Monday, December 31, 2012

Todo Cool Mo!!

Q´ Xopa Mo!!
     Well,  it was great to be able to talk to you guys over Skype, it made me super trunky the whole day, but oh well i loved it.  My Christmas present to myself was a thing of Pepperidge Farm cookies which I enjoyed immensely, haha. So on Christmas we first went to breakfast with the branch president, we ate a little bit of pear, apple, orange, mandarina, turkey, jam and cake with hot chocolate and saril, which is this weird flower drink that is spicy. After that we talked to you guys then we went to lunch, where we had cheesy potatoes and turkey. From there we went to a few member´s houses to wish them merry Christmas and they gave us random cakes and goodies. Then we finished the day off with dinner, which was mashed potatoes and gravy and turkey. It was a chill day but it was nice.
    So we´ve had some pretty cool experiences this week. We didn´t really have that many investigators when I got here, so we decided to dedicate ourselves to contacting to find some new ones and we found some pretty positive people. One guy named Jorge we found and we started talking to him and we found out how he was in jail for something, but that while he was in jail he started thinking about life and God and starting reading the Bible and kinda got a new outlook on life and wanted to change things. We explained to him that the best way to start fresh and new was to start clean with God by being baptized, and we asked him if he had been baptized like Jesus taught us and he said, Well no, i was baptized as a child in one church but that´s not like Jesus´ baptism. It was cool because on his own he recognized that his baptism wasn´t valid and that isn´t the way we should be baptized, and he accepted a baptismal date for January.
    Another cool thing is that we contacted this family and started talking to them and the first thing they did was let us in, but then they said, "well we´re part of this certain church and we´re not going to change but we always listen to the word of God." Pretty much everyone from that church says that to us, haha. Well, anyway so we started teaching them about the restoration of the Church and how the authority of God had been lost so people formed their own churches and that´s why we have so many churches today. We explained about Joseph Smith and his question of which church is the true church, and we asked the mom how she thinks that we can find out which church is the true one. She just stood there for a second and said she didn´t know so we explained about prayer and stuff and after that, she was like, "well wait, which church is the true church? Now i wanna know." We gave her something to read to answer her question, and we went back there during the week and in the second visit she also accepted a baptismal date in January.
    The thing about these contacts for me was that at first they were both not very positive initially, and we didn´t think anything was going to come from them, but letting the Spirit touch their hearts, they had their hearts softened and opened and at the end they were both willing to give it the test to see which church is the true one. We also had a new investigator come to church on Sunday, and we have an appointment with her this week to see how she liked it.

    That´s too bad about your Nikon underwater camera, mine is working fine. I really like that it´s water proof and tough because i can take it to service projects and not worry about it or if it´s raining, which it´s always raining here, haha. Speaking of photos, i would like some of the photos in Australia when we went to that lake and Mike and i were rope swinging into it, that was fun and i remember Brit took some fun pics of it. Also any pictures of me skiing. And mostly just pictures of things that you don´t find here, and cool vacations we´ve had. The people here like the pictures of things that don´t exist in this part of the world.

   It´s weird that Mom and Dad are going on a vacation to a tropical hot area to escape the cold, because I get tired of the heat, and i miss the cold haha, Let´s just switch places, it´s super hot here right now. haha. I´m jealous, i wanna go scuba diving and all that stuff, so enjoy it for me!

    Don´t worry about me, as Colon isn´t to dangerous for missionaries, everyone here knows who we are and they usually leave us alone, or just mess with us by yelling stuff, but it´s funny more than dangerous. And of course i´m not going to fight if they rob me, i´ll just give them everything i have, which is usually like 2 bucks haha. Don´t worry, be happy :)
    Well, I gotta go but i know that this is the work of the Lord and that was confirmed to me this week with the great contacts we had this week, as the Lord puts people in our way, we just have to be able to recognize them and then help them on the path to the truth. I love you guys and it was great to get to talk and see your faces, it was great to Brit and her big belly, hahaha. Good luck with all the baby stuff and just remember that you are in my prayers, you all are! Love you and take care!
Elder Pfister

Feliz Navidad!!!

