Friday, November 30, 2012


Hey Hey Hey!
    Well the biggest thing that happened here, as you can probably tell from the pictures, the whole town of Chorrera is under a mountain of water! OK, not the whole town but most of it. My house didn`t get flooded  but some neighbors close by did. What apparently happened is that it rained a ton in Colon and the Canal was filling up with too much water so someone opened the gates where the boats pass through to let some water out, and so much water came out that it flowed into the rivers and is flooding everything downstream. Martinelli the Panamanian President is really angry about that, according to the news, because the person didn`t have permission to open the gates. Yep, so now there are a ton of houses that you can`t even see anymore because the water is like 10 feet higher that their roofs! Yesterday we went out visiting all the members and investigators we have to see if they were ok and everyone got out fine but they lost pretty much everything. A recent convert that we have been visiting has her house almost completely underwater. If you look in the pictures where i`m standing in the water, the house in the back on the left side of the picture i think, that is her house. One member who works are a repairman fixing washing machines and stoves and stuff like that had his house covered in water. I`m guess that at the peak his roof was sitting about 15 feet underwater because his neighbors house is like 10 feet above his and you could barely see the roof sticking out a little. And even worse for him is that he had all his projects, like the washing machines, fridges and stoves just sitting outside in his back yard. When we came you just saw a bunch of stuff floating above his house but most of it got washing away by the river so who knows what he`s going to do about work and they didn`t have time to get stuff out of the house before it got flooded so everything inside got ruined too. The officials were telling everyone to stay out of the water ( i found this out after i got in it) because it had a bunch of chemicals and gas in it from some tanker the river washed down stream and that the water was really unhealthy. I walked through it before i found that out to help this member get some things out before they got ruined. Pretty much it was a huge mess yesterday and it means i`m going to have a lot of service projects cleaning stuff this week haha. 
    Well in other news, we found a cool family that we are teaching that wants to get baptized and are positive just that the husband is hesitant to get married, but we are working with that so i`m hoping we can baptize this family of 5 in December for Christmas. But the floods caused more problems because their house got covered too so i don`t know if marriage will be the first thing on their mind right now. We were able to baptize Anthony this past Saturday but he wasn`t able to be confirmed because the river blocked him from getting to church so we`ll do that next week - but the baptism was really special. We did it with the hermanas from a different area and there was a lot of people there and a great spirit so it turned out great! 
    Sadly i gotta run, but as for me and everything, it`s all good. Don`t worry about me! Tell everyone hi for me. I miss you guys and every week closer to Christmas i miss you a little more, haha. Take care! I love you!
elder Pfister

Monday, November 19, 2012

Chicheme algien?

    Well I got changed but i´m a little sad because they sent me back to La Chorrera where i started my mission and where i spent last Christmas - so i´m going to be spending both of my Christmases here. But i´m not really that bummed because i like my new area (different area than the first time) and my comp and everything is good for now. My area is called Barrio Centro and i´m in the zone of Chichemito. My comp is Saul Xicotencatl Luciano from Mexico City. He has 5 months on the mission, got here with my son (new missionary that I trained) actually. My DL is Elder Brown my old comp from Juan Diaz, and the zone i am in is cool so i´m excited about this change. We don´t have a ton of investigators but we hit the ground running with the work. We are hopefully going to have a baptism this Saturday (makes up for the baptism i left in Penonome); he is a young man and he is really cool, & he came to some activities with us and i like him so it´ll be fun to baptize him. We have a few other people that Elder Luciano says could be baptized here in December so we´ll be working with them. The ward here is pretty cool, normal i guess, but there are some cool spiritual families that i hope to work with to set up family home evenings with our investigators.
    So to go to a new area the missionaries always travel by bus to all the areas so if you have to go to Bocas del Toro, it´s a 13 hour bus ride. Luckily Chorrera is only an hour away from Panama City. If a missionary is in Bocas or David and is going to a new area that is close to those cities, they don´t go to changes (i.e, meeting) in Panama City,  they just go to their new area so that they don´t waste time traveling so much.
   This week there are no real holidays, people here are aware of Thanksgiving day but they don´t celebrate it. I don´t think i´ll be having a delicious meal this year unless the one gringo in the ward invites me over, if he still remembers that it´s Thanksgiving haha. Last year in the MTC they feed us very well, and we got to watch a movie and other things, so it was chill; this year i imagine i will be walking the streets working on T-day, haha. As for what Mom has heard about the MTC being long for missionaries,  in looking back on it i really enjoyed the MTC and it didn´t feel that long to me.
   That´s awesome that USU is ranked in the Top 25 in football now, i can brag it up here now since most people here went to BYU. Too bad i´m not there to enjoy it too, hopefully they will continue this great run in football when i get home.
    So one thing you might notice is that my comp is really obedient (which is good, don´t get me wrong) and i want to keep it that way so now i am only going to be using an hour of internet instead of an hour and half  which is what i used to take to write you so my letters might be a littler shorter, but i´ll try to get in all the good stuff but just so you know why they are not as long or detailed. With that i have to finish up now, but i hope to have some good stories for you in the upcoming weeks about our adventures but until then take care and i love you!
Elder Pfister

