Monday, December 26, 2011

Letter on Dec. 26th, 2011 after a Skype session on Christmas Day

It was great to get to talk to you guys and get to see your faces during our Christmas Day Skype session! I really wish i could´ve been there with you but it´ll just make Christmas in two years that much better! So i´m not really sure what to say after that long skype session...
I¨m already doing alot better than my first email, Spanish is a little better but i can understand people a lot better which is nice. I´m starting to make more friends so i´m doing a lot better. I gotta attribute it to you guys cuz your love and support has really helped me! 
I´m glad you guys all had a good Christmas! The skype call was for sure the best part of mine but Christmas eve was really fun. We had 3 dinners on Christmas after our call so i was so stuffed!!
I love you guys and i loved talking to you guys! I can´t wait till Mother´s day now, but don´t worry too much about me, once the works starts it´s all good! Thanks for everything, i love and miss you guys so much!

Monday, December 19, 2011

First email from Panama Dec. 19, 2011

Hello dear family,
So this has been a very different week compared to the MTC and even what the mtc said the mission would be like. I don´t even know where to start... My trainer, or papi as all the missionaries call them, is Elder Luis Barahona from Nicaragua. He speaks a little English and speaks Spanish really really fast, along with every other native here. He´s cool, I like him but it's kinda hard to connect with him like i did the people in the mtc because we can't communicate well- he´s been here 23 months and me a week so we can´t talk about all the things newbies want to talk about. (sorry about my spelling and stuff, this keyboard is hard to use cuz it has a bunch of extra keys for Spanish).  My zone is in La Chorrera and my area is called La Seda. It´s a lot different here then i expected, a lot more poor people. Our house is off the road about 100 yards and is about the size of our downstairs computer room at home, and our house is kinda big for our area. we have a little frig and a sink, with a table in the kitchen, and an entry way. not much to it, and no real way to cook or anything. Recently we taught a lady who´s house was smaller than my room at home, and she didn't have a bathroom or anything. very humble circumstances here for a lot of people. we were supposed to have a baptism on Saturday but that guy, Rodney, backed out at the very last second. we had already filled the font and people were ready when his mom called to say he didn't want to come, so that was sad.

The heat and humidity here are difficult. I´m constantly sweating and hot. Sometime i really like it but sometime i´m dying of heat. the showers here are all very cold and sometimes we don´t even have water for some reason. It is still in the rainy season, as it rains at least a couple times a day as an absolute downpour for around 30 min to 2 hours.

On the first night here, we got in late from Atlanta, and Pres. Ward picked us up with his APs, and we went to the AP´s house.  When we got there (it was really messy) they threw us a pillow and say it´s time for bed, find a place to sleep, so i slept on the floor the first two nights and really didn´t sleep at all. President Ward and his wife are really cool and nice. they have a nice house that we went to on Tuesday for some lectures and other meetings.

For food we make a make-shift breakfast and then everyday we go to this less active member´s restaurant to eat lunch which is really good.  For dinner we always have a dinner appointment with a member, but the weird thing is that they never eat with us, they make the food then we eat alone. I feel bad cuz usually it´s a tiny house and they make a ton of food for us. There are always big portions. Question: is white rice bad for you? In that does is make you tired and slow you down with little nutrients? that´s what Hermana Ward said, but the problem is that half our meals are white rice. The food here is usually rice, pasta of some sort, and meat, with a juice or pop.

Funny story, i was praying for this family after a short lesson, and my comp said their name so i could bless them but i didn´t hear him and so i asked again and he said apellido so in my prayer i said, por favor bendice la familia apellido, which in English translates to, please bless the last name family, but 'apellido' obviously wasn´t their last name. During my prayer i was wondering why everyone was laughing and now i know. apellido=last name. HA HA oh funny times already.

So i don´t have much time this week to email, cuz it took us like 20  minutes to figure out how to get onto the email. any questions for me? apparently normal mail takes a while cuz mail takes about 2 or 3 weeks to get to Panama, then for the mail to get to me, pouch mail and dear elder letters, mail goes to the AP´s i believe,  who eventually give it to the District leaders who eventually give it to us. Ha ha - Dad i got your dearelder letter you mistakenly sent to Panama (not the MTC) on Oct 19, but i also got lucky and i already got your other dearelder at the MTC.  Thanks for mistake, because your letter was a great boost in a hard day.  The mission has been really good and fun, but also really hard so far. Hard physically and emotionally, more than the MTC for some reason, maybe cuz all my friends from the mtc are gone and it´s hard to make friends when you don't speak their language. my Spanish is coming along ok but they all speak so fast its hard to understand anything, even if normally i would understand them. for example i went on splits with an elder from Washington (a gringo) and i could understand everything but a few words just cuz he didn't talk as fast or use as much slang and had less slurring of his words.

As for skype and the Christmas call home, i haven't heard anything so i don´t know what to do, but I'll figure it out.

I love you guys so much and i miss you more than ever now! I think about and pray for you guys everyday! I love you and appreciate everything you do for me!
Elder Pfister

Saturday, December 10, 2011

2nd and final letter on Dec. 10, 2011 from the MTC

Como estan?
So i'm sorry to hear you guys have been sick lately; i'm nervous my first few weeks or so are going to be rough for me with all the new food and culture shock.

Brit, i don't think i got your letter because i remember nothing about a pepto bismal octopus, please enlighten me!

Dad, thanks for the frisbee, it'll work great! And yes, i got my second hepatitis shot a few weeks ago so i'm covered.