Feliz Navidad!
    Christmas Eve!!  Well, i´m not going to write alot since we´re going to Skype tomorrow,  but i have big news! I got changed to a new area, i´m now in Margarita, Colon! What a change because Colon is super ghetto.  I will adjust to the new area, it was just a shock.  Apparently I got sent a 2nd time to La Chorrera, and another elder got sent for the 2nd time to Colon, so when the mission office realized what had happened they decided to switch us.  My new companion is Francisco Perez from Mexico city, Mexico. 
    Now, i think i´m going to try to skype  tomorrow morning probably around 10 or 11 in the morning Panama time. Now that i´m in a new area it changed everything, becuase i had it all planned out, but now i don´t know anyone so it was a little tough. But this member invited us to eat breakfast there and they have a computer so i´m gonna ask them tonight. Either way i´ll be calling you by phone today or tomorrow to set it up. 
   I´ll talk to ya soon! 
Elder PFister

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Casi 'Feliz Navidad'

Q` Onda!
    Well before i forget i really liked the comic you sent me about the missionary that opened his present early, it gave me a good laugh.
    This Saturday we had a baptism, we were able to baptize Alisson, the girl with 13 years but the other girl Gisela that has 15 years old, we couldn´t baptize her because her parents wouldn`t let her get baptized. I`m not sure if we will be able to convince them either. But ya never know, but it won`t be easy. Same with getting the family of Alisson into the Church, they have their issues too but the mom is a lot more receptive so i have more hope that we can help out there. As for the baptism it went pretty well, except that it was raining and Panamanians have a huge fear of rain and getting sick so nobody we invited showed up except the family of Alisson and even they showed up almost 40 minutes late, but that`s the Panamanian way haha. It was nice though because the aunt of Alisson is actually a member, but not active but she came to the baptism and liked it and said she was going to try to come to church again soon. Also Alisson and Gisela are fitting in well with the other young women and have gone to mutual and activities with other young women so i hope they stay active in the church even if their families aren't members.

     We had a sad thing happen this week. The daughter of a ward member apparently lost a big check for her company.  The family may have to pay it back and it is causing lots of difficulty.  This family isn`t really well off; they have enough money to survive but not much more so now they have to deal with all this, it really seems impossible for them right now. And it`s been hitting me hard because i really love this family because we eat at their house frequently so we have become really good friends. And they are really really good and sweet people that are always willing to help us with whatever, she`s one of the people here in Panama that i would consider like a Panamanian mom that i can count on for whatever I need, and so it makes me super sad to see them going through all this and i can`t really help them except with my friendship and moral support.

     On a happier note I went to this Stake Christmas activity and i ran into Angel Garcia, one of my first Baptisms when i was in La Seda, remember? Anyway we got to talking and he was telling me how much the gospel has helped him in his life, and that now he is filling out his papers for the mission and is going to send them in when he has one year as a  member in February. He seemed really happy and it made me super happy and content to see one of my baptisms that is letting the gospel bless him. Plus it was fun to talk about how back then i didn`t know much Spanish and i couldn`t understand anything, haha. He said he knew i had the gift of tongues because when i was teaching him, he could understand what i was saying clearly, but when we weren`t teaching, much of the time he couldn`t understand anything I said. And i know it`s true that I did have the gift of tongues, because when i was teaching him, words just seemed to come out that i didn`t even know in Spanish. Also i saw one of our families that I used to eat dinner with,  and i always wanted the mother to teach me how to make what they were cooking, but since i didn`t understand much, she eventually just started teaching with pure hand motions and gestures, haha. It`s great to see people from my old ward and especially Angel, I`m indescribably happy to know that he is going on the mission and is so active in the church. Also Richard another baptism in  La Seda is doing great too, he is a secretary in the ward, and super active in everything. Sadly another family I baptized is not active right now for reasons I don't understand, but they gave me their number and i`m going to call them to see what`s up.

     We got a good reference this week about a family where the husband is a member, mostly inactive but they just a had a baby and they brought him to church to get a blessing, and the wife and kids are not members, but we plan on heading over there soon to see if they are interested in being a family eternal.

