Monday, December 31, 2012

Todo Cool Mo!!

Q´ Xopa Mo!!
     Well,  it was great to be able to talk to you guys over Skype, it made me super trunky the whole day, but oh well i loved it.  My Christmas present to myself was a thing of Pepperidge Farm cookies which I enjoyed immensely, haha. So on Christmas we first went to breakfast with the branch president, we ate a little bit of pear, apple, orange, mandarina, turkey, jam and cake with hot chocolate and saril, which is this weird flower drink that is spicy. After that we talked to you guys then we went to lunch, where we had cheesy potatoes and turkey. From there we went to a few member´s houses to wish them merry Christmas and they gave us random cakes and goodies. Then we finished the day off with dinner, which was mashed potatoes and gravy and turkey. It was a chill day but it was nice.
    So we´ve had some pretty cool experiences this week. We didn´t really have that many investigators when I got here, so we decided to dedicate ourselves to contacting to find some new ones and we found some pretty positive people. One guy named Jorge we found and we started talking to him and we found out how he was in jail for something, but that while he was in jail he started thinking about life and God and starting reading the Bible and kinda got a new outlook on life and wanted to change things. We explained to him that the best way to start fresh and new was to start clean with God by being baptized, and we asked him if he had been baptized like Jesus taught us and he said, Well no, i was baptized as a child in one church but that´s not like Jesus´ baptism. It was cool because on his own he recognized that his baptism wasn´t valid and that isn´t the way we should be baptized, and he accepted a baptismal date for January.
    Another cool thing is that we contacted this family and started talking to them and the first thing they did was let us in, but then they said, "well we´re part of this certain church and we´re not going to change but we always listen to the word of God." Pretty much everyone from that church says that to us, haha. Well, anyway so we started teaching them about the restoration of the Church and how the authority of God had been lost so people formed their own churches and that´s why we have so many churches today. We explained about Joseph Smith and his question of which church is the true church, and we asked the mom how she thinks that we can find out which church is the true one. She just stood there for a second and said she didn´t know so we explained about prayer and stuff and after that, she was like, "well wait, which church is the true church? Now i wanna know." We gave her something to read to answer her question, and we went back there during the week and in the second visit she also accepted a baptismal date in January.
    The thing about these contacts for me was that at first they were both not very positive initially, and we didn´t think anything was going to come from them, but letting the Spirit touch their hearts, they had their hearts softened and opened and at the end they were both willing to give it the test to see which church is the true one. We also had a new investigator come to church on Sunday, and we have an appointment with her this week to see how she liked it.

    That´s too bad about your Nikon underwater camera, mine is working fine. I really like that it´s water proof and tough because i can take it to service projects and not worry about it or if it´s raining, which it´s always raining here, haha. Speaking of photos, i would like some of the photos in Australia when we went to that lake and Mike and i were rope swinging into it, that was fun and i remember Brit took some fun pics of it. Also any pictures of me skiing. And mostly just pictures of things that you don´t find here, and cool vacations we´ve had. The people here like the pictures of things that don´t exist in this part of the world.

   It´s weird that Mom and Dad are going on a vacation to a tropical hot area to escape the cold, because I get tired of the heat, and i miss the cold haha, Let´s just switch places, it´s super hot here right now. haha. I´m jealous, i wanna go scuba diving and all that stuff, so enjoy it for me!

    Don´t worry about me, as Colon isn´t to dangerous for missionaries, everyone here knows who we are and they usually leave us alone, or just mess with us by yelling stuff, but it´s funny more than dangerous. And of course i´m not going to fight if they rob me, i´ll just give them everything i have, which is usually like 2 bucks haha. Don´t worry, be happy :)
    Well, I gotta go but i know that this is the work of the Lord and that was confirmed to me this week with the great contacts we had this week, as the Lord puts people in our way, we just have to be able to recognize them and then help them on the path to the truth. I love you guys and it was great to get to talk and see your faces, it was great to Brit and her big belly, hahaha. Good luck with all the baby stuff and just remember that you are in my prayers, you all are! Love you and take care!
Elder Pfister

Feliz Navidad!!!

Feliz Navidad!
    Christmas Eve!!  Well, i´m not going to write alot since we´re going to Skype tomorrow,  but i have big news! I got changed to a new area, i´m now in Margarita, Colon! What a change because Colon is super ghetto.  I will adjust to the new area, it was just a shock.  Apparently I got sent a 2nd time to La Chorrera, and another elder got sent for the 2nd time to Colon, so when the mission office realized what had happened they decided to switch us.  My new companion is Francisco Perez from Mexico city, Mexico. 
    Now, i think i´m going to try to skype  tomorrow morning probably around 10 or 11 in the morning Panama time. Now that i´m in a new area it changed everything, becuase i had it all planned out, but now i don´t know anyone so it was a little tough. But this member invited us to eat breakfast there and they have a computer so i´m gonna ask them tonight. Either way i´ll be calling you by phone today or tomorrow to set it up. 
   I´ll talk to ya soon! 
Elder PFister

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Casi 'Feliz Navidad'

Q` Onda!
    Well before i forget i really liked the comic you sent me about the missionary that opened his present early, it gave me a good laugh.
    This Saturday we had a baptism, we were able to baptize Alisson, the girl with 13 years but the other girl Gisela that has 15 years old, we couldn´t baptize her because her parents wouldn`t let her get baptized. I`m not sure if we will be able to convince them either. But ya never know, but it won`t be easy. Same with getting the family of Alisson into the Church, they have their issues too but the mom is a lot more receptive so i have more hope that we can help out there. As for the baptism it went pretty well, except that it was raining and Panamanians have a huge fear of rain and getting sick so nobody we invited showed up except the family of Alisson and even they showed up almost 40 minutes late, but that`s the Panamanian way haha. It was nice though because the aunt of Alisson is actually a member, but not active but she came to the baptism and liked it and said she was going to try to come to church again soon. Also Alisson and Gisela are fitting in well with the other young women and have gone to mutual and activities with other young women so i hope they stay active in the church even if their families aren't members.

     We had a sad thing happen this week. The daughter of a ward member apparently lost a big check for her company.  The family may have to pay it back and it is causing lots of difficulty.  This family isn`t really well off; they have enough money to survive but not much more so now they have to deal with all this, it really seems impossible for them right now. And it`s been hitting me hard because i really love this family because we eat at their house frequently so we have become really good friends. And they are really really good and sweet people that are always willing to help us with whatever, she`s one of the people here in Panama that i would consider like a Panamanian mom that i can count on for whatever I need, and so it makes me super sad to see them going through all this and i can`t really help them except with my friendship and moral support.

     On a happier note I went to this Stake Christmas activity and i ran into Angel Garcia, one of my first Baptisms when i was in La Seda, remember? Anyway we got to talking and he was telling me how much the gospel has helped him in his life, and that now he is filling out his papers for the mission and is going to send them in when he has one year as a  member in February. He seemed really happy and it made me super happy and content to see one of my baptisms that is letting the gospel bless him. Plus it was fun to talk about how back then i didn`t know much Spanish and i couldn`t understand anything, haha. He said he knew i had the gift of tongues because when i was teaching him, he could understand what i was saying clearly, but when we weren`t teaching, much of the time he couldn`t understand anything I said. And i know it`s true that I did have the gift of tongues, because when i was teaching him, words just seemed to come out that i didn`t even know in Spanish. Also i saw one of our families that I used to eat dinner with,  and i always wanted the mother to teach me how to make what they were cooking, but since i didn`t understand much, she eventually just started teaching with pure hand motions and gestures, haha. It`s great to see people from my old ward and especially Angel, I`m indescribably happy to know that he is going on the mission and is so active in the church. Also Richard another baptism in  La Seda is doing great too, he is a secretary in the ward, and super active in everything. Sadly another family I baptized is not active right now for reasons I don't understand, but they gave me their number and i`m going to call them to see what`s up.

     We got a good reference this week about a family where the husband is a member, mostly inactive but they just a had a baby and they brought him to church to get a blessing, and the wife and kids are not members, but we plan on heading over there soon to see if they are interested in being a family eternal.

    So i have some questions: what happened with this school shooting, i haven`t really heard anything here about it (Newtown Connecticut). Also are people freaking out about the end of the world on Dec. 21st,  and the 3 days of darkness in America supposedly predicted by NASA? People here are freaking out about that. There was one pastor of a certain church and he was selling Rosemarie's (the beaded rosaries with the cross) and he is saying that these are the only things that will save a person,  and only the people that have these certain ones will go to heaven when the world ends soon; people are believing him and he is making a lot of money. Maybe we should start selling the idea of eternal families, a little extra cash, right haha. I personally don`t believe anything is going to happen, not even the 3 days of darkness that some people believe was announced by NASA.

     Last week we just went to the temple, then we went to the Panama canal for a while and then we hung out in the Albrook mall for a while before heading home and when we get home the Internet places were all closed and that`s why i wasn`t able to email till Thursday, but i have the goal to send a letter every week even if it`s a short one.

     I don`t know what it is, but i`m loving the work here in this new area, and i have such a desire to work hard and really give everything to get the work going. There`s not that much different here from my other areas but for some reason it`s animating me to work harder everyday. The ward here is ok,  there are a few members that help us out with references and family home evenings.

