Monday, January 4, 2010

Mission Week 16/Panama Week 7: Missionary Trio

Hola Familia

In answer to your questions:
1. These were my companions thus far:
- Elder Javier Cobba from Peru, was my companion for just one day when I arrived in Panama
- Elder Karlo Lanzo from Honduras was my companion for about 6 weeks in Alcalde Diaz
- Elder Kyle Oakley from Dallas, Texas and Elder Horacio Pavon are my current companions. 

According to Elder Pavon, this threesome companionship is not temporary, but I don't know for sure.  According to Elder Oaks, he thinks (hopes) that he's getting sent to San Blas or possibly the Mission Office, given that those places run changes on a monthly basis rather than the usual six weeks.  But no one here knows.  Anything could happen; we'll see.

2.  We can listen to classical and church music.  I've heard lyrics from other missionaries' music but that's all I know.

3.  Your package has not arrived yet.

4.  Regarding Malaria, I don't think anyone here has it. I hear malaria isn't bad out here, but I think it exists.

5.  The branch here is smaller than Alcalde Diaz and has a lot less youth.  I think the general age is younger.  We're trying to get 60 people to attend church for six months so we can get a new building nearby.  We had about 51 this last Sunday, I think.

6.  We aren't teaching that many here.  I'm not sure what's going on most of the time; bad planning and stuff.  Baptisms here are good by mission standards but they're still not common.

7.  I can't tell if the members here are better off economically or not, compared to Alcalde Diaz or in general.  They seem friendly, though.  This is the farmland of Panama and things are usually cheaper here.

8.  We have several P-Day options.  Volcan is an area that has a volcano with lots of wildlife and a view of both oceans.  I'd really like to do this one, but it's a big hike.  Frontera is a small town near Costa Rica that is basically a giant outdoor mall. You can buy about anything out there.  Fishing and Soccer are the other favorite past times around here.

Sorry to hear that Braden messed himself up again (Bradem broke shoulder while snow boarding on January 1st) .  Really a glutton for punishment, isn't he?  Probably had fun, though.  At least you got snow.  We're starting summer here.  New Year's for us was basically just visiting families.  We helped one family make tamales for New Year's and Elder Pavon ripped off a chicken's head.  I felt pretty bad for him, especially when I realized that he was hopping around with no head.  On the bright side, he did taste alright.  We got fed three dinners on New Year's Day.   They really like to feed us out here.  Sometimes, it's hard to eat because I'm full and sometimes it's because the food's weird. 

This change (transfer to current location) is going to really test me.  This last week has hit me harder than almost anything else for alot of reasons.  I hope you all are doing alright, especially Braden.  You all are in my prayers.

Your Elder in Panama
Elder Austin Michael Ascura

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