Monday, November 28, 2016

"See the Good"


Freak, I didn't even know it was Thanksgiving this week. I don't even know what month it is. I've been writing October in my journal for the last two weeks but I guess it's like November now. So yeah, we didn't do anything for it. I think I ate an entire pineapple for dinner that night.

This week a hurricane passed through Panama. We had no idea about that either. But it rained super hard for 22 hours straight and most of the next day. Not much wind or anything but the rivers were almost as high as the bridges. We still don't have a phone and somebody told us everyone in the ward was calling us to make sure we were inside...haha. We worked all that day and had 7 lessons. Didn't think it was that serious but turns out quite a few people died nearby because of trees and mountains falling on them, but it passed and it's back to the bloody heat.

'Baby Coco Party', aka district meeting.

And yeah our new house is wick. I eat a coco every morning for breakfast. That's where I got them for our baby coco party. It was just a district meeting and I've been slacking on the treats as of late, so I bajared a couple of those in the morning and everything was listo listo. A member lady, Hermana Granado, lives across the street and she's basically our mom. She invites us over to eat all the time and we wash our clothes there.

Our own Coco Tree in the back yard.  

And the little kitties are at the house of this old guy Luis who got baptised like a year ago but can hardly walk so he can't go to church, and he lives alone. So we visit him a lot and help him with things. Last night we went kinda late to go see him and one of the little cats had fallen inside of the chair they sleep on so we rescued it. Perfect timing.

Pile of cats

This week, like most weeks, I had a moment of extreme sadness missing my island life and my island people. And I was like, back in Carti I just walked around with a hymn book and a Libro de Mormon and it was prime. So I started doing that again this week and felt so free. We've been going around a new part of our area a lot, which is called San Jose, and is a proper Panamanian jungle ghetto. And due to the freedom of no bag, we were talking to hecka people and exploring a heckuva lot more. Lots of narrow little dirt paths that lead to houses way back in the trees. Down one we found a guy named Oscar who's 18 and lives with his wife and her little brother. Wicked little cinderblock house with dirt floors. These guys basically knew nothing about religion and what not so we taught them how to pray and everything and they may be solid.

Also had an unreal stressful day on Saturday trying to make a baptism happen. We told the Bishop and our ward mission leader that we were going to have one on Saturday but I guess they forgot and we couldn't get a hold of them all day Saturday. We were going to baptise the others from the Morris family that we baptised last week and we couldn't find the papers for the baptism of the dad Carlos who got baptised like 50 years ago in Carti. So we planned on baptising him too, but nothing worked out and we had to cancel it. They were all kinda bummed and we were hecka bummed. but I guess it's good because turns out we had to ask Salt Lake if they had his papers for baptism before we could re-baptise him. On Sunday, though, we were talking to a guy in another ward from Carti Tupile who said he was there when Carlos got baptised and he was like one of the first on the island to do it. And Carti was legit like the first area outside of the Canal Zone where they had baptisms in Panama. So gonna be legit if we get to redoit next week.

Spiritual thought this week is from a picture Joleen sent me in the MTC that I printed off and left on the wall on the island. It says "See the good." I had some times this week where all I could see was the frustrating, annoying stuff but I learned from some of our investigators who live in houses made of tin scraps that if you don't focus on the water coming in through the roof you realize how lucky you are to have a house at all.

Aurora Borealis? 

Love you all! And happy birthday to Fitz!

Still don't need anything from the states, but see if you could find a place for me to buy yucca and platano when I get back.

Elder Green

Monday, November 7, 2016

"...the Spirit speaks louder than we do..."


This week was kind of hard, but super solid.

Our scheduled baptisms still haven't happened, but hopefully this next week everyone will be back from the island and then we'll get them done.

Monday was Day of the Dead, Tuesday was Independance Day, and Wednesday was something like Flag Day...Panamanians like to celebrate. That's just three of like 50 holidays they have. But anyways this week there was a lot of partying and it started raining bucco, so half our area was flooded most of the time.

We were also supposed to have a lot of investigators in church this Sunday but they all said they slept in... hahah. We're still visiting the Ngobe family and they're super solid. The other night the wife asked if we could go teach her cousin, who lives nearby. And along with her we have two other Ngobe families we teach. I always ask them how to say things in Ngobe but never know how to write them. We're also planning on baptising the 18 year old son of the Colombian family in the next two weeks.

We had two service projects this week. One was with some recent converts of the Hermanas. We did a lot of macheteing and harvesting yucca. It's this beast root that you pull out of the ground. Nearabout lost my fingernails trying to dig them out...before I figured out how to do it.
And the other was for a Kuna family in the ward. The grandpa is the branch president of Ustupu and they're building on to their house, so we carried like 150 bags of sand for cement and a bunch of cinderblocks.

Last night I had the most spiritually guided house find ever, I think. I was super frustrated last change because my comp didn't want to go anywhere that had trees or dirt or anything like that, so basically we didn't work in most of our area. So far, this change, we've been working in all parts and exploring areas where we haven't been yet. So last night we were going down a street that I didnt know, and there was lots of music as usual, but I see a little bridge over a river and up the side of a hill into the forest, and I'm like 'boom it.' So we went back there and found a little house and the family came out and welcomed us in. They said they were Catholic but listened to everything we said and then we invited them to get baptised at the end. And there was like a minute of silence and it was 'awk' and I was going to say something but I didn't and then they agreed to be baptised and seemed super sure about it. So from that I learned that the Spirit speaks louder than we do, and if I had said something I probably would have cut the Spirit off from saying what they needed to hear or feel.