So hosting new missionaries was way fun. We were to greet the families as they got out of the car and help them unload. We would ask if they had a few needed items and escort them to where they get their tag and we waited for them outside. We then would guide them to their residence rooms; two of the missionaries i hosted live right below us. After that we bring them to their classrooms where we depart to usually never see them again and we go back and do it all again. It doesn't sound that fun but i enjoyed talking to them & seeing how they were feeling. I liked comparing how they were compared to me on my first day. Most didn't know what was going on and had a blank stare on the whole time. One was watery eyed the whole time, and one wouldn't really talk, and he seemed kind of awkward and really nervous. But overall it was fun, especially just getting out of class to be outside for a while. Being in that small classroom all day long can make me go crazy alot of the time.

So that all was wednesday afternoon, then in the evening, Atuake and I had to be example missionaires for the new elders and show them how to begin teaching. What we did was- there would be a big room full of new missionaries and an investigator. We would knock and go in and start a lesson as if we had 45 minutes to teach it. After about 10-15 minutes the teacher would stop and dismiss us and we would leave while the new missionaries would try to take over and teach them based on the needs we discovered. It was ok, not super fun. I did a couple of dumb things like for example, we had a mic on and i knocked on the door and as a nervous habit  I always started talking in spanish right before so everyone heard me (we taught in english so maybe no one understood me); and then a funny one was Atuake. Right outside the second door after we knocked and turned on our mics he asked what her name was cuz he forgot it, and she opened the door laughing along with a ton of new missionaries. Overall it went fine, and i don't remember the missionaries who did that for me on my first day so probably they won't remember us!

So i might try calling you guys twice, once in Salt Lake,  and once again in Atlanta depending on how much time i have between flights. I did most of my packing today and didn't realize how much stuff i have. Our 2 checked bags can't be over 50 lbs. and our carry on can't be over 40 and my checked ones are 47 and 45, and my carry on is 36 lb. So it's a close one but i think i'm ok cuz i literally put everything in them when i weighed them.

I don't know if you don't know this already or even want to but the mission office address is
Calle 53 y Calle 50
Marbella, Panama City
Republica de PANAMA

(507) 213-3180, mission office telephone;
6612-6738, president Ward's cell phone.
just in case you need them.

I guess the best thing to do now is just email each other because i heard dearelder costs a dollar so email sounds best. hopefully i have more time there than i did here.

I heard that my p-days in the field are going to be on mondays but i won't be able to write this monday because i'm getting in so late. I'm going to miss getting your letters everyday but now it'll make it that much better having to wait for them.

I love you guys so much and can't tell you how much i appreciate everything you've done for me while i've been in the MTC.
Les amo mucho,
Elder Pfister

Letter from MTC Dec. 10, 2011

Hola Amigos!
Que Paso? I'm sorry I didn't write yesterday, I forgot to tell you that yesterday was In-Field Orientation and that today is P-Day for Elders leaving next week. In field orientation was good, informative, exciting, but also extremely long. We spent all day in a few different classrooms getting lectured about everything they can think of about the field. I don't remember very much since there was so much information. I do remember i need to plan very well, make good goals, work with the members a lot and do everything with tons of faith that it will work out. I'm super pumped to get out of here and really start my mission. It feels like I haven't even started my mission yet, I've just been at an extreme gospel camp where I read scriptures and learned Spanish. It's exciting because I finally get to put to use everything I've learned into the real world. I'm comparing it to graduating from college and starting my career because I've been in school like 15 years and never really got to put all that to use for me and I've been in the MTC 9 weeks but haven't truly got to use it yet so I'm excited. I've actually grown to kinda of like it here. I love how much scripture study i get, I really love reading the Book of Mormon now. I won't lie, before this I didn't really like reading scriptures all that much, but now it's like, when it is personal study time, I have to read and find out what happens next! Yeah I know it makes me sound like a BOM nerd but hey, I'm a missionary. The definition of a Missionary is BOM nerd so I'm just trying to fill my role well :)  I'm almost done with Alma and I started over around the end of October so for me, I'm cruising.

So today we went to a temple session in Spanish, it was sweet. I understood about 25% of what was said. I figure that's probably more than I'm going to understand when I first arrive in Panama and I'm still adjusting to how fast they all speak. I feel like my Spanish is pretty good, especially when talking about the gospel. I'm pretty sure I'll freeze up the first time I try to say anything but it's all in the learning process and I'm sure some funny stories will come out of my Spanish, plenty already have. Elder Atuake and I traded shirts, a sweet Tongan rugby shirt for a Ragnar shirt. And he got me an awesome tupenoo, aka a lava lava. (skirt like thing islanders wear) I'm pumped to wear it on hot p-days.

Dad and Mom,
Today I sent home a package of stuff I don't need in panama so I hope you get it. Thanks for all the packages; I'm sorry to say the camera charger you sent didn't work for Atuake's camera, but another Tongan had an extra camera so he gave him that so i think he's ok. Also I also sent home my MTC schedule so you can see what my schedule was here. Also I haven't opened that card yet so I'll have something to open on Christmas morning. And THANKS a ton for the ipods!! I really enjoy them! I think with those and the CD's and the lack of time I'll have to listen to music anyway, it should last me! Who knows maybe I'll get some sweet Panamanian music.

Thanks for all the pictures and stuff! I hope ya liked the pictures. Can I make a request for my blog? Put the picture of only me in front of the Provo temple as my main picture, I really like that one. I have on my glasses and a new hair cut in that photo.

So I forgot your letters in the room so I'm going to send another email later tonight answering questions.

Thanks for everything all you guys have done to support and show your love for me while I've been here! I love you guys! I realize it'll be a lot harder to send packages and physical mail when in Panama so I'm not expecting anything. You guys have sent enough for the whole 2 years already! From here on out I'll be receiving the Lord's gifts in the form of baptisms and other awesome things! (don't worry Brit, I'm not a super awkward missionary yet calling everything celestial). I'll be writing another letter later tonight. Also, don't send anymore letters through here cuz I won't receive any more here and they said they just throw them away.