   It`s great to hear that the Aggies won their football bowl game, i really really wish i could`ve been there to see it and live the emotion. Man, i really miss football, mostly playing it. Also i hope that Wagner makes NFL defensive rookie of the year, some more Aggie pride to go along with the bowl game win. Too bad for the Philly Eagles, and i don`t want to see Reid fired because he`s the only eagles coach i know but who knows, maybe they`ll get a coach Anderson like the Aggies and he`ll lead them to the Superbowl.

    I understood what you said about my debit card so no worries, here in this area,  i usually don`t need to take out extra money so even without it i`ll live fine. But speaking of that, for our skype session can you have my user name and password for the usu online teller to give to me so i can look at how much i have here and i realize you don`t want to send it over email but i figure over skype should be safe.
    Also i am think of calling you guys this Sunday the 23rd but i`m not sure yet. If i do call on Sunday i`ll probably be calling you on the phone during the week to set that up but if i don`t call i`ll let you know next Monday what the plan is. It could be the 26th (Wednesday) since i bet the internet places won`t be open the 25th.

    As for things that i need, i`m good for now, but if you have anymore Nike dri fit shirts that you want to send me i`d be fine with it :)  haha i really like Aggie one you sent me. And i did get the journal, it was wrapped and i almost saved it to open for Christmas but like the missionary in the comic i couldn't`t wait, plus i read in your note that it was a journal, haha.

     Well i feel like i`m forgetting something to tell you but if i remember i`ll just tell you when we skype. Have some questions ready ok? I can`t believe it`s already time to call home again and that i`m in my last Christmas here in Panama... but i gotta say i`m taking advantage of it and enjoying it to it`s fullest! Man alive, i love the Christmas season so much! It`s such a great time to remember the birth of Christ and to help out others and to be happy and enjoy life. Though i must say, Christmas is way better with snow on the ground. Well, this week  i`ve noticed the love of our Heavenly Father in other people's lives helping them feel loved through every trial, and that they are never forgotten or abandoned. I have a story that maybe you`ve heard before that i love and i shared it with some people with difficulties, and it helped them out alot.

    "One night a man had a dream. He dreamed he was walking along the beach with the Lord. Across the sky flashed scenes from his life. For each scene, he noticed two sets of footprints in the sand; one belonged to him and the other to the Lord.
When the last scene of his life flashed before him, he looked back at the footprints in the sand. He noticed that many times along the path of his life there was only one set of footprints. He also noticed that it happened at the very lowest and saddest times in his life.
This really bothered him and he questioned the Lord about it. "Lord, you said that once I decided to follow you you'd walk with me all the way, but I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life, there is only one set of footprints. I don't understand why when I needed you most you would leave me." The Lord replied, "My precious, precious child, I love you and would never leave you. During your times of trial and suffering when you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you."

I know that this is true and that during the most difficult times of our lives, if we keep the faith then the Lord will be there to carry us and not just walk next to us. I love you guys and i can`t express how grateful i am to have a loving family like you guys to help me out and i can`t wait to be with you guys for the next Christmas time, but there is work to do before then.  Until then take care and be safe and don't forget that i love you and pray for you everyday!
Elder Pfister

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Un poco tarde...

     First off I am sorry this letter is way late, for p-day we went to the temple which isn´t open on Mondays, so we had p-day on Tuesday, but i didn´t have time to write that evening, and Wednesday was a very busy day so here i am writing on Thursday haha. 
     Overall it was a good week. We are probably going to have two baptisms this Saturday. Two teenage girls are friends of this less active family we have been visiting; the girls were there one time when we showed up and so we invited them to church and they came to church with the family and they also came to the Mother`s day activity we had (Mother`s Day is December 8th here). We have been teaching them almost every day because they feel that they are progressing really fast. Also they have really helped this less-active family get to church and to the church activities because they always want to go, but they don`t want to go alone so they take the family with them. I`m not sure if they`ll really be baptized on Saturday, because that would be really fast, because i met them for the first time like a week and a half ago, but i`m confident they will be baptized before the end of the year. Their names are Alisson and Gisela. Another bonus is that their families are not members, but the mom of Alisson came to the Mother`s Day activity and was able to make some friends there and enjoyed it, and now Alisson wants to bring her to church on Sunday, so hopefully we can help her and maybe her whole family to get baptized. 
    Today as we were walking to lunch from a meeting we had this lady came out of her house and starting yelling at us to come over, we just thought it was gonna be nothing, as it typically is when people yell at us, but we went there anyway. We got there and she explained how she and her family are members, but inactive and recently moved from Arraijan, and so they don`t know anyone or where the church is but they would like us to visit them and help them to get back to church - especially one young man in the family because he used to be very active, he went to the temple a lot and was preparing for the mission, but something happened and he fell completely out of the church, and is stuck there so they want us to try to help him out, and i`m hoping we can. But also they have another son that is not baptized that would like to be taught and think about joining, and also the husband is not a member so i`m going to find him and see what we can do to bring him into the gospel. I feel like finding this family is a little blessing from God because i`ve been trying to push my comp and I to work harder, and trying to do everything a little better than what we were doing and now i feel like we`re seeing some blessings with the people we have been able to find and the baptisms we might have. 
     We also had a cool experience the other day... In church  on Sunday this lady came up to us and explained how she is a member, but she has not been active along with her husband but that she has now realized the truthfulness of the gospel and is coming back into the church to stay, however her husband feels he is not ready to come back to church.  So she asked us to randomly show up at her house to teach her husband without him knowing that she asked us to make the visit. Anyway we went to her mom´s house first because we didn´t know where she lived, and when we got there the women's  mother told us this couple was out of town, but that her husband (husband of the mom) was home and that she would like us to talk to him because he´s not member and she would like him to join the church. Well, we talked to him and it started out pretty awkward because we don´t know him at all so we looked at the wife to kind of introduce us and help us out; as it turned out, after this bit of awkwardness, it went very well, and we ended up teaching both of them about eternal families and that really made an impact on him. We asked him if he'd like to be with his family forever and eventually by the end of the lesson, we were able to get him to commit to baptism for the end of the month. I´m not sure if he´ll be able to make that goal, because he has a lot of things he needs to do, including come to church, but hopefully we can convert him and help the family become active again. The cool part was just seeing how the thought of eternal families affected him and got him to start thinking about religion.
     That´s cool that USU football is doing so good, too bad they decided to start winning while i am on my mission, i would love to have seen those games, but it still gives me the right to brag a little to all the BYU missionaries here. I´m not sure why the camera card didn´t get through, as far as i know it´s the same address that you guys have been sending things too. Speaking of which i got your Christmas packages and i´ll be honest, i was going to save the wrapped present till Christmas day but then I read the note and it said in it what the present was - so i opened it haha. But i really enjoyed everything, the custom-made pillow case and the USU jersey that came with it plus all the decorations and ties. I plan on buying a little tree soon to put all the decorations on.... but that might make me super trunky, haha - listening to Christmas music alone makes me super trunky. But the good thing is this is my last Christmas here in Panama! And i´m probably going to spend both my mission Christmases in the same city which is fine with me. We have changes the 20th so maybe i´ll get a new comp or maybe they´ll send me somewhere else but i doubt it. 
    So one funny story to finish up... My comp and I were walking to this appointment we had and we had to cross this little river that has a log over it but it´s questionable to cross, or one can slide down on the mud bank to some rocks in the water to cross, well this day i didn´t feel like doing either and i was feeling athletic and confident that i could just jump over it. So i did... and i made it! But while flying through the air i heard this rip, and then I felt a lovely breeze between my legs and i realized that making big jumps in church pants is not such a good idea. When i landed and looked, i had ripped my pants from almost where the zipper is in front to almost touching the belt loop in back. My comp had a field day laughing at me, because he saw it all happen and now i had to make a long walk in the middle of the day to a member´s house so she could fix it. It was super embarrassing, who knows how many people saw me while i was walking because there was no hiding that huge hole, but oh well now it makes for a funny story, and i learned my lesson, you can´t be an Olympic athlete while in church pants. 
     Well i have to sign off now but i´ll soon be writing you again and soon we´ll be skyping face to face. Thanks for all the packages and all the love that they were filled with. The only thing i can think of that i would like right now are more family pictures and some more pictures of me playing football haha - everyone asks for pictures after i say i played football. Well, thanks for everything and i love  and miss you! Take care!
Elder Pfister

