Saturday, January 31, 2015

week 29

After the Falls

I can´t see what I´m writing so this will be interesting. I am on a different computer than I am used to.  Also it is auto-correcting to Spanish. We are sharing a computer and we are late today, so it won't be much.

What are/were p-day activities today?
We went to a river and a waterfall.  Yes.  I took pictures.  The bad thing is I don´t think I will have time to send them this week.  I will try to send them if I have time, if not, next week. The waterfall was nice.  The water was really cold. It wasn´t very tall.  I don´t know the name.  Maybe El Chorro.  And it was really expensive to get into the falls area.  I also finally got my Panama soccer shirts this week.

 What are the big plans for this week? 
 We are just getting ready to send Elder Romero away. It is time for him to go home. I am not sure exactly what will happen. Romero will go to the city on Tuesday.  It shouldn´t affect Monday P-Day at all.  But, if you don´t hear from me, don´t worry.  I may have to go to the city if I am going to train a new missionary.  It depends on what president tells me.  If so, I would go to Panama City on Tuesday night or Wednesday morning.  Then I would come back to Aguadulce on Wednesday. 
Consejos are this week on the 30th. Hopefully I will get my stuff you sent then. Only the ZLs have consejos.  They go to Panama.  Then they come back to Chitre and report what was taught. I talked to Gonzales about the machetes. He should send them to me. Hopefully I will get my hammock this week, too.

Tell me about the branch? 
They branch is pretty small. It is mostly older couples, but there is a reasonably sized primary (ages 3-12) here.  There are a lot of recent new members, mostly the older couples.  There are also a lot of young converts.

How is your area?
Elder Romero is the District Leader that is over the area that is all hermanas, Las Tablas. That is about an hour and a half away from us. Elder Dastrup is over the other District.
We don´t work together.  We just have meals and service together  Our ├írea is one side of the highway and Dastrup has the other side.  Santiago is it´s own district and  so is Penonome. It is the Panamerican highway.  If you search Aguadulce.  It is the huge road. My side says Pocri.  

How is the teaching? 
It is all good.    We are just trying to teach.  We have mostly just started over.  We dropped a lot of people, so we are teaching  the basics. A lot of people like what we teach, they just don´t want to leave the traditions of their families. Everything will be good.

Did everyone recover from the machete episode?
 Dastrup and I are fine.  She is fine too.  We all think the experience is funny now. 

time to go. Hello to everyone! 

Friday, January 23, 2015

week 28

Happy Birthday!

What did you do for your birthday?
Did you like the package. I know there were not any real presents, butit was full of love! 
We didn`t really do much because we had a service that morning and I didn`t tell people that it was my birthday.  Some of the youth knew and the Assistants knew.  Elder D told Hna T. right before we got to dinner.  The Assistants called and sang Happy Birthday in Spanish and English.  We had a normal dinner.  That was about it.
I liked the package a lot.  Some of the cards were really funny.  I got one from Mama Denney with a dancing pickle.  I got 2 or 3 from a lot of people and about 6 from you and Dad.  Dastrup thought it was funny when he saw the card from the Barlows. Adelyn drew on the front and inside of the card so he thought it was funny.  I did get my Christmas package from Amber.  She sent Qwerkle.  Everyone here loves qwerkle, so we play it a lot.

What did you do last week? Did you have interviews?
We climbed a mountain.  I guess that was my MLK day off. There is a valley in Penonome with a place called La India dormida.  It was a biggish hill.  It was fairly easy for me, but for some of the others it was like climbing Mt Everest.  The mountain was really rocky and a little steep in places, but more like a big hill.  Everything is much better now. Except when I almost died....
So, we had a service project and we were cutting grass.  But cutting grass here is a little different.  We use machetes.  So one of the youth asked if she could try cutting grass.  Well, she was cutting grass and on her back swing, she let go of machete... The machete went spinning.  The handle hit my friend (Elder D) in the face and the blade passed within 3 inches of my leg.  We are both ok though. No one else saw it happen, just her, me and Elder D.  She flipped out and ran away. She is 19 so we thought that it was safe. We are okay, we just got a little freaked out. We try to be careful.

Tell me something about the kids there. What do they do for fun?
They play futbol in my area.  Some do have electronics and stuff, but most don`t.  If they do have electronics, it is the older systems and always the futbol games.  They usually play outside.  In this area some of them get to play baseball, but only if they have money.  Baseball equipment here is way more expensive than soccer equipment.
How is the dry season?windy and hot

Time to go, talk to you next week!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

week 27

Bump Day and a loss 

I don't have a lot to report this week. Andrew's Papaw passed away and the Mission President had him skype home so we could talk with him. He loved Papaw very much and he is having a bit of a rough time, but a blessing is that there was an unexpected transfer on Thursday before, and one of his friends from the MTC came to live in the same house. Andrew got a lot of comfort from having a friend (English speaking) to help him through. He is strong and knows Papaw is happy with his work.
This week was Andrew's 6 month mark, his "Bump Day." 

