Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Another Great Letter from Elder Devin May 29, 2012

Hola Fam,
    So this week went great for us here! We met our goal of 50 lessons, getting 53, and we met a lot of really positive people in the process. The best news is that we were able to set a baptismal date with Emma, our most positive investigator right now. If all goes well, she´ll be baptized on the 22nd of June. The bummer is that she wasn´t able to make it to church this week again, so that´s gotta change, enough of this sluffing church stuff, haha.
     One of the people we met this week was telling us about she doesn´t really have a church, but she´s gone to alot but none of them really caught her attention. Her son also has gone to quite a few churches and he told us this really funny story about one he went to. So it´s one of those evangelical churches where the pastor will call people up and have them speak in tongues (more like just gibberish), and they cure people from the demons inside of them by hitting them in the forehead, you know the type i´m talking about right? So anyway her son went and the pastor called him up and told him that he had a demon inside of him controlling him. So the pastor starting hitting him in the forehead and throwing oil on him chanting, be gone demon, stuff like that. And the kid told us he was just thinking, "what is he doing hitting me? This kinda hurts and i´m sure i don´t have a demon in me." Then the pastor starting saying "fall to the ground" and just kept throwing more oil on him, and the kid told us he just kept backing up to get away from the oil, but the minister followed him throwing it then finally the young man just fell over so that the minister would stop throwing oil on him, hahaha. He said it was super annoying and he didn´t enjoy it at all, and the only reason he fell to the ground like the pastor said he would is because he didn´t want the guy to keep throwing oil and hitting him, haha. We all enjoyed a good laugh over that, and we explained how we don´t do things like that- and he and his mom are gonna come to church next Sunday to check it out. Her name is Bunny and she seems really positive. She kept telling us things she didn´t like about other churches and it was all things that Mormons don't do, and she said some things that she thinks a church ought to have, and we explained how we do believe in all that, so she was really excited to learn more.
     Another person we met was the exact opposite. We knocked on  his door and he came out and was like, Oh the missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints. And we were like yeah, what do you know about us? He said, well i talked to the missionaries a few years ago and they gave me the Book of Mormon and since then i´ve read the entire book, I've seen the movie about Joseph Smith and I've read a few other books. This entire time i´m just thinking to the myself, GOLD! We STRUCK GOLD! and the next thing he said to us was.... " So i´ve read all that and i don`t believe any of it...." Duh duh duh... But after talking to him for a while, we found out he´s never prayed about any of it so we gave him that invitation and we´re gonna go back to see what happens, but it was a super let down.
    So an exciting thing is tomorrow is cambios (changes)! Wahoo! Maybe... We´re pretty sure Elder Brown is leaving and that i´m staying,  so i really hope i get a good companion because this area is kinda tough, and with a bad comp it will just make the time until the next transfer miserable. I also hope i get a Latino so i can polish up my Spanish some more. With Brown my Spanish didn´t really get worse, it´s just not as smooth as it was, and it actually improved alot in some areas because with two young gringos, we both had to pay attention and participate, instead of with a Latino companion, a gringo can rely him for alot of language and interpretation. So i´m alot better at paying attention to everything because there were alot of times when Elder Brown didn´t understand something so i had to understand and say something.
    This past Saturday we had this ward activity that we planned out called a Noche de Recetas, or Recipe night.  It was pretty much just a pot luck dinner but where everyone brought their recipe and explained how to make it so everyone could go home and try it. The activity turned out really well, we had about half the ward there and some really good food! :) I now have some Panamanian recipes i want to try out and get good at. The dumb thing is people proved that they can cook really good food that isn´t rice and chicken.... so why does everyone only ever cook rice and chicken for us!?! Oh well, i guess it´ll make me appreciate the good food more when it is made. I cooked the no bake skillet cookie recipe that you guys sent me and they turned out ok, i think i messed them up because i put too much rice krispy cereal in them so they didn´t stick together at all but they still tasted pretty good. I learned this really good desert from another missionary that´s really easy and super delicious! I´m excited to make that one. It´s like a pudding pie thing, but not a normal one, extra fluffy and tasty, i´ll make it for ya :)
     Remember how i needed a hair cut when we Skyped each other? Well, there´s this member who always is bragging to us about how good her son is at cutting hair and she told us he´ll do it for free for the missionaries, so i thought why not. I went there and told him i don´t want it too short, and tapered on the sides, and all that good stuff. Well he said ok, i know what you mean and takes out his buzzer and starts. There wasn´t a mirror nearby so i was just hoping he was doing a good job, i mean he took like 45 minutes to cut it, so i assumed he was. But when i finally got to the mirror and looked, he had buzzed me clean! I barely had a centimeter of hair left, it took him 45 minutes of careful cutting, and all i got was a buzz, haha. I was kinda shocked at first but now i don´t really care, it makes doing my hair really easy in the mornings because i don´t have to do anything to it, just wake up, get out of bed and it´s good to go! Haha
      Well, this past week has been an amazing week. We worked super hard and it paid off big time. I feel great going into this next change with lots of new investigators and a really big desire to work super hard, hope my next companion is ready for that. It proved to me that when you do your part and put your all into it, the Lord will come through with His part and help you out with blessings. That is something that applies to all aspects of the Gospel, when we put the Lord first and do what He wants, we get blessed and the things that we put on the back burner turn out even better because we get His help with them.
I hope all is well with you guys and thanks for everything you guys do, for your letters and everything, they really do help alot :) I love you guys and miss you!

