Monday, March 26, 2012

Letter from Elder Pfister March 26th, 2012

     So not all that much has changed here since last week, the people here are still not wanting to hear us out... but we did have some luck! This last week we have had 3 references given to us and they are all super positive! One is this 10 year old boy named Carlos, his mom is LDS and his dad is Catholic (but comes to church alot and is pretty much a member without water) and the parents want him to decide what religion he wants without them pressuring him. So they are having us come give him the lessons, and on the first lesson he said he wants to be baptized.  :)  He´s been really great and rewarding to teach because his aunt recently passed away and he developed a huge fear of death and the life after. Every lesson we have with him he has questions about death and the hereafter, and every time we answer it, you can see a little more peace and happiness come to him.  It feels super good when you can see the gospel helping bring peace and comfort into someone´s life, right before your eyes. We are hoping that we can get him baptized the 14th of April and i´m pretty sure we can get him to General Conference with his parents. We are also planning on lots of family home evenings with the whole family, including the dad, to see if we can get him to think about baptism too.

The next person is this Kuna guy from the San Blas islands named Monche, and apparently he works where some other elders eat dinner sometimes, and he has heard them talking to people about the Mormons and he wants to know more now, plus he has a lot of family back on the islands that are LDS. The Kuna are really good members of the Church I´ve heard because their beliefs as a people are that there was a Savior of the world and that He came to their ancient ancestors from the heavens and taught them and blessed them.... pretty much the exact story you find if you read in the Book of Mormon in 3rd Nephi 11 about Jesus when He appeared to the people in the Americas :)   so yeah once the Kuna people hear about that and the Book of Mormon, they know it´s true. We haven´t really been able to teach Monche yet, but we´ve talked to him a few times and he´s a really cool guy and already teaching us a little Kuna! Nuè means thanks.

And our third new investigator is this guy who works with 3 good  members of the Church, and i guess they had been talking to him about their religion and they gave him a Book of Mormon and he´s read some and yesterday he came to church for the first time and absolutely loved it! He seems to already be growing a good testimony, so we´re really excited to teach him tomorrow. Pretty much we have had no success contacting but i guess the lord is blessing us in different ways for our work, so i´m ok with that. And my feet are fine now, they got used to all the walking we do and they´re good, no worries.
   That´s pretty much what´s going on in my life right now. We had a zone conference last Tuesday where we had lessons from the AP´s and President Ward and we practiced teaching. It was pretty good, I learned some things, and got to see some buddies from the mission like Elder 'Atuake (former companion). And no, Colon is not in our zone, it was a 3-zone conference with Colon, Panama and Tocumen i think. The dumb thing is that Hermana Ward made us food and usually she makes really good non Panamanian food... but this time she just gave us rice with lentils (weird kinda gross beans). I eat a huge mountain of rice twice a day, literally everyday, why she would torture us with more rice is beyond me. But she did make "no bake" cookies which made up for it. 
   I´m super pumped for General Conference and yes we get to watch it and we may even have 5 investigators come to it with us so that´ll be sweet if it happens! Plus everything the Church leaders say is just a great quote waiting to happen and that quote is just another thing to teach to our investigators haha.
     Dad, I still have not gotten any packages but i heard that they come in waves taking from 1 month to 6 months to get to us, so maybe i´ll get them all at the same time. It´ll be like Christmas all over again! But also i´m in the zone with the office elders so that makes it faster since they don´t have to send it to another zone. But thanks for sending them, i´m super looking forward to getting them, every district meeting that passes and they´re not there, i just want them more and more, haha. Also thanks a ton for the Mission and Football articles, i have #1 through #8 plus the wrap-up one so i believe that´s all! I organized them and let my comp read them, and he loved them too. It had some great messages in there. I especially like when Vai Sikahema aid how he knows a bunch of LDS NFL players who didn´t serve missions, and how they all regret it, and if they could do it over again, they would serve a mission and put the NFL on hold, wow! If that´s not proof of how valuable and awesome missions are then i don´t know what is. They definitely are a once in a life time experience that can´t be replicated by anything else.