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


    Well this week has been pure service projects with the flooding. It has been really cool to see how the community reacted to help everyone in need. First we had to clean and sanitize and fumigate all the houses because the water was super contaminated with who knows what. From there we helped throw away all the garbage they had, from what got brought in from the water or from what is ruined of their things. It was sad because in one house that we went to, they just had piles and piles of garbage outside ( i have pics) and then inside the house there is literally nothing. Luckily the government reacted fast and got everyone water, beds and some food and then from there the Church did this huge project and bought everyone tons of food and water plus beds for everyone and stoves for cooking and everything they need to live. There is this one member that her house was kinda old so when it got flooded, mud and nasty stuff soaked into the walls so this week we have to go there to knock the whole house down and start over new. Luckily she lives next to her parents so they have somewhere to live during all this. The family home in the picture of me with the house in the background, where you couldn´t even see the roof, well they live super close to the river and this Friday the river flooded again, not as bad but for the people that live close like them, it just started the nightmare over again because everything that had cleaned up, needs to be done again. The mom of the family got up in church to bear her testimony and it was amazing, she talked about how this is just helping her faith because she can see the blessings of being a good church goer but near the end she kinda broke down because she was so sad and frustrated. Overall, the floods did alot of damage physically and emotionally for lots of people, but the church is doing a good job helping out. The coolest thing was seeing the members who don´t have very much to start with, giving so much. We visited this family who´s house is about the size of our kitchen and dining room, but the last time we visited they brought out two huge bags of clothes, a stove, a TV and other random stuff to give to the the affected families and she explained to me how her time in the church has helped her realize how unimportant material things are and that she knows the blessings will come when she helps those in need. 
    Sounds like a fun adventure for Dad in Montevideo, Uruguay. Dad, did you pretend to be a non-member when the two missionaries came and sat by you in Church?  You should next time just to mess with them ha ha. Here all the women give kisses on the cheek, but the men not so much unless they are good friends. I´ve had a couple of people give me kisses here who weren´t members and didn´t know. It was really awkward because i didn´t realized what they were doing at first so i just sat there awkwardly and then when i didn´t kiss them back they just look at me awkwardly... good times ha ha.
        So did the floods here in Panama really make the news in America? what did they say? Luckily the church building wasn´t flooded because it is high up but apparently it is in a dangerous neighborhood so the bishop on Saturday, after they bought all the stuff to give away, asked us to sleep in the church to watch over it and he said we could just sleep on the beds, todo cool...But when we got there they had locked everything up including the beds so we ending up putting chairs together to sleep on. It was super super uncomfortable but kinda a fun time sleeping in the church haha. 
    Well i have to finish up but i´ll do it saying how i´ve really come to realize the true joy of offering service to someone that really needs it. You can see in their eyes and feel in your heart that you are doing something great and you grow to really care and love them. Though it was terrible what happened, it was great to see how everyone opened their hearts to help out and give what they could. Service and charity really is the true love of Christ! I love you guys! Take care and enjoy the Christmas season that is soon coming!
Elder Pfister

Friday, November 30, 2012


Hey Hey Hey!
    Well the biggest thing that happened here, as you can probably tell from the pictures, the whole town of Chorrera is under a mountain of water! OK, not the whole town but most of it. My house didn`t get flooded  but some neighbors close by did. What apparently happened is that it rained a ton in Colon and the Canal was filling up with too much water so someone opened the gates where the boats pass through to let some water out, and so much water came out that it flowed into the rivers and is flooding everything downstream. Martinelli the Panamanian President is really angry about that, according to the news, because the person didn`t have permission to open the gates. Yep, so now there are a ton of houses that you can`t even see anymore because the water is like 10 feet higher that their roofs! Yesterday we went out visiting all the members and investigators we have to see if they were ok and everyone got out fine but they lost pretty much everything. A recent convert that we have been visiting has her house almost completely underwater. If you look in the pictures where i`m standing in the water, the house in the back on the left side of the picture i think, that is her house. One member who works are a repairman fixing washing machines and stoves and stuff like that had his house covered in water. I`m guess that at the peak his roof was sitting about 15 feet underwater because his neighbors house is like 10 feet above his and you could barely see the roof sticking out a little. And even worse for him is that he had all his projects, like the washing machines, fridges and stoves just sitting outside in his back yard. When we came you just saw a bunch of stuff floating above his house but most of it got washing away by the river so who knows what he`s going to do about work and they didn`t have time to get stuff out of the house before it got flooded so everything inside got ruined too. The officials were telling everyone to stay out of the water ( i found this out after i got in it) because it had a bunch of chemicals and gas in it from some tanker the river washed down stream and that the water was really unhealthy. I walked through it before i found that out to help this member get some things out before they got ruined. Pretty much it was a huge mess yesterday and it means i`m going to have a lot of service projects cleaning stuff this week haha. 
    Well in other news, we found a cool family that we are teaching that wants to get baptized and are positive just that the husband is hesitant to get married, but we are working with that so i`m hoping we can baptize this family of 5 in December for Christmas. But the floods caused more problems because their house got covered too so i don`t know if marriage will be the first thing on their mind right now. We were able to baptize Anthony this past Saturday but he wasn`t able to be confirmed because the river blocked him from getting to church so we`ll do that next week - but the baptism was really special. We did it with the hermanas from a different area and there was a lot of people there and a great spirit so it turned out great! 
    Sadly i gotta run, but as for me and everything, it`s all good. Don`t worry about me! Tell everyone hi for me. I miss you guys and every week closer to Christmas i miss you a little more, haha. Take care! I love you!
elder Pfister

Monday, November 19, 2012

Chicheme algien?

    Well I got changed but i´m a little sad because they sent me back to La Chorrera where i started my mission and where i spent last Christmas - so i´m going to be spending both of my Christmases here. But i´m not really that bummed because i like my new area (different area than the first time) and my comp and everything is good for now. My area is called Barrio Centro and i´m in the zone of Chichemito. My comp is Saul Xicotencatl Luciano from Mexico City. He has 5 months on the mission, got here with my son (new missionary that I trained) actually. My DL is Elder Brown my old comp from Juan Diaz, and the zone i am in is cool so i´m excited about this change. We don´t have a ton of investigators but we hit the ground running with the work. We are hopefully going to have a baptism this Saturday (makes up for the baptism i left in Penonome); he is a young man and he is really cool, & he came to some activities with us and i like him so it´ll be fun to baptize him. We have a few other people that Elder Luciano says could be baptized here in December so we´ll be working with them. The ward here is pretty cool, normal i guess, but there are some cool spiritual families that i hope to work with to set up family home evenings with our investigators.
    So to go to a new area the missionaries always travel by bus to all the areas so if you have to go to Bocas del Toro, it´s a 13 hour bus ride. Luckily Chorrera is only an hour away from Panama City. If a missionary is in Bocas or David and is going to a new area that is close to those cities, they don´t go to changes (i.e, meeting) in Panama City,  they just go to their new area so that they don´t waste time traveling so much.
   This week there are no real holidays, people here are aware of Thanksgiving day but they don´t celebrate it. I don´t think i´ll be having a delicious meal this year unless the one gringo in the ward invites me over, if he still remembers that it´s Thanksgiving haha. Last year in the MTC they feed us very well, and we got to watch a movie and other things, so it was chill; this year i imagine i will be walking the streets working on T-day, haha. As for what Mom has heard about the MTC being long for missionaries,  in looking back on it i really enjoyed the MTC and it didn´t feel that long to me.
   That´s awesome that USU is ranked in the Top 25 in football now, i can brag it up here now since most people here went to BYU. Too bad i´m not there to enjoy it too, hopefully they will continue this great run in football when i get home.
    So one thing you might notice is that my comp is really obedient (which is good, don´t get me wrong) and i want to keep it that way so now i am only going to be using an hour of internet instead of an hour and half  which is what i used to take to write you so my letters might be a littler shorter, but i´ll try to get in all the good stuff but just so you know why they are not as long or detailed. With that i have to finish up now, but i hope to have some good stories for you in the upcoming weeks about our adventures but until then take care and i love you!
Elder Pfister

