Monday, October 29, 2012

Que Xopa Mae!

Que Xopa Mae!
Haha, ¨Que Pedo loco¨ is just  a slang way to say what´s up, but it literally means ¨what a fart¨ which is funny because my comp says it all the time, so the other gringos and I always say it now to joke with him. It´s fun to learn all the dumb slang sayings here because in English they make no sense at all, so that´s why i start my letters like that, just so ya know. 
We are going to be moving into our new house this week and now we´re only going to be living 2 missionaries in each house, as the other elders found their own house. Now President Ward wants us to find another house because he plans on putting 2 more sisters in our area so we´ll have 6 missionaries here in Penonome. The Panama mission is about to get 80 new missionaries and 60 are going to be sisters, WOW!  Usually we get around 5-15 new missionaries a month, and now they plan on putting 2 more missionaries in every area. They said that there are around 10,000 new missionaries going to the mission field in the next few months. Our mission is almost going to double in size, & i wonder if they will split it into 2 missions soon...
As for our investigators it was an empty sacrament meeting this Sunday, as we didn´t have any investigators show up. We probably won´t have many people there next week either because these upcoming weeks are holidays like Patriot Days and lots of other random holidays, and that means rough times for missionary work. There are a few days coming up where we will not be allowed to leave our house because there will be too much partying and stuff going on. Speaking of not leaving, did you guys see anything in the news about Panama lately? The whole country was practically in civil war against the government. There were like 50 deaths and tons of people injured all over, but mostly in Colon. The government tried to pass some law that would make lots of people lose their jobs so they rebelled and in a big way. This whole week they had like the Army of Panama roaming the streets trying to calm things down but they weren´t successful. There were huge shoot outs, bombings, fires and all that good stuff. We weren´t allowed to leave our house on Friday because of the rioting here. It´s been crazy but i guess they solved it and got things settled down. The government of Panama always seems to be in a fight against the people in some way. 
 But back to our investigators, Manuel is still reading the Book of Mormon and loving it, but couldn´t come to church because of some extra job he had to do - but he said he´ll come this week. Lebsi, this girl that Segura and I found and taught is going to be baptized on Saturday which is cool, i´m not the missionary teaching her anymore, but it´s still cool because its my old area and i found her.   
We met and taught this drunk guy which was kind of a funny story. We went to this house to have a family home evening with these members and he was just standing outside and starting talking to us about how his wife left him and that he wants to find God and quit drinking and all that stuff. Well, the family let him come in for our family home evening lesson and we focused the lesson towards him. I'm not sure how much he got out of it or what he will remember but hopefully it helps him. Anyway we went to visit him later in the week and when we get there his neighbors tell us how the police came that day and they took him to jail because of something he had done earlier and he had been hiding from the authorities. We can´t do much now to help him but hopefully he remembers our teachings to him. 
One thing that is kinda miserable is that i'm sick right now, just with a cold or something, not serious but it´s a pain and speaking in spanish when you don´t have a voice is quite difficult haha. Ill be fine but i never thought i would get a cold from rain when it's 75 degrees outside, haha.

Here the only thing the Panamanians really do for Halloween is a lot of partying and stuff like that. There are a few little neighborhoods where the kids go out to get candy but not very much, nothing like back at home. Elder  Kniff and I plan on dressing up a little in a missionary way, haven´t decided how but we´ll do something. I wonder if we´ll be able to work with all the partying and drinking...

I should be getting some packages and mail this Friday when the ZL´s get back from their meeting in Panama City. Here out in the middle of nowhere the mail is very scarce so when it comes it´s more like Christmas, haha. I can´t really think of anything that i need right now, but i´ll let ya know. 

Well i got to go, today isn't actually p-day for us this week, we´re going to some beach on Friday as a zone, but we don´t have enough money right now so we´re waiting till we get the money to do it, but i figured you guys might freak out if i didn't write you till Friday haha  - am i right? 

I love you guys so much and i think about you and pray for you everyday! Thanks for everything and take care! 
Elder Pfister

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Que Pedo Loco!

