Good morning to everyone right now in Panama it´s a balmy 90 degrees and there isn't even a single cloud in the sky...are you all jealous yet? Ha-ha thank you everyone for the emails and the suggestions and words of encouragement it´s been nice to hear about Jayson and Kylan´s time in the offices of their respective missions. Something that I have already seen is the fact that even though we´re in the office we are able to leave and to get some serious work done at night once we leave so I´m not too worried about this time! That´s really so exciting about Brea putting in her mission papers and it´s going to be fun to see how many more girls from the ward and stake will put their papers in and get to work for the Lord. I´m happy to hear that you guys are going to have a long weekend and are going to be able to spend some quality time together and St. George would be nice to escape the cold!
Ok my companion is Elder Follette from Springville, Utah and he has about 16 months in the mission. He´s a really cool kid and has been really easy to get a long with but the truth is that after eight and a half months only being with Latins it´s been a huge change to have a gringo companion and speak English most of the day...He graduated a year before me and spent some time at UVU before he came on the mission. He´s a good missionary and is going to teach me a lot about this new job and the work as a missionary. I´m excited for this change and know that we´re going to have a good time together. He comes from a part member family with his mom and siblings being active but his dad isn't a member and he is the first missionary in the family. He´s really dedicated and is good about getting out of the office on time because one of the big temptations that we have is to stay here and waste the whole day.
As for my job I´m learning it little by little but I´m coming to know that my knowledge of Computer programs is pretty dang basic...I´m in charge of designing a few things and making like a ward mission letter every 6 weeks with missionaries spiritual experiences and such and I really have no talent or knowledge of graphic designing so it´s going to be a lot of fun to learn how to do these kinds of things and I know it´s going to be something that will help me out after the mission as well! I have a lot of small responsibilities and am kind of the errand boy for President and Sister Ward but you´re right I´m going to have a lot more interaction with them and it will be neat to serve more closely with them and to learn from them as well! Another fun little side note is that I´m going to get my Panamanian drivers license and am going to be out on the streets with these crazy people! But no I do not have a car sometimes president lets us borrow his or we get to go in the assistants car!
Things in the area are going well and the work is gonna chug right along. On Saturday we baptized a man named Pedro Velasqo and it was a very neat experience. I don´t know him super well because I don´t have much time but his story is a neat one and was interesting because God literally got tired of trying to whisper in his ear and literally had to use lightning to get his attention. Pedro works in construction but also fishes on the side (my area is ghetto and ridiculously close to the ocean). He had a baptismal date but was offended by something the the interviewing elder said to him and so he decide to skip his baptism and go fishing in Colon. While he was there snorkeling looking for his fish a literal black wall of storm started to move from the coast out towards the ocean and he was out stuck with his tiny boat fishing and basically stranded. As the wall of water came down it started to rain like crazy and started to lightning and thunder. He and his buddy were stranded and were going to be struck by lighting because they were the tallest thing out in the water so they decided to jump in the water (They use rubber suits in case of things like this) and hold on for dear life. He told us that in this moment the only thing that he was doing was asking forgiveness for not being baptized and he promised God that he was going to be baptized as soon as possible if he would be spared and be able to live. He said that after this prayer not 5 minutes passed and the storm was gone and it was calm again but that he went home with a 100% conviction to be baptized. Pedro was baptized on Saturday night and then confirmed a member of the church yesterday in the Sacrament meeting. He is rock solid and going to be a great member. Now we are going to focus on his wife and getting her to be baptized because she is the only one that hasn't yet and once she is they can start their preparations to be sealed in the temple.
The Ward here is awesome and a TON of people speak English it´s crazy. The area 70 that Sister Duffin is talking about is named Hermano Garcia but he was released as a 70 and is now the stake patriarch. He served as a mission president in Chile from 1999 to 2002 and yesterday pulled me aside asking if I have any family that served in that mission during that time because he said he had an Elder Hawks in his mission. So do I have any relatives with the last name Hawks that were in Chile from 1999 to 2002?
Thanks mom for the package it was the bomb but as you get ready to send other things please do not send food items they aren't allowed to pass through. I know it´s retarded but when we go to pick up mail they open up all of the packages to look for food because apparently they have had problems with drug trafficking through the mail or something. But thank you so much for looking out for me and being the best! Kenzie sent me a Joseph Smith ring a little while ago but with the fattening that has happened to me it doesn't fit...I think it was an 8 and half but if for Christmas it would be possible to send me one that´s like a 9 and a half or 10 that would be the bomb! Honestly I´m doing well in terms of things and am actually going to send home a Christmas package to all of you in the next few weeks! I can´t think of anything else that I need or even necessarily want but if anything comes up I´ll shoot you an email. I love all of you and am so thankful for you and the blessing that we have to be sealed together. It brings so much comfort to me and should to all of us especially because of what happened to Courtney´s son. I know that he´s okay and they will be able to see him again. I´m thankful for the Gospel and for the hope that it brings to our lives even through the hardest situations and times. I love you and hope that you all have a wonderful week, can´t wait to hear from you next Monday!