Monday, October 28, 2013

Todas las cosas buenas deben llegar a su fin!!

Q´ Xopa Mo!
    Well it makes me sad to write this, but this is my last letter... I´m having major mixed feelings right now of being excited to go home and at the same time sadness for leaving all this behind. My last week was normal, we taught some peeps and said goodbye to people there in David. I¨m already in Panama (city) visiting people here, and tomorrow we´re going to Colon to see all of them there... Speaking of which, i don´t know if you remember the Dominicanas from Colon, well G_____ the youngest apparently got baptized yesterday, gotta confirm it but that´s what i heard. It almost took a year but it finally happened and that´s the important part. Y____ is probably going to get baptized too but in a few weeks, she is having a hard time getting used to going to a new church because right now she doesn´t understand a lot, she says she likes it but doesn´t feel good about baptism yet. N_____, the dude that has come a few times is progressing really well and is really cool, we hung out for a while after church, they call him Pitbull at church because he looks like the rapper pitbull haha. 
    On Saturday the zone had a good bye surprise party for Elders Aguilar, Alvarez and me, it was sweet. We had a piñata and they gave us signed flags. Then after we had a multi-ward activity which was a soccer tournament and they asked us to make a team too so we did. Our team was good, we made it to the finals but lost at the end. But that´s ok because the team that beat us was a bunch of gangster fools who play all the time and play very well. The first game we won 9-2 and the second 6-3 but then lost 3-5. It was a good way to finish my time in David, i really loved playing street ball like that, i´m going to miss that alot. 
    Well the time has come... never thought the day would come but it´s here so all i gotta say is - see ya Thursday! For food i´m really feelin Texas Roadhouse or homemade BBQ ribs like you said with mashed potatoes and gravy and rolls and brownies and milk :)
    I love you guys and i´ll see ya soon, take care!
Elder Pfister
P.S. i sent a pic of N_____ and the goodbye party

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Hermoso amanecer en el Volcán Barú