Que Pedo Loco!
    Well, this was an interesting week because we spent nearly every day looking for a house, and right now we´re in the school semester, so there is not a single house or apartment or room available! Holy cow looking for houses is so boring, especially dressed as missionaries most people just thought that we were trying to preach to them so they wouldn´t even let us ask about houses. So on Friday after all week of looking with no success at all, we went to see this referral - a person that is a less-active woman and her non-member daughter, so we taught them and at the end of the lesson, I randomly asked her if she knew of a house for rent and she was like, "oh what luck, we own a house and the people are going to move out on the 3rd of this month." We lucked out because this house is super close to the church and also close to the house where we eat lunch everyday, so we won't have to take a bus everyday. The only problem is that they are moving out on the 3rd and we have to be out of our house on the 30th, so we may be living with a member or something for a few days haha -that should be interesting.
    So news from my old area isn´t that great, the 'bus station' lady was really positive, but her husband was really negative towards the church and it started causing problems in the house, so she asked the missionaries not to come back because she doesn´t want problems with her family. We didn´t have anyone in church this week either... Manuel, this really positive guy who´s loving the Book of Mormon and is a good friend with this member was going to come. But through a combination of over-sleeping and miscommunication, he ended up not coming this Sunday, but we're optimistic he'll make it next Sunday. 
   And we're excited because next week we have some good appointments. We have two moms who both have daughters who want to be baptized after they got taught the lesson, plus we have this couple where the husband is already a member but his wife is not, so we´re going to start the process of getting them married, so i don´t know if they´ll be baptized this change but in the future I'm certain they will. Marrying people in this country is a super pain but hopefully they´ll help us out if they really want her to get baptized. I really hope we can find Manuel this week, he works downtown so i´m going to try find him this week so that we don´t lose him. This next week i´m going to work super hard to make up for this week, as we lost some days looking for a house, and this is the last week to find new people who will be able to be baptized this change, so we´re going to go at it hard.
    Though this week wasn´t super spiritual because we didn´t teach that much, i felt like the Lord blessed us,  and also retaught me the lesson that if you work hard, you may not see results super fast but the blessings will come in time, and they will be better than you expected. I was really tired of looking for houses, and in the end a house was put in our path, plus we ended up with a good investigator to go with it, haha.
    Sounds like you guys are enjoying life there with the trip you have planned to Belize. Brit looks really pregnant from the picture you sent, and it´s weird seeing her like that but exciting too, soon í´ll be an uncle, haha. I love you guys and i hope ya have a great week! Cuidense!
Elder Pfister

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Homeless in Panama...

