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!