    Sorry i didn`t write yesterday, we had an awesome p-day but it didn`t give us a chance to write. For p-day we hiked up the Volcán Barú - a giant volcano, it was an adventure!! First we left David at 9:45 pm on Sunday night up to Boquete, from there we got a ride up to the trail head and started hiking at 11:30 at night. The hike is 13.5 km or 8.5 miles and apparently it usually takes around 6-7 hours to do. We did it in 4.5 hours arriving at the top around 4:15 in the morning. The problem was that we wanted to see the sunrise at 6 in the morning and on the very top it was way too cold to wait so we waited like 10 minutes down from the summit. We found this little hut thing (in the pics) and we made a fire since we were freezing, and we took a little nap for an hour in the hut. We were so cold so we cuddled up together; I was with Stegelmeier and Perez cuddling for warmth, haha.  Anyway at 6 am we went up to the top where there is a weather station and then at the very top there is a cross. We stayed up on top for like an hour taking pictures and messing around, and around 8 am we started back down. Going up wasn`t all that hard; thanks to the exercises we have been doing all change, i didn`t get tired going up and neither did Steg but a few people struggled. But on the way down it was a challenge, more just because of the mental aspect of wanting to be off the mountain. We got down around 11 am, taking lots of breaks to chill and take pics and stuff. Going down we explored alot more because going up it was dark and we couldn`t see anything, but in the morning we could see the beauty of the jungle and surrounding area. We found strawberries and raspberries and other things, fun times. Volcán Barú is 11,397 ft or 3474 m in elevation and i didn`t believe people when they told me but it really does get really cold up there. Maybe because i`m used to Panama heat or something but we all froze! We didn`t go super prepared because i wasn`t willing to buy new clothes or jackets to go, i just took my rain coat and a pair of polyester pants that i found in the house, it helped with the wind but i still was dying. I really loved it, the whole thing was an adventure, hiking in the middle of the night, finding a random hut and sleeping there after making a make-shift fire and then conquering the tallest point in Panama and the one of the tallest volcanoes in Centro America. And i did it with some of my best friends in the mission. We were 10 missionaries -  of the people you know there was Perez, Collier, Stegelmeier, Mendez, Aguilar and some other people you don`t know plus two guides from Boquete that are guides of mine for the area plus one recent convert of Steg`s (the boxer guy who we work out with in the mornings). So anyway, probably my favorite p-day of the mission and my last p-day because next week i`m just going to be visiting people in the city. 
   Anyway as spiritual things go, it`s marchin along slowly. Y_____ came to church, she has always been Catholic and in church she said she felt really weird and not comfortable because she didn`t understand much of what was going on, which is a huge bummer because she wanted to be baptized this Sunday but i`m not sure now... we`ll see. She still wants to listen to us, but the church service confused her, because it`s not like the individual lessons where we can explain everything slowly and clearly. I still have hope for her baptism, but i don`t know if it`ll be during my time here. In fact i know she`ll be baptized because she said she wanted to still, but we`re going to go and clear up all the questions she has.
   Last Sunday this new dude showed up to church named N____, apparently like 3 months ago his wife left him, and left him with the 3 kids, the oldest has 10 years. He is struggling with all that has happened and was really cool, he participated alot in the classes. I met him when we were in the investigator class; he gave such good answers i actually thought he was a pastor or something but nope he doesn`t go to church right now. Anyway, we are going to have a noche de hogar with him and his kids tonight, and including the neighbor who invited him to church, so it should go well. 
   Other than that, our other people are kinda just in limbo, not progressing really very fast, so not much to report on there.
   It`s really weird to be so close to finishing the mission, i`m not sure what to think, some days i get really excited to go home and other times i get really sad to be leaving Panama and finishing the mission. Oh well, i feel good about my mission, no regrets. These really have been the best two years of my life and for my life. I`ve learned so much and grown so much in everything from the gospel to life in general, it`s been amazing, I wouldn`t trade it for anything. Having a knowledge of the gospel brings peace to one`s life because you know what`s to come, how to confront challenges with God`s help and how He can help us in all situations. I know that God loves us and wants the best for us and is willing to help us get there. He forgives us for our errors and gives us new chances to be better and become better. He also gives us the love, peace, and joy that we all look for in life but that we can`t find in any other place except with Him and our families. The mission has opened my eyes and i have realized how important the gospel is in our lives. I`m not even sure what to say about my mission, so many things to say, good times, lessons learned, miracles and blessings, so much that words can`t describe it. It`s been a good time.
   Take care fam, i love you guys and i`ll see you very very soon! 
Elder Pfister

P.S. Anything you guys want or want me to do? Beside the videos  and lots of pics?

Monday, October 14, 2013

Corto pero dulce

Hola fam,
   Well this letter is going to be a little weak for lack of time, but this week was alot better than last week. We were able to baptize Z_____ on Saturday, my two year mark, and it was a really special baptism because she had been waiting so long for it. She had an interview with the stake president and this resolved some questions, and now it`s all good. Other than that things are still kinda going slow... We're trying to help people get back into church, and find new ones and little by little it`s working. 
Speaking of getting trunky, i`m not trunky yet but i was wondering - could you guys get me appointments with the dentist and eye doctor and all those fancy people? ;) ha ha 
   Anyway gotta go, but everything is good on this end, trying to finish strong the last few weeks. I still think we can baptize a few more people before i leave so we`re working toward that. Take care!
Elder Pfister