Hola family,
     Well, I now have a year in the mission and holy cow that went by super super fast! I never really believed people who said that the mission flies by, but now i´m saying it too. To celebrate, Elder Kniff and I  (we both have the same amount of time), we first went to this really good Burger place and bought these big ol burgers with bacon and everything, mmm they were sooo good! Then we went home and wrote on one of our white shirts, and then burned them (mission tradition) and i got a video of it, it was sweet! Those shirts really do burn fast, i hope i´m not wearing it if one ever catches on fire.
    This week has been all about looking for references that we have received from our 'rescue' activity. We´ve had quite a bit of success so far, but it´s tough finding houses here with just a little description and no address. We had two ward members bring friends into church this Sunday too and one of them had been a couple times before, and he said he always likes it. I gave him a Book of Mormon during the class and explained a little to him, and he started reading and just kept reading the whole time we were in class, and after said that it was really interesting. The cool thing is that he works everyday except for Sundays, and he has every Sunday off so that´s perfect! Also this lady brought her cousin in to Church with her two babies, and she seemed to have a good time; my comp sat next to her during the meetings so i´m not as sure how positive she is but i´m sure we´ll go visit her this week so i´ll let ya know.
    One funny that´s happening to us is that we are being kicked out of our house! The landlady is kicking us out because i guess since the missionaries started living here, they were supposed to share the expenses and work of taking care of the back yard area, but they have never done it and they didn´t tell the next missionaries they had to do it, so when we got here we didn´t even know. Well, yesterday she found us and told us that we have until the 30th to get out of the house, haha. Yesterday we started our house search, hopefully we can find one and not be too distracted from missionary work while dealing with all this. 
   With the new announcement that people can leave earlier for the missions (age 18 for women; age 19 for men) there were alot of girls in the district that have decided right away that they are going on a mission as soon as they can. Alot that are 19 or close to that age talked to the Branch President on Sunday to start their papers. I think the existing missions are going to be overwhelmed with new missionaries and that they are going to open up some new missions maybe. I know that here in this mission Pres. Ward already has the problem of giving new missionaries a trainer that is obedient and that has some time and experience in the mission. It should be interesting but i like the change. I always thought that if they lowered the date they would get alot more sisters out in the field and the sisters are super spiritual and keep the elders in check sometimes, haha.
    Man, it is so rainy here, we are entering the real rainy season and for the next few months it will rain everyday and a ton! The roads here literally look like rivers with a foot or so of water in them. Makes missionary work difficult because if you get soaked some people don´t want to let you in but then some are more willing to let you in, but i think i prefer the sun to rain. It´s funny, Panamanians are so afraid of the rain, like they really don´t want it to touch them at all, they will do silly things to avoid getting wet, like for example we always see people here with a piece of something over their head - like a box from a fast food joint trying to stay dry, but it doesn´t really work.
    Yeah Elder 'Atuake is with Elder Moreno from Mexico right? I know Moreno he is really cool i like him alot and he´s a good missionary so it should be sweet for Atuake. And i met Elder John Stegelmeier in the changes meeting, his trainer is Elder Clarke and he´s a great missionary and he´s in Juan Diaz where i was. Clarke wasn´t too excited about training there because it´s kinda tough, but i´m sure their going to do good work.
   Sounds like Grandpa´s 85th birthday party was a fun time. I want to see some of these war story videos sometime. You guys seem to be doing alot of traveling lately to random spots, i´m jealous, haha.
    My skin infections are pretty much gone, I still have some scars from where it was but it´s pretty much good now. I still have really itchy legs for some reason, it randomly gets really really itchy, i´m not sure what it is, but i´m alot better at just overpowering the will to scratch it and it goes away eventually.  
    I have some random questions that i´ve wondered being here in the mission field. How many people are in our ward at home? Are there alot of inactives? You said Mason is your only 11 yr old scout and it made me think, here in this branch, we have 2 active deacons and nothing else.
    I´m excited for this week because i hope we can find and teach all these references that we received from our rescue activity, and that we can get some good baptisms. We had two baptisms this Saturday, but they were two 10 year olds from different families, but we did make the families complete. I felt bad, one family didn´t even have 60 cents to pay for the bus fare to the church for the little kid and the mom, the branch pres had to go pick them up. I can´t imagine living a life where i don´t have 30 cents to take a bus. We all need to look at our lives and realize how great we have it. But i know that part of what we have are blessings that come from the gospel because when we dedicate ourselves to the gospel, the Lord provides for us. I know that if we put our trust in the Lord He will help us out in all things. Thanks for everything you guys do and i hope you guys have a great week! I love and miss you!
Elder Pfister

Monday, October 8, 2012

Q' Xopa Loco!!

Que Xopa!
    Well i kinda had changes but nothing too big. There were 4 elders in the house with us but they took out the two from the other area and sent them somewhere and they put me and my new companion in that area and they kept my kid (former companion Elder Segura) and his new comp in my old area. So now i´m kinda opening another area because i don´t have any investigators or anything because the departing missionaries didn´t leave us anything to work with, haha. I´m ok with it because i still know the area pretty well and now i just get a new start for investigators. My new comp is Elder Castejon from Tegulcigalpa, Honduras,  I knew him before this area, so i didn´t have the awkward "getting to know him" part which was tight. He´s cool and i think we´re going to work well together. 
    As for my illnesses... They´re pretty much gone, but i´ve noticed your concerns with all your loving emails, haha :) so i will still go to the hospital or buy all that stuff you suggested or both, no worries! But really i´m pretty much healed so it´s all good!
   For my birthday we celebrated it on Tuesday (i know that's bad luck), in the house of our lunch cook. They started by smashing eggs on my head then dumping flour all over me. Then we exploded a pinata, had a flour fight, and then ate cake and ice cream which they also smashed in my face. It was a party, and super fun and i got some good pictures of it for you guys! 
   I can´t believe i already have one year in the mission... Time has flown by so fast! The fastest year of my life and they say that the first year of your mission is slow compared to the last. I´m super excited for the upcoming year, i hope to achieve lots here!
    I was able to watch most of the General church conference (broadcast from Salt Lake City), but the signal kept cutting out for us here but the parts i saw i loved! Church conference is always something to look forward to for me, which is a change because i remember not too long back conference was just a chance to stay home and sleep which watching a little, haha. We had two new investigators come to the church, which we didn´t even invite, but they both liked it alot so hopefully they´re open to being taught too.
    So the Rescue activity we did a few weeks ago is really paying off now especially for us since we´re starting off with nothing in our new area, because we now have a ton of references from the rescue activity of menos activos and part member families. That´s what we spent the major time doing, searching out these referrals so we can start working with them. The Herreros, the senior couple who i think will be part of the seventy soon, are going to work alot with us because they think our area has the most potential of all the zone. Other than that we´ve just been trying to find any old investigators the others were teaching; it´s a struggle but a rewarding one in the end. 
    Thanks for all your concerns for all my diseases and stuff, and don´t worry i really am taking care of it following your advice and everything you sent me. I´m glad to hear that you guys had a fun conference weekend and that Brit is doing good still! Don´t forget to take pictures of her as her belly grows, because i can´t picture Brit pregnant looking, haha. 
    I love you guys muchisimo and i miss and pray for you guys everyday. I hope you enjoyed the conference and are able to use it because i know by experience and by seeing others use it that those are the words of God spoken to us through His living Prophet and Apostles, and that they are for our benefit. I know that President Thomas Monson is a true prophet and he just reaffirmed that status to me with this conference with everything he said. They always seem to talk about the one thing i need at the time to help me spiritually, and i know that if we listen carefully we'll find the answers to our questions too. They are inspired men here on the earth to bless us, we should take advantage of that :) haha. 
I love you guys!
Les Amo,
Elder Pfister

