Wow the move is official starting today. Make sure and take lots of pictures and let me know how it all goes. I`m not one bit jealous that I`m not there right now having to help pack up boxes and get things into storage but I`m sure once you find a new house I`ll get to do plenty of unpacking ;) Thanks a ton for the email and the updates about some of my buddies in the mission. I wrote Kylee a letter a while ago but I don`t know if she ever got it. If possible let me know whether that letter made it to her it was a good one. Now that I`m back in the office again mom you can feel free to forward me all of my friends emails and as many pictures as you want. As of right now I`m ok on money, clothes and everything else that you could imagine. In the next few weeks I`m going to start to buy some molas and all that good stuff cause before I know it I`ll be getting on the plane like President Ward did today.
So far so good in my new assignment. It`s a lot of work, I don`t hardly ever sleep but it`s going to be an awesome experience to work with the new mission president and get to do things all over the country! One of the best things is that I have two of the best companions in the whole world but it`s going to change soon because they both go home on August 1st. Elder Ah-Kiong is from Long Beach California and you already know about Barrera being from Mexico. I love these two and it`s been a blast working with them even in just this short time. So to be honest it`s kind of hard to even know where to start. Sunday, Monday and Tuesday were long nights. I didn't get to bed before 2am once those days because we had to make sure everything for changes was perfect and ready. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday we tried to recover from everything that goes on in changes week but a bunch of things happened and we ended up having to take care of a sick sister missionary, move people into their new houses and make trips all over the place.
The biggest news of this week is that President Carmack came on Saturday night. We met up with President Ward at 10 pmin the airport to meet him and get all of his things shuttled to the mission home. They came with two of their kids. One is 21 and has only been home from his mission in Japan for about 6 weeks (he served in President Budge`s mission) and their 12 year old daughter Annie who`s going to live here with them for the next three years. It reminded me a lot of when I got here. They were all sweaty, looked a little bit lost but had the biggest smiles on their faces! Saturday night we took them and all their luggage to the mission home and then let them get to bed. Sunday afternoon we had a meeting with them here in the office where they got to meet all of the office staff and start making plans for their time here in the mission. During our little session President Carmack talked about how excited, nervous and ready they are to be the mission presidents here. It`s obvious just from the way that he talks and expresses himself that he loves us and that he`s a very humble man despite all of the success that he`s had as a business man. He worked as a lawyer for Leman Brothers in NYC, served as a stake president for 10 years and has raised an awesome family of 5 kids. They are awesome people and have brought a new atmosphere of newness and excitement to do the work of the Lord.
Today was a sad yet happy day. We had the blessing of picking up President and Sister Ward to take them to the airport. We were at their hotel at 5:30 in the morning and then drove them their. The whole way they went on and on about how much peace they feel for having served a faithful mission and having given their best to the Lord in these past 3 years. President Ward is an amazing man and he`s changed my life I love him to death! I learned so many valuable lessons from him and couldn't have been blessed with a better mission president. It`s ok I`ll just have to take a trip out to Long Beach and have him teach me how to surf! President Ward`s thing for the mission has been "siempre fuertes" it`s something we yell at every meeting because in order to prosper in Panama you have to be strong. You have to be willing to be melted by the sun, soaked by the rain, rejected at doors, etc. He was an example of what that really means up until the day that he left. On Tuesday he sprained his ankle very very badly but he didn't even tell his wife. He went to the airport with us to pick up the new missionaries and seemed just fine until finally his ankle swole up so bad he couldn't even walk. He drove himself to the temple (a 30 minute drive) and then did everything else that he had to in the training of the new missionaries in a wheelchair with his ankle all wrapped up. He could have so easily asked us to take over and do everything, or just said the new ones will be fine but he didn't. He kept on working and stayed strong until the moment he got on the airplane.
I want you all to know how much I love my mission. It`s been an experience that`s changed my life and helped me become the person that I know the Lord wants me to be. Serving him and preaching his gospel full time in the best thing I could be doing in my life. I love you all and am so thankful for your love and support during these two years. Happy packing this week and make sure to send me lots of pictures!