Les amo mucho! I love you guys so much! Thanks for everything!
Elder Devin Pfister

Friday, December 2, 2011

Letter from MTC Dec. 2, 2011

Hola Fam!
I got some good news!! I got my travel plans! I leave on December 12th at 10 a.m. I have to be at the travel office here at 6 am. We are going to fly to Atlanta then down to Panama. We should arrive there around 10 p.m. and then I really start my mission!! Oh i'm so excited!! :) I feel pretty confident in my gospel spanish skills, i know i won't be able to understand what people say, but maybe when my companion gives me the sign, i can give a decent testimony and prayer. Also i'm super glad i'm going to be in Panama for Christmas instead of the MTC.
Today has been kinda strange so i don't have much time to write a good letter. My companion went to Temple Square and did a session in the temple because he is an international missionary. I'm jealous, i wanted to go but i'll get to when i get back and he may never get to again, so it's ok.
So this next week should be pretty eventful with packing, hosting new missionaries, and my companion and I were selected to be missionary examples to the new missionaries so that should be interesting -teaching in front of a ton of new missionaries.
Dad & Mom,
Thanks so much for the package! It's nice having some good food to come back to in our room. It was very nice and we had a fiesta with it! Also i really like the ties, they are very nice, Gracias!
I sent the camera chip to you today so hopefully you get it soon. Thanks for the letter with the Panamanian traditions, it made me really excited to go, maybe we'll be able to participate in some of them.

I'll make sure to write a good letter next week. Oh and I've heard that we get to call home from the airport so i'm not sure but i may get to, just so ya know.
Les amo mucho! I love you guys and miss you tons! Thanks for all the love and support I appreciate everything!
Elder Pfister
Elder Devin Pfister

Friday, November 25, 2011

Letter from MTC Nov. 25, 2011

Dearest family and friends,
How was Thanksgiving? I know there were alot of different things going on. Brit how did your meal go with caveman-style turkey legs? How was dinner in Idaho Falls?

Thanksgiving here was great, not as great as at home but for here, it was good. It started off with a late breakfast so we slept in an extra hour which was heavenly. Then after breakfast we went to a devotional with a few speakers including Russell M. Nelson of the Twelve and his wife. It was a really good talk on Thanksgiving and giving thanks. He showed us this interestingly good song called "Alleluia" by the Motab men's choir, you should check it out. After that we went to Thanksgiving dinner (lunch because they weren't serving us dinner so the big meal was lunch).  It consisted of turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, rolls and pumpkin pie. It was pretty good and I ate myself sick like normal. Next we had a devotional about Humanitarian Projects the church does, including talking about neo-natal training like Brother Brown does. And of course next we did a project. We assembled emergency kits for the people in Sudan. By the end of 2 hours we assembled 8000 kits for them. We all had fun with it so it made it fun. I made a few different towers out of soap bars which were awesome and then we played jenga with soap bars, it worked amazingly well compared to what we expected. We then ate dinner, which was sack lunches....lame. And then we had another devotional reminding us to be grateful and showing us where all the missions are in the world-- there are a ton! And we finished the day off with a movie, 17 Miracles, and they gave us popcorn for it so that was nice. I really liked the movie, it was moving. And throughout the whole day we would have big breaks in between activities so we had lots of down time for chilling and taking naps. And the best part is today is P-Day so that means even more nap and down time! So overall Thanksgiving here was alot better than i expected but not nearly like a home cooked dinner with all those delicious choices we usually have...mmm. But being away from family & friends during all these sweet holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas for two years is just going to make me appreciate them so much more when I get back, I already wish I would have taken advantage of them. It's amazing how much you take things for granted until you can't do them. And that is what I'm most grateful for this year. I'm grateful for all you guys (family and friends) and for all the good times we've had. I am grateful for families and how amazing they are and i'm grateful that we can be together forever with this amazing Gospel and through the Atonement of Christ. This mission has taught me so much already, and I'm excited to see what else it has in store for me.

As for other news, on Monday a district in our zone leaves and then we'll be the oldest ones with only two weeks left... kinda scary because i don't feel ready in Spanish. We had this teacher sub for us and he was from Equador and spoke really fast and i could understand him most of the time but sometimes when i wasn't paying full attention it was a blur of words. I have a feeling it's going to be even harder there because they won't be talking clearly like our teachers do here.

Congrats to Logan for pulling off another state championship in football, too bad they couldn't have done that one of the years i was there. Sounds like it was an exciting game.

The Elders in my district that hated each other are doing alot better now. They still aren't best friends but they get along with each other now which is a huge improvement. Being the DL is going fine, it's not very hard in the MTC, especially now that i don't have two elders hating each other to worry about.

Mom & Dad,
Thanks for the package!! The cd player works great, and the bounce dryer sheets worked for my static. The Brazilian chocolate was different but good. Dad it also sounds like your Brazil trip was really fun. I like talking to some of the Portuguese Elders to see how much I can understand them and usually I can catch most, but of course that's just simple talking. I decided I want to learn Portuguese and Tongan when I get back. They say once you learn one language a second one comes easier so I'll test that theory out. Atuake liked his package, though if you send him another, i would suggest less expensive stuff and more just bulk because in the Tongan culture - it's share everything you have. Also i asked him about corn beef hash and he didn't know what it was and i asked another tongan and he said they like corn beef but he doesn't know what the hash is. And yes we have a microwave to heat up food, i plan on using it today for some cup of noodles :)  Atuake is too shy and humble to tell me what he likes because he knows you guys want to know haha. Tongans eat pretty much anything... except veggies, that i have noticed he doesn't like. Thanks again for all the packages, i really appreciate them! Atuake says thank you too!