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

La ultima carta desde Penonomé

¿Cómo Estáis? 
      Well as for our baptism of Manuel, we decided to move it to this upcoming Sunday so that he isn´t as rushed and can understand things better which is kind of a bummer for me because i´m getting changed (transferred) and I won´t be here, but my comp is staying so i´m sure he´ll get it done. The Mission President told me yesterday that i´m for sure getting changed but i still don´t know where i´m going so i´ll find all that out Thursday. They changed the day of changes for some reason, now it´s Thursdays in case you wanted to know. I´m kinda sad to leave Penonome because i really like it here but it´s always exciting to go somewhere else and get to know a new part of the country. 
     We didn´t have any investigators in church this week because Manuel had to go to some family thing and our other investigator slept in... But it was an interesting sacrament meeting anyway because it was the primary program, and it was somewhat less organized than we'd see in our ward.  One highlight was these two kids who recently got sealed as a family (the dad passed away around a year ago) and they shared their testimonies about their experience in the temple and their talks weren't planned but it turned out to be the best part of sacrament meeting, because though they are only 6 and 4 years old they still got a grasp of how important it is, and how spiritual the temple is. They realized that because of what they did there in the temple, they are now an eternal family. 
    While in Chitré on a split with another missionary, my comp and I were looking for this family that they were teaching and when we showed up at the house this teenage girl came out and said that everyone was asleep except the kids and her, and my comp decided to just teach them a little lesson so he started teaching the little kids and the girl couldn´t really get involved so I just started telling her what my comp was explaining to the kids - and then her boyfriend showed up and I just started teaching those two alone (we weren´t really alone, we were all on the front porch but my comp was kneeling down with the kids on one end of the porch, but he was explaining things in a way that is boring for adults so i just started explaining things for the girl and her boyfriend) while my comp taught the kids. Anyway before i realized it, I looked over for my comp and all the little kids were gone and i looked across the street where one of the kids lived and they were all over there; they introduced my comp to their parents and he started teaching them all, so it was interesting because i´m sitting on one side of the street teaching this couple, and he´s on the other side teaching this completely different family, ha ha. It was strange teaching alone and just being more than 10 feet away from my comp while teaching. So the spiritual part is that while talking to her i found out the girl I was teaching had no idea what the purpose of her life was or what was waiting for her after this life and she had always wondered. I explained how we´re here to prepare ourselves to return to our Heavenly Father and we do that by doing certain things like repentance and being baptized. Well near the end of the lesson, i had no idea who these people really were because i had just met them (I had no idea what the other missionaries had planned to teach them) but following the Spirit, I challenged them to be baptized and they both accepted and they said that is this is the way to return to God and that they wanted to be a part of it. The part i like that i may have forgotten to mention is that in the beginning the girl didn´t really want us to teach anything but she decided it was ok if we would just talk to the kids about some random church things and sing a song, but by the end she wanted to be baptized. That´s proof that the Spirit touches people´s hearts and opens them up so they can accept the gospel. Sadly i´m leaving this area, so i probably won´t be able to find out what happens with them but i hope they follow through and get baptized. 
     One thing that is funny that happened to us is that our new duenos of the house where we live brought us over coffee for breakfast and we had to explain to them how we don´t drink coffee and why we don´t, it was kinda awkward but they understood and the next day they brought us hot chocolate instead, ha ha. They are really cool house owners and constantly talking to us and making jokes and stuff and making sure everything is great for us. Too bad i´m leaving now and won´t get to enjoy their great hospitality much longer ha ha. 
    It´s strange but it feels like the weather here in Penonome is cooling down a little, it has felt amazing lately! It´s been cloudy skies but without any rain and a nice breeze which is perfect and i think it was like 85 or 90 F here. I love this weather because usually here in Panama, it´s way too hot or it´s raining cats and dogs so it´s been nice to have a break. I think it´s going to get a lot hotter though because we are going into the hot season where it never rains and it´s always just super sunny all day. Like they say here, in Panama it´s either hot and sunny or hot and rainy, not too much variety here. Now that you guys are talking about how it´s snowing and stuff, man i miss the snow and cold weather. I was talking to this person who was telling me how much they want to go see snow and go sledding or skiing and it made me super anxious to go skiing. Even though i will probably freeze to death when i get home, i´m excited to get to experience cold weather again next winter. I used to think that hot hot weather all the time would be the dream but i realize now how wrong i was. Having seasons like Utah is the best ever, you get cold weather and hot weather and everything in between. 
    So i received some packages! I got my Frisbee, the socks and a package of skin medicine but i only got one package with medicine so i don´t know what happened to the one with the vet meds in it. But oh well it felt like Christmas yesterday getting packages and letters ha, ha - thanks for everything! The Frisbee is perfect and the socks are wonderful, my old ones are still going super strong too. I haven´t had to use the medicine yet, luckily, hopefully i won´t have to but i´m sure i´ll be grateful to have it sometime in the future. 
     Yesterday i hit the 13 month mark which for some reason hit me hard... I´m realizing how fast the time is flying and i don´t feel like i´ve done enough yet. I used to have the conflict that i was excited to go home someday, because well it´s home, but at the same time i thought that if i were to go home at that moment (not that i´m planning on going home early, mostly just reflecting on what i´ve done) anyway i realized that if i were to go right now i would feel super unfulfilled and it brought me to the realization that the only way to go home feeling good is working your guts out and giving 100% of what you have because i always feel that i give like 95 or 90% but never the full 100% so that´s my goal for my new area, give everything and more and hit the ground running hard. 
     Well to wrap up, if there is one thing i´ve really learned here on the mission is that God really does love us and He wants the best for us. He always gives us the chance to be happy and to progress just that sometimes the oportunidad is hidden and hard to find, but i know that when it´s hidden and it costs us something to find it, the reward at the end is greater than we ever thought possible. Always look for the good in life and other people and everything will turn out better! I love you guys and pray for you daily! Take Care!
Elder Pfister

Monday, November 5, 2012

Que Tal!

Que Tal!
    Well, i´ll answer the questions first so i don´t forget... I¨m all healed up now from all the rashes and my sickness - so no worries there. The things in the photo that we were making with the banana leaves were tamales. We made them a few times, once to earn money for our ward activity and the other to help this lady financially with this operation she needed, and we´ve helped to make tamales other times just to help because our lunch cook here makes tamales for a living. I did receive the laminated picture of the 3 of us as missionaries; i got it a long time ago but maybe i forgot to tell you, but thanks i really like it! It´s fun to show people and have them compare to see if we look alike. I haven´t gotten any packages yet but i´m sure there are some sitting in the office waiting to be sent.
   So this week in church we had Manuel come, we had Isabel and Doribel come, and this friend of the person that has us over for Sunday dinner also came, so we had great success even with all the partying that´s going on. This week and during the up coming week is all partying and parades with a bunch of holidays that are right next to each other. One is the independence from Columbia, one is flag day and some others that i forgot what they are but the point is EVERYONE is traveling or partying and we expected to have no one in church even though it was only an hour meeting. But surprisingly we had a decent number of people come plus 3 investigators and our menos activo. Isabel isn´t a member but her mom Doribel is and that´s the family that we are now renting our house from, and since we´ve started talking to her she´s started coming back slowly. Manuel now says that he wants to be baptized this Saturday and in the ocean haha - i´m not sure about the ocean part but if we teach alot i think we can get him baptized this Saturday. He is really enjoying the Book of Mormon and all the times he´s come to church. The friend of our Sunday dinner family is someone that we invited but doesn't live in our area so we handed him off to the other elders.
   This week i spent half the week working in Chitre on divisiones with an elder from there. I went there and his comp came to work with mine in Penonome. I really like Chitre except it is really hot there, way hotter than in Penonome, and one day we had to walk like 2 hours in the sun to get to this appointment (that wasn´t there), so i came out of that looking a little like a tomato, haha. I also ended up buying Mom her Christmas present while i was there from this member, but it´s really fragile so it should be interesting sending it to you guys. We had a good time there and some cool experiences, i just hope some people work out for those missionaries.
   The riots and chaos here has settled down with the government making some agreement with the affected people. And the American Presidential Election is getting alot of news here. Most people here don´t want Romney to win because they say that he wants to get rid of Latin Americans in the states while Obama wants to help them get jobs, so Obama won everyone here with that since they are all Latins haha, but I'm not sure if Romney really said that or if they just misunderstood but now lots don´t like him here and they don´t think he´ll win. I guess we´ll see what happens.
   Today we moved houses finally. Our new house is smaller but since there are only two of us living there it´s ok for me. Plus the new house is about a 2 minute walk from the church and 3 minutes from our lunch lady, so now we can cut out a lot of buses and waiting.
   Sounds like you guys are stressed out right now, except for Britt who is just going on vacations all the time, haha. Dad, I hope everything goes well with the lectures you have to give in Uruguay, i think it would be super cool to go there with you, but being a translator for all those big scientific words would be a challenge haha - being a translator would be tough especially since most things don´t translate over cleanly, especially expressions and jokes. Also Mom, good luck with all the trig classes, and just think of it as a blessing to get to relearn all that stuff you might have forgotten from when you last taught it haha. As for me here in Panama, things are going good. The change is wrapping up, this is my last full week here before i go somewhere else i think, even though i kinda want to stay here longer. Well i love you guys and i pray for you daily! Take care and take some time to have fun and relax!!
Elder Pfister

Monday, October 29, 2012

Que Xopa Mae!