Also, speaking of the NFL, i can´t believe Peyton Manning is with the Broncos now... that´ll be interesting!

Mom, I´m glad to hear that your knee is getting better slowly but surely.

 So everything is going good for me here. Though the mission has been quite a bit harder in this area since I was transferred here, as far as the work goes, i still love it and though i miss you guys like no other, i´m going to stay here living it up for the whole 2 years :)

Thanks for everything you do and for all your love and support, i can feel it through the computer, haha. On a spiritual note, this upcoming weekend is going to be totally sweet! We have the opportunity to listen to what God wants us to hear and learn through the voice of his Prophet and servants. I know that what he is going to say is of God and though it is for the whole world, the Church leaders and the Prophet will answer our individual questions too, we just need to be looking for the answers, because they will be there. I love you guys and hope everything goes great for ya during the next week, Take care!!

Elder Pfister

Siempre Fuertes!!

Elder Pfister @ Zone Conference

Monday, March 19, 2012

Letter from Elder Pfister March 19th, 2012

     It´s great to hear that everyone is doing good and it sounds like all is well is Logan and Boise. This has been a frustrating week for us because the members here are not helpful at all, and our investigators are not progressing at all.... But we´ve still had fun with it. We had a Zone challenge of challenging 10 of our investigators to get baptized, and we really wanted to complete it, except that we don´t even have 10 investigators, in fact right now we have none that are positive-  haha. So to complete our goal we would need to have very baptism-focused first lessons with the few contacts that let us in.  Well, yesterday at the end of the day we still had n´t met the goal, so we were getting desperate - so we ended up asking these two drunk guys who came up talking to us about religion, and they both said yes hahaha; but i don´t have my hopes up for them! But yeah the point of all that is, it´s been a tough area but we´re managing to make it fun still.

    Something interesting was that I went on divisions with my DL this week and he´s in the richest area in Panama. His area is pretty much all the super rich Panamanians and old retired gringos and those that work for the US Embassy. So we spent the whole day contacting and working in his area and it reminded me so much of the US. We did n´t really have any success, they never really have much success in that area, but it was an interesting experience like working in the States, and most of them only spoke English too which was way different because going from Spanish everyday to teaching in English is kinda difficult. But on the up side to his area, we contacted this member family and they let us in and were like, Hey I just made this chocolate cake and we have fresh lemonade, would you like some? So we feasted on delicious cake :) but I´ve learned that after rice, rice and more rice every single day, everything else tastes amazing, Especially sweets! And for dinner that night we had brats and soup bowls and it was so delicious!!

 So an easy way to find near where I live is look for the mall called "Metro Mall" or the place "Los Pueblos" as I live about 5 minutes from both of those and they are big stores so i imagine you could find them on Google. I think we´re pretty close to San Miguelito but we´re not in that zone. We live sorta by Tocumen and Don Bosca.

  I´m not sure why we can´t help people get married (like we did in La Chorrera) but apparently here in the city they have to do everything themselves, unlike in Chorrera, we could do everything, they just needed to show up to be married. I really wish we could do more because i have a feeling this family is going to take a long time to get married, if ever. And some bummer news about them, the whole family is actually members except for the mom, they are all just super inactive, like 9 years since they last went to Church. And the dad now goes to a different church with a friend every other week. So that family is kinda a bummer for now....

    Don´t worry about me and my feet problems or anything, I am fine and i have stuff that i could try that might help blisters, like moleskin, but i just kept walking on them and now my feet don´t hurt :) the blisters are really big but they don´t hurt and aren´t bleeding so it´s all good. Speaking of injuries, the other day when i was in Chorrera this lady told me to get an orange out of the tree outside, so i jumped up to get it and a thorn scraped me a little but i could n´t see anything and it did n´t hurt that bad so i did n´t think anything more of it. But then I got done collecting oranges, and when she saw me she kinda freaked because the whole left side of my shirt was soaked in blood, and i looked at my arm and i had this huge cut running from a little below my thumb to my elbow, just bleeding like crazy, haha. It look pretty cool and did n´t hurt so no worries but it was a sweet war wound. Just a funny story for you, and she washed my shirt so it´s all white again.