I'm glad to hear you had a good weekend with Shyla. That slide you described sounds really fun to do. Ya gotta let me know how your amazingly decorated Thanksgiving dinner went. It sounds like a good time and a rich time with gold pumpkins and silver platters.

Does the MTC sound much different then when you were here? I wonder how much has changed...? My spanish is going pretty well, I'm trying to only speak spanish most of the time but it's difficult when the rest of my district mostly speaks english. Me and my comp try and speak spanish most of the time but it's difficult at times. Even though i really don't enjoy the food here, i think you're right, i'm going to miss having someone make me three full meals a day. How did the turkey day football go?

I have a question, if it's not possible it's ok too, but my comp. Atuake, left his camera charger in Tonga apparently. If you could get one for him, he would be very grateful. His camera is a Casio Exilim. On the bottom it says, 5 mega Pixels Digital camera Ex-257. I don't know if it's possible or it costs too much and if not, it's ok, just wondering.

All i want is before i leave is my ultimate frisbee so i have it for Panama? it's clear with green writing and a gecko on it. I don't need it anytime soon, just before i head off. Thanks a bunch! I plan on sending some pictures home and my camera chip to brit soon.

I wish i had more to tell you but the MTC, besides Thanksgiving, is pretty uneventful. Oh, but something cool is that on Tuesday we had Elder D. Todd Christofferson come talk to us, so we had two Apostles in one week! Three apostles down, only nine to go to hear from them all in person! Then i'll move on to the first presidency haha.

i'm super grateful for all that you guys do for me and all the support! I think about you everyday and love and miss you!
I love you guys!
Les amo!
Afa atu!
Elder Pfister

Friday, November 18, 2011

Elder Pfister MTC Letter 11/18/2011

Dearest Family and Friends and who ever else is reading this,
The MTC is getting really repetitive. We do the same thing day after day, and i'm kinda going crazy. I can't wait to get out into the field, i don't feel ready with my spanish or teaching skills but i wanna get out of here and go to Panama.
My schedule is usually something like:
wake up at 6:30
7:00-8:00 is personal study
8:00-8:30 is breakfast
8:30-9:30 is personal study
9:45-10:45 is progressing investigator teaching
10:45-11:45 is group language instruction
11:45-12:45 is studying with a teacher (coaching missionary study)
12:45-1:30 is lunch
1:40-2:40 is language study
2:50-3:50 is TALL, which is a language program on the computer
4:05-5:05 is gym
5:45-6:30 is dinner
6:30-7:30 is another progressing investigator
7:30-8:30 group language instruction
8:30-9:15 is some gospel or teaching topic
9:15-9:30 is read BOM as class
then go to rooms
10:15 quiet time
10:30 is supposed to be lights out... but our room seems to be the party room because there is always someone in there talking and hanging out till like 11:30 and it's usually someone different. I am so tired now cuz of my lack of sleep, i try to go to bed on time but it's so difficult. By the time i get to my room, write in my journal, read the scripts, studying a little spanish and get ready for bed it's usually 11. Plus my companion always has his tongan buddies in our room, which is actually really fun cuz their really cool and funny.

I'm learning alot about the Tongan way of life. They are so nice, they have this way where if someone likes what you have and wants it, you give it to them. FOr example, a couple nights ago walking to our rooms from class this tongan said how he liked my companions shoes, so Atuake took them off and they traded them. I asked him later if he like his new shoes and said no they're uncomfortable but it's the tongan way to give. And also all the Tongans came with lava lava's (the tongan skirt things) but all the plamii (white people) liked them so they gave them all away. It's amazing that they just give stuff away especially since they come from so humble of homes that they can't even afford the mission and all their clothes are from international assistance. Also some Elders in my district complain if they go one day without mail, Atuake hasn't received a single letter this entire time but he doesn't complain at all. He's just very humble and nice. But talking to him i also realized how much fighting goes on in tongan schools. He has this scar on his leg that is around 6-7 inches long running down his thigh and around 1-2 inches wide where this guy came at him with a knife and missed his body and got his leg but he couldn't afford the hospital so it made a huge nasty scar. This scar is huge. On a brighter note, he's a really good artist. He's really good at drawing cool words with a tongan setting. He's drawing "Return with honor" in my journal for me. It's tight looking. I'll photocopy it.

So you guys know Scott Farr right? I ran into his sister, Karry, here the other day! It's sweet when you run into a familiar face from home.
So something i'm really starting to miss is good tasty home made food. The food here is no bueno and it seems to get worse the longer you're here.

You have to let me know how LHS does in football, i'm really curious! and of course Vick broke some ribs, nothing is going good for the Eagles this year.

Congrats mom on selling your painting! That's awesome! you should put some more up for sale, i bet alot would sell. Also thanks for the package, it's always the best feeling to receive a package, it's like love packed in a box and mailed. I got a nice decorated desk now with pumpkins and pine cones! we receive packages at lunch and dinner, same time as mail.
In answer to questions, yeah i have a little over 3 weeks left. I don't get my travel plans till a few days before i leave. and i get to be a host for new missionaries the last two weeks here. Yeah, Brittany, maybe i will mail you my memory card and i wouldn't mind a few prints, some photos are just dumb on there so i don't want those. i'm excited to see what my awesome present is Brit!

Dad, yes i would love an ipod with church music on it. Also we can listen to non lyrics, christmas and disney too. So if you could put Disney, christmas, lord of the rings(no lyrics so allowed) and church music on it i would love it! Also if you could get me a CD player, Em sent me some CD's but they don't sell cd players here. And finally, if you could sent me my crest white strips and listerine whitening (both should be in the downstairs bathroom) and my white no show socks. I have a bunch of adidas no show socks in my closet, no need to buy new ones. And last, i would love some cup of noodles to eat and plastic forks :)

Some questions for you, How do you get pen out of white shirts? My comp accidentally wrote on my shirt. And how do you make it so your clothes don't have static? my clothes stick to me they have too much static.