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

La ultima carta desde Penonomé

¿Cómo Estáis? 
      Well as for our baptism of Manuel, we decided to move it to this upcoming Sunday so that he isn´t as rushed and can understand things better which is kind of a bummer for me because i´m getting changed (transferred) and I won´t be here, but my comp is staying so i´m sure he´ll get it done. The Mission President told me yesterday that i´m for sure getting changed but i still don´t know where i´m going so i´ll find all that out Thursday. They changed the day of changes for some reason, now it´s Thursdays in case you wanted to know. I´m kinda sad to leave Penonome because i really like it here but it´s always exciting to go somewhere else and get to know a new part of the country. 
     We didn´t have any investigators in church this week because Manuel had to go to some family thing and our other investigator slept in... But it was an interesting sacrament meeting anyway because it was the primary program, and it was somewhat less organized than we'd see in our ward.  One highlight was these two kids who recently got sealed as a family (the dad passed away around a year ago) and they shared their testimonies about their experience in the temple and their talks weren't planned but it turned out to be the best part of sacrament meeting, because though they are only 6 and 4 years old they still got a grasp of how important it is, and how spiritual the temple is. They realized that because of what they did there in the temple, they are now an eternal family. 
    While in Chitré on a split with another missionary, my comp and I were looking for this family that they were teaching and when we showed up at the house this teenage girl came out and said that everyone was asleep except the kids and her, and my comp decided to just teach them a little lesson so he started teaching the little kids and the girl couldn´t really get involved so I just started telling her what my comp was explaining to the kids - and then her boyfriend showed up and I just started teaching those two alone (we weren´t really alone, we were all on the front porch but my comp was kneeling down with the kids on one end of the porch, but he was explaining things in a way that is boring for adults so i just started explaining things for the girl and her boyfriend) while my comp taught the kids. Anyway before i realized it, I looked over for my comp and all the little kids were gone and i looked across the street where one of the kids lived and they were all over there; they introduced my comp to their parents and he started teaching them all, so it was interesting because i´m sitting on one side of the street teaching this couple, and he´s on the other side teaching this completely different family, ha ha. It was strange teaching alone and just being more than 10 feet away from my comp while teaching. So the spiritual part is that while talking to her i found out the girl I was teaching had no idea what the purpose of her life was or what was waiting for her after this life and she had always wondered. I explained how we´re here to prepare ourselves to return to our Heavenly Father and we do that by doing certain things like repentance and being baptized. Well near the end of the lesson, i had no idea who these people really were because i had just met them (I had no idea what the other missionaries had planned to teach them) but following the Spirit, I challenged them to be baptized and they both accepted and they said that is this is the way to return to God and that they wanted to be a part of it. The part i like that i may have forgotten to mention is that in the beginning the girl didn´t really want us to teach anything but she decided it was ok if we would just talk to the kids about some random church things and sing a song, but by the end she wanted to be baptized. That´s proof that the Spirit touches people´s hearts and opens them up so they can accept the gospel. Sadly i´m leaving this area, so i probably won´t be able to find out what happens with them but i hope they follow through and get baptized. 
     One thing that is funny that happened to us is that our new duenos of the house where we live brought us over coffee for breakfast and we had to explain to them how we don´t drink coffee and why we don´t, it was kinda awkward but they understood and the next day they brought us hot chocolate instead, ha ha. They are really cool house owners and constantly talking to us and making jokes and stuff and making sure everything is great for us. Too bad i´m leaving now and won´t get to enjoy their great hospitality much longer ha ha. 
    It´s strange but it feels like the weather here in Penonome is cooling down a little, it has felt amazing lately! It´s been cloudy skies but without any rain and a nice breeze which is perfect and i think it was like 85 or 90 F here. I love this weather because usually here in Panama, it´s way too hot or it´s raining cats and dogs so it´s been nice to have a break. I think it´s going to get a lot hotter though because we are going into the hot season where it never rains and it´s always just super sunny all day. Like they say here, in Panama it´s either hot and sunny or hot and rainy, not too much variety here. Now that you guys are talking about how it´s snowing and stuff, man i miss the snow and cold weather. I was talking to this person who was telling me how much they want to go see snow and go sledding or skiing and it made me super anxious to go skiing. Even though i will probably freeze to death when i get home, i´m excited to get to experience cold weather again next winter. I used to think that hot hot weather all the time would be the dream but i realize now how wrong i was. Having seasons like Utah is the best ever, you get cold weather and hot weather and everything in between. 
    So i received some packages! I got my Frisbee, the socks and a package of skin medicine but i only got one package with medicine so i don´t know what happened to the one with the vet meds in it. But oh well it felt like Christmas yesterday getting packages and letters ha, ha - thanks for everything! The Frisbee is perfect and the socks are wonderful, my old ones are still going super strong too. I haven´t had to use the medicine yet, luckily, hopefully i won´t have to but i´m sure i´ll be grateful to have it sometime in the future. 
     Yesterday i hit the 13 month mark which for some reason hit me hard... I´m realizing how fast the time is flying and i don´t feel like i´ve done enough yet. I used to have the conflict that i was excited to go home someday, because well it´s home, but at the same time i thought that if i were to go home at that moment (not that i´m planning on going home early, mostly just reflecting on what i´ve done) anyway i realized that if i were to go right now i would feel super unfulfilled and it brought me to the realization that the only way to go home feeling good is working your guts out and giving 100% of what you have because i always feel that i give like 95 or 90% but never the full 100% so that´s my goal for my new area, give everything and more and hit the ground running hard. 
     Well to wrap up, if there is one thing i´ve really learned here on the mission is that God really does love us and He wants the best for us. He always gives us the chance to be happy and to progress just that sometimes the oportunidad is hidden and hard to find, but i know that when it´s hidden and it costs us something to find it, the reward at the end is greater than we ever thought possible. Always look for the good in life and other people and everything will turn out better! I love you guys and pray for you daily! Take Care!
Elder Pfister

