Monday, April 16, 2012

Panama Week 10

Dear Family,


Well truth be told I didn´t even know that it was Easter until I looked at my calender before running to church...But here in the Catholic religion they celebrate the Semana Santa and to be honest it´s about like the carnivals and the whole entire world goes to the interior...Whew we had nothing this week absolutely nothing.  But it was interesting and I learned a lot about the traditions of the people here in Panama.  

For this week it´s about the same in all of Latin America and yes they focus a lot on the pain and suffering of Christ and less on his resurrection.  They do parades with people whipping each other and carrying crosses and all kinds of other interesting things.  The most common however is that they are always walking in the streets singing songs that I still don´t understand totally.  But as a result nobody was excited to hear from Mormon missionaries in their days free from school, work, etc.  Something interesting is that in every single tv station they were showing videos of Christ.  In our dinner last night the family was watching one such video.  When it´s on a huge screen and the whole world is watching it´s hard to avoid it 100 percent haha.  But it was interesting to see how the video "The passion of the Christ"  was so gruesomley focused on the torture and pain that Christ received.  I don´t know, for example it showed a scene when he was scourged with the whips and it was such a vivid bloody description that it made me a bit sick to the stomach.  I love how in the church we recognize this suffering and pay tribute to it, but the main focus of the Easter message is the life and resurrection of Christ.  That He OVERCAME death and not only suffered it.  

So for an answer to the question with the food.  I have eaten more chicken and rice in the past weeks than in all of my life combined and for this I have gained a little weight.  For lunch and dinner it´s almost always rice and chicken and when it´s something different it´s almost weird.  It´s funny though because now I don´t get filled up unless I have my enormous plate of rice.  haha Breakfast we make for ourselves and to not waste too much time in the mornings I have eaten a lot of cold cereal.  They have fruity pebbles here which I enjoy! haha  But also eggs are super cheap and so I eat a fair amount of those in the mornings as well.  Nothing special for Easter dinner just yellow rice rather than the normal white!  But I like it and at least I haven´t had to eat anything super weird yet.

So this week was slow with the investigators but it´s ok.  This next week for the last week of the change we´re gonna saddle up and get to work so that either me or the missionaries who are next in the area are going to have something to work with.  We have been very lucky and have really gained the confidence of the members and so their willingness to help us out and to support us in the work has helped us out a lot and will be a huge help in the next changes if the missionaries can keep the confidence.  

Well everyone I love you and am having a great time here.  Everything has been perfect in these first few changes with my area, my comp, the work everything.  I know that it´s not always going to be like this but it´s awesome to have gotten my mission off to a good start.  Thank you so much for all of the prayers and thoughts and letters (I know there are some that I just haven´t gotten yet haha)  But thank you, know that I love you all and am praying and thinking about you all the time but not in the homesick type of way!  

Have a great week and Stephen good luck with the elections!!!

Much Love,

Elder Andrew Hawks

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