Nothing really new has happened here. Thanksgiving here is actually celebrated so i'm excited! We don't have class for 2 days and they serve a really good lunch i hear. Am i going to be able to talk to you guys when i get back in spanish? Is spanish and Portuguese that close? How are things going for all of you? I'm writing this way too early in the morning to be able to think straight, so if i missed a question, ask again :) I feel like i've been in here 2 years already. A teacher told me, the MTC feels like 2 years and the Field feels like 2 months. I'm learning some cool new tongan words, that's the next language i want to learn and i'm definitely going there someday. Hopefully i can meet up with Atuake again while i'm there.
Well i love you guys a ton! Thanks for everything you do to support me, i appreciate everything! I miss you guys!

Love, Elder Pfister
P.S. For Christmas, could i have some of Dad's famous pumpkin chocolate chip bread, that sounds so tasty!
P.s.s. Sorry if my spelling is getting worse, Spanish is ruining my English.
Love ya!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Elder Pfister's letter from MTC 11-11-11

It's 11-11-11! That's cool and it's P-day which is that much cooler! anyway, not much new happening here. We do pretty much the same thing every day just with new material. My companion is doing really well in Spanish now, he can give way good prayers, way better than i can in spanish. Our lessons are also going pretty well now, with a little spanish preparation time we can give them without notes most of the time. We're also starting to really get into the confusing spanish now and they are loading it on us, we usually cover two new topics a day. A saying that i have heard way way way too many times here, "it's like drinking out of a firehose".

So some funny stories, me and this elder, Elder Schultz, were bored one night and he had gotten this fizz stuff in the mail. The fizz is just powder you add to a carbonated drink and it makes it way more bubbly or fizzy, hence the name. Anywho, so we got some sprite to try it in and i went first. Elder Wootton, an innocent bystander, told me to dump half the bag in (it came with 4 bags of different flavors). So i took a sip and dumped in half, or more, of the bag of blue raspberry fizz and shook it a little and it started fizzing a little, nothing really cool. But then after like 10 seconds, my pop pretty much exploded (kind of like putting mentos in coke except alot more power). There was sprite shooting every which way absolutely covering his room in blue raspberry sprite, so i decided to try to stop it by putting my mouth over the hole but that was bad idea. As soon as i did sprite just shot down my throat, out my mouth and out my nose with incredible force (incredible force for sprite at least, i've never seen pop explode so much) it was quite painful, the nose and throat part at least. So this all happened in like 30 seconds and after that my whole bottle of sprite was either on me or covering his room, the only sprite i actually successfully and enjoyably drank was the few sips before the fizz. But all in all it was super funny and a good time in the MTC. The best part is right after everyone got over how funny and not smart it was of me to dump half the bag in, (we read it after, a half bag was used for a 2 liter bottle, not a can) Elder Schultz did pretty much the same thing and this time i got to watch and enjoy the bubbly chaos and not experience it. That was probably one of the highlights here, it was so funny!

Another funny experience was during Teaching Resource Center, or TRC. Where member volunteers come in and it's pretty much like a home teaching lesson talking about the gospel but in spanish to practice. So we were teaching this guy named Matt and it was at the end of the lesson and we were just talking about what he's studying and stuff and what he wanted to do. He was saying how he wants to be a lawyer and i said that's cool, my sister is a lawyer and i wanted to say she loves her job, but apparently i said, "my sister loves you" and he started busting up laughing, like literally rolling around on the couch laughing. I didn't even get to finish my sentence which might have cleared up the confusion. In spanish i think i said, "mi hermana le gusta su trabaja" but he started laughing after "mi hermana le gusta" so i never got to say the rest. I'm not sure if that means, 'you like my sister' or 'my sister likes you' but either way he thought it was super funny. I was just super embarrassed, so embarrassed i forgot to have a closing prayer, we kinda just left haha. Maybe mike knows exactly what i said.

Mom and Dad,
Thanks for the cookies and mints and drawing, my companion really loves junior mints, he inhales them. I like that the cookies came in a cherry tomato package. I'm not really sure who the package was from because it also had mike's drawing which i really enjoyed. It's my new spanish scriptures book mark. But thanks to everyone.Let me know if LHS wins it all. Me and this Mountain Crest elder are good friends so it's fun to talk to him about how our schools hated each other and such. i can't believe usu beat hawaii like that, that's sweet, go Aggies!

Mom, How is grandma delma doing? When should i write her another letter?  Mom you've inspired me with all your scrap booking so i've created my own with pictures of all the friends i'm making so i can put faces to all the names.

Dad, It's awesome to hear that you've been able to talk to so many people about the gospel! It seems like it would be difficult to pull all that gospel knowledge vocabulary out after a while. Hopefully something happens there but if not, you're right, they're better already having the question of the gospel stirring in their hearts. How is Brasil going? Do you get any play time? Something cool is there's a guy a few rooms down who played defensive end for the Utes in the Sugar Bowl, it's fun to talk to him about football. I'm gonna send you guys some pictures soon. Give Yukon some love for me, i wish i was there to play with her in leaves.

I'm not sure if i got your package, was it the one with the cookies and mike's drawings? Tell mike thanks for the drawing, i really like it! As for 'celestial', mostly it's just a joke, most the elders i know that have used it don't really mean it that seriously. Good luck with the virgin cocktail business. I'm totally backing you there, i had a virgin strawberry dacari and me gusta it was way good! Not sure how well it'll work outside of utah and idaho haha.

