We have now been to church in Ciudad Quesada San Carlos (Quesada for short) for three weeks.
The first week, we drove there in our rental car-- 45 minutes each way. So with 3 hours of meetings, it was 5.5 hour total experience. A little long, but not bad!
The second week, we left our house at
7am- Walk to the bus station (in pouring rain)
7:30am- Board the bus and wrestle T for the 1.5 hours to Quesada
9am- Arrive in Quesada and find a taxi to take us 10 min to church
9:10am- Freshen up and head into sacrament meeting late (By now T is worn out...)
10:15am- Sunday school begins. Scott goes to class (and contributes!) while Stef watches T attempt to nap in a quiet-ish room.
11:10am- Relief Society begins (in Spanish, of course). Stef goes (to enjoy the feeling of sisterhood, but not understand a single word) while Scott entertains T during priesthood.
12noon- Church ends, we visit, take a few pics and wander the town waiting for the next bus at 2:30
1:30pm- T is really melting down. We are all hot, sweaty and crying. Waiiiiting for that darn bus!
2:30pm- We finally climb on board. You can get the gist of our experience from the photo below.
4pm- We arrive home, making it a 9 hour excursion to church.
This day was a trial of my faith. I am proud that I made it through. It is one thing to go through all those transportation woes for a really fulfilling religious experience, but since I couldn't even understand the meetings it was really challenging for me to understand why I was putting myself and my family through this.
Since last week, we have made some changes to our schedule, and I have made some realizations that help me have a more positive experience :)
The third week (today) was much better. The whole ordeal only lasted 6 hours and felt manageable to me.
We decided to leave 45 min before church ended so we could catch the 11:30 bus home. Turns out the 11:30 bus driver also goes about 2x as fast as the 2:30 bus driver!
It is important to me that while I may not understand what is being said, I maintain the habit of attending my church meetings. With Scott's encouragement, I went today with a few specific gospel principles in my heart that I really pondered. I partook of the sacrament. Renewing my covenants with Heavenly Father is of utmost importance to me, and for this reason alone, the trek is worth it. (Click here to learn more about my faith!) I was able to rub shoulders with other saints. Those Tico mamas always give me a big hug and kiss both cheeks when they see me. I think our friendship is good for both of us :) I do feel a kinship with other mothers as we feed, diaper and love our babies- even if we can't use words to communicate. At Relief Society, I am SO IMPRESSED that the sisters ALL come with their manuals open and even highlighted, ready to discuss the class material and contribute. That simple example of faith has really impressed me.
So while our journey to church is not easy, it is worth it. I have already gained much understanding and faith as I worship with the saints in Quesada. But, these experiences make 8:30am church in Pleasant Grove seem really appealing :)