Monday, October 7, 2013

Fuerte hasta el final

Sup Trunky Fam,
    Well this week was an interesting one... Some good and bad. I'll start with the bad so I can end with the good. So last week as you guys read was an amazing week, we had like 10 investigators in church who could very easily be baptized. Well it all happened on Tuesday... We had appointments with E_____ and the fam, R_____, Z_____ and R____ and S_____.  So, we eat lunch and go to the first appointment which is with Z_____ and she's not home, but that's not the bad part; we call her and she explains how she got into a fight with a member about some stuff and she says i don't think i'm going to stay in the church and hangs up immediately. We call the bishop and he confirmed it all to be true with the fight and that she may not continue. First blow. Then we call K_____ (the girlfriend) and R______ to go with them to get the medical papers so they can get married. Anyway K_____ answers crying and explains how last night they had gotten into a fight and he moved out to live with his dad and that lots of really ugly things were said. We called R_____ after we contacted her, and he says yeah it happened and says there is really no chance that they will get back together. We were in contact with both of them the whole week and K_____ is super down and R____ is still not wanting to make up. We haven't been encouraging either way because we know that sometimes people need to breakup;  instead we have just been comforting and helping them not to get far away from the Lord in this hard time. Anyway so after calling R____ and hearing that, then we call E_____ to confirm the appointment that we had with them. His wife answers and she says yeah you guys can come over but E_____ is not here, he disappeared yesterday and never came home.... oh no we thought and so we went over there to hear what happened. She explains how his sister had come over and she gave him some money so he could go out and look for work... Well, he went out and got drunk and arrested and he was still in jail. Then his wife goes on venting about all the bad in their lives and stuff... ugh super depressing. Well, then we went to R____'s house which was going to be the one good thing of the day because they are always super happy and positive... Not that day. We get there and they are both gloomy and we ask what's up and they explain how there is a member that is saying lots of ugly things to them and now they don't want to go back to church. We tried talking  but they were set on it. And from there we got on a bus and went overnight to Panama for the Mission Leadership Council.... So this was probably the worst day of my mission as far as people progressing (or not). Anyway, to finish with the not-so-good part of this letter, almost no one went to watch general conference either. 
     Now the good part.... R____ and S_____ did go to watch conference and they said that that week was just a strange one and that Satan was working hard on them and they let him in for a while but learned from it. R_____ (even though it won't be with Kristel) wants to keep going with learning about and going to church and hopefully he will get baptized. He doesn't want to lose everything he has gained and changed in his life. Y____ is still going good, really busy with the University so we couldn't visit her much but she's still progressing. And well the ZL meeting in Panama was good; the mission here is changing a lot with all the new missionaries that are overflowing into here, plus our new Presidente  Carmack is changing it too. Change is always tough at first but i´m really excited for the mission and what it´ll be soon. Plus the best thing of the week was obviously general conference. The best line in there for me was from President Uchtdorf, "Doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith." That´s my new motto for life. The whole conference was really good, really focused on missionary work and other great things. For my birthday, we were dead because we got home at 4 in the morning from Panama and the mission meetings, but we still just got up and worked a normal day, and at the end we had a little dinner with cake at a cool member´s house, simple and sufficient. 
   It´s weird and freaky to hear that Dad is essentially locked out of work, hopefully that gets fixed soon. Also Mom, do you have a girl in your class named Cristal Collier? Anyway that´s Elder Collier's sister, my old comp; we had a laugh about how small this world is. 
    Well that´s what up in my world right now. Even though it really wasn´t a good week at all, i learned from it. No matter how bad it gets there is always an end and a blessing there if you follow with faith and you can learn from it. Trials are for our own good. Love you guys, don´t be too trunky! Take care!
Elder Pfister

Monday, September 30, 2013

Que hay de nuevo!

Q´ Xopa!
    Well the trunkiest thing that can happen has happened as you already know... i got my flight plans! Enough talking about that, don't wanna get too trunky.  This week was a good week, we have a bunch of positive people right now and everything is going great. I had to give a talk yesterday in Church too. I talked about the small and simple things that the profetas tell us to do that will greatly bless our lives. Everyone liked it, except R_____a didn't like one line i said haha i said that while attending church we need to participate in the classes and ask questions to get more out of it and i said, everyone has heard the saying, there are no dumb questions only dummies that don't ask. Well she gave me a loving ear full for that, haha. 
     Well the coolest thing that happened this week was with E_____ and his family, so we committed them to coming to church and they said yes. On Sunday we called to make sure they were coming and when we get there he comes out with a new haircut and all new clothes, same with his kid and wife. They all got haircuts, new clothes and washed the car saying how only the best is allowed when going to church AND... they even invited their neighbors to come with them. This was the first time E_____ had ever come to church, but he still  invited friends, it was awesome! Sadly they could only stay for sacrament meeting but he said, next week we have to fill my van, I'll think of who else I can take to church because everyone needs this gospel. This dude is awesome - and to think he used to have so many problems with his wife and drinking and wow he is now progressing so well! 
   There isn't that much time this week to write so I'll make it shorter.. Everyone else is progressing normal, we should baptize Z_____ this Saturday but lately she's been kinda flaky so we'll see what happens. As for everyone else all is going well.   R_____ will hopefully finish the marriage process so he can be baptized, and he's ready and excited. 
    This week we have to go to Panama (city) again for the ZL meeting, more traveling and on the week of my birthday, haha. I think I'm just going to celebrate my birthday when i get home, haha. It was all over the news about Mariano Rivera retiring; he was the big news the last few weeks. I can't believe Speedy is home from Paraguay
    Well i know this is the true gospel because of the changes I've seen in people's lives like E_____ who had been drinking constantly for 40 some years and now with the gospel is able to drop it with the help of the Lord. 
Love you guys take care!
Elder Pfister