As for ties, no sadly they haven't sent me any.... ;). So do you still have that white portable speaker? you were saying how you bought your own. Emily sent me some church cd's so now i kind of want it to listen to music.

Congrats on making it in the Nutcracker. That sounds fun and i heard it's way expensive which means it must be well produced and stuff and lots of people go to it, right? Well good luck in it! I wish i could watch it.

So the rumor is you are the owner of a new car! That's exciting, how are you liking it? I imagine it's really nice now that winter is coming.

Well I love all you guys and thanks for all the support and love you give me, i really appreciate it! I imagine my letters will get better once i get to the field and new and cool things start happening, but for now, all is well in the MTC. Let me know about anything new or exciting! Love you guys and i miss you everyday! Thanks for everything.

Love (english), Amor (spanish), Ofa atu (Tongan),
Elder Pfister

Friday, November 4, 2011

November 4th letter

Hey Everyone!
I'm glad things at home seem to be going good for everyone. The MTC is going fine here. Everyday pretty much just like the last one so i'm getting more and more excited to leave. Four elders from our district already left on Tuesday for the Guatemala MTC. They're actually going to Guatemala on their missions so that's why it had room for them and not the Panama missionaries, and yes, i'm here in Provo all 9 weeks.

Our last Devotional was Elder W. Criag Zwick of the seventy. His talk was very good and he sure kept us awake because he was almost yelling into the microphone.

Halloween here was pretty non existent. We had orange pumpkin sugar cookies at lunch and that is all. But i celebrated it with my personal pumpkin and pumpkin snow globe. My Spanish is going pretty well. We've been teaching our teachers who would act like investigators they really had on their missions and a few days and my companion and I got one named Clara baptized so it just proves to myself mostly that my Spanish is getting better, even though if feels like it's not and that i'm not learning anything. We also have this thing call Teaching Resource Center, TRC, where real members and people interested in the church come and they have us teach them which was way scary. Luckily i've gotten the same guy 2 weeks in a row and he's really nice, really good at Spanish and very active member.

So there was this Elder named Elder Spencer who left to Guatemala but me and him and another guy, Elder Spencer's companion Elder Wootton, and we all became really good friends and Elder Spencer invited us to go to his house in Hawaii for a while after our missions! He's really cool, we got really close.

And with some elders leaving to Guatemala, including our District leader, I got called to be the new District leader. Which means i also get to deal with this companionship who hates each other and they are my roommates. My teacher is having me talk to our branch president, Pres. Sanchez, so this will be an adventure.

Other than that i can't really think of anything new that's going on here, same 'ol same 'ol.

Dad & Mom,
The stories about the guy who had his face destroyed (Bryan Burningham-stake conference talk) and then had 53 surgeries, and the oxford guy (Pres. Monson's BYU devotional) were amazing. I feel bad for the Surgery guy, but props to him for never giving up and keeping a positive attitude throughout the whole ordeal. And the oxford guy was good. I can't believe he had read the Book of Mormon 7 times and gone on a mission and still not know it's true without a doubt. I guess it proves you need to read, ponder and pray about it, not just read.

Dad, how's Brazil going for you?

Re: new lots of new missionaries going to Panama.  I think i remember my teacher from Panama saying that there are around 200 missionaries there and 11 stakes and 9 zones i believe. So it must be going good there. There are 3 other guys in my district going to Panama with me.

I've seen a ton of my friends here, Speedy, Sage Nyman, Derek, David Roskelly, Carter Fawson, Higley, Jake mortenson.

Thanks for the package! I really appreciate it. That jacket is really nice and warm. Also thank you for the mission scriptures from your mission Dad, i didn't realize there were so many so thanks for doing that. I'm getting them bound and the cover laminated so it'll keep. Also thanks for getting Kevin's address, sounds like it was some work to get it.

It sounds like Logan High Football is doing good. Do you think they'll win it all? Fav has been training up this dream team of his for a while now and it's paying off for him.

Mom, how did the Nutrition class teaching go? Emily said she might go into diet and food nutrition so who knows maybe you'll teach her one of these days.

I'm glad the Eagles took it to the Cowboys, it makes me happy all over knowing that :)

So this super awesome tie of mine, which the zone has labeled "The Celestial Tie" is paisley... don't know how to spell that but anyhow.... It's paisley and silver and blue. The paisley designs and light blue and the rest is shiny silver. It's the tie i worn during my farewell talk to go back and look at those pictures and you'll see it. It wasn't even my favorite tie when i was buying it but it's grown on me since then.

Hey good job on finding Cory a car, that's really nice of you and it'll help him out alot i'm sure, especially with winter coming in. And it sounds like you got him a pretty nice one for the price, hopefully it has some more miles left in it.

So now you got me really curious, what is this super awesome present you got me?! and when will i be receiving it?

The lots of ties thing is both a mission and MTC thing. It's what keeps us going, ties. But a problem i learned is that silk ties in humidity bleed and ruin shirts and the ties sometimes and most my ties are silk, so i'm trying to trade some for some micro fiber or polyester ties, then i might send some favorite ones home so they don't get ruined.

So i can totally see you jumping during Ryan's play which is super funny, i wish i could've been there to see it. Also Mike's prank to Mom sounds super great too, keep it up! :)

The tape recorder or video thing sounds really fun except would it cost alot to send it back and forth? Would it be like a letter in a way?

So the best food here so far has been this Kulu Pork and rice, Texas toast steak sandwich, bacon ranch burger, chicken cordon blue and teriyaki stix chicken and rice. And while all of those sound really good, the good meals here and few and far between. (not sure if that's the right saying...) aka, they don't serve many really good meals but when they do, they do them right. The food here is ok usually but some days i just go with cereal. Which is a totally cool thing the i guess they've learned... Teenage boys can eat cereal 3 meals a day, so they provide us with all sorts of different cereal at every meal. It's nice to know there will always be a food you like here.

