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¨

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