Elder Pfister

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Letter from Elder Pfister May 22th, 2012

HEy hey heY!!
     I´m sorry to hear that it was a rough week for ya (at work);  this week was kinda rough here too but for very different reasons. To start out, we have this investigator named Emma who we met a week or two ago, and the past visits with her have been super spiritual and good, so spiritual that she cried during one. She is really into her family and she wants the best for them and is ready to be a good example for them and the best part, she doesn´t have a church right now but she said she´s looking for one to improve her life and to help her kids. So that´s all super good and i have high hopes for her; the downside is she didn´t come to church after so many good lessons, and neither did our 5 other investigators with whom we had good lessons last week, and they all promised that they would be there in Church on Sunday. Well we had zero investigators, zero recent converts and zero of the less/non active members there who we had been focusing on. It was a super bummer, disappointing, and kinda killed our spirits. But we are re-grouping, and decided that since this upcoming week is the last full week we will likely be companions, we wanted to make it the best, so we made a goal of 50 lessons this week which is over double of what we´ve been able to complete on our best week here so far. We´re kinda off to a bad start because the week started off weird with us having p-day on Tuesday but we´re determined to get this goal even if it kills us.
     Our other investigators are Watson, the old frail lady, but we haven´t been able to visit her lately because she can only have visitors at certain times of the day and those times have been super busy for us. We are also teaching Florencia, who is still struggling to recognize the Spirit and says she´s not receiving answers to her prayers, but we have a great lesson planned for her. We have the Moreno Family who are just working to get married, then most of them will get baptized and we´re hoping the example of the rest of the family will help the dad to get baptized too. The sad thing is that they´re moving, so i don´t think we´ll get to see what happens with them, hopefully everything works out for them in their new area. Those are our positive investigators for now and we plan on trying to set baptismal dates with all 5 of them this week.

     So as you probably noticed i´m writing this a day late because we switched our p-day from Monday to Tuesday so that we could go to the temple since it´s closed on Mondays. So yeah, today we went to the temple, which was amazing as always. I had kinda forgotten how peaceful and amazing the temple is after not having gone for a while, but i loved it. Then we went to the canal which was pretty fun. We got to see three ships go through, one small one and two huge cargo ships. It´s amazing how fast they do everything for the size of stuff they´re working with.

We haven´t played baseball once yet, i´m guessing because you need bats, mitts and all that but we have played kickball, but to be honest, i´m not a huge fan of it. As for soccer, i can keep up pretty well with the average latino and i´m better than the average gringo but there are some locals that completely school everyone and some are only like 14 or even 12 years old, it´s amazing!

Pouch letters usually get to me about 2 or 3 weeks. Well yesterday i got the Dearelder version of your email that you sent on the 30th. It´s alot faster since i´m here in the zone with the office elders so i get them as soon as they get them. But if i leave for some other zone, especially out of the city, it usually takes alot longer for anything to get to me.