It sounds like your play (Woman in Black) was great. Good job! I wish i could've seen it. I also wish i could've seen Mom and Brit get scared in it and jump. Also being one of two cast members would be kind of nerve racking and learning all those lines would be difficult. How are you liking the plays? Any more plays for you in the near future? How's life for you? Anything new going on? If you go to and write me from there i get it in mail form instead of email and i'll have more time to think of things to say, they only give us 30 minutes to read emails and reply which i'm learning isn't very much time.

Thanks everyone for all your support, mail and packages! I really love and appreciate you guys. The MTC is going pretty good for me, no feelings of homesickness or anything like that which is good, cuz a few people have it bad and they look miserable here. I've been taking some pictures too so i'll try to get them to you. I'm not sure if i can email pictures from the MTC;  they have a photo printing place here for hard copies so maybe i'll do that and once i'm in the field i'll email more.

Tell my friends i miss them and they can use dearelder me to contact me, but to make sure to put what address i should send mail to. I love hearing about the outside world. Thanks again for everything i really appreciate it!

I love and miss you guys a ton!! Give Yukon love for me! :)
Love, Elder Pfister
P.S. If you're going to send ties, no silk ties, only micro fiber or polyester.
Thanks, Love ya!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Elder Devin Pfister email Oct. 28, 2011

Hola Padre y madre!
Thanks for all the mail! getting mail is like the best part of the day! Some cool things that happened this week were that I got to give my first blessing. My companion got really sick so the zone leaders came and helped me give him a blessing and he got mostly better by the next day. and a bonus is i got to take a nap while he was sleeping which felt great. Another cool thing is that one of the teachers here just got back from panama so i was talking to her and apparently there are over 300 islands in Panama and there are tribes on them we get to teach. and if you're lucky enough to go over there you get to learn a new language, Kuna or something like that. It has a whole new alphabet and stuff so it would be really hard but way cool too. Also the mission president lets us go to the temple most p-days down there so I'm excited for that.

The mtc weirdly enough is starting to feel like home to me. I feel like I've known and been friends with the elders in my district for years. i feel like i know some of them better then some of my friends in Logan. and my companion is great, he gave me a tongan haircut, which is super awesome! and a cool tongan rugby shirt.
So as you suspected i found my missing sock in my suitcase somewhere so no need to send me anymore. And to dad, remember when i was trying to figure out that story for my farewell talk about the guy on the top of a hill and a guy on the bottom and poisoning by degree but you said someone must have made it up? Well I found it! Alma 47 or 48 verses 8-19. :)
Thanks for the Halloween package! I now have way more sugar than i can eat haha but my tongan comp. loves it and he can eat alot. also I really enjoyed the glowing pumpkin snow globe. I'm excited to see the Australia book you guys are making, those books are really fun. I will be sure to mail grandma today. 
Are you excited to go to Brazil? Did you have problems getting a visa? Because there are a ton of elders here who are supposed to be in Brazil but they can't get visas. Every elder is supposed to go to the Sao Paulo mtc so there aren't supposed to be any here at all, but there are some who have been here over 9 weeks and are getting reassigned.  I think there is a way that i can borrow a coat and give it back to the mtc as long as it is in good condition so i don't think i'll need a coat. I've been lifting and running a mile most days. And we play soccer alot which is super fun! Can't wait to go down to panama and get schooled by the latinos haha.
Spanish is going good, i can pray, testify, get to know someone and teach the first lesson pretty well. :)
I got to do sealings today in the temple; it was really cool! It felt super spiritual and sweet to be able to seal people that can't do it themselves. It's really nice getting to go to the temple and relax and just feel the spirit in a nice quiet peaceful setting. It also reminds me of going to the temple with you guys and it makes me miss you.  And it's cool I can go to the temple in Panama.
In answer to your questions, I had to use a knife to eat my cereal because I grabbed one to spread cream cheese on my bagel but I didn't get a spoon for my cereal. My roommates are still on and off - going at each other, the bad part is the lows are getting lower but the highs higher too. And half our district is leaving on Tuesday so it's only gonna be 6 of us left. My Spanish is going pretty good i think. I can get to know people, pray, testify and give the first lesson pretty well. I am still kind of frustrated with it though cuz I can't focus as much on the gospel while I'm learning Spanish, I have to focus on that more. One really fun thing here is playing soccer during gym time. I'm excited to play with the latino people even though they're going to school me. It's getting kinda cold here but we're inside most the time so it's not bad. It's funny watching the people from like Arizona freezing to death while the people from Utah are still in shorts and are fine haha.

I'm sorry to hear that the car hunt for Cory isn't going so well. Hopefully he will find one soon before it gets really cold in Logan.

For Christmas the only thing i can really think of that I want are ties, ties and more ties. It's cool, at the mtc everyone trades ties and stuff. I'm proud to say I have the coolest tie in our district. Everyone is jealous of it and have offered to trade 4 ties for that one. They even stole it once but I got it back :) but besides that maybe cool pen or nice little day planner or something. I'm not really sure; anything you think would be nice for a missionary to have.
some things i could use are:
-a little simple calender
-another pair of jeans (the boot cut ones, no holes in them)
-my black Nike sweats
-a few more pairs of white ankle socks
-my brown flip flops(the blue ones are too small)
-and maybe a plain black zip-up hoodie
oh and Dad, could you photo copy those pages in your mission scriptures with all the good bible verses pertaining to the Book of Mormon? Those come in really handy in our teaching. 
Thanks, I'll be sending most of it home before I head down but it's getting pretty chilly right now.
Any luck on Kevin's address? If you want something to tell the priests, tell them to study their Preach my Gospel like no other. Besides the scriptures it's the most used thing here. Before any of the teachers will help us with anything, they tell us to go and read that section of the PMG even if we've already read it alot. We use it for everything!! I wish I would've really studied it before I came. And I wish I'd read Jesus the Christ, True to the Faith, Our Heritage and Our Search for Happiness.
All of which I just bought so I can start reading.
Thanks for all the mail and packages! They are what keep me going sometimes. but you'll be happy to know I'm not really homesick at all anymore.  Lots of my district are getting really homesick but it already passed for me.
I can't think of much more to say... any more questions? How's life going? Pet and give Yukon a treat for me!
Thanks for everything! You guys are the best parents ever!!
I love and miss you guys so much!
Love, Elder Devin Pfister

