This has been a pretty good week for us down here in Panamá! We were able to put 3 baptismal dates in play, one with Katiuska Marquinez and two with children of a less active member whom we eat dinner with. We put all three dates for the 18th of August but i don´t think Sister Marquinez will be able to make that week because her baby got sick so she couldn´t come to church this week, but in any case i´m pretty positive we´ll be able to baptize her soon. She´s a cool person and she loves to read the Book of Mormon with us. Her mom and her daughter were listening to us at one point, but they have stopped, but i hope that once she gets into the church, they´ll see her example and we´ll be able to teach them again too. Our other two baptisms are kids, but the positive thing is that since we´ve started teaching them, their parents, who were very inactive, have started coming to church with us and have started getting more involved in everything. The branch here is slowly growing, as this week we had about 100 people in the sacrament meeting which is more than this branch has had in a very long time. We got a new mission leader here and a new Branch President and they have really kicked the missionary work into gear. They have given us tons of references of less-active people, or part-member families, and they are going out to teach with us too. It´s been great here with their leadership; they´ve really helped the branch get more animated about helping us, and now that people see that we´re working hard, and that the branch is growing, they are gaining trust in us and giving us their friends to teach.
I don´t remember if i told you... i think i did... but anyway, last Sunday we went to teach the niece of this member who sometimes has us over to eat; we went to her less active sister´s house. When we got there, there was this guy visiting who just happened to be there asking her questions about the church when we arrived, so that was sweet. We taught him and he said he would come to church, read and pray, but to be honest, everyone says that, so i usually wait to see what they do before i get my hopes up. Well, this guy showed up at church on Sunday with this less active member and when we started talking to him we asked him how his reading and praying went and he was like, "Great, i´m really interested in the Book of Mormon, and i prayed about it and i felt something special when i was praying and that´s why i´m here right now." His name is Moises, and it was cool because he was super active during the church meeting, he participated in everything and met a lot of people and really seemed to enjoyed it. The only possible down side was that he couldn´t schedule a day for us teach him again because he wasn´t sure about his schedule and he said he would call us, which is an excuse we get alot when people don´t want to talk anymore.... but i have faith that he´ll call.
So a few weeks ago we had a zone conference in Chorrera where Elder Amado of the Seventy came and talked to us. It was really special because he pretty much gave us a little speach and then said, "Do you need any help with investigators?" And from there we just asked him what he would say or do in certain situations and and it was really helpful. Above everything he stressed obedience and how important it is to be obedient during the mission and after the misson.
I actually think it´s cooler here in Penonome temperature wise than it was in Panama City area. Penonome is kinda in the mountains and there is always a nice breeze to cool us off, i like it alot. This is a really nice plave to live i think because it´s so chill (relaxed) here and the weather is nice, it doesn´t rain as much as it does in the city, and it´s not as hot as it was in the city either, so it is the best of both worlds. I´ve taken some pictures so you´ll get them when i sent the camera card. It´s weird being able to see mountains again, and some of the places here look alot like Utah. We went outside the city, and did a service project in the mountains, and there were pine trees to one side and a little desert just like southern Utah to the other side. It made me miss backpacking and camping, haha.
I got 3 packages this week, one with candy and a CD cover, one with the sheets and the RSL jersey, and one with a wooden tie and candy, haha. Thanks a tons for all that, i´m actually wearing the RSL soccer jersey right now. And when i got the package i wore it to lunch, and there just happened to be this Columbian couple there who just moved to Panama from Utah. They lived in Utah for 10 years and their son actually worked for the RSL team, so it was cool to talk to them for a while about life in Utah.
Well, my time has ran out, but thanks for everything, the letters and packages and for your love and support! I love and miss you guys a ton! Take care and have fun!!