, I asked this girl how old she was - I thought she was about 22. She told me she was 13 haha. So now, I don't guess people's age.

But yeah, the baptism was great and she's super excited to be a member.

This week I got to see one of my most favorite people in Costa Rica! The sweet little old lady from Alajuelita.  She still always tells me, "shut uf baby face" - that's how she pronounces it too haha. She tells me that she wants to meet my family and kids when I have them someday. She's pretty much my grandma here in Costa Rica :) 

Sometimes when we're walking in Hatillo, people I know from Alajuelita will pass by in cars and yell hi to me. I just like to shrug and tell my comp that I don't know them and that I'm just famous here haha.

The other day, this random girl who looked about my age came up to me and asked if I was "JoshtheStott" from Twitter and Instagram. I had no idea who this girl was. But she recognized me and said that she liked my pictures and how I sang. To say the least, it was kinda weird. But it did give me the opportunity to share a little something with her. I gave her a church pamphlet and told her that if she was a true fan of mine, she'd read it. Haha 

Things are going well here in Hatillo - although it's still a little stressful. It's really an area that could be split into 3 or 4 good-sized areas.  We walk a LOT and have a lot to do. Me and my companion are doing well and I'm hanging in there. I'm still losing weight dang it. But otherwise I'm happy and healthy and that's what matters! 

Thank's for all the prayers and well-wishes! Hang in there everyone

Pura Vida!

- Elder Stott :)

Monday, August 31, 2015

Week 30 - Sleeping on the floor

Hey everyone!  7 months complete!!

Hope everyone is enjoying their last few weeks of summer! Everyday feels like summer here because its almost always hot haha. 

So this week, I dont have a ton to write about haha but we'll see.

So like I said last week, our area is huge. I get lost all of the time haha but my companion said that it's super organized here compared to Honduras so he knows his way around. I sure don't haha.

We finally got a house here in Hatillo! Its a brand new apartment and its super duper nice compared to all of my other houses! But the mission didn't have enough supplies for us so, we're sleeping with our mattresses on the floor because we dont have the equipment for our bed frames. I had to go buy garbage cans, mops, brooms, shower curtains, and other stuff with my personal money ugh :( 

My companion bought pizza for our first night in the new house.  It was so good! Had to get a picture of that!  I'm still getting used to the training part of things. My comp still asks a TON of questions but I'm teaching him to answer his own questions or to think things out a little more. He really has a love for the work which is great - that's one thing that I love about him. We're working on listening to the Spirit this week so that should really help him out.

The area is going good. We seriously need more missionaries here because its so huge but I'm getting used to it. We're going to have a Baptism this week! I'm super stoked because it's the girl who's 10 years old who is part of a part-member family. She was prepared already and just needed to be invited to be baptized! So we're going to have her baptism on Wednesday! 

Speaking of Wednesday, we get to go to the Temple in the morning! I'm super stoked because I always love the strong Spirit that's there in the House of the Lord. I can always use a godd spiritual recharge hahaha :) I'll send photos of that next week!

Well, let's hope something crazy will happen this week so I have a good story to write!

Thank you for all the letters, prayers, and support from back home. Love you guys!

Take care!

Pura Vida,

- Elder Stott

Monday, August 24, 2015

Week 29 - Back in Black!

Hey everyone! Hope everyone had a great week last week!

First of all, sorry if I have weird grammar in this email - this keyboard doesn't have a Spanish option but oh well.

So this week was LONG! Longest week of my mission but here we are in another week! I survived! 

It really has been an adventure opening up our new area, Hatillo, and training a newbie haha. So first, I'll talk a little about my greenie. His name is Elder Carrion and he's from Honduras. He's VERY confident in himself and his personal abilities to teach. Sounds like someone we know??  He served a mini mission over in Honduras for 3 months so he thinks he knows a lot haha. He reminds me a lot of MYSELF when I was just starting haha. But like me, he'll find that the mission corrects pride very quickly and even a little harshly sometimes. He likes to talk right in my face when he talks with me and it's a little hard for me to understand him because he slurs his Spanish. He also reminds me a lot of my second companion because he asks SO MANY FLIPPIN questions! Each question is to ask another question. haha And a lot of the time I have to answer his questions with something like "Who knows" or "No idea".  haha  He asks odd questions that I know nothing about. How much money does a Chiropractor make in Costa Rica?  "No idea!"  I'm a little lost on how I can help him. I hope the Lord can help me with that part! I know I will grow to love him - it's just something that I have to keep trying. I'm keeping my head up high, but not too high haha  I'm praying for extra patience.

Now, our new area! IT'S HUGE. Its like the 2nd biggest area in all of Costa Rica. So this area has had missionaries before in the Ward, but they were taken out because the members offered little support to the missionaries. They have been begging mission presidents to send missionaries for about 2-3 years now and finally we're Back in Black! haha 😎 It's going to be great!!  I honestly feel like a celebrity in the ward because they all knew our names before we came... a little strange huh. AND they all feed us, so Elder Stott is happy! I've gotten so lost, so many times because the area is a lot like Portland but with smaller buildings. There's 10 or 11 districts in this city so we have a lot of work to do. I'm pretty dang stressed because President, the Zone Leaders, and my District leaders are putting the pressure on. I have to train my companion and open an area - so LOTS of pressure. I'm loving the challenge, but let me just say, there's a lot on my plate right now.  Prayers appreciated.

Nothing much else happened this week. We had a big conference in San Jose and a couple of good friends came to visit - Elder Dunyon and Navas. We were all in Alejuelita together!

Hope everyone has a great week. Enjoy those last 2 weeks of Summer!

Take care y Pura Vida!

- Elder Stott