Friday, October 21, 2011

Dropping Devin Off at the MTC

10/21/2011 Letter from the MTC

Buenos dias!
Hey everyone, still doing fine, in fact the time here is flying! I can't believe I've already been here over a week. The days feel so long but the weeks feel short. On tuesday for our devotional we had apostle Richard G. Scott come talk to us. We have a 70, 12 or 1st pres. member every week! He talked about always being ready for spiritual signs... and more but there was too much and there's too little time to write.

So my companion is Elder 'Atuake. He's from The big island of Tonga. He's way buff but shorter than me, he says all he did in Tonga was lift and eat. He's pretty really quiet because English is his second language and he's not that good at English. But once you get to know him, he becomes the typical Tongan who's really loud and hyper. He's pretty funny too, always saying things like, "Oh, he's a Samoan, In Tonga we hate Samoans and we fight and beat them up with our muscles. But now, i am a missionary, i love him. I wait to beat him up till i get home." haha all sorts of things like that. And apparently it's disrespectful to not eat when someone else is eating in Tonga. Another Tongan was chillin in our room and i gave him a treat and he said, you eat too? and i said i wasn't hungry but thanks and he explained that in Tonga that would be really disrespectful. Maybe that's why all Tongans are huge. He's very spiritual once you can understand him. He's really knowledgeable about the scriptures and stuff. Once he learns how to speak Spanish, he'll be a great missionary. He's struggling to learn it though and i don't blame him, learning a new language through a second language. He's cool I like him.

The Spanish they are teaching us is overwhelming. but I'm slowly getting it.

So i got some cereal today but realized i didn't have normal milk so i thought of [Mike] and tried it with chocolate milk and [he's] right, it was pretty good! i also had to eat it with a knife which was kinda challenging.

A few days ago the branch pres. came and talked to us and said i could probably use a haircut so I'm getting one later today. They gave us a spanish dictionary and tons of spanish grammar books and i bought one too. My sunday schedule is full of meets and devotionals and a movie. I don't have the schedule with me right now but next time I'll give more details. Because it's fall we have to wear our suit everyday which is really annoying. You should be proud, i haven't missed a day in my journal yet. it's easy here to write during quiet time. I've been taking some pictures, i'll try to get more in. I'm not sure if i can email them to you from the MTC, but once i get out i bet i can. I can print some though, would you want me to mail you some pictures?
I really enjoyed your scripture of the day, thanks! I wish i could've have seen the tarantella, that sounds cool. Also being right next to the big mountains makes me wanna hike everytime i see them. I'm jealous you guys got to hike in southern utah.

well i'm out of time, they don't give nearly enough.
Remind everyone they can mail me through (for free)!

Thanks for everything! I love and miss you!
-Elder Pfister

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Elder Pfister's first email (excerpts)

The MTC is going well. I was kinda discouraged at the beginning but I'm good now. The Lord has blessed me to keep me busy and focused. Spanish is going really well and I'm learning so much so fast. SO much faster than i expected. we're in class usually 6 hours a day just for spanish and more gospel and teaching techniques. So much work and so little time to study. We are so busy here and usually it's good busy but sometimes it's just boring busy. My campanion is Elder Atuake and he's a Tongan. He's way cool, I like him. My whole district is pretty cool, no really weird or annoying ones. My P-Days are going to be on Fridays, different the first week.

I have learned to meet someone, pray and bear my testimony in Spanish, not enough time left today but will testify in Spanish soon!

Exercising is easy here, they have gym time. My companion and I rocked the field at soccer yesterday.

There is a website called They allow you to write me a letter on their site and they print them off here and give them to me that day. I would appreciate if you could do that because then I can get and read your letters during the week and think of what to reply to you before I'm on the computer because we only have 30 minutes a week. And it's kinda tough to reply in that time.

Thanks for all the prayers and support! I can use as many as you can afford to give me. I miss you guys, wish I would've spent more time with you when I could've. I've seen Speedy, Jake Mortenson, Derek Larson, Micheal Francis and some other guys from home here but not really any time to talk to them. Don't worry about me too much, I'm doing fine. Getting up early hasn't really been too hard... yet.

Love you guys so much!! Missing all of you but starting to enjoy it here! They say the first week is the worst so it should get better!
Love Devin!

P.S. Packages are great!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Elder Pfister at the Logan Temple Oct. 9th, 2011

Elder Pfister at Logan Temple

Ryan's Halloween party

Elder Pfister's last weekend at home

Elder Pfister was set apart on Oct.10th, 2011 (Sunday evening) by President Kent Wallis.  Normally missionaries are set apart on Tuesday evening, but President Wallis will be traveling then, and his councilors are also unavailable.

Brittany and Mike came from Boise, and Ryan and Katie were also there.  The previous evening we had a spooky Halloween dinner at Ryan's home, followed by bowling (won handily) by Emily Peterson. Ryan's house and yard are well decorated for Halloween, and we had a fun time.

Devin's Farewell party