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Hola Familia

   Well, i always seem to confuse you guys about changes haha, we have changes this Wednesday so i still don´t know who´s going or where to, but i´ll be sure to let you guys know when i find out. My rash is kinda going away, my whole body still itches terribly, you guys know any American solutions for itchiness? The Panamanian solutions aren´t workin for me, ha ha. Other ailments that i´ve had have mostly just been other skin infections, rashes, allergies and weird stuff, but nothing super serious just a big pain to live with.
 I might have to make this letter a little shorter because we got home late and the internet place is about to close.
    So that lady who contacted us in the bus terminal, we went to her house and found that there are 14 people that live there and almost all of them listened to us - so wow that´s a huge family. She seems really positive and she really likes us even though we hardly know her, as she made us food and we would ask if there was something that we could do to help her and she would just say that she didn´t want us to leave, haha. 
   We did an activity this Saturday which we called a rescue here in the branch. We had all the missionaries from the zone and all the members that were willing come to the church early and we took the list of members and we organized all the less or non-actives into areas where they lived and we sent one member with a missionary out to find them. We went to find out if they still lived there, who lives with them and if they have family and if they have died or moved so that we can clean up the list of members and we can know who are the members that we should focus on to help reactivate. It was a really great success! It was organized by this Senior Missionary who has served 6 missions. He said that we are going to showing up in the Liahona with our story of this rescue activity, because he wants us to be an example for all of Latin America that is struggling with inactivity. I went out with this member who has a car, so i got a sweet deal and it amazing how much we got done because of how fast we could get from place to place compared to using buses. Also using this method of finding less active members we also potentially find lots people who may be baptized because we can complete families that are part member and that strengthens the family.
    One funny thing that i forgot to tell you... when we were first looking for Elisa, the neighbor of the second counselor, we went down this little dirt road and when we passed this house i got attacked by this big ol´ dog, and i had to keep kicking it in the face so i wouldn´t eat me till my comp threw a rock at it. Anyway the next day we had the counselor show us where the girl lived and he took us right to that house where the dog came from, and they had seen their dog attack us but they don´t really like us, the parents don´t, so they didn´t do anything, haha. Well, since we´ve been going there a lot, i´ve been attacked by so many dogs lately, that i´ve gotten real good at kicking dogs in face so they don´t eat me for a snack. And it´s always me that they attack because my comp is super afraid of dogs, so he always uses me as a shield between him and the dogs. Dogs are a super pain here but i´ve lost my fear of dog attacks now, haha.
     Hey good news, your letter with the camera card finally arrived!  Incredible after all this time.

    Well, it sounds like things are all good at home; i´m jealous about the Belize trip that Mom and Dad going to take! We've gone to some super nice beaches here with supposedly really good scuba diving, and man i really miss that now that i´m so close to it but can´t do it. Also it was great to hear that Britt is doing good, GOOD LUCK Britt i´m constantly praying for ya and the baby because i´m pumped to be an uncle! Haha I love you guys and i´m grateful for everything you do!
Elder Pfister