Monday, May 23, 2016

week 98


My entire message this week....

No time to email.  I am alive and fine.  We are at ZC in Ukupa.  I
probably won't email for a couple of weeks.  Tell Nathan that he has
full control of classes and stuff because I can't email.  Bye Love
you.  Talk to you when I can.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

week 97


No email this week. I am guessing it is all the rain.

Friday, May 13, 2016

week 96

Mother's Day!

Andrew got to skype home on Mother's Day so no email this week. He was heading into the city to buy supplies and get himself a new camera this week. I told him to fill the memory card with pictures of the island!

The Skype connection was not great, but I got to see him smiling!!!

He is doing well. There was a storm that blew through the night (and day) before his call. It rained hard from 9pm to 5pm. The whole island was flooded, but fortunately he was still able to call. He said everyone had a foot of water standing in their homes. They cancelled church that day. He is on the second floor above a store, so no flooding but he said his roof leaks. Luckily hammocks dry quicker than a mattress would have.

He did tell me about a tradition in the islands. The grandmother of one of his friends died last week. He was able to see the traditions of their funerals. They do not embalm the bodies. Her body was kept in her home until the funeral the next day. They dig a grave about 6 ft deep, 6 feet long and 2 feet wide. They stand a stick at either end. Then they take the hammock of the person and lay it out. They place a tarp on it, then a sheet. They place the body on top and wrap the hammock around them. Then they go to the cemetery (on the mainland) and hang the hammock between the two sticks. They place boards above the hammock to protect the body and place a number of traditional mola clothing on top. Then they cover it with dirt. The clothes are because they believe they will need them in the next life. They still wear the traditional clothes daily on the island.  It was interesting to experience.

He is on his last transfer now. Time is flying by.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

week 95


Tell me about the long congress? 
The long conference starts on the 20th.  It involves all of the San Blas territory.  It is something
like general conference. People from all the islands will come to our island on the 20th.
Every island has their own congress house. But it is like our General Conference.  It is like
how we all have chapels, but we only use one building for a General Conference center.  Even
the ones that live forever away from us come here.  We will probably stay here during the

The People here are normal again after the last congress.  Some people still drink,
but not as many and we can call them out now because it is just beer, not their tradition.
We actually did that yesterday.  Some guy on the dock was saying that he went fishing
and prayed to catch fish, but God didn´t give him any.  So we called
out to him *Maybe it´s because you´re drinking, and smoking, and you don´t
come to church even though you got baptized.  God wants to bless you,
but you need to show him that it is worth it.

Did you go fishing? 
We are going on Friday.  We will fish out of boats and we only use
line.  No poles or anything.

Have you learned anything new?
I talked to some of my friends and we figured out that we are all a little
nervous to come home.  We don´t know what to expect about the
countries that we return to.

What have you been teaching?
We have been teaching a recent convert.  He doesn´t read the Book of Mormon and
we are trying to get him to do that.  He is the one we are going fishing with on

What kind of service have you done?
We help people build houses.  We have gotten wood for walls and put up a roof. We go to the mountains to get the wood.
The lady who got hit by a car is doing good.  She has been sitting up and talking to us.  She
isn´t in that much pain anymore.  She still can´t walk though. She was on a sidewalk and someone wasn´t paying attention. They hit her on the sidewalk.

You have mentioned the mountains....where are they? on the island?
No.  We live on an island and when people want to work on the farms,
we go to the main land to work in the mountains.  A few people live on
the mainland.  It is a 15 minute canoe ride to the main land.  Only 5 minutes if
you have a motor.

It is just called the monte.  It is not tied to a single island.  The ports are owned by
my island.  The language on the mainland is older kuna. My island is sort of the head island, even though it is smaller and less of a city than Nargana, because it is closest to the main land.  Just cause its close.  Nargana is the Church District headquarters because that is where the District President lives. (Like the bishop, but of a district not ward.)

We mostly do the same stuff on P day as on other days.  We go to the river to get water.
Someone takes us in their boat. They prefer to paddle, but if they need more than 2 people
they hand me and McGraw paddles too.

Tell me about someone. 
We have a friend named Elio.  He is a teacher on one of the other
islands and he loves playing sports.  He is one of the Taller kunas,
but he is still short.  He is funny and wants to do stuff with us, but
he is always busy.  He was going to go fishing with us one day, but he
had to cancel.

And the Kunas want to know how tall you are.  They think you must be a
giant if I am your son.  And Amber and Lindsay too, because they want to know about
how tall a typical gringa is. I left my pictures in the city.  I will bring them next change to show them..

My Kuna is improving, but I still can understand more than I can say. It is strange. You can hear the letters, but the words form in a strange manner. My companion is helping me. "Hi mom"  is Na Nana. That is just weird to say. The native food is different.  I take my malaria meds.

We ate these!

Monday, May 2, 2016

week 94

Chica Fuetre

Anything fun or exciting this week?
Not really.  We went to Zone Conference in Playon Chico and then we
had a Chicha Fuerte.  Chicha Fuerte is a tradition that the Kunas
have.  They believe that after Christ came to the Americas and taught
them, He left and angels came within the next few days and instituted
Chicha Fuerte.  They believe that they can´t get into heaven if they
don´t participate.  It is all alcohol.  We have had missionaries go
before their main leaders to fight the tradition a little.  The hard
part is that we can´t call them on the traditional drink, but we do
call them on all the beer and vodka that they drink with it.  It was a
really interesting and long week.

Zone Conference was simple. We mostly talked about our investigators and The Assistants
didn´t really have a lesson for us.  President was busy and couldn´t come.

Have you had a chance to do any service?
Kinda.  There was a member that went to Colon for a few days and while
she was there, she got hit by a car.  Since she came back, we have
been the doctors because we have some common sense when it comes to
medicine.  We actually took her medicine away because she was overdosing
and was vomiting blood.  She is doing ok now.

What is going on with your district activity that was planned?
So every year, the Kunas have General Congress.  It is like General
Conference, but Kuna.  That Congress was planned for the same day that
the San Blas District Conference was scheduled.  We still don´t know what will
happen with that. And the sahilas (leaders) are talking about having another chicha.
On certain islands, the leaders are members, but on most they are some of the few
non member Kunas left. It´s really funny.  The leaders that are good members will
fight the traditions when they can.

What do you do with the children on the island? 
We watch movies to get them away from bad stuff.  We watched lots of
movies last week to get them away from the Chicha Fuerte.  They go to
school and it is not very modern, but that is a Panama thing.  Not
just a San Blas thing. The school is right by the dock. It is a 2 minute walk from home. We are typically working when they get out of school.

What is going on with congress? 
Almost everyone drank.  They get very drunk. But lots of the members didn´t. We were asked to
protect a sober guy while he went to get his son.  We didn´t have to do
anything.  The drunk 20 yr old was trying to pick fights so his dad
(former Branch Pres) went to go get him.  We were just there in case the
drunk guys tried to get at them while they couldn't defend themselves.  We
didn´t have to do anything.  The kids watched movies with us during the whole thing.

What did you learn at church yesterday?
Yesterday we talked about why Christ was tempted so much.  It was a
good lesson.  Especially with Chicha fuerte.

For baptisms, we just use the ocean by the chapel.  The water feels really good here.  When you go to the monte and get water and stuff, that is what you do to get all the mud off.  We wash off in the water. It's okay, President knows we do that.  There aren´t really beaches here.

We are still waiting for it to rain. There is a well in the mountains and our spigot is connected to that.
We need the well to fill up.  We don´t always have fresh water.  We have to go get it from the river every few weeks. Sometimes people will give us water just because we are the missionaries.

San Blas Zone Conference