Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Saludos desde Panamá

Hey Hey Hey,
    Well this week was a better week for us in most ways. That rash i told you about is going away slowly but surely. I didn´t go to the doctor because i´ve actually kinda lost faith in the doctors in my little town here because i´ve actually been to the doctors 3 times here for other random things that i have gotten, but i just never told you because i didn´t want to scare you, so i do feel like i´m getting the 10 plagues or experiencing what Job went through in the Bible. I´m not actually taking any medication, now i´m just fighting everything with my willpower, because everything i´ve been given so far, hasn´t worked or made my condition worse, and now that i´m taking nothing it´s getting better haha, easier, cheaper and more effective!
     So a cool story, our first week here in Penonomé we contacted this lady and she let us in to teach her, and we asked if we could talk with her whole family - because the Gospel is for families - but she said her husband was working. Anyway, we taught her and gave her a Book of  Mormon during the lesson, but at the end she didn´t seem very positive, and when we went back the next week she wasn´t there. Well, that was like 8 weeks ago and on Wednesday, we were sitting in the bus station waiting for our bus when this random lady came up to us and was like, "hey i´ve been waiting for you guys to come back to my house." And we had no idea who this lady was, but then she told us about how she´s been reading the Book of Mormon every night, and how she loves it because it is so much clearer and easy to understand than the Bible, and has great teachings in it.  She is teaching the BOM  to her husband because we told her how the gospel is for families. That´s when it clicked and we remember her from the first week here. She said how she has been waiting for us because she wants to learn more about this book she likes so much. We are going to go visit her this Tuesday, and i´m kinda bummed that it took her 8 weeks for us to find each other again, because it´s almost changes (cambios) again and i might not be able to see how she progresses.  But it´s still awesome that she´s been reading the Book of Mormon on her own and she´s understanding it so well.  That just testifies that if one will take the chance and just give the Book of Mormon a chance and read it, it will show and testify to the person of the truth through it´s teachings and the feelings that one gets while reading.
     We had a branch activity this Saturday which was a blast! We did the mini Olympics where we played soccer, basketball, volleyball and a race against different groups, and some groups of non members that showed up. It was super fun and got a lot of non-member youth there to make friends with member kids. Plus there was free music and food so lots of random people showed up just to watch and converse, so overall it was a big success and a super fun day to participate in. And i wore my Real Salt Lake soccer jersey just because i found out that RSL beat Panama (Tauro FC) twice :)
    As for the girl, Elise, that we´re teaching, we taught her again and she told us that since the second time she attended church, when she went to this Church conference with us, she has wanted to be baptized. That was even before we had taught her. But that her parents won´t let her be baptized for some reason.... So now we are going to try to talk to the parents which should be interesting... Apparently the family has a lot of problems right now, for example the parents are married but the dad has 2 other ladies that he goes to live with during the week and the whole family knows and i guess the mom is ok with that since they´re still together. So it could be difficult getting this girl baptized in her situation.
     Question, i think one of my camera cards has a virus in it because the photos show up on my camera, but they won´t show up on the computer and someone said that means it has a virus. Advice, should i send it to you guys to try to fix it and try to fix it myself?  Also tell Brett Reynolds that i sent him a separate letter, but i think that if he still hasn´t received it, it probably got lost so i´ll just write him another.
     Well, like they always say your mission will test you and it´s true, these last few weeks have been tough, but now i´m starting to see the blessings of the work with some random investigators showing up and things starting to click. It reminds me of when i was in Juan Diaz, the first few weeks were so difficult because we had no success at all but after a time of working, we felt the blessings come. Well, that´s starting to happen here. I hope that i get to stay here one more change but who knows, both my companion and I have the same amount of time here so it could be either one of us getting moved.
    I really enjoyed the quote you sent by Elder Holland because it´s really true, God is always waiting to bless us - we just need to ask  him for the blessings. I know that God answers our prayers because my prayers have been answered in ways that are undeniable. I love you guys!
Elder Pfister