Thanks for the music and the other stuff that you´re sending but don't stress out over anything, those were just things i had in mind for my birthday, haha. One other thing i thought of that i can´t find here is black duct tape, for fixing my shoes. And as for the shaver, i´ll just look around for something cheap. I have plans to send some packages home, one for sure will have boring stuff -just things that i want to keep from my mission but i don´t want to haul around with me. But i also plan on sending home some Panamanian stuff that i think you might like. Anything specifically that you can think of that you like to buy when in foreign countries?

One funny  thing that happened with our service project putting in the floor (for the lady with the little cafe) was while we were excavating the backyard there were some banana trees that she wanted out too. So to set up the scene it goes her house, then our  muddy hole about 7 feet deep, then the trees, then the  rest of her yard, hope ya understand. But so the first tree we just  took out with a pickaxe and it was super easy because as you may know banana trees are kinda soft. So with the second one i decided i wanted to try to tackle it to see how my football skills were and to see if i could. I started at the back of her yard and got a pretty good running start at it but i kinda didn´t think about the fact that if i did mange to take out the tree, we would just go tumbling down to our muddy deaths in the hole... which is what happened.... but we didn´t die... well the tree did, i didn´t, haha. So yeah i hit the tree and it broke and i just went flying down into my super muddy hole and the tree just came down with me. Once i got up i was so muddy and covered in banana tree juice, which does not come out of shirts by the way. It was super funny to experience and my comp and the lady were laughing pretty hard, and it was fun too. I showed that tree :)   Anyway so on the topic of the floor, we finished it finally and it looks good. I´m just waiting to see what big project she has for us next, because she always seems to have something.

I went to the doctor on Monday and he told me that i have a skin infection and he gave me a prescription for some antibiotics and a creme that is supposed to heal me up good. The weird part is that he told me i need to put the cream on from head to toe and everything in between, it´s kinda difficult, haha. But now i´m all healed up, i still have a few little scar things on my chest but they´re going away too so i´m ready to go!

So this week i got some nice Christmas cards haha. I got a letter from Dad, Bishop Anderson and a few other people and they were all from Christmas.  They were postmarked Dec. 11 so it only took over 6 months for those to get to me haha. That proves how slow sending mail to the Marbella address is. Speaking of which, could you give the better address in Carrasquilla to anyone that may write to me so that i can get it before i finish my mission haha.  But i still enjoyed getting them, thanks!

 I¨m super excited for this last week before changes (transfers) because of the goal we set. I´ve already had many personal testimony builders that when in the service of the Lord and as we commit ourselves more and ask for Him for help, He will come through and help us if we keep pushing forward always, even when it seems pointless, the blessings will come in one way or another. I¨m going to put my faith to the test this week and do all i can and i know the Lord will help with the rest.

Thanks for everything you guys do and all your support! It´s always a boost to get to read about what´s going on at home and in your lives. Thanks and i love and miss you!

Elder Pfister

P.S. Dad, i think you should go through with the biker boy look with the pony tail and all, it´ll be a good look on ya i think :)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Letter from Elder Pfister May 14th, 2012

Hola family,
     Well, having talked on Skype on Saturday, i can´t think of too much to say since it´s only been two days haha, but Skype was great! It´s amazing to be able to see you guys, i feel like i was sitting in the living room just a few weeks ago. The biggest change i noticed was Dad´s hair, or lack of it. I didn´t notice at first but once you showed me it caught me off guard haha. Dad, just grow your beard out really long now and buy a leather jacket and you´ll be one of those motorcycle gang guys who are bald but with huge with beards, haha. I think it´d be awesome, not sure how Mom would like it though :)  I wish Skype could´ve been a better connection. It was good at the start but once more people came into the internet place it slowed down alot and made it difficult to understand you guys. Next time i´m going to look for a faster internet, maybe with a member so it can be like our Christmas session which was amazing.

It´s weird to think the next time i see you guys or talk to you, i´ll be over the one-year mark with my mission and i´ll be on the final stretch. Time really is flying super fast. It´s kinda bitter sweet how fast time flies, i really want to get home and see you guys, but at the same time i´m loving my mission so much, and everyday i feel like i´m becoming a little bit better missionary and i´m learning something new and i don´t  want to leave all that.