What are you doing today?
President will call me in a little while to check on how I am doing.  I will probably go to the city this week.  I think I am required to have an interview with him since Papaw died and I called my family. Having Elder Dastrup here really helped. He has recently been through something like this and I appreciated that he understood and could help.Description:

How are things going for you?
We have been teaching a lot and we give a lot of blessings.  I told Romero that I will give the blessings to the Hermanas from the states, but he should do the blessings for the others.  We are trying to set a baptism date for a sister, but we can´t right now. We are teaching the children of an investigator.  They think that it is awesome that I know about baseball.  They like talking about Carlos Gonzalez (CF for the Rockies, not our friend Carlos) and Jason Heyward. Description:
I am having fun.  I do everything I am supposed to.  Except get a hair cut.  (When we skyped I told him his hair was long.) I may do that tomorrow.  We went to the beach this morning. I didn’t know we were going straight there and I did not have my camera, so no pictures. It was different. It was low tide, so the water was way out after about 30 minutes.  We played soccer and went for a walk.  There were not any palm trees there.   There were not any people on the beach. And no waves! The water was just there.

Have you tried any new food?
I have eaten rice with wondoo.  I´m not sure if I spelled that right.  It is the peas I was shelling earlier.  I don't really know what kind of peas they are. They don´t taste very good.

How many miles do you walk each day?
I think that we walk about 8 miles a day.  It may be more, but I´m not sure. I am getting used to it. The heat is just normal now. The  humidity is terrible.  My clothes don´t every actually dry. My towel gets mostly dry because I hang it up.

Did you burn a tie for your Bump Day on Thursday?
I did burn the purple tie. I chose it because there was a big stain that I couldn´t get out. It was the only one with a big stain on it.  You get rid of the ugly one or the one that you can´t use because of stains. They sell ties here for $2 in a store in Albrook called El Costo if I need more, anyway.

Do you have any hot water yet? or just cold?
It is always cold showers and hot drinking water. It gets a little chilly at night, but apart from that it is always just hot and humid.

Is your house a single "family" or apartments? or duplex?
Ok.  So there is the missionary side and the small family side of our whole house.  The one side is always missionaries.  The other is rented out with 2 bedrooms, a kitchen and a bathroom that is the living room area.  There are 2 bedrooms on our side as well. They are not members of the church, but they respect us and always give us food and want us to hang out with them, but not to preach.

Time to go, Tell everyone hi.

Friday, January 9, 2015

week 26

Happy New Year!

How are you liking your new area? 
I like the area.  It is just really big.  There is more grass and trees here than what you see in typical pictures of the coast of Panama. The people here are really nice and there are some families that are scared with us walking at night and pay for taxis and give us lots of food.  The people here always want to speak English with me because I am the first gringo assigned here in 2 or 3 years.  

Did you try the fruit from last week? I think  that it is probably a prickly pear fruit. How was it?
I did not try the fruit.  It is sitting in our fridge and no one has touched it. We aren't sure if it is good.

What service have you done this week?
We cleaned peas.  I was a lot faster at it than Romero.  I got through twice as many in the same amount of time. Thanks Granny for teaching me to shell peas. Cleaning the peas was kind of nice because people came by and asked her who was helping her. She told them who we were, so we got some referrals

Oh, I just remembered that it was New Year's this week. How do they
celebrate there? 
 We had another huge celebration meal and lots of fireworks.  We had some, but not many.  I used $10 of my Christmas money to buy some.  (I think fireworks must be much cheaper there!)

This is everyone´s fireworks.  

The 10 blue boxes are mine and also one of the bags of triangles. We stayed up for midnight, but I was asleep by 1:00 because we had used all the fireworks.

Is your foot all better? are you in your shoes?
Yes, my foot is way better.  I played soccer last week and it didn´t hurt.  So I wear shoes now.  I feel normal again.

What lessons have you been teaching and who have you been teaching?
We have been teaching lots of Word of Wisdom.  And also we have a family with the name C.  We taught them the Plan of Salvation a little and the next time we will teach them more and then Gospel of Christ. We are also teaching a girl named A.  She is 17.  She wants to get baptized, but her parents and grandparents won´t let her.  She is in school right now.   She is a typical teenager, she likes to play soccer.

What have you done for p-day? 
We washed clothes.  Lopez and Alej are in Colon right now.  Lopez leaves for Panama on Tuesday and Guatemala on Thursday.  He has been here 2 years and it is time for him to go home to Guatemala. We don´t know who is coming to replace him.  We will be a threesome for about a week.  He is just in Colon saying bye to some of his friends and converts.  

So, one last time...What is your congregation? the Chitre Branch or the Aguadulce Branch? And you said you live in the Aguadulce District, is that mission district or Panama District (like a city or state), because you also have mentioned the Chitre District.
OK.  My church congregation is the Aguadulce Branch.  It is not in a stake.  It is in a District.  The district is the Chitre district.  The Mission Zone is located in Chitre. 
As for political;  My Zone covers 4 provinces of Panama.Description:

Chillin' with Elder Romero
 I am the tallest by far in my district. They even cut my head off. haha

The hammock belongs to Lopez.I can nap in it. I am going to buy one.

I do not eat as much chicken and rice any more. In this area, we eat lots of oranges and papaya.  I do not eat coconut. I don't like coconut.

People have been telling me that they are keeping me in their prayers. I am thankful for lots of support. I am doing well and I know it is because of all the prayers and support of my family and friends. Please keep them coming. I love it here, and I love what I am doing.

Happy New Year! and talk to you next week! 

The view from my house