Sorry i didn`t write yesterday, we had an awesome p-day but it didn`t give us a chance to write. For p-day we hiked up the Volcán Barú - a giant volcano, it was an adventure!! First we left David at 9:45 pm on Sunday night up to Boquete, from there we got a ride up to the trail head and started hiking at 11:30 at night. The hike is 13.5 km or 8.5 miles and apparently it usually takes around 6-7 hours to do. We did it in 4.5 hours arriving at the top around 4:15 in the morning. The problem was that we wanted to see the sunrise at 6 in the morning and on the very top it was way too cold to wait so we waited like 10 minutes down from the summit. We found this little hut thing (in the pics) and we made a fire since we were freezing, and we took a little nap for an hour in the hut. We were so cold so we cuddled up together; I was with Stegelmeier and Perez cuddling for warmth, haha. Anyway at 6 am we went up to the top where there is a weather station and then at the very top there is a cross. We stayed up on top for like an hour taking pictures and messing around, and around 8 am we started back down. Going up wasn`t all that hard; thanks to the exercises we have been doing all change, i didn`t get tired going up and neither did Steg but a few people struggled. But on the way down it was a challenge, more just because of the mental aspect of wanting to be off the mountain. We got down around 11 am, taking lots of breaks to chill and take pics and stuff. Going down we explored alot more because going up it was dark and we couldn`t see anything, but in the morning we could see the beauty of the jungle and surrounding area. We found strawberries and raspberries and other things, fun times. Volcán Barú is 11,397 ft or 3474 m in elevation and i didn`t believe people when they told me but it really does get really cold up there. Maybe because i`m used to Panama heat or something but we all froze! We didn`t go super prepared because i wasn`t willing to buy new clothes or jackets to go, i just took my rain coat and a pair of polyester pants that i found in the house, it helped with the wind but i still was dying. I really loved it, the whole thing was an adventure, hiking in the middle of the night, finding a random hut and sleeping there after making a make-shift fire and then conquering the tallest point in Panama and the one of the tallest volcanoes in Centro America. And i did it with some of my best friends in the mission. We were 10 missionaries - of the people you know there was Perez, Collier, Stegelmeier, Mendez, Aguilar and some other people you don`t know plus two guides from Boquete that are guides of mine for the area plus one recent convert of Steg`s (the boxer guy who we work out with in the mornings). So anyway, probably my favorite p-day of the mission and my last p-day because next week i`m just going to be visiting people in the city.
Anyway as spiritual things go, it`s marchin along slowly. Y_____ came to church, she has always been Catholic and in church she said she felt really weird and not comfortable because she didn`t understand much of what was going on, which is a huge bummer because she wanted to be baptized this Sunday but i`m not sure now... we`ll see. She still wants to listen to us, but the church service confused her, because it`s not like the individual lessons where we can explain everything slowly and clearly. I still have hope for her baptism, but i don`t know if it`ll be during my time here. In fact i know she`ll be baptized because she said she wanted to still, but we`re going to go and clear up all the questions she has.
Last Sunday this new dude showed up to church named N____, apparently like 3 months ago his wife left him, and left him with the 3 kids, the oldest has 10 years. He is struggling with all that has happened and was really cool, he participated alot in the classes. I met him when we were in the investigator class; he gave such good answers i actually thought he was a pastor or something but nope he doesn`t go to church right now. Anyway, we are going to have a noche de hogar with him and his kids tonight, and including the neighbor who invited him to church, so it should go well.
Other than that, our other people are kinda just in limbo, not progressing really very fast, so not much to report on there.
It`s really weird to be so close to finishing the mission, i`m not sure what to think, some days i get really excited to go home and other times i get really sad to be leaving Panama and finishing the mission. Oh well, i feel good about my mission, no regrets. These really have been the best two years of my life and for my life. I`ve learned so much and grown so much in everything from the gospel to life in general, it`s been amazing, I wouldn`t trade it for anything. Having a knowledge of the gospel brings peace to one`s life because you know what`s to come, how to confront challenges with God`s help and how He can help us in all situations. I know that God loves us and wants the best for us and is willing to help us get there. He forgives us for our errors and gives us new chances to be better and become better. He also gives us the love, peace, and joy that we all look for in life but that we can`t find in any other place except with Him and our families. The mission has opened my eyes and i have realized how important the gospel is in our lives. I`m not even sure what to say about my mission, so many things to say, good times, lessons learned, miracles and blessings, so much that words can`t describe it. It`s been a good time.
Take care fam, i love you guys and i`ll see you very very soon!
P.S. Anything you guys want or want me to do? Beside the videos and lots of pics?