Que Xopa Mae!
Haha, ¨Que Pedo loco¨ is just  a slang way to say what´s up, but it literally means ¨what a fart¨ which is funny because my comp says it all the time, so the other gringos and I always say it now to joke with him. It´s fun to learn all the dumb slang sayings here because in English they make no sense at all, so that´s why i start my letters like that, just so ya know. 
We are going to be moving into our new house this week and now we´re only going to be living 2 missionaries in each house, as the other elders found their own house. Now President Ward wants us to find another house because he plans on putting 2 more sisters in our area so we´ll have 6 missionaries here in Penonome. The Panama mission is about to get 80 new missionaries and 60 are going to be sisters, WOW!  Usually we get around 5-15 new missionaries a month, and now they plan on putting 2 more missionaries in every area. They said that there are around 10,000 new missionaries going to the mission field in the next few months. Our mission is almost going to double in size, & i wonder if they will split it into 2 missions soon...
As for our investigators it was an empty sacrament meeting this Sunday, as we didn´t have any investigators show up. We probably won´t have many people there next week either because these upcoming weeks are holidays like Patriot Days and lots of other random holidays, and that means rough times for missionary work. There are a few days coming up where we will not be allowed to leave our house because there will be too much partying and stuff going on. Speaking of not leaving, did you guys see anything in the news about Panama lately? The whole country was practically in civil war against the government. There were like 50 deaths and tons of people injured all over, but mostly in Colon. The government tried to pass some law that would make lots of people lose their jobs so they rebelled and in a big way. This whole week they had like the Army of Panama roaming the streets trying to calm things down but they weren´t successful. There were huge shoot outs, bombings, fires and all that good stuff. We weren´t allowed to leave our house on Friday because of the rioting here. It´s been crazy but i guess they solved it and got things settled down. The government of Panama always seems to be in a fight against the people in some way. 
 But back to our investigators, Manuel is still reading the Book of Mormon and loving it, but couldn´t come to church because of some extra job he had to do - but he said he´ll come this week. Lebsi, this girl that Segura and I found and taught is going to be baptized on Saturday which is cool, i´m not the missionary teaching her anymore, but it´s still cool because its my old area and i found her.   
We met and taught this drunk guy which was kind of a funny story. We went to this house to have a family home evening with these members and he was just standing outside and starting talking to us about how his wife left him and that he wants to find God and quit drinking and all that stuff. Well, the family let him come in for our family home evening lesson and we focused the lesson towards him. I'm not sure how much he got out of it or what he will remember but hopefully it helps him. Anyway we went to visit him later in the week and when we get there his neighbors tell us how the police came that day and they took him to jail because of something he had done earlier and he had been hiding from the authorities. We can´t do much now to help him but hopefully he remembers our teachings to him. 
One thing that is kinda miserable is that i'm sick right now, just with a cold or something, not serious but it´s a pain and speaking in spanish when you don´t have a voice is quite difficult haha. Ill be fine but i never thought i would get a cold from rain when it's 75 degrees outside, haha.

Here the only thing the Panamanians really do for Halloween is a lot of partying and stuff like that. There are a few little neighborhoods where the kids go out to get candy but not very much, nothing like back at home. Elder  Kniff and I plan on dressing up a little in a missionary way, haven´t decided how but we´ll do something. I wonder if we´ll be able to work with all the partying and drinking...

I should be getting some packages and mail this Friday when the ZL´s get back from their meeting in Panama City. Here out in the middle of nowhere the mail is very scarce so when it comes it´s more like Christmas, haha. I can´t really think of anything that i need right now, but i´ll let ya know. 

Well i got to go, today isn't actually p-day for us this week, we´re going to some beach on Friday as a zone, but we don´t have enough money right now so we´re waiting till we get the money to do it, but i figured you guys might freak out if i didn't write you till Friday haha  - am i right? 

I love you guys so much and i think about you and pray for you everyday! Thanks for everything and take care! 
Elder Pfister

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Que Pedo Loco!

Que Pedo Loco!
    Well, this was an interesting week because we spent nearly every day looking for a house, and right now we´re in the school semester, so there is not a single house or apartment or room available! Holy cow looking for houses is so boring, especially dressed as missionaries most people just thought that we were trying to preach to them so they wouldn´t even let us ask about houses. So on Friday after all week of looking with no success at all, we went to see this referral - a person that is a less-active woman and her non-member daughter, so we taught them and at the end of the lesson, I randomly asked her if she knew of a house for rent and she was like, "oh what luck, we own a house and the people are going to move out on the 3rd of this month." We lucked out because this house is super close to the church and also close to the house where we eat lunch everyday, so we won't have to take a bus everyday. The only problem is that they are moving out on the 3rd and we have to be out of our house on the 30th, so we may be living with a member or something for a few days haha -that should be interesting.
    So news from my old area isn´t that great, the 'bus station' lady was really positive, but her husband was really negative towards the church and it started causing problems in the house, so she asked the missionaries not to come back because she doesn´t want problems with her family. We didn´t have anyone in church this week either... Manuel, this really positive guy who´s loving the Book of Mormon and is a good friend with this member was going to come. But through a combination of over-sleeping and miscommunication, he ended up not coming this Sunday, but we're optimistic he'll make it next Sunday. 
   And we're excited because next week we have some good appointments. We have two moms who both have daughters who want to be baptized after they got taught the lesson, plus we have this couple where the husband is already a member but his wife is not, so we´re going to start the process of getting them married, so i don´t know if they´ll be baptized this change but in the future I'm certain they will. Marrying people in this country is a super pain but hopefully they´ll help us out if they really want her to get baptized. I really hope we can find Manuel this week, he works downtown so i´m going to try find him this week so that we don´t lose him. This next week i´m going to work super hard to make up for this week, as we lost some days looking for a house, and this is the last week to find new people who will be able to be baptized this change, so we´re going to go at it hard.
    Though this week wasn´t super spiritual because we didn´t teach that much, i felt like the Lord blessed us,  and also retaught me the lesson that if you work hard, you may not see results super fast but the blessings will come in time, and they will be better than you expected. I was really tired of looking for houses, and in the end a house was put in our path, plus we ended up with a good investigator to go with it, haha.
    Sounds like you guys are enjoying life there with the trip you have planned to Belize. Brit looks really pregnant from the picture you sent, and it´s weird seeing her like that but exciting too, soon í´ll be an uncle, haha. I love you guys and i hope ya have a great week! Cuidense!
Elder Pfister

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Homeless in Panama...

Hola family,
     Well, I now have a year in the mission and holy cow that went by super super fast! I never really believed people who said that the mission flies by, but now i´m saying it too. To celebrate, Elder Kniff and I  (we both have the same amount of time), we first went to this really good Burger place and bought these big ol burgers with bacon and everything, mmm they were sooo good! Then we went home and wrote on one of our white shirts, and then burned them (mission tradition) and i got a video of it, it was sweet! Those shirts really do burn fast, i hope i´m not wearing it if one ever catches on fire.
    This week has been all about looking for references that we have received from our 'rescue' activity. We´ve had quite a bit of success so far, but it´s tough finding houses here with just a little description and no address. We had two ward members bring friends into church this Sunday too and one of them had been a couple times before, and he said he always likes it. I gave him a Book of Mormon during the class and explained a little to him, and he started reading and just kept reading the whole time we were in class, and after said that it was really interesting. The cool thing is that he works everyday except for Sundays, and he has every Sunday off so that´s perfect! Also this lady brought her cousin in to Church with her two babies, and she seemed to have a good time; my comp sat next to her during the meetings so i´m not as sure how positive she is but i´m sure we´ll go visit her this week so i´ll let ya know.
    One funny that´s happening to us is that we are being kicked out of our house! The landlady is kicking us out because i guess since the missionaries started living here, they were supposed to share the expenses and work of taking care of the back yard area, but they have never done it and they didn´t tell the next missionaries they had to do it, so when we got here we didn´t even know. Well, yesterday she found us and told us that we have until the 30th to get out of the house, haha. Yesterday we started our house search, hopefully we can find one and not be too distracted from missionary work while dealing with all this. 
   With the new announcement that people can leave earlier for the missions (age 18 for women; age 19 for men) there were alot of girls in the district that have decided right away that they are going on a mission as soon as they can. Alot that are 19 or close to that age talked to the Branch President on Sunday to start their papers. I think the existing missions are going to be overwhelmed with new missionaries and that they are going to open up some new missions maybe. I know that here in this mission Pres. Ward already has the problem of giving new missionaries a trainer that is obedient and that has some time and experience in the mission. It should be interesting but i like the change. I always thought that if they lowered the date they would get alot more sisters out in the field and the sisters are super spiritual and keep the elders in check sometimes, haha.
    Man, it is so rainy here, we are entering the real rainy season and for the next few months it will rain everyday and a ton! The roads here literally look like rivers with a foot or so of water in them. Makes missionary work difficult because if you get soaked some people don´t want to let you in but then some are more willing to let you in, but i think i prefer the sun to rain. It´s funny, Panamanians are so afraid of the rain, like they really don´t want it to touch them at all, they will do silly things to avoid getting wet, like for example we always see people here with a piece of something over their head - like a box from a fast food joint trying to stay dry, but it doesn´t really work.
    Yeah Elder 'Atuake is with Elder Moreno from Mexico right? I know Moreno he is really cool i like him alot and he´s a good missionary so it should be sweet for Atuake. And i met Elder John Stegelmeier in the changes meeting, his trainer is Elder Clarke and he´s a great missionary and he´s in Juan Diaz where i was. Clarke wasn´t too excited about training there because it´s kinda tough, but i´m sure their going to do good work.
   Sounds like Grandpa´s 85th birthday party was a fun time. I want to see some of these war story videos sometime. You guys seem to be doing alot of traveling lately to random spots, i´m jealous, haha.
    My skin infections are pretty much gone, I still have some scars from where it was but it´s pretty much good now. I still have really itchy legs for some reason, it randomly gets really really itchy, i´m not sure what it is, but i´m alot better at just overpowering the will to scratch it and it goes away eventually.  
    I have some random questions that i´ve wondered being here in the mission field. How many people are in our ward at home? Are there alot of inactives? You said Mason is your only 11 yr old scout and it made me think, here in this branch, we have 2 active deacons and nothing else.
    I´m excited for this week because i hope we can find and teach all these references that we received from our rescue activity, and that we can get some good baptisms. We had two baptisms this Saturday, but they were two 10 year olds from different families, but we did make the families complete. I felt bad, one family didn´t even have 60 cents to pay for the bus fare to the church for the little kid and the mom, the branch pres had to go pick them up. I can´t imagine living a life where i don´t have 30 cents to take a bus. We all need to look at our lives and realize how great we have it. But i know that part of what we have are blessings that come from the gospel because when we dedicate ourselves to the gospel, the Lord provides for us. I know that if we put our trust in the Lord He will help us out in all things. Thanks for everything you guys do and i hope you guys have a great week! I love and miss you!
Elder Pfister

Monday, October 8, 2012

Q' Xopa Loco!!

