Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Letter from Elder Pfister February 27th, 2012

Hello my dear gracious and loving family,
    It sounds like everything is going pretty good for you guys. Mom and Dad, your skiing adventure sounded kinda miserable, i´m sorry the slopes aren´t too good this year. I´m glad you made it back safely from Beaver and didn´t have to wait in the canyon forever. And it sounds like all you guys had a pretty fun time in Boise hanging out with the fish. That sounds like it was cool.... but not as cool as scuba diving with them would be ;) Speaking of which, I talked to my comp about those islands in Honduras (Roatan) and he said they are way cool. The water is crystal clear and amazing for swimming and there´s a ton of good coral. And he said pretty much everyone the lives there speaks English because it´s such a tourist spot haha but it sounds fun.

      So our investigators have kinda slowed down and there´s not that much happening right now for us. We have this one lady named Mileydis who´s progressing slowly and this other guy named Richard, who is the boyfriend of a member in our ward, and he wants to be baptized - he is just always working and in school so it´s hard to find times to teach him, but we have an appointment with him today so hopefully we can set a date with him.  We´re going to go revisit Rodney again to see what´s up with him but he´s never home either.

      I have not yet been asked to talk in church and i don´t think i will be because no one else has ever said anything about that here, but that´ll be my luck, the first one haha. I have some talks from  the MTC i can polish up and use if i really need to, and they´re pretty good because i mostly just copied Preach my Gospel because at the time, i couldn´t really speak Spanish.

    As for teaching, it´s going pretty good. I don´t talk as much as i would like because my comp really likes to talk... when it comes to actual teaching, i do about 40% of it i think. But my Spanish is improving everyday because i´ve figured out that my comp speaks zero English. When we initially met, he told me he could understand all and speak some, but that´s not really true, but i don´t mind it because i´m getting a lot better at not thinking about things now. Before i would have to hear something, think a little, then think of my response and respond, but now it´s like I hear it and respond without thinking. It´s kinda cool, sometimes i think back to conversations we had and i think, was that in English or Spanish? Because i can´t remember, but i think that´s a good thing.

    So i´m think that i´ll be leaving Chorrera on March 7th for a different area which i´m excited for. I get to explore a new part of Panama. My comp and I have worked things out for the most part. We aren´t really good friends but we get along enough so we can get things done now. The President is coming tomorrow to have interviews with some people, including my comp and I, I´m kinda nervous about that. But overall things are fine between us now. 

     So your package hasn´t arrived yet, so í´m nervous i´ll get it in a month or so, because if it comes to Chorrera after I leave, it´ll take forever to get back to me, if it ever does.

     I have a question for you guys, especially Ryan, being the ipod expert. My ipod shuffle isn´t working. When i first got it it worked fine, and i plugged it in to charge and when i took it out it was dead. So i tried charging it again and it would charge for like 5 to 30 seconds then quit. So i tried doing that over and over but with no luck. So one p-day i tried charging it on the computer but that didn´t work either and it said i need to reformat my ipod. so that´s what i did and i put songs on it and it worked.... until i tried charging it again and now i have the same problem. It won´t charge or play or anything. I don´t know what to do, any advice?

     Brit, i just wanted to say thanks for those photos you sent me in the MTC from Australia and you and Mike, i found them the other day and i enjoyed looking at them, especially when i read the caption of the bird one which says, "Devin preparing to make out with a bird" HAHAHA I burst out laughing in the middle of lunch when i read that- it made my day :) so thanks for that!

