Sunday, October 25, 2015

week 67


How did transfers/new missionaries go? 
Transfers were hectic.  There were lots of travel problems, but we eventually got them all sorted out. We had a problem with the missionaries going out to the islands. They leave by boat, but the checkpoint guards didn´t want them to go to Blas.  They all made it to Blas eventually, the guards just were not happy with us.  One of the new missionaries was a stand out because he forgot his passport in the MTC in Provo. He had to go back to the MTC and wasn't able to get on the plane with the others to get here Tuesday night. He came on Wednesday morning.  Another one will come in a few weeks after he finishes his time at the mtc. He tested out on his Spanish and was on the 2 week fast track, but decided he wanted more instruction and will stay longer. He will get here later.

Did you get your hammock?
I got my hammock. I still don´t have rope to hang it, but it is comfortable.  The San Blas elders brought it to me. They stay in the APs house when they come to the city to shop.

How are things going with the office move?
I am still in the office building, not the new church building. They told us the Service Center guys are going to take care of everything. I have no idea when we will go to the new office.  They haven't told us. I have not seen the office, I don´t even know exactly where the building is.  The PO will be best place to ship things for right now.

How are the sick missionaries from last week?
They are good.  They are all in their areas working

Did you get to do anything for p-day this week?
We went to the park and played sports and table games.  I won at Jenga a lot

Tell me something fun or exciting.
I dunno.... I am getting to know president pretty well.  We did interviews a few weeks ago.  We had to go inspect missionaries' houses.  Elder Taylor and I were the last interviews.  I learned that one of my jobs is to just be there to give president some general guesses for numbers. I see the numbers from reports and can remember them more or less.  At the interviews he asked me to guess (remember the best I can) at zone numbers and efficiency stuff. I'm getting to know him better. I know he trusts me now.
It is still really hot here.  Just like it will be all the way until the Second Coming.  It rains hard sometimes, but normally when we are inside.  The streets flood here because there isn´t enough drainage. I have money in my wallet now to go buy a new umbrella. I lost the old one.

I get fed dinner every Sunday by the ward members. During the week we eat at a place somewhere around the office. 

Elder Guardado and me

some friends.  The skinny one is Elder Hernandez. The other one is Elder Mendoza.  The sister is Hermana Duarte.  The elders are Mexican and she is from Paraguay

Sunday, October 18, 2015

week 66

Another Busy Week

What exciting things have happened this week?
Nothing really happened this week.  Just normal stuff. Right now, there are 4 missionaries with possible food poisoning. They are in my zone. I don't know what they ate. They are going to the hospital right now. One is sort of ok, but the other three look like The Walking Dead.

Are you ready for your office move?
Not at all, but the moving guys came in to see what they needed to move. I just need to get the passports ready. We have a new group of missionaries coming in this week. We really like this office and I kind of wish we didn't need to move. It´s just here we are close to all the banks and restaurants.  We think there isn´t anything over there around the new building. I haven´t seen it.  The area is Bella Vista. Buena Vista is in Colon on the Caribbean side.  Bella Vista is on the Pacific side. That is the new stake center of The Panama City Stake. The mission office is in the stake building.

What did you do today for p-day activities?
I went to the lawyer to work on Visa stuff. We didn't really have p-day.

You go to consejos now. What do they teach/learn?
They talk about general mission stuff and things president wants to improve. He goes over all the mission stuff he wants us all to work on and the leaders take it back to their zones and districts to tell them.

What happens at the office when you have to go out?
We have to go to the lawyer's office, the post office, and go to to pay rent, etc.  Elder Taylor and I go together.  And we just close the office then. Sometimes the nurse is here and we can leave it open. The Assistants are with Pres Carmack a lot, but not all the time. Sometimes they are here. If no one is here, we just lock up. He goes with me to do my stuff and I go with him to do the financial stuff.

Are you feeling well?  and eating right?
I am doing everything that I should. I didn't get food poisoning. I am ready to get my hammock. I will tie it up inside to sleep.

