Wow ok thank you for the update this week and wow I´m so stoked for Spencer!!!! I couldn´t be happier that he decided to go back out on a mission. I´ve been praying for him like crazy ever since I heard that he had gone home. I know that Oregon is where the Lord needs him and he will make a huge difference in the lives of the people there.
Ok so real quick I want to ask that everyone get together and brainstorm with me. We have started to weekly noches de grupo for the ward and we as the Elders are almost always in charge of the "dynamic" part of the activity. I´m pretty new at this and would love suggestions from everyone about what kinds of things that we can do to make them fun but also spiritually uplifting. Thanks!!
Ok so this week was excellent. We had capacitations with President Ward and with the Assistents. It was really neat and we focused on becoming better teachers. We talked a lot about how we have to adapt our teaching based on the needs of the investigators, asking questions, and focusing on committments. It was super awesome and I left more focused and ready to work. Also it was nice because the assistents pulled me aside and asked me how I was doing and how the area was and all that jazz. Right now they are switching the assistents so they are in a trio. On wednesday I did divisions with my companion and with the new assistent Elder Gomez. Working with him was awesome and helped me out a lot. It was interesting because during the day he and I were the only ones who talked and my companion just walked behind us and didn´t say anything but in the end of the day my companion was really happy. When I was talking to Elder Gomez he told me that I´m in a tough spot but that I have to take advantage of the situation in any way that I can. He told me that basically I´m the senior comp and that I have to take the initiative in EVERYTHING and that I have to start the lessons, teach, invite, challenge, plan and basically do everything by myself but that later in the mission the things that I learn in this change will serve for the rest of the mission and for life as well.
Wow ok on saturday we did a mega service and worked from 9 in the morning until 3 in the afternoon. It was a joke. Haha we were at the house of our ward mission leader putting in a cement fence for him which includes digging the foundation by hand, mixing the cement by hand, lugging the 5 gallon bucket full of cement to the foundation and then pouring it. Yeah I know maybe I should just sign up with Holmes homes and work with the mexicans when I get home cause I´m practically pro. haha just kidding. It was good to do but I´m not gonna lie I left absolutely 100 percent fried!!!!!
Ok so for the picture from the last week it was in a service project we did the first week I got here. The house we´re at is that of a menos activo but mom the truth is the house where I live is about the same if not worse but I´m not gonna lie I love it!!
Everything here is going well with me and I´m honestly in love with Panamá and everything about it. It´s been such a good experience already and I´m so excited for all the things that the Lord has in store with me here. This week I found a lot of consolation in my Patriarchial blessing and reading it helped me to open my eyes a tich to things I was looking past in myself. It´s good to pull out our blessings every once in a while and read them, it´s amazing how depending on what situations we find ourselves there is always counsel that can help us. I love you all so much and know that the church is true. Thank you for all the sacrifices you have made and are making for me to be here.
Ps if you can find a book called "missionary pal" by Keith Marston and send it to me I would be soooooo happy. It´s a book of reference that I think could be very helpful for me in my studies. Thanks love you!
Ok well I´m writing a little bit later today because our pday went longer than we planned! Ok so to answer the questions I´m living with Elder Martinez, Ortiz and my companion is named Elder Samayoa. In order they are from El Salvador, Nicarauga, and Guatemala. It´s honestly pretty fun living in the house with the four and I´m being forced to learn a whole lot of Spanish! Haha but it´s sweet and luckily we all get a long. It sounds like the family is doing really well and staying busy and putting my room to good use for the little girls;) I sent Stephen a letter this week and hope he gets it. Have him let me know when or if it comes!
Ok so as for me here in the land of Panamá...This week was interesting because from tuesday to thursday we were at about 4 lessons and everything was just moving so slow. Something that I´m learning is that we all have our agency and as hard as we try and push we can´t make people do things that they don´t want to do. It´s been tough and I´m learning to be more and more patient and loving every day. This is gonna be good for me when I´m married with a family right?:) The honest truth is that as slow as the work is and the low number of lessons I´m still keeping a positive and looking for the positives in everything that we do and trying to learn whatever lesson the Lord has for me here with this companion at this time.
Ok so on Friday I had my best day of the whole change! I have been talking to my Zone Leaders a little bit about my situation and they were so awesome and came to do divisions with me this day. I got to go with an Elder Beisenger from Riverton Utah who has about 20 months in the mission. He taught so well and in one day I learned so much. In that one day we pumped out 5 lessons and talked to everyone about baptism. It was amazing to see the difference between a missionary who really is focused and who really wants to do the work as compared to someone who doesn´t. It was a good lesson to learn and will be something that will help me down the road.
As a companionship right now are working on marrying a few couples so that we can have them baptized. I pray that we will be able to do it so that they can be baptized. One of the couples consists of a 17 year old son of one of the members in the ward who got his girlfriend, of 19, pregnant. He is honestly doing so well though and it´s been cool to see how he has matured and really stepped up to the plate to take responsibility for the action that he made. He´s looking for work to provide for the family and they have been coming to church every single week because he always tells me he needs to get closer to God. His name is Johnny so make sure to put him in your prayers that he will be able to continue with his desires to know the church and to eventually make the decision to get married so that he and his girlfriend can get married and she can be baptized (he was baptized when he was 8).