    Well, i still haven´t got that package... but who knows maybe i will get it tomorrow, there is always hope! It gives me something to look forward to, haha. What address did you send it to?

   Britt and mike, congrats on buying a new car! I just got the dearelders (pouch mail) from you and read them this week.

    Pretty much things are kinda hard but still super fun here. My comp and I are always having a good time and joking around and laughing so it´s good. I´m glad everything is going good for you guys. One kinda funny thing, we use the new Metro buses a lot here and they have a thing to tell you how hot it is, and today as we were riding it we were freezing so we looked to see how cold it was, and it was at 70 F degrees, haha. I am spoiled by the heat now, 70 F is cold and gives me goosebumps here :) I´m going to die when i come home to Logan weather. But life is good here even though we aren´t really having much success but i have faith that things will work out fine. We´ve been working hard and it´ll pay off soon enough. Thanks for everything you guys do and for all your support and love! This is the best Church ever because we can be a family forever!
Love and miss you guys!!
Elder Devin
Siempre Fuertes!!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Letter from Elder Pfister March 12, 2012

Q' Xopa (whatsup?):
Well the biggest news from me here is that I moved areas and got a new comp. There were actually alot of changes, they took part of my old zone Chorrera and made a new zone called Chicamito which is funny because that's what you call the stores here where they sell chicemi but i don't know how to spell that haha. So yeah, both me and my comp got moved out and our house is the new ZL's house. 

I am now in Juan Diaz 1 in the zone of Panama. My new area is alot more city like than my old area. I live about 2 hours away from the main city by bus which is ironic because i am in the zone of Panama and we have to travel 2 hours every Monday and Tuesday for p-days and zone meetings because they´re in Panama City, but it was only a 45 minutes or an hour to travel to the same spot from my old zone haha, but that is partly because the traffic here is terrible. It has been a rough first week because the area i am in, Juan Diaz, was just one big area that they just barely split, and we got the part where there haven´t been missionaries for a long time so it´s pretty much opening a new area and the last week has been straight contacting. Like 7 or 8 hours a day just walking around talking to people, I now have giant blood blisters on the bottom of both my feet so that´s not cool and the people here aren´t nearly as nice and not one has let us in yet, but we do have a few return appointments though so that´s good. 

And actually we got this reference from our lunch cook and we went there, it turns out it is this family who is ready to be baptized and wants to be, they just haven´t gotten married yet and for some reason the elders stopped going to them so now we´re working with them so hopefully that works out. The bummer is that in the city we can´t help them get married, they have to do everything themselves, or else we would do all the work for them like we did in Chorrera haha. Another little bummer about this area is that the ward is really struggling and poor, and so we only have 6 dinner appointments a month and the rest we have to cook for ourselves, but we don´t have that much money because we have to use buses a ton to get around which drains us financially, so this should be interesting, I might go hungry a lot in this area haha. But there is still a lot of positive news.... 

My comp is Elder Brown from Alabama and he´s super cool. He only been in-country for 2 more transfers than me so we´re both pretty young in the mission and his Spanish isn´t amazing, so i am kinda worried my Spanish might go down a little.  But we work super hard and study and all like we should so the Lord will bless us i bet  :) He´s a super cool guy, We have  a ton of similar interests like, he loves scuba diving, the show Psych, cars, he likes most sports, and we´re both just chill people so its sweet. I´m super pumped for this time in this area and even though it´s hard, opening an area can be very rewarding and it feels good working really hard. 