I should probably go.  I have to get some stuff done quickly for Pres Carmack. There is lots to get done.
My Zone

Saturday, October 10, 2015

week 65

Learning and Teaching

Great picture of the old MTC group last week.
Yep, Elder D is back. He is in Arraijan now.  He is in a part called Vista Alegre (means happy view). The picture had Elder Dastrup, who is in Blas, and my comp Elder Taylor.  The other elder is one of the APs.  He was in Elder D´s first zone.  We picked him up late one night at the airport and he left early the next morning.  He seems to be doing good. It is good he is back.

Who was your favorite conference talk?
I liked Elder Anderson´s talk about faith.  He seemed to be quoting from Pres Uchtdorf´s old talk ¨Lord is It I?¨

What did you do for conference weekend?
We were in the chapel for all of Saturday.  I watched conference a little differently.  We didn´t have keys to the clerks office so we were listening in Spanish.  On Sunday, we went to the stake center with everyone.  That was in English.  Then we had lunch with President.  I had been to the house before, but that was my first meal there. We had roast, mashed potatoes, rolls. Then we went to the office to watch the last session in English. It was easier this year. I listened to my first conference in Panama in Spanish.

What have you been working on lately?
I have been trying to train the lawyer´s new secretary.  He fired the last one, (professional disputes, ) and I need to help the new one learn everything. I have learned lots, like legal practices. I probably know the most about the process of their clients, so I am helping. We have been working on lots of stuff in the office.

How many new people will be coming on transfers?
There are six coming in.  There were two that went home this week. They had extended until exactly 2 years.

Do you have a big hammock yet?
I am sleeping in the extra bed right now.  I will get my hammock next week. The I will start sleeping in it.  The San Blas elders will be coming in and bring it for me.

We are about to change offices. We should be in our new office the 15th of October. It is farther from my house. It is farther from everything.  It is in a new church building.  I will work in the office in one church building and go to church in another, the one where I already go. One floor of the new building is offices, the other is the church.  I haven´t seen it yet.  It is the Bellavista ward.  We are not moving, we will stay in our old house.  We live with our District Leader and he is in our ward.

I better go. Talk to you next week.

Articles of Faith in the Kuna Language

Sunday, October 4, 2015

week 64

A Return

What did you do this week?
We just did the normal stuff.  I scheduled flights in from San Blas, reported numbers, that kind of stuff.  And for p-day today, we cleaned our house.

What kind of issues do you have with visas? 
They usually aren't too bad, but  sometimes we have big problems.  That is generally the stuff that the Church Offices take care of.  The migracions people tell the lawyer, and the lawyer tells The Panama church person.  Then he tells Church offices.  That is what happened when we all had to change over to the Provo MTC. The local person I work with is Marta.  She is young and has been working with our lawyer for about 4 months.  She gets the job done, but sometimes, she just doesn´t listen to us.

What happens when missionaries get sick? 
It depends.  Mostly the nurse talks to them and sends them to the doctor where they are and they may have to stay in until they are well. But if it is bad it takes more. If they are in a risk area (like San Blas) then sometimes they stay with us or the APs.  Not many get sick enough to go stay in the hospital for more than an hour or so. We have had some get Malaria.

When do Independence month celebrations begin? 
They actually start in November. They love to celebrate and will have parades and parties. I don't know yet if I will see any of it.

Where is the office?
The office is in the financial district in Panama City. I work on the 5th floor.  I am not close to the canal, but I might be able to go one day. There is a beach but it is kind of far away, too. I can see a cool building from my office window. It looks like a big screw, all twisted.

Who lives in the apartment with you and E Taylor?
Elder Wrigley (our group, but MTC Mexico) and Elder Gonzalez (El Salvador, about 8 months in the mission).

What have you learned this week?
Sometimes, you get fun surprises as the mission secretary. And I get to watch conference this week. i will watch at least one session with President at his house.

This picture is the surprise I got later. His companion from the MTC had gone home early and was able to return to finish his mission. This group, that picked him up at the airport is part of the group that were at the MTC together. It was a great treat for him to be greeted by his friends! Good to have him back.