Que Xopa!
    Well i kinda had changes but nothing too big. There were 4 elders in the house with us but they took out the two from the other area and sent them somewhere and they put me and my new companion in that area and they kept my kid (former companion Elder Segura) and his new comp in my old area. So now i´m kinda opening another area because i don´t have any investigators or anything because the departing missionaries didn´t leave us anything to work with, haha. I´m ok with it because i still know the area pretty well and now i just get a new start for investigators. My new comp is Elder Castejon from Tegulcigalpa, Honduras,  I knew him before this area, so i didn´t have the awkward "getting to know him" part which was tight. He´s cool and i think we´re going to work well together. 
    As for my illnesses... They´re pretty much gone, but i´ve noticed your concerns with all your loving emails, haha :) so i will still go to the hospital or buy all that stuff you suggested or both, no worries! But really i´m pretty much healed so it´s all good!
   For my birthday we celebrated it on Tuesday (i know that's bad luck), in the house of our lunch cook. They started by smashing eggs on my head then dumping flour all over me. Then we exploded a pinata, had a flour fight, and then ate cake and ice cream which they also smashed in my face. It was a party, and super fun and i got some good pictures of it for you guys! 
   I can´t believe i already have one year in the mission... Time has flown by so fast! The fastest year of my life and they say that the first year of your mission is slow compared to the last. I´m super excited for the upcoming year, i hope to achieve lots here!
    I was able to watch most of the General church conference (broadcast from Salt Lake City), but the signal kept cutting out for us here but the parts i saw i loved! Church conference is always something to look forward to for me, which is a change because i remember not too long back conference was just a chance to stay home and sleep which watching a little, haha. We had two new investigators come to the church, which we didn´t even invite, but they both liked it alot so hopefully they´re open to being taught too.
    So the Rescue activity we did a few weeks ago is really paying off now especially for us since we´re starting off with nothing in our new area, because we now have a ton of references from the rescue activity of menos activos and part member families. That´s what we spent the major time doing, searching out these referrals so we can start working with them. The Herreros, the senior couple who i think will be part of the seventy soon, are going to work alot with us because they think our area has the most potential of all the zone. Other than that we´ve just been trying to find any old investigators the others were teaching; it´s a struggle but a rewarding one in the end. 
    Thanks for all your concerns for all my diseases and stuff, and don´t worry i really am taking care of it following your advice and everything you sent me. I´m glad to hear that you guys had a fun conference weekend and that Brit is doing good still! Don´t forget to take pictures of her as her belly grows, because i can´t picture Brit pregnant looking, haha. 
    I love you guys muchisimo and i miss and pray for you guys everyday. I hope you enjoyed the conference and are able to use it because i know by experience and by seeing others use it that those are the words of God spoken to us through His living Prophet and Apostles, and that they are for our benefit. I know that President Thomas Monson is a true prophet and he just reaffirmed that status to me with this conference with everything he said. They always seem to talk about the one thing i need at the time to help me spiritually, and i know that if we listen carefully we'll find the answers to our questions too. They are inspired men here on the earth to bless us, we should take advantage of that :) haha. 
I love you guys!
Les Amo,
Elder Pfister

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Hola Familia

   Well, i always seem to confuse you guys about changes haha, we have changes this Wednesday so i still don´t know who´s going or where to, but i´ll be sure to let you guys know when i find out. My rash is kinda going away, my whole body still itches terribly, you guys know any American solutions for itchiness? The Panamanian solutions aren´t workin for me, ha ha. Other ailments that i´ve had have mostly just been other skin infections, rashes, allergies and weird stuff, but nothing super serious just a big pain to live with.
 I might have to make this letter a little shorter because we got home late and the internet place is about to close.
    So that lady who contacted us in the bus terminal, we went to her house and found that there are 14 people that live there and almost all of them listened to us - so wow that´s a huge family. She seems really positive and she really likes us even though we hardly know her, as she made us food and we would ask if there was something that we could do to help her and she would just say that she didn´t want us to leave, haha. 
   We did an activity this Saturday which we called a rescue here in the branch. We had all the missionaries from the zone and all the members that were willing come to the church early and we took the list of members and we organized all the less or non-actives into areas where they lived and we sent one member with a missionary out to find them. We went to find out if they still lived there, who lives with them and if they have family and if they have died or moved so that we can clean up the list of members and we can know who are the members that we should focus on to help reactivate. It was a really great success! It was organized by this Senior Missionary who has served 6 missions. He said that we are going to showing up in the Liahona with our story of this rescue activity, because he wants us to be an example for all of Latin America that is struggling with inactivity. I went out with this member who has a car, so i got a sweet deal and it amazing how much we got done because of how fast we could get from place to place compared to using buses. Also using this method of finding less active members we also potentially find lots people who may be baptized because we can complete families that are part member and that strengthens the family.
    One funny thing that i forgot to tell you... when we were first looking for Elisa, the neighbor of the second counselor, we went down this little dirt road and when we passed this house i got attacked by this big ol´ dog, and i had to keep kicking it in the face so i wouldn´t eat me till my comp threw a rock at it. Anyway the next day we had the counselor show us where the girl lived and he took us right to that house where the dog came from, and they had seen their dog attack us but they don´t really like us, the parents don´t, so they didn´t do anything, haha. Well, since we´ve been going there a lot, i´ve been attacked by so many dogs lately, that i´ve gotten real good at kicking dogs in face so they don´t eat me for a snack. And it´s always me that they attack because my comp is super afraid of dogs, so he always uses me as a shield between him and the dogs. Dogs are a super pain here but i´ve lost my fear of dog attacks now, haha.
     Hey good news, your letter with the camera card finally arrived!  Incredible after all this time.

    Well, it sounds like things are all good at home; i´m jealous about the Belize trip that Mom and Dad going to take! We've gone to some super nice beaches here with supposedly really good scuba diving, and man i really miss that now that i´m so close to it but can´t do it. Also it was great to hear that Britt is doing good, GOOD LUCK Britt i´m constantly praying for ya and the baby because i´m pumped to be an uncle! Haha I love you guys and i´m grateful for everything you do!
Elder Pfister

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Saludos desde Panamá

Hey Hey Hey,
    Well this week was a better week for us in most ways. That rash i told you about is going away slowly but surely. I didn´t go to the doctor because i´ve actually kinda lost faith in the doctors in my little town here because i´ve actually been to the doctors 3 times here for other random things that i have gotten, but i just never told you because i didn´t want to scare you, so i do feel like i´m getting the 10 plagues or experiencing what Job went through in the Bible. I´m not actually taking any medication, now i´m just fighting everything with my willpower, because everything i´ve been given so far, hasn´t worked or made my condition worse, and now that i´m taking nothing it´s getting better haha, easier, cheaper and more effective!
     So a cool story, our first week here in Penonomé we contacted this lady and she let us in to teach her, and we asked if we could talk with her whole family - because the Gospel is for families - but she said her husband was working. Anyway, we taught her and gave her a Book of  Mormon during the lesson, but at the end she didn´t seem very positive, and when we went back the next week she wasn´t there. Well, that was like 8 weeks ago and on Wednesday, we were sitting in the bus station waiting for our bus when this random lady came up to us and was like, "hey i´ve been waiting for you guys to come back to my house." And we had no idea who this lady was, but then she told us about how she´s been reading the Book of Mormon every night, and how she loves it because it is so much clearer and easy to understand than the Bible, and has great teachings in it.  She is teaching the BOM  to her husband because we told her how the gospel is for families. That´s when it clicked and we remember her from the first week here. She said how she has been waiting for us because she wants to learn more about this book she likes so much. We are going to go visit her this Tuesday, and i´m kinda bummed that it took her 8 weeks for us to find each other again, because it´s almost changes (cambios) again and i might not be able to see how she progresses.  But it´s still awesome that she´s been reading the Book of Mormon on her own and she´s understanding it so well.  That just testifies that if one will take the chance and just give the Book of Mormon a chance and read it, it will show and testify to the person of the truth through it´s teachings and the feelings that one gets while reading.
     We had a branch activity this Saturday which was a blast! We did the mini Olympics where we played soccer, basketball, volleyball and a race against different groups, and some groups of non members that showed up. It was super fun and got a lot of non-member youth there to make friends with member kids. Plus there was free music and food so lots of random people showed up just to watch and converse, so overall it was a big success and a super fun day to participate in. And i wore my Real Salt Lake soccer jersey just because i found out that RSL beat Panama (Tauro FC) twice :)
    As for the girl, Elise, that we´re teaching, we taught her again and she told us that since the second time she attended church, when she went to this Church conference with us, she has wanted to be baptized. That was even before we had taught her. But that her parents won´t let her be baptized for some reason.... So now we are going to try to talk to the parents which should be interesting... Apparently the family has a lot of problems right now, for example the parents are married but the dad has 2 other ladies that he goes to live with during the week and the whole family knows and i guess the mom is ok with that since they´re still together. So it could be difficult getting this girl baptized in her situation.
     Question, i think one of my camera cards has a virus in it because the photos show up on my camera, but they won´t show up on the computer and someone said that means it has a virus. Advice, should i send it to you guys to try to fix it and try to fix it myself?  Also tell Brett Reynolds that i sent him a separate letter, but i think that if he still hasn´t received it, it probably got lost so i´ll just write him another.
     Well, like they always say your mission will test you and it´s true, these last few weeks have been tough, but now i´m starting to see the blessings of the work with some random investigators showing up and things starting to click. It reminds me of when i was in Juan Diaz, the first few weeks were so difficult because we had no success at all but after a time of working, we felt the blessings come. Well, that´s starting to happen here. I hope that i get to stay here one more change but who knows, both my companion and I have the same amount of time here so it could be either one of us getting moved.
    I really enjoyed the quote you sent by Elder Holland because it´s really true, God is always waiting to bless us - we just need to ask  him for the blessings. I know that God answers our prayers because my prayers have been answered in ways that are undeniable. I love you guys!
Elder Pfister