My zone is also really cool and we work really closely with the other two elders in Juan Diaz 2 and they are both cool. One is new from Hawaii and one is from Mexico and he´s way tight! So overall, everything is great here for me :)
Dad, congrats on solving the great mystery on that plant problem in Brazil and getting a paper published and stuff, that sounds like a great accomplishment, so go out to eat and celebrate somehow :)

 Mom, i´m glad your knee surgery went well and that you´re not in pain now. I hope you heal up fast and that you don´t need a whole knee replacement at all, or at least for a long long time. But now we´re twins and knee surgery buddies :)

Well that´s pretty much all i got for ya for now, life is good for me here and already i´m loving this new challenge in this area! I don´t have much other news since things are so new here in this area, but you just wait, this is going to be a good change full of exito (success), i can feel it!! :)

I love you guys and i miss you tons! Never forget that Christ is always there for us to comfort and help us through the hard times is life and He will always be there. Being here in a really poor area, i can definitely see the way that Christ helps and changes people´s lives for good. 

Take care everyone!

Elder Pfister

Monday, March 5, 2012

Letter from Elder Pfister March 5th, 2012

    So the happy news is that we had another baptism this last Saturday, with Richard Gonzales. It was super fast, we set the date with him on Monday and he got baptized on Saturday. As I mentioned last week, we had been teaching him for awhile though.  He wanted to hold the baptism super fast though because Saturday was his birthday too; so he was born and reborn on the same day, haha. 
     I still don´t know if i´m leaving this area or not, or who my new companion will be. I hear they tell the missionary getting moved on Tuesday night, unless you live far away from Panama City, then one is told on Monday nights, so I should find out tomorrow. But i talked to President Ward and he said that my companion is leaving, so i bet i´m staying here until the next transfer, and at that point i´ll leave, which is fine with me. I kinda want to leave to get to know more of Panama but i´m not stressing over it. 
The training day with President went pretty well. He and his two assistants taught us some things and of course encouraged us to be more obedient and to work harder. As a zone for February we had 10 baptisms, but he literally said that that´s not enough and we needed to work harder. My companion and I had 6 of those baptisms though, so we were pretty happy. But then after, most of the elders had a interview with him where he kinda got upset at some missionaries because of their disobedience. And the disobedience was things like lots of elders sleeping at someone's house and then not working the next day, downloading movies and watching them, and then other things like sleeping in, not studying, spending too much time in members homes. 
To answer your questions, I live like an hour away from the beach so no I can´t see the beach sadly, but i can see lots of jungle haha. And for breakfast i either have oatmeal with granola or nothing. I´m trying to eat healthier but eating healthy is expensive and the last money period i ran out of money so that didn´t work very well haha. 
The scouting trip (winter camping with the 11 year old boys) sounds like it was a fun time for everyone. I remember going there with Dad... that was super fun! I liked pretty much all the scouting stuff even though there were some less enjoyable times, but all in all it was fun. 
Good memories there :)
I still haven't received any packages yet but like i said, they take forever and someone told me if i am getting transferred the office people might be holding it to send it to my new area so it doesn't get lost in my old one. But thanks bunches for sending them! 
My surgically-repaired knee hasn´t really had any problems. It has hurt sometimes and sometimes it pops really easily and frequently, so i don´t know what that means, but i think it´s fine. It usually feels fine, but i still don´t trust it all that much.
So things here are pretty good, i´m excited for the transfer to see who i get as a companion and where i go if i go somewhere new. Today on our day off, we went to do this hike called Chicá and it was super fun and pretty! I think you guys would really like it.  There are these cool old ruins and in the morning it was all misty and cool looking, fun place to be with lots of cool pictures to take.... So we´ll have to go there after my mission :) 
Well, this week will be interesting with everything going on, and i´ll make sure to let ya know what happens and try to send some more photos. Tell everyone i say hi and that everything is "prity" as they say it here in good ol panama, haha.
I love and miss you guy - thanks for everything :D
Elder Pfister