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Hola Familia

    Well this week was a really good week for teaching... until Sunday came around. So when we went to teach the neighbor of the second counselor, we found the whole family there. We began to teach them and we found out that none of them really have a religion, and they were all liking our message and accepting it well - and it is a complete family which is always the best scenario. Anyway we told them how we wanted to come over and pick them up on Sunday to bring them to church and the mom said she couldn´t, but that the daughters could and we decided that we would call them Sunday morning to wake them up. So come Sunday we called them and the mom picked up the phone and told us that the daughters would not be able to come to church that day because they were with their dad. So we were super bummed out, but the worst part was when we got to church the neighbor came up to me and asked, "hey where are the girls"? and i just explained what the mom said. Then the neighbor lady said to me, "i saw them in the house and asked if they wanted to go to church with us and they told us that they were waiting for the missionaires to come pick them up" and so the neighbor just left assuming we were going to get them. Ah, that frustrated me a lot and made me realize that the mom may not be ok with her daughters going to church and that could cause problems as we teach them...
    Our other investigators who live near there is the mother-daughter combo, and the mother is also struggling to come to Church because of the Sunday visiting hours at the jail with her son, and now she got a job where she works Sundays so that´s just another obstacle that they have to overcome. The daughter is super positive and always feels the Spirit super strong, to the point where she says she knows the Church is true just by that feeling, so it´s super frustrating that i cán´t help her out more or figure out a way to help her get to Church.
    Also Moises has been super busy working so everytime we call him to set up an appointment he says he´´ll call us back to tell us when he can, but of course, he never ends up calling us. I´m nervous that something happened between Moises and the member that i think he was dating, and now he doesn´t want to continue learning about the church because of that. He was very positive the first times he came to the church but i hope he wasn´t doing it for the wrong reasons.
   One thing that isn´t really helping me personally is that i got this allergic reaction or something that broke out. My legs and arms and stomach are completly covered in a swollen hot rash that itches and hurts. I really have no idea what it is or why it came out on me because the day it came out i was fasting, so i hadn´t eaten anything. I guess i´m allergic to fasting :) but don´t worry about me and don´t call the mission president or anything (one elder told his mom how he had something wrong with him like that and she freaked out and called the mission demanding that they do something and now they tell us not to tell our parents anything like that, but i trust you guys won´t do anything. Plus i´m going to a doctor soon so it´ll all be good.)
   Hey some good news, the ZL´s found the mission box in the bus station and my package was in it, well one package anyway. I never got the letter with the camera card but i did get the package with the CD and stuff! I´ll make sure to take some video before i send this camera card to you guys. Money sounds fine for my birthday, i can´t really think of anything i really want or need that you could send me, so no worries.
    Well, i´m glad to hear that things are going good at home and i´m sure things will pick up here, they always do! I love you guys and pray for you every day :)
Elder Pfister

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


Hola Fam,
    This week flew by super fast for me! This Sunday as a branch we had a district conference in Chitré instead of the normal sunday meetings and an Elder from the Seventy (Area Church Leader) came and talked to us, i forgot his name but he gave a really good talk! And it was cool to watch the branch come together to get there because most of the people can´t really afford to go there by bus, but somehow everyone pitched in what they could, and thought of ways to earn the extra money, and we had a ton of people get there, including one of our investigators! This investigator came to one of our group nights (well actually her neighbor is the second counselor and he brought her to it) and we talked to her and asked if we could come visit some day and she was kinda hesitant and said she would call if she got the time, and well, she never called. But somehow she made it to this conference and she really liked it i guess because after it was over, she came looking for us and told us how she wants us to come over on Friday, plus it appeared that she had made a few good friends in the ward already so that was exciting, hopefully she stays interested.
   As for Moises, he couldn´t come to the conference and that´s when we were going to set up another appointment with him, so we´ve got to call him tonight to get things going with him again. Hopefully he hasn´t gone cold with the church since he´s now missed two Sundays... We also weren´t able to visit our 2 fechas (teenage and her mom) either because the girl had tests this week and has been studying and busy, but this week is vacations i guess so there are no excuses for them. As a zone we are going to be fasting part of this week, and we are going out to different areas to help people out where they are struggling, so as a zone we are trying to improve things as well.
    This week for p-day was sweet, as we went to this waterfall out in the jungle and it was super ¨prity¨ there are like 3 different levels of falls, and we were able to climb around and take some cool pictures. It would be really awesome to be able to swim there, which you can do, there are some nice pool-like places, just as missionaries we can´t. I'll send some pictures to you guys.
     Man, i wish i could´ve been  at that USU game to watch them beat the Utes, now i´m trying to think of missionaries that went to the University of Utah so that i can brag about the Utah State victory, haha. Now they just have to beat BYU, if they play them this year, that is.
    I liked your story of the special ward meeting.  It´s weird to think of our ward at home needing to improve because before i never paid any attention to anything like that there, and now that i´m here, our ward in Logan looks like the perfect ward from what i remember. How many people attend your sacrament meeting normally? Just curious...
    As for the picture book for me (like the one you made for Elder 'Atuake), i think i would rather just have one of my entire mission at the end, but i´m sure Atuake will love his.
    Well i think that´s all i got for ya this week, hopefully next week there will be a jump in excitement and things to talk about. But i know that the church is true because no matter what happens during the week, we can still see the little miracles happening all around us if we look for them. I love you guys!
Elder Pfister