    So i have some questions: what happened with this school shooting, i haven`t really heard anything here about it (Newtown Connecticut). Also are people freaking out about the end of the world on Dec. 21st,  and the 3 days of darkness in America supposedly predicted by NASA? People here are freaking out about that. There was one pastor of a certain church and he was selling Rosemarie's (the beaded rosaries with the cross) and he is saying that these are the only things that will save a person,  and only the people that have these certain ones will go to heaven when the world ends soon; people are believing him and he is making a lot of money. Maybe we should start selling the idea of eternal families, a little extra cash, right haha. I personally don`t believe anything is going to happen, not even the 3 days of darkness that some people believe was announced by NASA.

     Last week we just went to the temple, then we went to the Panama canal for a while and then we hung out in the Albrook mall for a while before heading home and when we get home the Internet places were all closed and that`s why i wasn`t able to email till Thursday, but i have the goal to send a letter every week even if it`s a short one.

     I don`t know what it is, but i`m loving the work here in this new area, and i have such a desire to work hard and really give everything to get the work going. There`s not that much different here from my other areas but for some reason it`s animating me to work harder everyday. The ward here is ok,  there are a few members that help us out with references and family home evenings.

   It`s great to hear that the Aggies won their football bowl game, i really really wish i could`ve been there to see it and live the emotion. Man, i really miss football, mostly playing it. Also i hope that Wagner makes NFL defensive rookie of the year, some more Aggie pride to go along with the bowl game win. Too bad for the Philly Eagles, and i don`t want to see Reid fired because he`s the only eagles coach i know but who knows, maybe they`ll get a coach Anderson like the Aggies and he`ll lead them to the Superbowl.

    I understood what you said about my debit card so no worries, here in this area,  i usually don`t need to take out extra money so even without it i`ll live fine. But speaking of that, for our skype session can you have my user name and password for the usu online teller to give to me so i can look at how much i have here and i realize you don`t want to send it over email but i figure over skype should be safe.
    Also i am think of calling you guys this Sunday the 23rd but i`m not sure yet. If i do call on Sunday i`ll probably be calling you on the phone during the week to set that up but if i don`t call i`ll let you know next Monday what the plan is. It could be the 26th (Wednesday) since i bet the internet places won`t be open the 25th.

    As for things that i need, i`m good for now, but if you have anymore Nike dri fit shirts that you want to send me i`d be fine with it :)  haha i really like Aggie one you sent me. And i did get the journal, it was wrapped and i almost saved it to open for Christmas but like the missionary in the comic i couldn't`t wait, plus i read in your note that it was a journal, haha.

     Well i feel like i`m forgetting something to tell you but if i remember i`ll just tell you when we skype. Have some questions ready ok? I can`t believe it`s already time to call home again and that i`m in my last Christmas here in Panama... but i gotta say i`m taking advantage of it and enjoying it to it`s fullest! Man alive, i love the Christmas season so much! It`s such a great time to remember the birth of Christ and to help out others and to be happy and enjoy life. Though i must say, Christmas is way better with snow on the ground. Well, this week  i`ve noticed the love of our Heavenly Father in other people's lives helping them feel loved through every trial, and that they are never forgotten or abandoned. I have a story that maybe you`ve heard before that i love and i shared it with some people with difficulties, and it helped them out alot.

    "One night a man had a dream. He dreamed he was walking along the beach with the Lord. Across the sky flashed scenes from his life. For each scene, he noticed two sets of footprints in the sand; one belonged to him and the other to the Lord.
When the last scene of his life flashed before him, he looked back at the footprints in the sand. He noticed that many times along the path of his life there was only one set of footprints. He also noticed that it happened at the very lowest and saddest times in his life.
This really bothered him and he questioned the Lord about it. "Lord, you said that once I decided to follow you you'd walk with me all the way, but I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life, there is only one set of footprints. I don't understand why when I needed you most you would leave me." The Lord replied, "My precious, precious child, I love you and would never leave you. During your times of trial and suffering when you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you."

I know that this is true and that during the most difficult times of our lives, if we keep the faith then the Lord will be there to carry us and not just walk next to us. I love you guys and i can`t express how grateful i am to have a loving family like you guys to help me out and i can`t wait to be with you guys for the next Christmas time, but there is work to do before then.  Until then take care and be safe and don't forget that i love you and pray for you everyday!
Elder Pfister

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Un poco tarde...

