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

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