So this week we're going to keep looking for houses in the forest.

The pictures I sent this week were of flooded rivers and other parts of my area that have no name.
And we have a house...we're moving in on the 15th!

Love you!

Elder Green

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

"Also hating shoes."

My Stripling Warrior face.

So we had an awesome week in Carti. Finished the baptisms on Monday and it was another juicy Kuna Yala day. We still don't have very good baptism clothes so to baptize Mu, she had to wear the sacrament tablecloth as a skirt.

Getting ready for Mu's baptism.

On Tuesday, after visiting our investigators in Yandup, I was pretty stoked about them getting baptized, and way off in the distance, like miles away, there's a tiny little island with one house on it, and I was like dude are you down? So we asked people about it and they said it's called Isla Contadora. And nobody would let us go because it's too far away and dangerous. But we went. Took like an hour... and nobody even lives there! Kinda a bummer, but there was another tiny little pueblo like 20 minutes further called Nurdup, so we went there. We couldn't hear a sound, or see anybody on the island, so we thought nobody lived there either. But we paddled around it and to the first person we saw we yelled "anmar be visitarsoe!?", and they said yeah and pointed over to a little wooden dock. So we talked to like 5 women there, none of which spoke Spanish but luckily my Dule has been frosty. So we taught them all about the Libro de Mormon and they all agreed to read it if we brought them. We walked around the island a little more and saw maybe 4 more people. Literally nobody there, but maybe all the men were just in the monte or fishing. It is the only island in the entire Commarca that has a Jehovah's Witness church. But we planned to come back with a bunch of Mormon Kaiya Purba`s as soon as we get them.

Headed out to Isla Contadora

Nurdup Island

We found a tiny little river, on the way back, just a little wider than the cayuco, and we paddled like half a mile up it then ran around in the monte. So sick. Literally so much to explore here.

Don't have much other news except that I've been transferred to Arraijan...half training and a District Leader. I'm still a little upset. It's out of the city, though, and actually really cool here but leaving the island was probably the hardest thing I've ever done. I'm excited though. My new comps name is Elder Duron and he's from Honduras and is like 26. I think he's actually training me, because I've forgotten how to speak Spanish properly and be a normal missionary. We just had normal, uninterrupted study time for the first time in 6 months. It was so boring. There are lots and lots of trees here. Not quite the jungle, but super green. Arraijan is known for having bucco baptisms and especially right now so this will probably be another good change. And I hear there are lots of Kunas here, but I have yet to see one.

Also hating shoes.

Love you!

Elder Green

Goodbye Elder Ricks!

Monday, September 5, 2016

"It was the most unreal juicy Kuna Yala day!"

Our district with the new mission president and his wife...President and Sister Current.

Computer works!

Lots has happened this change.

First of all, don't freak out about the Malaria. It probably wasn't even that...maybe just Zika. And do not email anyone or they'll take me out of here and probably never send me back. Haven't been sick lately, but I have lots of infected ant bites and my pussing arm thing is back but I'll get it taken care of.

So we had a baptism on Satuday for a girl from here in Tupile named Maria. It was the most unreal juicy Kuna Yala day! That's what we call days when it's just juicy as freak. Like super blue water and sunny. She's probably one of the most solid members in the ward now.

Today we had 2 of the 5 baptisms from Yandup. The family owns a tiny island, like an hour out in a boat, called Yaugtupu, that's super small but sick. There are only 4 houses on it. Two of the daughters wanted to get baptized out there so we got a giant 40 foot cayuco with a motor, and our Branch President's panga, and all the jovenes on the island came out with us. We were hoping for another juicy Kuna Yala day but the gnarliest storm came through so we were all soaking wet and the waves were huge and lightening was super close, but it was super fun. We were going to run out of gas on the way back so we had to go around to a couple of islands looking for some, so we got back late and are going to have the other baptisms tomorrow.

On our way to Yaugtupu.

Waiting for the storm to pass.

It was super awesome how we met this family in the first place. We went over to Yandup one day to visit someone and afterward we heard lots of music on the other side of the island so we went to check it out. They were having a 'Chicha Fuerte', which is a big party the pueblo has when a girl becomes a woman or something, so they all drink a ton of fermented sugar cane juice and get drunk. There were a couple of our friends from Tupile there, just for the party not the drinking, so we went a talked to them for a bit. We were gonna bounce but they wanted to use our cayuco to run home and get something then come back, so we let them, and while we were waiting a girl walked up to us and said her mom wanted us to visit her. So the next day we went and taught them in the best Dule (native language) I could, as only one of them speaks Spanish, and the five of them in the family agreed to be baptized. Even the Mu! That means grandma. She's super old.

So anyways it has been super awesome since we bought the cayuco. On Sundays we borrow a giant one and pick up people from Yandup then Coibita. We brought 17 yesterday and had 81 people in attendance which is like the most church attendance has ever been. We've like totally started working on all the islands in Carti, even Mulatupu which is like 30 minutes away in a cayuco.

To answer your questions, we have a lady that does our laundry here and she´ll usually wash it in the river, if there's no water here. But I mostly wash my own clothes just in a bucket.

Love y'all!! I think we´ll definately have internet next week. And I think I might be going back to the mainland this change, but I asked President Current to keep me here one more so I can make sure Ricks learns how to steer the cayuco and so our investigators on the other islands are solid.

Elder Green