     First off I am sorry this letter is way late, for p-day we went to the temple which isn´t open on Mondays, so we had p-day on Tuesday, but i didn´t have time to write that evening, and Wednesday was a very busy day so here i am writing on Thursday haha. 
     Overall it was a good week. We are probably going to have two baptisms this Saturday. Two teenage girls are friends of this less active family we have been visiting; the girls were there one time when we showed up and so we invited them to church and they came to church with the family and they also came to the Mother`s day activity we had (Mother`s Day is December 8th here). We have been teaching them almost every day because they feel that they are progressing really fast. Also they have really helped this less-active family get to church and to the church activities because they always want to go, but they don`t want to go alone so they take the family with them. I`m not sure if they`ll really be baptized on Saturday, because that would be really fast, because i met them for the first time like a week and a half ago, but i`m confident they will be baptized before the end of the year. Their names are Alisson and Gisela. Another bonus is that their families are not members, but the mom of Alisson came to the Mother`s Day activity and was able to make some friends there and enjoyed it, and now Alisson wants to bring her to church on Sunday, so hopefully we can help her and maybe her whole family to get baptized. 
    Today as we were walking to lunch from a meeting we had this lady came out of her house and starting yelling at us to come over, we just thought it was gonna be nothing, as it typically is when people yell at us, but we went there anyway. We got there and she explained how she and her family are members, but inactive and recently moved from Arraijan, and so they don`t know anyone or where the church is but they would like us to visit them and help them to get back to church - especially one young man in the family because he used to be very active, he went to the temple a lot and was preparing for the mission, but something happened and he fell completely out of the church, and is stuck there so they want us to try to help him out, and i`m hoping we can. But also they have another son that is not baptized that would like to be taught and think about joining, and also the husband is not a member so i`m going to find him and see what we can do to bring him into the gospel. I feel like finding this family is a little blessing from God because i`ve been trying to push my comp and I to work harder, and trying to do everything a little better than what we were doing and now i feel like we`re seeing some blessings with the people we have been able to find and the baptisms we might have. 
     We also had a cool experience the other day... In church  on Sunday this lady came up to us and explained how she is a member, but she has not been active along with her husband but that she has now realized the truthfulness of the gospel and is coming back into the church to stay, however her husband feels he is not ready to come back to church.  So she asked us to randomly show up at her house to teach her husband without him knowing that she asked us to make the visit. Anyway we went to her mom´s house first because we didn´t know where she lived, and when we got there the women's  mother told us this couple was out of town, but that her husband (husband of the mom) was home and that she would like us to talk to him because he´s not member and she would like him to join the church. Well, we talked to him and it started out pretty awkward because we don´t know him at all so we looked at the wife to kind of introduce us and help us out; as it turned out, after this bit of awkwardness, it went very well, and we ended up teaching both of them about eternal families and that really made an impact on him. We asked him if he'd like to be with his family forever and eventually by the end of the lesson, we were able to get him to commit to baptism for the end of the month. I´m not sure if he´ll be able to make that goal, because he has a lot of things he needs to do, including come to church, but hopefully we can convert him and help the family become active again. The cool part was just seeing how the thought of eternal families affected him and got him to start thinking about religion.
     That´s cool that USU football is doing so good, too bad they decided to start winning while i am on my mission, i would love to have seen those games, but it still gives me the right to brag a little to all the BYU missionaries here. I´m not sure why the camera card didn´t get through, as far as i know it´s the same address that you guys have been sending things too. Speaking of which i got your Christmas packages and i´ll be honest, i was going to save the wrapped present till Christmas day but then I read the note and it said in it what the present was - so i opened it haha. But i really enjoyed everything, the custom-made pillow case and the USU jersey that came with it plus all the decorations and ties. I plan on buying a little tree soon to put all the decorations on.... but that might make me super trunky, haha - listening to Christmas music alone makes me super trunky. But the good thing is this is my last Christmas here in Panama! And i´m probably going to spend both my mission Christmases in the same city which is fine with me. We have changes the 20th so maybe i´ll get a new comp or maybe they´ll send me somewhere else but i doubt it. 
    So one funny story to finish up... My comp and I were walking to this appointment we had and we had to cross this little river that has a log over it but it´s questionable to cross, or one can slide down on the mud bank to some rocks in the water to cross, well this day i didn´t feel like doing either and i was feeling athletic and confident that i could just jump over it. So i did... and i made it! But while flying through the air i heard this rip, and then I felt a lovely breeze between my legs and i realized that making big jumps in church pants is not such a good idea. When i landed and looked, i had ripped my pants from almost where the zipper is in front to almost touching the belt loop in back. My comp had a field day laughing at me, because he saw it all happen and now i had to make a long walk in the middle of the day to a member´s house so she could fix it. It was super embarrassing, who knows how many people saw me while i was walking because there was no hiding that huge hole, but oh well now it makes for a funny story, and i learned my lesson, you can´t be an Olympic athlete while in church pants. 
     Well i have to sign off now but i´ll soon be writing you again and soon we´ll be skyping face to face. Thanks for all the packages and all the love that they were filled with. The only thing i can think of that i would like right now are more family pictures and some more pictures of me playing football haha - everyone asks for pictures after i say i played football. Well, thanks for everything and i love  and miss you! Take care!
Elder Pfister