Monday, November 5, 2012

Que Tal!

Que Tal!
    Well, i´ll answer the questions first so i don´t forget... I¨m all healed up now from all the rashes and my sickness - so no worries there. The things in the photo that we were making with the banana leaves were tamales. We made them a few times, once to earn money for our ward activity and the other to help this lady financially with this operation she needed, and we´ve helped to make tamales other times just to help because our lunch cook here makes tamales for a living. I did receive the laminated picture of the 3 of us as missionaries; i got it a long time ago but maybe i forgot to tell you, but thanks i really like it! It´s fun to show people and have them compare to see if we look alike. I haven´t gotten any packages yet but i´m sure there are some sitting in the office waiting to be sent.
   So this week in church we had Manuel come, we had Isabel and Doribel come, and this friend of the person that has us over for Sunday dinner also came, so we had great success even with all the partying that´s going on. This week and during the up coming week is all partying and parades with a bunch of holidays that are right next to each other. One is the independence from Columbia, one is flag day and some others that i forgot what they are but the point is EVERYONE is traveling or partying and we expected to have no one in church even though it was only an hour meeting. But surprisingly we had a decent number of people come plus 3 investigators and our menos activo. Isabel isn´t a member but her mom Doribel is and that´s the family that we are now renting our house from, and since we´ve started talking to her she´s started coming back slowly. Manuel now says that he wants to be baptized this Saturday and in the ocean haha - i´m not sure about the ocean part but if we teach alot i think we can get him baptized this Saturday. He is really enjoying the Book of Mormon and all the times he´s come to church. The friend of our Sunday dinner family is someone that we invited but doesn't live in our area so we handed him off to the other elders.
   This week i spent half the week working in Chitre on divisiones with an elder from there. I went there and his comp came to work with mine in Penonome. I really like Chitre except it is really hot there, way hotter than in Penonome, and one day we had to walk like 2 hours in the sun to get to this appointment (that wasn´t there), so i came out of that looking a little like a tomato, haha. I also ended up buying Mom her Christmas present while i was there from this member, but it´s really fragile so it should be interesting sending it to you guys. We had a good time there and some cool experiences, i just hope some people work out for those missionaries.
   The riots and chaos here has settled down with the government making some agreement with the affected people. And the American Presidential Election is getting alot of news here. Most people here don´t want Romney to win because they say that he wants to get rid of Latin Americans in the states while Obama wants to help them get jobs, so Obama won everyone here with that since they are all Latins haha, but I'm not sure if Romney really said that or if they just misunderstood but now lots don´t like him here and they don´t think he´ll win. I guess we´ll see what happens.
   Today we moved houses finally. Our new house is smaller but since there are only two of us living there it´s ok for me. Plus the new house is about a 2 minute walk from the church and 3 minutes from our lunch lady, so now we can cut out a lot of buses and waiting.
   Sounds like you guys are stressed out right now, except for Britt who is just going on vacations all the time, haha. Dad, I hope everything goes well with the lectures you have to give in Uruguay, i think it would be super cool to go there with you, but being a translator for all those big scientific words would be a challenge haha - being a translator would be tough especially since most things don´t translate over cleanly, especially expressions and jokes. Also Mom, good luck with all the trig classes, and just think of it as a blessing to get to relearn all that stuff you might have forgotten from when you last taught it haha. As for me here in Panama, things are going good. The change is wrapping up, this is my last full week here before i go somewhere else i think, even though i kinda want to stay here longer. Well i love you guys and i pray for you daily! Take care and take some time to have fun and relax!!
Elder Pfister