Sunday, November 22, 2015

Week 71

Nothing New

How has your week been?
It was good.  Just long.  We have been running around a lot.  We have to go cash a check tomorrow morning. I got a call from the post office saying that there are a lot of packages.  I don´t know how many, but when people use the PO box helps us a lot. It is harder to meet up and get the packages for us when people send DHL. We may use President's car to pick up the packages.

Has anything exciting happened this week?
We went and did a service in Howard.  It is part of the Cardenas area.  We went to cut grass and clean out a ditch.  We started sharpening our machetes and the guy in charge came and fussed at us for having them.  He wouldn´t let us use them.  In the end, he got us 2 push mowers.  And the ditch was gross.  It was mostly mud and we had to shovel it out. Doing service was good, we haven't had a chance to do much lately.  I still work better than most of the others.  Dad trained me well.

What did you do for p-day today?
We went and got haircuts.  Elder Murray cut our hair and it just so happened that today is Elder Machado´s birthday so we ordered pizza and bought a cake and had a bit of a party.  We couldn´t really do much though.

Have you gotten to do anything new?
Not really new.  We do the same thing a lot and sometimes change the order.

Tell me about your neighborhood
We live in an area called San Francisco.  Everyone there lives in apartment buildings.  I don´t really know the people.  We live really close to the bus stop. My building is only 4 stories, the others are 15-ish. My building is green, the others are newer and white. I do have a balcony. Elder Taylor put his hammock out there.

Time to go, Transfers are next week and there is lots to do.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

week 70

Independence Holiday?

How is the office working out? 
We are doing ok.  We are trying to get everything going for the Bellavista office.  We don´t have permission from Panama to work there.  So we are trying to work in one office with all of our stuff in the other office.  It is hard, but we are doing ok.

It is really close to the bank and a Subway.  Sometimes, we have to go to the Bellavista office.  I have to go to there on this Wednesday.
The view from my current office on 15th floor, downtown.

Tell me about the celebrations this week.
I didn´t see any.  The only thing that I saw was a completely empty office building. The parades made driving difficult.  They closed a lot of major roads for them. We had to drive back and forth between offices and move stuff.

Have you had a chance to do anything fun lately?
Not really, we have just been working.  We have been really busy in the office.  I might get to play soccer next week.

Have you had your primary program yet?
We had it.  It was small and the teachers did all the talking.  The kids just sang.

Tell me about someone at church.
Hermano Garcia is the 2nd counselor in the ward.  He joined the church about 25 years ago.  Since then, he has been a bishop, a stake president, a mission president, an area 70, and most recently, a branch president.  He is really funny and speaks English.  He is the "experience" in our Bishopric. He is old.  He gives us dinner sometimes. We only get one or two meals a week so all four missionaries are allowed to eat together.

Have you given any talks lately?
I gave a talk a few weeks ago.  It was ok.  He only gave me a few hours to prepare.  I ended up reading the scriptures a lot.

What is the best thing this week?
We watched a movie called Freetown today.  It was fun with all the missionaries there goofing off.

It has been busy. This week, we had to set up for consejos. And, I try to put together the new missionaries' immigrations papers before they get here. I am still working on getting my license.  We have been able to get the truck, but only when we need it.  The APs use it the rest of the time.  Pres said that when we move offices, the truck will stay there. Then we will be able to use it anytime we need it. Or, the secretaries will get a car.  There are 2 cars here that nobody uses. I haven´t gone for Christmas packages yet. We will need the truck then.

We tried to stop some flooding yesterday. We went to someone's house for lunch.  It started raining and then one of the kids came running in and yelled something like THE BRIDGE.  We went out and we saw that the water from that ditch was getting onto the bridge for cars.  The owners starting freaking out and we helped them get everything safe. We stacked everything and put up boards and stuff to divert water.  It was a member's house, but not in my area.   Then it stopped raining and everything was good.It rained for about an hour.  It got up to my ankles. In the end, everything was good.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

week 69

In a New Office

Tell me about the visitors to the mission this week.
It was Elder Snow and his wife.  He was one of the presidents of the 70 and now is the Church Historian.  His assistant came as well.  Also Elder Duncan came as the Area President. I did not get to talk with him. We had a big meeting.  He just asked general stuff to 120 missionaries there.  They talked about Mexico and Guatemala only having one district each and now Panama has 7 stakes. He asked us all about stuff like how many generations our families have been in the church.  He asked how a mission has changed some missionaries who are about to go home.  He asked how learning a language was. They did meetings and asked questions about the church here so that they could write the history of the Church.  They were here for a few days. We were really busy doing some stuff quickly so we didn't have much time with them.  We had the meeting and then they left.

Tell me about your new office. 
We are in the Church offices right now.  We won´t move into the new office at the new church until at least January...
It is me and Elder Taylor and the local church leaders.  They are mostly bishops and stake presidents that do the administrative stuff. I am set up, working in the conference room.  The normal people still have their cubicles and offices. The mission office is all in the conference room. The Assistant to the President come in sometimes.  President doesn´t come here. He works from home.

It is November. When do the festivities begin?
They start today and tomorrow.  Tuesday is Separation from Columbia, Wednesday is Flag Day and there is another celebration I can't remember on Thursday. There aren´t celebrations or parties at church.  There will be parades tomorrow and Thursday. I probably will get to see some parades.  We work downtown. There are two more days later in the month to celebrate Independence.

What did you do for p-day?
We paid rent then came here. We work everyday no matter what.  We just take personal time when we can.  Like when we were paying rent, we stopped in sports stores to look for a shirt that Elder T wants. We do laundry at night. We have a washing machine at home.

From the Mission blog

Elder Murray (next to me)  was telling a funny story when Sis Carmack showed up to take pictures.

At  Consejos

Tell me something new.
I work on the 15th floor instead of the 5th floor now.

Our Temporary Office

Sunday, November 1, 2015

week 68

We Packed

How are things going with the move?
Ok.  You will see a picture soon.

Did you get to teach this week?
We didn´t.  We are in the process of moving everything.

What are plans for Halloween? or Day of the Dead? 
We won´t do anything for Halloween.  Day of the Dead is a Mexican festival.  Some families may celebrate Halloween, but there is not a ward party.

Have you seen Bella Vista yet?
Yes. The Bellavista building is nice. Our offices are on ground level.  The chapel is on the 2nd level. It is bigger than my chapel in Arraijan. I have a large desk area and Elder Taylor has an office for finance.  It should be good. I don´t know how close it is to the beach.  We are near the metro station Santo Tomas.  The finance office has a window and my desk is right outside the window so we still are in sight of each other. President Carmack has a huge office in our new offices.  It is two or 3 times bigger than his current office.  Elder Taylor and President have the only separate offices. The rest of us are in an open area.   I have a desk like dad´s old office; the cornered desk. The APs have a smaller desk because they don´t do as much paperwork. They have one like my old school desk at home. There isn't a nice view like the Hi Tech Plaza view. It is just a cement wall.   I think there is an outdoor basketball court. The manager said hopefully we will move in at the end of November.  It is all done, we are just waiting for a permit from the government to work there. We are moving to a temporary office at the Church Service Center tomorrow.

What did you do this week?
 packed/moved/ started moving.

My life right now...

Did anything new happen this week?
Nothing new.  Just packing and writing.

What made you laugh this week?
Seeing Elder Taylor's office compared to the small amount of space the APs have.  They want his office, but the office says finances.

What did you do for p-day?
We packed.

I copied Nathan's mission picture.  Just mine is at night on the edge of a 15 story building instead of hanging on an ocean cliff over the waves during the day.