Well, it sounds like Hermana Noris already informed you guys about the biggest news... Yep i´m now a Zone Leader in the Zone of Chiriquí in the city of David, faraway from the city of Panama (30 km from Costa Rica). My comp is Elder Tanis Reed from Houston Texas i believe. He has 23 months in the mission and is going home on August 1st so i have the pleasure of sending him off. Something interesting is that Elder Collier is also in my zone with an elder that also goes home on August 1st which is before the changes, so it appears that Elder Collier and i are gonna end up being comps again at the end of the change for a few weeks, haha.
So far i´m loving Chiriquí, it´s in the rainy season right now, but it hasn´t been raining very much but it´s been really cool so it´s felt great. Supposedly it´s really hot here when the suns comes out strong but i have yet to see that so i´m happy. The people here are really chill and the life style is more relaxed and easy going and it feels like the size of Logan, big enough to have shops and stuff but not too big that it´s a snarled mess so i´m diggin it. Yeah, the two coldest (temperature wise) areas in Panama are close by Boquete which is in my zone and then there is this volcano that is like 2 hours away so i´m excited to go feel the cold again.
The bus ride does take like 7 to 9 hours to get here depending on traffic and it´s a pain but the buses are pretty comfortable but traveling that far in anything is uncomfortable. And i have to go back to Panama on Wednesday for the monthly ZL meeting so that will consist of leaving Tuesday night and traveling the whole night, going to the meeting Wednesday morning and then heading off back to David to arrive here sometime around 3 or 4 am; sounds exhausting, we´ll see how it goes haha. The cool thing is that i will have a chance to meet Pres. Carmack.
During changes to say goodbye to President Ward we all just gave him cards and pictures of ourselves with things written on them. At the end of all the changes they both talked to the entire group, it was sad but they gave good talks. Hermana Ward talked about how she has an eternal family and how she wants to see all of us in the Celestial Kingdom with our eternal families. Pres Ward talked about alot of things and pretty much just talked about obedience and how much he loves us and has loved being our president, and encouraged us to work hard and do everything right in the mission and after. Well, Presidente and Hermana Ward should be getting home today to the States....
I talked to Elder 'Atuake in the changes, he is ZL in San Miguelito and he said he didn´t get the packages yet but someone told him that they had arrived i think and he just needed to picked them up i think.
So my zone is half of the city of David and everything to the north. We have 14 missionaries in the zone, 6 elders and 8 sisters. The areas are Doelguita with us and 2 sisters. Las Lomas with 4 sisters. Lassonde with Collier and his comp and 2 sisters, and we have Boquete with sisters there.
My area is sweet so far because we have some way cool investigators and they are all families that we are helping so here we go, the rundown....
There´s D_____ and J______. D_____ is already a member but inactive for 20 years. He´s a very successful lawyer who has some impressive stories of standing up for what he believes in in his job. For example he works with land and this politician wanted to take this beach front land from some poor people to build a hotel and when they went to D_____ to tell him to allow it he said he wouldn´t do it, so the people he was dealing with said you will do it or we will fire you and he said "fire me then", and that´s what they did, they fired him, but he took them to court and won. He has quite a few stories like that because the government and other powerful people can be corrupt here i guess. So he is really smart and stands up for everything, so he would be a great leader in the church. i really like him, he is really cool. And one funny part is that he´s starting a screen printing company on the side and i helped him set up some of the stuff that they weren´t familiar with because that is exactly what i was doing with Jason in the Logo Shop. Anyway, J_____ is his girlfriend of 13 years and is not a member. She is really sweet person too and when we explained the Book of Mormon she accepted it really well and she has a desire to read and study more. We´re trying to help them get married so she can get baptized because she does like the church. Lots of her family are members but their problem is that they have always invited her to church and talked about the church but they never explained anything about it so she needs to be taught and guided into the Church.
Another part member family we have is N____ and A__ L____. AL has been a member for a long time with a few times going inactive but right right she is really active. He husband doesn´t come to church because he went once and was just bored so yesterday we talked to him and explained the difference between going to church and doing church stuff and being converted to the church and how with everything we do with God, we have to do it with faith and a sincere desire to learn and progress or else we won´t go anywhere. After helping him understand that he has to put a mental and spiritual effort in and not just physically showing up, he kinda had a light bulb moment and was like wow you´re right and got really excited to start reading and going to church again but this time with his new way of looking at things and studying. So that was last night, and they are not married either and he never wanted to get married... until this morning when she called us and said, hey my husband wants to get married, what do we have to do? We were in shock but then like, um ok well this and that. We´re heading there today or tomorrow to start that whole process, exciting!
We have a few more people and families but i haven´t really gotten to know them so i can´t say that much but as time goes on i´ll let ya know what´s up. My ward has about 80 people coming every week but we have one of the best Bishops in Panama, he is way awesome and way involved in the mission work. The stake president wants to split the ward, but we hope that doesn't happen for alot of reasons.
One cool thing is that Elder Collier lives in the apartamento of some gringo from Texas and we live close to them so they are inviting us to a 4th of July party. I´m way pumped for this change, we´re 4 missionary gringos way close and good friends so it´ll be a party on that U.S. holiday (we'll talk Church to the non-member gringos too). Also my comp is going to play tennis for BYU so he wants to go back in shape so we´re starting to wake up at 6 to do exercises so i can get back into that now.
Thanks for all the news from home, i can´t respond to all of it but i read it all! I´m glad to know everything is going well for everyone. I was thinking about when i would like to come back here and i think i would prefer before school starts like December but if it´s not possible that´s cool too, whatever works. Well i think that wraps things up for this short week.
Working so much with families here has been awesome because it´s helped my testimony alot about how the families can be eternal and how that is our purpose here on the earth, get a family and raise everyone in the gospel. There is no greater joy than having a family centered on Jesus Christ and when it is centered on Him, it´s a happy and united family that can work through any problems and always coming out winning like champs! I´m unbelievable pumped to help all these families reach their dreams of being eternal. And i gotta say, thanks a ton Mom and Dad for raising our family with the gospel and making us an eternal family, it´s always a comfort to know that we will always be together forever! I love you guys, Take care!!