    Question for you guys, are we as a family planning on coming back here to Panamá after my mission on our next all family vacation? You guys talked about it a little but then you´ve also said things about Roatan in Honduras, or Belize, so i´m just wondering?
    I have a doctors appointment today so i should be getting some stuff to heal my face (face fungus) up soon and i hope it works fast, i´m sick of my face hurting, haha. Pretty much everyone at church yesterday said something to the extent of, Wow what happened to your face?! But hey now i can say i got some weird disease during my mission and i survived it haha.
   I bought an MP3 player on Saturday and it works good. I haven´t had a chance to put any music on it but it came with a few songs and everything is working good so far so i´m happy about that and it´s an 8g so it should hold all my music on my mission.
   Sounds like things are going great for everyone at home. It´s always hard to say goodbye and get back to working after the Skype sessions, but i loved being able to see you. It makes me feel like i´m not that far away from you guys. I love you guys and miss you!
Elder Pfister
These are the things i can think of that i would like in packages, but none are really important


-Soundtrack from "Prince of Egypt"
-Soundtrack from "Tangled"
-New EFY songs, if there are some. I have up to 2010
-The Nashville Tribute Band
    *The Work, a tribute to missionaries
    *Joseph, a tribute to the prophet
    *Trek, a tribute to the pioneers

Random Things:
-Real Salt Lake Jersey
-Electric Shaver
-Vitamin C (The walmart no name brand one, which is member´s mark, with flavor of orange juice tastes good)
-Take 5, a candy bar i´m craving that is not sold here

I also love surprises :) and i´ll just let you know if i think of anything else.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Letter from Elder Pfister May 7th, 2012

Hola Fam,
    So for Skype we´re going to try to connect here at the Mall around 11ish in the morning, Panamá time, on Saturday the 12th, not Sunday (Mother's Day) so that would be like 10ish there right? I tested my Skype today so it should be good and ready to go.

    Some interesting things that happened this week were that we spent most of the week doing service again, and i got some flesh eating disease on my face that burns like no other. For service, the lady who cooks us lunch wants to put in a new floor and raise it up a foot or so to be even with the rest of the floor. So we spent a few days just excavating dirt from her backyard to make a base for it and holy cow that was hard. Panamanian dirt isn´t like normal dirt, it´s full of fun little treasures that make it a pain to dig in. For example while we we´re digging we found shoes, toys, tons of rocks, a ball of dried cement about the size of a tire that we then had to chip away at. We took out like 10 cubic feet of dirt... All in all, good times for all, working in the sun and humidity. So that was last week and this week we´re going to pour the cement and put in the tiles and stuff, which i´m hoping will be easier. To be honest it was kinda a nice break though, some good hard physical work and a break from our normal routine.

    We don´t really decide when we are going to do service, it´s more like when people need something we done we offer up our services and these past few weeks there have just been alot of needs for our help, i guess. Or maybe people now realize that we´re serious when we say we´ll do whatever they need done, so now they´re taking advantage of us, haha. I´ve learned that the way of building things here in Panamá and there in America are very different and it´s really interesting to see the difference. I´m not sure if it´s because of the climate, money or a combination but i´m learning alot of Panamanian building techniques, haha.

    The work in a spiritual way is coming along normally, nothing too extra special happened this week. I'll talk about our investigators with you by Skye.  We have some good appointments this up coming week and not so much service scheduled so i´m excited for it.

    On a good note i got two of the packages you sent! I got the ones with the quarter board and candy (which they didn´t steal) and the one with photos so i´m still waiting for the one with the jersey; but the fact these packages made it to me gives me hope for the other package. Thanks for everything! The candy was a nice boost to our poor candy-less diet and i really enjoyed the photos. The photos really brought me back to some good times like snow caving, hiking in slot canyons and all sorts of fun things that i miss, haha. Oh I sent you my camera memory card in a letter so i hope that gets to you soon and safe, as i sent it on the 27th, i think, so we´ll see how long it takes to get there.

    So since we´re going to talk soon on Skype, i´ll make this letter shorter so i have stuff to say on Saturday, haha. But thanks for the packages and everything and i can´t wait to talk to you guys and see your faces! My face is kinda zombie-like but it´s all good :)

No worries! Thanks for everything, i love you and i´ll see you Saturday!
Elder Pfister