     Thanks to everyone for all your love and support! Having recently baptized a family and seeing their joy and happiness now is just another testimony to me that the family is central in this Gospel and i´m super grateful to our Heavenly Father for that and that we can be a family forever. I know that we will live with our Heavenly Father after this life as a family and it will be perfect :)   I love and miss you guys so much and i can´t wait to see and hug you guys again but i know that this is where i am supposed to be right now. I´m here to bring the Gospel to other families so they too can become families forever. I know that families are forever through Heavenly Father´s plan.
Les Amo Muchisimo,
Elder Pfister

 P.S.  Will you send me a little photo album of family pictures and just pictures of everyone in our family? something small that i could carry around to show my investigators and stuff. Plus i just want more photos of you guys :)

Siempre Fuerte

Monday, February 20, 2012

Letter on February 20th, 2012

Hey there!
    So happy days, we baptized our family, the Family Trujillo, on Sunday and they were confirmed the same day to be members of the Church! It was a super special experience because of how difficult it was to get them married; all the waiting made it that much better! Now i hope their goal is to take their family to the temple to become sealed as a family forever. They are an awesome family and we´ve had many spiritual experiences with them. They had attended pretty much every church around, but they said none of them gave them the feeling that it was right until they attended the LDS Church. They could just feel the Spirit testifying to them that this was the one. The Mom, Jasnin, said she even had a dream like Lehi´s dream from the Book of Mormon, and there was this voice telling her things she should change in her life. She asked us if she should follow the Voice, and decided it was good after we explained how all good things come from God, so if it was going to change her life for the better, it was from God. Everything worked out great. They are a super spiritual family and it was great to get to baptize them. They are already very involved in the Church, going to every activity there is and trying to do everything they can be great members.

     So other interesting news is that this week has been Carnival here in Panama and it´s been crazy! We as missionaries aren´t allowed to leave our houses tonight and all tomorrow because of it. The people are crazy, they all have water and eggs and urine that they throw on people that walk down the street. Everyone here is drunk and crazy right now. Yesterday at lunch this car almost drove into the chino across the street because they were drunk and took the corner at like 60 mph.

Mom, to answer your questions, yes we meet in the stake center for my ward and the other missionaries also have chapels to meet in. The Church is pretty strong here in Chorrera but there are areas where they have church meetings in member's homes and and other odd places.  There are about 300 people in our ward but only about 150 come usually. We have alot of inactive people that we´re trying to find to work with.

When I was in 11-yr old scouts I don´t think we ever made snow shoes but that sounds fun, remind me when i get home, i want to do that.  And Mom, yeah i know who Bruno Mars is, he´s pretty popular with people my age but i don´t really think you would enjoy his music that much, haha.

     Dad, Mom told me about how the Aggies are breaking your heart, so sorry about that. It´s weird to think that it´s basketball season in Logan, because it´s not cold here.. in fact it´s summer here and super hot, haha.

     Brit, I´m trying to take more pictures, and especially more pictures like you would take them, all creative and cool, but it´s hard and now i want an SLR camera like yours, haha. When i get home will you reteach me how to take cool pictures?

     Everything is going fine here for me. My comp and i still struggle but i think i´m going to a new area next change so that´s exciting. I love the Panamanian people, most of them are so nice. Thanks for everything you guys do for me, I love to read about your lives in the US, and to think how different my life is now. I love you guys and miss you!
Elder Pfister

Monday, February 13, 2012

Letter from Elder Pfister February 13th, 2012

    This has been a very interesting week for me, both great and not so great at times. First the great. On Saturday we baptized two of our investigators, Braolio Adohfo Martinez and Angel Garcia. Braolio is the older man who has been investigating the church for nearly 6 years, but because of some problems he wasn´t able to be baptized until now, and it was a super happy sight to see him finally get baptized. He was so excited he showed up for the baptism 2 hours early and pretty much just sat there and smiled and thought about what he was about to do, so it was great. I´m super happy for Angel too, because his decision to talk to us and be baptized caused lots of problems within his home with his family and especially his mom.  He was really worried about what would happen, but he said he has faith all would be well, so he pressed on, and now his mom said she has noticed a real difference in who he is and how he acts, and she´s really impressed and pretty much it´s all good in his home now. I could tell this was a big day for both of our converts. They both have to work weird hours so we had two different baptisms at weird times, so there weren´t that many people there, but neither of them cared they just wanted their family and themselves to be there. And afterwards, when they were bearing their testimonies, they both nearly cried they were so overwhelmed and happy.