To be honest I´m doing well and am healthy and smiling. It´s good to be here in the mission and there are an infinite number of lessons for all of us to learn. I love you all and am so grateful for your prayers and support. Have a wonderful week and we´ll talk to you next monday:)
Hello to everyone in the land of Utah!! Mom thanks for sending me the pictures of the wedding! It´s so fun to hear about all of that and I´m so happy for Macy!! I still honestly can´t believe that she is married! Haha so funny story on Friday night our ZL´s came over and dropped a bunch of stuff off at our house and included was the invitation to the wedding. I don´t think it´s any coincidence it came the day of the wedding! Crazy huh?? Ok so thank you for the pictures I´m going to take them and print them off so that I have them for myself. I would like to make a quick request. Anytime that packages are sent could you send me pictures I love them so much!!! Ok so for the week here in Cabuya. Everything is going well and to be honest I´m already pretty comfortable here. My comp is from Guatemala and has 16 months in the mission. He is interesting and actually doesnt like to teach or contact or anything like that because it´s boring according to him. Needless to say in the past two weeks I have learned how to teach more effectively because I have to do everything myself!:) It´s ok though just weird to be honest and I literally ask him every single day what he´s doing here. haha it´s ok though don´t worry I love the kid and am trying to do anything that I can to help him out. Everyone tells me that he used to be a great missionary and that at some point he just lost the love for the work. I´m trying to be open and to be more creative in the way that we work so that we don´t fall into a "routine" of doing the same thing every day. Hopefully this will help him to get excited about it. The biggest trial is going to be just this because he wont be able to take away the excitement that I have for the work. I´m working with my Zone leaders who have been awesome and told me if I need anything to call them at any time. They are both two Gringos from Utah and are cool guys. It´s fun here and the members are really awesome. It´s been a change moving into the house where we are because I live with three other Latinos. The house is so dirty mom. ¨You would be sickened! Haha but it´s ok I´m doing some cleaning every day:) The work is chugging a long just a tich but unfortuantely I´m not able to report about many investigators. We have a few recent converts that we´re working with and it´s cool to see how their love for the gospel is so fresh and new and their desires to learn are endless. It always makes me think because at times I think I know a lot but really I´m the same as them and have some much to learn in the Gospel. Hmm it´s tough to know what more to tell you because the week was slow with my comp being "sick". I´m working though and happy and excited to be here in Tocumen! Ok so on Friday with the ZL´s felt like Christmas because I had like 8 letters and a package! Yeah I was pretty stoked about that! Sounds like everything is going well for all of you there in Utah. Know that I love you all so much and am always praying for you! Have a great week! Elder Andrew Hawks
Thank you so much for all writing me before monday this week it is making my computer time a little bit less stressfull! haha Sounds like everyone is doing really well and what the heck Spencer is famous and winning all kinds of stuff! that´s super cool! I´m glad to hear that the family is doing well and the Macy is getting ready to go into the temple. The temple is such a blessing that we have and every single day here makes me more excited to come home and to enjoy the blessing of having temples in every direction and so close! Be sure to always take advantage of that blessing!
Ok well changes came and I am now in a new area with a new companion. I´m in the city of Tocumen in the area of Cubuya. My companion is Elder Samoyoa and the only thing anyone has told me is that I need to help the kid find some enthusiasm in the missionary work. It´s been tough so far not going to lie because he doesn´t like to do the missionary things anymore. He has about 16 months in the mission and doesn´t even talk about the church when he contacts. He really likes to just chat with the people and spend a lot of time in members houses. I´m not complaining here just telling the truth haha the first day he actually didn´t get out of bed until about 11:30 and has been feeling "sick" the whole time. But it´s ok we´re going to work and we´re going to help this ward. The ward is new and yesterday we had 62 members in the sacrament meeting. Everyone was excited about this number as well but I wasn´t. I know that the ward can have a ton more and my goal is to get us up to about 80.
The area is a "trunky" area because we live literally right next to the airport and all day every day planes are flying out of Panamá headed to who knows where. I always tell myself that all of them are going to Colombia so I´m not too worried about it. So far I really do like the area and am enjoying getting to know the members and work with them. However I also am excited about finding new people to start to teach and to be honest I have a really good feeling about contacting this change. I´m overall really excited and pray that I will be able to bless the people here in any way that I can!
Sorry there really isn´t a ton more to tell you because we have only visited 1 investigator and I don´t remember his name but in the next week I will be sure to send you more of a detailed email with more about how i´m doing and how the people are progressing. I know that my patience and longsuffering are going to be tested in the next 5 weeks but what would the mission be if we never had trials and never had to learn to grow and be leaders. I love it here already and seriously have the strongest desires to just help every single person that I see. I guess I´m turning into a missionary finally haha.
I love you all so much and will be excited to tell you about the fun adventures that I will have in the next little while! Until next week:)