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Hola Familia

    Well this week was a really good week for teaching... until Sunday came around. So when we went to teach the neighbor of the second counselor, we found the whole family there. We began to teach them and we found out that none of them really have a religion, and they were all liking our message and accepting it well - and it is a complete family which is always the best scenario. Anyway we told them how we wanted to come over and pick them up on Sunday to bring them to church and the mom said she couldn´t, but that the daughters could and we decided that we would call them Sunday morning to wake them up. So come Sunday we called them and the mom picked up the phone and told us that the daughters would not be able to come to church that day because they were with their dad. So we were super bummed out, but the worst part was when we got to church the neighbor came up to me and asked, "hey where are the girls"? and i just explained what the mom said. Then the neighbor lady said to me, "i saw them in the house and asked if they wanted to go to church with us and they told us that they were waiting for the missionaires to come pick them up" and so the neighbor just left assuming we were going to get them. Ah, that frustrated me a lot and made me realize that the mom may not be ok with her daughters going to church and that could cause problems as we teach them...
    Our other investigators who live near there is the mother-daughter combo, and the mother is also struggling to come to Church because of the Sunday visiting hours at the jail with her son, and now she got a job where she works Sundays so that´s just another obstacle that they have to overcome. The daughter is super positive and always feels the Spirit super strong, to the point where she says she knows the Church is true just by that feeling, so it´s super frustrating that i cán´t help her out more or figure out a way to help her get to Church.
    Also Moises has been super busy working so everytime we call him to set up an appointment he says he´´ll call us back to tell us when he can, but of course, he never ends up calling us. I´m nervous that something happened between Moises and the member that i think he was dating, and now he doesn´t want to continue learning about the church because of that. He was very positive the first times he came to the church but i hope he wasn´t doing it for the wrong reasons.
   One thing that isn´t really helping me personally is that i got this allergic reaction or something that broke out. My legs and arms and stomach are completly covered in a swollen hot rash that itches and hurts. I really have no idea what it is or why it came out on me because the day it came out i was fasting, so i hadn´t eaten anything. I guess i´m allergic to fasting :) but don´t worry about me and don´t call the mission president or anything (one elder told his mom how he had something wrong with him like that and she freaked out and called the mission demanding that they do something and now they tell us not to tell our parents anything like that, but i trust you guys won´t do anything. Plus i´m going to a doctor soon so it´ll all be good.)
   Hey some good news, the ZL´s found the mission box in the bus station and my package was in it, well one package anyway. I never got the letter with the camera card but i did get the package with the CD and stuff! I´ll make sure to take some video before i send this camera card to you guys. Money sounds fine for my birthday, i can´t really think of anything i really want or need that you could send me, so no worries.
    Well, i´m glad to hear that things are going good at home and i´m sure things will pick up here, they always do! I love you guys and pray for you every day :)
Elder Pfister

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


Hola Fam,
    This week flew by super fast for me! This Sunday as a branch we had a district conference in Chitré instead of the normal sunday meetings and an Elder from the Seventy (Area Church Leader) came and talked to us, i forgot his name but he gave a really good talk! And it was cool to watch the branch come together to get there because most of the people can´t really afford to go there by bus, but somehow everyone pitched in what they could, and thought of ways to earn the extra money, and we had a ton of people get there, including one of our investigators! This investigator came to one of our group nights (well actually her neighbor is the second counselor and he brought her to it) and we talked to her and asked if we could come visit some day and she was kinda hesitant and said she would call if she got the time, and well, she never called. But somehow she made it to this conference and she really liked it i guess because after it was over, she came looking for us and told us how she wants us to come over on Friday, plus it appeared that she had made a few good friends in the ward already so that was exciting, hopefully she stays interested.
   As for Moises, he couldn´t come to the conference and that´s when we were going to set up another appointment with him, so we´ve got to call him tonight to get things going with him again. Hopefully he hasn´t gone cold with the church since he´s now missed two Sundays... We also weren´t able to visit our 2 fechas (teenage and her mom) either because the girl had tests this week and has been studying and busy, but this week is vacations i guess so there are no excuses for them. As a zone we are going to be fasting part of this week, and we are going out to different areas to help people out where they are struggling, so as a zone we are trying to improve things as well.
    This week for p-day was sweet, as we went to this waterfall out in the jungle and it was super ¨prity¨ there are like 3 different levels of falls, and we were able to climb around and take some cool pictures. It would be really awesome to be able to swim there, which you can do, there are some nice pool-like places, just as missionaries we can´t. I'll send some pictures to you guys.
     Man, i wish i could´ve been  at that USU game to watch them beat the Utes, now i´m trying to think of missionaries that went to the University of Utah so that i can brag about the Utah State victory, haha. Now they just have to beat BYU, if they play them this year, that is.
    I liked your story of the special ward meeting.  It´s weird to think of our ward at home needing to improve because before i never paid any attention to anything like that there, and now that i´m here, our ward in Logan looks like the perfect ward from what i remember. How many people attend your sacrament meeting normally? Just curious...
    As for the picture book for me (like the one you made for Elder 'Atuake), i think i would rather just have one of my entire mission at the end, but i´m sure Atuake will love his.
    Well i think that´s all i got for ya this week, hopefully next week there will be a jump in excitement and things to talk about. But i know that the church is true because no matter what happens during the week, we can still see the little miracles happening all around us if we look for them. I love you guys!
Elder Pfister

Monday, September 3, 2012

Hola desde Penonomé, Panamá

September 3, 2012

Hola Fam,
    Glad to hear that things are going good at home, i guess i should say on the Oregon beach haha. Sounds like that was quite the trip for you guys, nice and relaxing with some good hikes, whales and hanging out with Mike and Brit.  Also Happy birthday and anniversary to you both, Mom and Dad! 35 years... That´s a long time, appears that you guys choose well when it came to choosing your eternal partner, haha.
    Anyway down here in Panama things are going pretty good as well. It´s funny how Logan and parts of the U.S. are lacking rain because all week it´s been raining like no other here. Tons of rivers have flooded over and flooded houses and towns, but that´s kinda normal here during the rainy season, everything is always wet and flooded.
   As for the missionary work we had a kinda slow week, it´s weird how  we can have such a good week one week then the next week, things don't go as well.  But oh well we still had some good things happen. Remember that 15 year old girl that I mentioned was interested in the Book of Mormon a while ago? Well we finally met with her again and she told us how she loved the chapter that we had her read, and that the first time we taught her about the Book of Mormon, she said she felt something super powerful, and that she didn´t know what it was or what it meant, but she knew it could only be from God. So we showed her a scripture talking about the fruits of the Spirit and asked if that´s what she felt the first time, and when she was reading, and she said it´s exactly what she felt. Then we asked her what she thought it meant, and she told us that didn´t think, but that she knew that this book was true and comes from God and that what it contains in it is what God wants us to do and what is necessary in order to return to Him one day. It all worked out perfectly because the mother of this girl was also there, and we had taught her before, and the week before in our lesson we gave her a different chapter to read that talks about the atonement of Christ and our purpose here on the earth. What the mom got out of it is that Christ did everything He did so that we could return to live with our Heavenly Father again one day, and that we can become clean of all our sins and that we are here on the earth to prepare to meet God again, and the way we prepare is by repenting and being baptized. And then the chapter that the girl read talks about the way in which Christ has taught us and how we should be baptized. The Spirit was super strong and we invited them to be baptized and they both accepted a baptismal date for the end of the month. The only problem is that they live in an area where there are no buses on Sundays and taxis are expensive, so it´s gonna be a sacrifice for them to come to church, but i´m hoping we can animate them enough to do it, plus there´s a member that lives close to them that hopefully we can get to help them out.
   Also our mission plan in the ward in starting to come into motion and we are receiving a bunch of less-active or part member references now, the only problem is addresses.  No where in Panama are there street addresses so it´s super hard to find someone from a description of where they live, but we have some members who this week are going to go out with us to search them out so we can go back and teach them. This ward is really rewarding when it comes to reactivation because normally it´s difficult to reactive someone and have them keep going to Church without a missionary visiting them every week, but here the ward has become really loving and welcoming and everyone that comes back for a week or two has said how they feel really welcomed when they come and once they come the ward gives them home teachers to go visit them. We have actually seen some good growth lately, When i got here they said they were averaging around 75 or 80 in the sacrament meeting and now we have around 100 to 105 people most weeks.
    Well i haven´t heard anything about my camera card so i think it got lost along with everything else (CD package)... super bummer. One thing you can send with my Frisbee: i would kinda like my black nike socks that i left, there should be like 5 pairs in my closet, that is if no one has stolen them yet haha. Other than that i think i´m doing good here, I have 2 camera cards right now so as long as another one doesn´t get lost i think i should be good. Well i think that covers everything that has happened here in my life, well the interesting things at least. I love you guys and i pray for you always. 
Elder Pfister