It was an amazing experience for me too, because in Angel´s case, the whole time while we were teaching him, I felt the Holy Spirit but it just felt normal teaching what i´ve known my whole life. But after his baptism he hugged me and started to cry a little, and thanked me so much for teaching him, and at that moment I realized how, for me, what I was teaching was normal and familiar because I already had it in my life, but for him, it was life changing and one of the best things that´s happened to him. It made me realize that to me the Gospel is an everyday aspect of my life, because i´ve lived it my whole life and i´ve been in the presence of great priesthood holders and people my whole life.  But, to people who have never heard the Gospel of Christ, it´s a way to change their lives, and to come closer to their Father in Heaven, which is one of the greatest gifts we can have. To us, or at least me, having grown up with the gospel and the Church, I never really realized how much of a difference it can make in someone´s life; I always knew it was great and would change people's lives, but now I´m starting to realize the magnitude of the gospel in influencing how people live. Pretty much it was a life-changing day for Angel, Braolio and me.

More good news! On Friday morning we finally got our family, the Trujillo Family, married and we set a date for baptism this upcoming Sunday the 19th. It´s taken about 9 weeks to get them married but it´s finally done and they are going to get baptized! Brother Trujillo was at the baptism for Angel and after the baptism i talked to him and he´s super excited for his turn to come. Í hope everything works out perfect for them because i´ve really come to love them, which has been hard for me mostly just because of the language barrier.  Now the Spanish language is coming along good and i´ve just spend so much time with them i can truly say i love them and i want them to get baptized - not to say we baptized them, but so they can join the church, make covenants, and start preparing to go the Temple to be sealed as a family forever. We talked to them the other day about that and they said they would aim for the Temple. I think that would be the highlight of my whole mission if i could be there when they go through the temple. Because you have to wait a year after baptism to do it (for them to go through the Temple) and it´s not everyday you find an amazing family, baptize them and have the opportunity to see them go through the Temple. And President Ward allows missionaries to go to the temple with people they baptize even though I will not be in this area when that time comes.  Right now that´s my hope, that they make it to the temple and I get to see them there.

So that was the great part of the week, the not-so-great is that my companion and I really don´t get along... he did some things that were not in harmony with the mission rules, and we disagreed about his actions.  So that caused some tension between us for about half of a day.  In my view, we are here to serve the Lord and this is the Lord´s time not ours. When we came on the mission we gave up two years of our lives to Him and during those two years we need to do what He wants us to do and that´s preach His gospel. So after a while my companion warmed up to me and said that we´ll do better so it turned out ok. We still aren´t friends but we get along as companions. It´s a struggle but it´s been teaching me alot and i´m sure he won´t be the only comp that I have with obedience problems. But don´t worry about that, we´ll be fine.

To wrap it all up, this week was great and i´m super duper excited for the baptism of the Family Trujillo! Also some other good news, we got two referrals, and we talked to one person and he wants to be baptized after we taught him one lesson and he came to church yesterday. The other referral is a family and the person who gave us the referral said the family wants to be baptized, and while contacting them we found yet another family. This last family that we found contacting had been taught by missionaries like 2 or 3 years ago, but when the missionaries were transferred, no one came back to teach them, and so they were super happy to see us and set up appointments with them. They seem very positive so hopefully some good comes out of that too. So the work is going good here in Chorrera, and though my comp is difficult, i´m still loving the mission! This week my testimony has been greatly strengthened by seeing how much the gospel can change people lives for the better. It´s just another thing that shows to me that this is the true Church of Jesus Christ and that with His help, we can make it through any tribulations and trials that come our way, and we can come out of them even stronger than we were. I know that Christ lives and He´s always on our side guiding us and He´s always there to lift us up when we fall, we just need to grab His outstretched hand.

I love you guys so much! Thanks for everything!! :)
Elder Pfister

¡Siempre Fuertes!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Letter on February 6, 2012


    So some more about my comp, His name is Elder Santiago Figueroa and he's been on the mission for about 14 months. I recently committed myself to be harder working and more obedient. With everything I keep in mind some advice from this missionary book i have that says: Never use your words or the words of the world to express what you're feeling. Always use the words of the Spirit and pray that you will be guided to say what is best. So i always try to not say anything until i´ve said a little prayer and it´s been working for the most part. I´m growing alot and i can tell i´ve already changed a little for the better.