Monday, September 23, 2013

Bautizar el mundo!

   Well everything is going good over on this end of the earth and sounds like things are moving along over there as well. My new comp is named Jose Mendez from Puerto Rico. He lived there for most of his life then moved to Florida for 6 years before coming on the mission. He is also close to finishing his mission with 20 months. He`s cool so it should go well this change.
  This past few days we`ve really put in practice what Elder Ochoa taught us which is inviting everyone to be baptized from the first cita and it`s going great.
   So our first day we were walking on the street and this random lady stopped us and says, hey do you guys want to preach the word to this guy who used to listen to you guys? We answered "Sure why not?" and we went to the address that she described and it`s this guy named E_____ and apparently the missionaries used to visit him but he couldn`t get baptized because he has a huge addiction to alcohol and can`t drop it...yet. Anyway we invited him to be baptized the 19th of October and he accepted and we have set up a plan so he can drop alcohol. We also talked to his family, wife named I___ and son named T____ and they are also willing to get baptized with him if he can change, although his wife is kinda doubting which doesn`t help at all but we`ll change that... correction... god will change him. 
   We also went back to this lady named M____ who we had been teaching but she wasn`t progressing so we dropped her several times, but this time we were very direct and to the point and she also accepted a fecha for the 19th of October. We have to help her fix lots of problems that she is having with her husband which will be tough, but like i said, everything is possible with faith. 
    Another new person we have is the daughter of one of our dinners. Y______ doesn`t live with her but the mom invited her to listen to us one day and she showed up and we also put a fecha with her for the 12th of October. She didn`t seem positive at first - only talking about how she already has a church and doesn`t want to change but after some simple explanations and a powerful spiritual lesson she decided she likes our religion and is going to go to church this up coming Sunday.
    So Z_____ is still struggling because of her physical problems. She was really down, but then found the Book of Mormon and started reading it and it saved her, she felt a new hope to continue on instead of giving up. But she didn`t come to church and we haven`t been able to find her this week, so i`m kinda worried what`s up. 
    R_____ is going strong as ever, on Saturday we gave him the videos of the Doctrine and Covenants and Sunday he said he stayed up all night watching them and understood everything and is almost done with them. He is progressing faster than we can teach him.  We will show up with a lesson plan and turns out that during the week he had looked it up on his own and learned everything, it`s sweet. This week we are finishing the marriage process so we`ll see when they can get married, hopefully this week to get baptized on Saturday or the next week. 
    We made contact with D____, W____ and H_____ too. We had a good lesson with them on Friday; we took two young woman from the ward with us too and they all made friends and it was cool. The girls had been in a national violin competition and won second place in all of Panama, and they are only 10 and 14 years old, they are geniuses. We also put a fecha with them for the 12th of October.
   So far if everything goes well we will have 10 baptisms, one the 28th of Sept, one the 5th, 3 the 12th, 4 the 19th, and 1 the 26th of Oct. So we have some good plans, plus we have some references that we still haven`t been able to contact that could be potential baptisms too.  These two random people came to church and after church they asked us to go to their house to teach them so we`ll see how that goes. Lots of potential for my last change, and i am determined to finish strong;  I`m giving it all i have, no regrets. 
   I know this is the true work of the Lord because Elder Ochoa said that we needed to invite everyone to baptism and that the Lord would put prepared people in our way, and that`s exactly what`s happening, He is blessing us with people ready to repent and come unto Christ. Now it`s our turn to help them to be ready to take the leap of faith and be baptized. I love this gospel, it brings so much joy, happiness and peace into our lives knowing that we have a loving Heavenly Father who wants us to return to him one day and that He is always willing to forgive us for our errors and help us to get better everyday. Nothing more beautiful than that.
    I love you guys, take care and you`re always in my prayers!
Elder Pfister