Monday, August 27, 2012

Letter from Elder Devin Pfister August 27, 2012

Que Xopa!
    Well this week was a little more chill than the last one, we had changes in the mission but no one in our house got changed so not much is different for me and my companion. My companion and I have committed to work alot harder, because in this area it´s easy to accidentally waste time for example on buses or with dinners with members or doing other things, so we´ve figured out some ways to use our time more effectively. Also the branch had a big meeting with us so that they can help the missionary work and if everything works out they´ll be giving us 4 new families to teach as references;  except the members can´t just give names to us, first they have to invite people to dinner without us there and make friends, and then later when they feel that they are ready, then the members will invite us to teach their friends. They came up with that whole system, it wasn´t us so i think they´ll actually go through with it which would be awesome, four families a month as references would be amazing. Whenever the ward gets really involved with the work, there is alot more success so i´m excited that they are excited to help us.
    As for the lady we taught who has had many spiritual experiences, we went over there but the family was all sick so we put a different appointment with them for this week. Sadly Moises didn´t come to church either and we haven´t been able to contact him so i hope nothing has happened with him, he was by far our most positive investigator and is pretty much ready to be baptized. This week has been weird because we haven´t really taught as much as normal, we have been finding references and less active members, so that has set us up for a busy week next week.
    Your vacation to the beach house in Yachats, Oregon sounds really really nice... Sitting in a hot tub every night watching the ocean, oh man that sounds like a dream come true. I really just want to sit down and get a nice hot tub massage right now haha.
    There isn´t really much talk about Romney or the presidential race around here, or at least that i hear about. There are elections for something going on here in Panama, so that is taking over the political world here. Why does the press care how much tithing Romney pays? Has the church said anything about all the publicity it´s getting or about Romney maybe being president?
     Well i hope i eventually get that letter you sent, i would be super bummed to have it arrive all the way here to Panama just to be lost getting from the mission office to me. Well this p-day we again tried to find that sweet cave we´ve heard so much about but yet again... no luck. But i´ll be honest it did drain me alot so that´s why this letter is a little shorter than normal, i´m super tired and can´t really think right now, but next week i´ll try to make it up to you. Life is going good here for me so don´t worry about me... Oh, wait you´re not, you guys are living it up on the beach haha! I love you guys and thanks for everything!
Elder Pfister
Siempre Fuerte

Monday, August 20, 2012

Letter from Elder Pfister August 20, 2012

Hola mi Familia!
   Glad to hear everything is going well for you guys! This week was  a good one for me too, we had a huge ward activity, and both our baptisms, and in general it went well.
   The baptisms and the ward activity were the best part and they happened at the same time. We had planned out this talent activity where it was pretty much just going to be a talent show for the ward members, and then we were going to have our baptism after, pretty normal type of timing, but it didn´t end up that way. The activity was supposed to start at 4 pm, but Panamanians are terrible about showing up on time and the majority of the people ended up showing up at 7 pm, right when our baptism was planned for. So we decided to go through with the baptisms first, and then start the activity. And from 4 pm on we had music going on at the church which is a Panamanian magnet, so we ended up having tons of non-members that actually no one had ever met at our baptism which was sweet because they got to see our spiritual side, feel the spirit and have the chance to lightly asked questions about everything. We actually had more non-members than members (All because of the music that we had been playing). So the baptism went great, I baptized Enoc and my comp baptized Ikaika and all of their families were there which was great. After the baptisms we started the activity and i don´t know how but i guess someone told someone, who told someone, and we ended up having 3 different bands show up who weren´t members and they ended playing for us along with some other non-member acts, along with what we had planned out as a ward. At the beginning when no one was showing up the branch leaders started freaking out a little because they thought this activity was going to die, but it actually went through the roof. What a great success.  We had like 40 non-members there, which is about half of our normal church attendance on Sunday, so we were able to contact them and make a really good impression.
    Sadly, Katuska didn´t come to church on Sunday, so we´re not going to be able to baptize her because she leaves for the police academy on Saturday for the next 3 months; and when she gets back we probably won´t be here but hopefully the next elders can get her into the water. We´ve taught her the basics of the gospel, and she seems to have a good testimony even though she grew up Catholic and has a staunch Catholic mom who discourages her at every step.
   We weren't able to teach Moises either. We had an appointment with him, but he didn´t show up because something happened and he was needed somewhere else.  However, he still came to the activity and to Sunday church so that´s good. We´re hoping that the next time we teach him we can put a date with him. He is also friends with the mom of Ikaika, and he has helped to get her to church alot these past 4 weeks so he´s already doing his missionary part and he doesn´t even know it.
    So there is another gringo Elder here and the last week we started teaching English classes. We have two classes, advanced and beginner. It´s been really interesting and pretty fun to be teaching them. I have learned or i guess realized how much weird grammar there is in English that i have never noticed before. I don´t really want to become a teacher for my career, but i realized the joy of teaching a class like that because i taught the beginners that didn´t know anything, and by the end of the class they were saying little sentences and things. I realize that at one hour once a week the students are not really going to get fluent in english but i´m hoping to teach them the grammar and key phrases because they can learn words by themselves, and lots of them already know a lot of random words they just have no idea how to make sentences. Also a big problem i learned is that lots of people know english but are too afraid to speak it because the pronunciation is so tough. I helped this girl with her english homework which was pronunciation and i ended up just rewriting the sentences how they should be pronounced and in the end, it looked like a totally different language. There are very few words that are spoken like they are written, which makes it super hard to learn i imagine.
    So for p-day today we went on this sweet, well potentially sweet, adventure in the mountains. A few weeks back we did this service project up there and the local folk told us about this cave that is super deep and actually comes out on the other side of this mountain in a different city and that this cave has tons of snakes in it, including a few anacondas in it.... so of course after the service project, we went searching for it! Well, we didn´t end up finding it that day but someone told us more or less where it is so today we went back. The whole potentially sweet part is that if we had found the cave, it would have been totally radical! But we didn´t... but it was still fun because we climbed a bunch of mountains and hacked our way with machetes through some rain forest and the whole time we had a beautiful view of the valley which is just covered in green. The bummer part is that right when we decided to turn back, it started raining and we were literally walking home in a river (i took some pics and video). The water was up to our knees pretty much the whole walk home, we were soaked!! It was fun, i kinda got way cut up because there is a lot of this razor grass up there that just slices you up like no other, wow it hurts, but oh well it´s all part of the adventure! Oh and on the way up to the cave we have to cross this river... and of course i was the one that fell in. It was a bad start, but in the end it didn´t end up mattering because we were all drenched. Fun times, and we are already planned on making our fourth trip up there to find this stinkin cave! Wish me luck! :)
    So that about sums up my week, now to answer your questions:  Eidy Wilton Segura is my companion's name. Also, the chapel is located in a neighborhood called El Carmen, which is close to Chigoré and Cristo Rey. It might be hard to find because it doesn´t have an official address to it. We get out of town all the time to teach, actually we never teach in Penonomé because pretty much no lives there, it´s mostly businesses so we always take a bus out to some random part and work there for the day. The service project we did was just using a machete to mow down grass, pretty much what we do twice a year at the lot in North Logan, just with machetes not a big mower, ha ha. We have district meetings in Chitré every week and in the meetings the ZL´s teach us a lesson, then we separate and the DL teaches us sometimes, and in general we just tell each other things we think may help each other to do a better job.
    When is the Yachats trip? Also, the package you sent with the CD may have arrived and been lost... The ZL´s told us how the office sent them a package (which has Books of Mormon, pamphlets and all our mail in it) but that they never received it, so that may have had my package in it, we´ll see. One thing that i could use is another Ultimate frisbee, we were playing with it on the beach and someone threw it in the water and the water slammed it against the rocks and it shattered, ha ha.
     Well that´s all i got for all of you for now. I´m super happy to hear that you guys are doing well. Good luck Mom with the math class you're teaching at USU.  Never forget that you are in my prayers and my mind at all times! I love and miss you!!
Elder Pfister
¨Es Fácil regresar con honor,
es difícil SERVIR con HONOR¨