 So this Saturday we´ll have 2 baptisms, Hermano Martinez and Angel Garcia. We´re still having problems with the medical papers to marry the family of 4, so they´ll be later i hope. We were going to go to the temple with the family just to be there and feel the spirit and talk about how eventually they can go in there to be sealed as a family forever... but they can´t go so we are rescheduling.

We don´t have that many new investigators because we´ve been trying to work with the ward to have them help us start reactivating people, but they haven´t really been any help so this week i think we´re just going back to normal work. And this week i´m feeling determined so i´m going to push us.

I´ll send my camera chip home soon, the thing is everyone has journals where they have friends write in them and put their information to contact them later and a photo, and so i want to print out some photos before i send it so i have them before the next transfer, and i´m not sure if i sent them the pictures would get back in time. But i´ll send it eventually, promise!

 The heat here isn´t really a problem anymore. Our house has poor circulation and there´s only one fan so sometime i struggle getting to sleep, but if i take a shower right when i get home  it works great and the showers now are great. I´m used to the cold water and it´s only a little cold in the mornings if i haven´t worked out hard and at the end of the day it feels great. So it´s usually only hot when we´re walking alot in the sun but if we get out of the sun, it feels great. If i wasn´t on a mission walking around all day in a shirt and tie in the sun, i would say Panama has the perfect weather right now. In the shade it´s heavenly, especially when i´m in a hammock with some food :)

So for transportation from Chorrera to Panama we can take either a Diablo Rojo for 90 cents or a bus yeye, which means fancy bus, and it´s $1.50 but it has personal seats and air conditioning and stuff so they are nice... but we´re poor so usually we take Rojos. In the city we can take chivas, which are little tiny buses, or rojos which both cost 30 cents around town and they go everywhere so if we need to we use those. We can also use taxis because there are a ton here but they cost $1.50 to $3.50 so we don´t usually use them. Plus alot of them won´t pull over and pick us up because we´re missionaries. If we are on p-day in normal clothes they usually always do, but in white shirt and tie, it´s difficult to get one. Diablo Rojos are a cool and different experience because they are usually really crowed with loud loud music blasting and they seem really dangerous to be in because everyone who drives here is crazy, but the Rojo drivers are by far the worst. They are constantly racing each other and are really dangerous for other cars because each Diablo Rojo is a big school bus so they never look before they change lanes or pull out, they just do it because they´re bigger than everyone else and everyone knows that they´re not going to stop or wait. It´s pretty funny and they are all really colorfully painted with fancy rims and flashing lights and everything. They´re cool, i like them, it´s a fun experience.

Tell Cory and Grandpa Rudy happy birthday for me! I´ll have presents for them when i get back, but it´s a pain to send things here so i decided i´m just going to haul everything back in my bags and only send a few things.

     Something cool is that we have these Colombian investigators who are brothers and you can tell they don´t want anything from the church but they like us teaching them. But anyway this past week they made us Colombian food and it was way good and they are going to carve my name into this Colombian wood in a fancy cool way because they are wood workers (running out of time, gotta make it short).

Dad, i forgot to tell you but thanks a ton for all the information on the sensitive Mormon topics of black people receiving the priesthood, and polygamy, that was really informative. We haven´t been back to Rodney´s yet but i feel more confident now. And the ZL´s said i have  mail from you that i will get tomorrow so thanks in advance! It´s nice to have physical mail you can read in the middle of the week if i ever feel a little down or something.

Thanks to everyone for all the love and support you give me, it really does help me to press forward everyday! You guys and Christ are my anchor in the storms. As it says in Helaman 5:12, if we build ourselves on the rock of Christ we can´t fall and i know that´s true. Lots of people here question and challenge our testimonies and with Christ as my rock, i know i will be fine. I know He lives!
I love and miss you guys a ton and pray for you everyday! All is good here is Panama so don´t worry about me :)

Elder Pfister

 "And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall."
Helaman 5:12