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


    Well this week has been pure service projects with the flooding. It has been really cool to see how the community reacted to help everyone in need. First we had to clean and sanitize and fumigate all the houses because the water was super contaminated with who knows what. From there we helped throw away all the garbage they had, from what got brought in from the water or from what is ruined of their things. It was sad because in one house that we went to, they just had piles and piles of garbage outside ( i have pics) and then inside the house there is literally nothing. Luckily the government reacted fast and got everyone water, beds and some food and then from there the Church did this huge project and bought everyone tons of food and water plus beds for everyone and stoves for cooking and everything they need to live. There is this one member that her house was kinda old so when it got flooded, mud and nasty stuff soaked into the walls so this week we have to go there to knock the whole house down and start over new. Luckily she lives next to her parents so they have somewhere to live during all this. The family home in the picture of me with the house in the background, where you couldn´t even see the roof, well they live super close to the river and this Friday the river flooded again, not as bad but for the people that live close like them, it just started the nightmare over again because everything that had cleaned up, needs to be done again. The mom of the family got up in church to bear her testimony and it was amazing, she talked about how this is just helping her faith because she can see the blessings of being a good church goer but near the end she kinda broke down because she was so sad and frustrated. Overall, the floods did alot of damage physically and emotionally for lots of people, but the church is doing a good job helping out. The coolest thing was seeing the members who don´t have very much to start with, giving so much. We visited this family who´s house is about the size of our kitchen and dining room, but the last time we visited they brought out two huge bags of clothes, a stove, a TV and other random stuff to give to the the affected families and she explained to me how her time in the church has helped her realize how unimportant material things are and that she knows the blessings will come when she helps those in need. 
    Sounds like a fun adventure for Dad in Montevideo, Uruguay. Dad, did you pretend to be a non-member when the two missionaries came and sat by you in Church?  You should next time just to mess with them ha ha. Here all the women give kisses on the cheek, but the men not so much unless they are good friends. I´ve had a couple of people give me kisses here who weren´t members and didn´t know. It was really awkward because i didn´t realized what they were doing at first so i just sat there awkwardly and then when i didn´t kiss them back they just look at me awkwardly... good times ha ha.
        So did the floods here in Panama really make the news in America? what did they say? Luckily the church building wasn´t flooded because it is high up but apparently it is in a dangerous neighborhood so the bishop on Saturday, after they bought all the stuff to give away, asked us to sleep in the church to watch over it and he said we could just sleep on the beds, todo cool...But when we got there they had locked everything up including the beds so we ending up putting chairs together to sleep on. It was super super uncomfortable but kinda a fun time sleeping in the church haha. 
    Well i have to finish up but i´ll do it saying how i´ve really come to realize the true joy of offering service to someone that really needs it. You can see in their eyes and feel in your heart that you are doing something great and you grow to really care and love them. Though it was terrible what happened, it was great to see how everyone opened their hearts to help out and give what they could. Service and charity really is the true love of Christ! I love you guys! Take care and enjoy the Christmas season that is soon coming!
Elder Pfister