Monday, September 3, 2012

Hola desde Penonomé, Panamá

September 3, 2012

Hola Fam,
    Glad to hear that things are going good at home, i guess i should say on the Oregon beach haha. Sounds like that was quite the trip for you guys, nice and relaxing with some good hikes, whales and hanging out with Mike and Brit.  Also Happy birthday and anniversary to you both, Mom and Dad! 35 years... That´s a long time, appears that you guys choose well when it came to choosing your eternal partner, haha.
    Anyway down here in Panama things are going pretty good as well. It´s funny how Logan and parts of the U.S. are lacking rain because all week it´s been raining like no other here. Tons of rivers have flooded over and flooded houses and towns, but that´s kinda normal here during the rainy season, everything is always wet and flooded.
   As for the missionary work we had a kinda slow week, it´s weird how  we can have such a good week one week then the next week, things don't go as well.  But oh well we still had some good things happen. Remember that 15 year old girl that I mentioned was interested in the Book of Mormon a while ago? Well we finally met with her again and she told us how she loved the chapter that we had her read, and that the first time we taught her about the Book of Mormon, she said she felt something super powerful, and that she didn´t know what it was or what it meant, but she knew it could only be from God. So we showed her a scripture talking about the fruits of the Spirit and asked if that´s what she felt the first time, and when she was reading, and she said it´s exactly what she felt. Then we asked her what she thought it meant, and she told us that didn´t think, but that she knew that this book was true and comes from God and that what it contains in it is what God wants us to do and what is necessary in order to return to Him one day. It all worked out perfectly because the mother of this girl was also there, and we had taught her before, and the week before in our lesson we gave her a different chapter to read that talks about the atonement of Christ and our purpose here on the earth. What the mom got out of it is that Christ did everything He did so that we could return to live with our Heavenly Father again one day, and that we can become clean of all our sins and that we are here on the earth to prepare to meet God again, and the way we prepare is by repenting and being baptized. And then the chapter that the girl read talks about the way in which Christ has taught us and how we should be baptized. The Spirit was super strong and we invited them to be baptized and they both accepted a baptismal date for the end of the month. The only problem is that they live in an area where there are no buses on Sundays and taxis are expensive, so it´s gonna be a sacrifice for them to come to church, but i´m hoping we can animate them enough to do it, plus there´s a member that lives close to them that hopefully we can get to help them out.
   Also our mission plan in the ward in starting to come into motion and we are receiving a bunch of less-active or part member references now, the only problem is addresses.  No where in Panama are there street addresses so it´s super hard to find someone from a description of where they live, but we have some members who this week are going to go out with us to search them out so we can go back and teach them. This ward is really rewarding when it comes to reactivation because normally it´s difficult to reactive someone and have them keep going to Church without a missionary visiting them every week, but here the ward has become really loving and welcoming and everyone that comes back for a week or two has said how they feel really welcomed when they come and once they come the ward gives them home teachers to go visit them. We have actually seen some good growth lately, When i got here they said they were averaging around 75 or 80 in the sacrament meeting and now we have around 100 to 105 people most weeks.
    Well i haven´t heard anything about my camera card so i think it got lost along with everything else (CD package)... super bummer. One thing you can send with my Frisbee: i would kinda like my black nike socks that i left, there should be like 5 pairs in my closet, that is if no one has stolen them yet haha. Other than that i think i´m doing good here, I have 2 camera cards right now so as long as another one doesn´t get lost i think i should be good. Well i think that covers everything that has happened here in my life, well the interesting things at least. I love you guys and i pray for you always. 
Elder Pfister