P.S. I haven`t been able to make pumpkin chocolate chip bread yet because we can`t find the pumpkin stuff. And i`m broke right now so aebleskivers will have to wait till October when we get money again haha. But thanks for sending me the recipes.

Monday, September 16, 2013

El fin se acerca!

     Well the great day of changes has arrived yet again, well on Wednesday, and my companion is leaving so i`ll get one last comp to send me home. I`ve got a really really nervous excited feeling now... partly because of a new comp and my last, going into my last change as a missionary and just all that. It`s a strange feeling to end the mission, with everyday i get a little more excited to see you guys, but at the same time i get a little more sad for leaving all this and the new family that i have here. But oh well, i hardly think about all that because this change we made ourselves so busy i didn`t have time and the time flew by super fast. I hope that is how my last change is, packed full of things to do. 
    This week was a great week but super tiring... Z____had some physical problems and we had to postpone her baptism; hopefully it will happen when she recovers.  To finish off the week, yesterday after dinner we intervened with this lady getting assaulted. We were walking home and this car was parked on the side of the road, and all the sudden the door opens and the lady screams for help so we run over and this guy is all over her and beating her kinda and so we get him to let her go and she runs home and the whole time my comp tried calling the cops, but they told him to call another number when we got ahold of them, really dumb. But apparently it was a married couple that got into a fight and the husband had taken it to the extreme and the wife thought he was going to kill her... weird thing is the husband is related to someone we know, so it's a small and sometimes very sad world.
    R_____ is going strong, actually really strong. During the week he looked up on YouTube stuff on the Mormons wanting to learn more and of course found lots of junk that isn`t true but the cool thing is that he realized that it couldn`t be true, because the way he felt about the church couldn`t be wrong. We had to explain some random stuff but he accepted it all. It`s always scary to hear that your investigator was looking up stuff on YouTube but this time it turned out fine. Hopefully we can get them married this week and baptized the next week. 
     So part of the reason this week was so busy is the meetings - we had a Zone Leader conference in Panama City on Wednesday with Elder Ochoa, one of the General Authorities;  it was a good experience; also, there are alot of changes coming to this mission with Presidente Carmack, he is making it his own, and i think it`ll work great it`ll just take some time for everything to settle in and for the people to get used to it. So the plan was that we had another meeting with Elder Ochoa on Thursday with the zones in David, Bocas, and Concepcion and so President didn`t want us to get there super dead from the long bus ride, so he bought us plane tickets so we could sleep at the AP's house and fly out rested but..... the elders that were going home were also staying there so we didn`t sleep at all, we just stayed up all night talking,  haha. Elder Tucker from my MTC group was there heading home, and it is weird to think that he is home already. Anyway so we flew back to David on a 30 minute flight, super short and arrived dead tired anyway haha. The conference was great, i learned alot that i hope i can apply for my last change. It was fun hanging out with Elder Ochoa, we enjoyed the flight with him and everything, he is a really nice guy and fun to be with. First time chillin with a general authority for me, haha. 
    So that`s what was going on here in my world this week. Crazy busy, but crazy fun, i wish every week could be like that, we had days where we would leave at 7 a.m. to start working to get everything done. Well this week i can testify that in the Church we have true profetas that are servants of God, and being with Elder Ochoa you could feel the great spirit he has in everything he does. I love you guys, take care and be safe!
Elder Pfister