Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Mission Week 25/Panama Week 16: Almost Six Months and More Shuffling of Missionaries

Dear Family,
I don´t know what it is with Panamanian Internet; It hates sending my letters. I´m going to hope this one doesn´t get eaten.

First current events. This P-Day we actually did something different as a zone. We went on a rather long and upward hike. The view was really great from up top but, sadly, I had forgotten to bring my camer with me. After the hike, we went to the beach. Although there wasn´t much to do as we´re not allowed to swim as missionaries. Some played football; others just sat around. Elder Oliver, another Gringo, and I made a sizable sandcastle. I´ll try to get a copy from him this next P-Day.

Today, two big things happened. The first is that Elder Abarca, our third man was pulled out. He is headed in to Santiago, around the western central part of the country. The assistants came and picked him up at four o´clock in the morning. The second is that our landlady, a small mousey elderly lady from the ward, had us pack up all our stuff and move it to the second half of the house. Our house is divided in two and she rents the two sections out seperately. The second half was recently vacated. I´m not exactly sure why she had us do it, but my companion has a fairly convincing theory. The second half, our current quarters, is smaller and also a little uglier in that it doesn´t have a lot of little touches here and there to make living there easier, such as a toilet paper holder or places to hang my shirts. So he supposes that she´s fixing to nab a tennant as soon as possible by giving someone else the nicer half of the house. Effective, but sadly, we get the short end on that one.

As for an update on the work, things look like they´ll be kind of slow here. This last week, while interesting, was very slow, probably due to being in a trio. We have no set baptismal dates now and will probably be working to set them this coming week. I´m having a lot of problems with people that just want to "listen to the word of God" here, Dad.  Everyone here thinks we´re representatives of God but they also think that everyone else is, too. Everyone here just thinks everyone´s right and therefore they don´t need to change. Your thoughts on the matter?

I´m a little unsure what they´re going to do with our area now that Elder Abarca´s gone. With the entire area as our area again and Elder Castillo fairly due to be changed, this one´s in the air. My expectation (and hope) is that the entire area will remain one area and that they will bring me a new companion. Whether I´ll be training or the junior companion again, I´m not sure. Around the six month mark, many Gringos start training the newcomers, but I expect that I´ll be the junior companion again. They might bring another companionship here and keep Elder Castillo here and have each of us train one of the newcomers to the area. Who knows? Either way, I think the next change will hold a lot of responsibility and pressure on me. But I think I´m ready for it.

On to business at home, I´m glad to hear that the house is already going to be prepared for living.  I hope that the house and all related dealings work out well. I hope moving and readjusting to a new school isn´t too hard, either, especially for Riss. Those are a tough two years to adjust with. While I´m glad you want to take my advice, I would like to point out one thing on what I said. What I intended to emphasize wasn´t giving more freedom to everyone, although that´s certainly a related topic. It was more of learning about what motives, dreams, and desires your kids have and helping them to achieve what makes them happy.  Between you and me, Dad, we got a lot of differences in opinion, but I still think you and I are both looking at the same end goal, more or less. What´s different are the details in how that´s accomplished. Regardless, I think those are acceptable conditions. I´d just like to add here that my attitude on some things might have changed a bit due to an odd experience. I might share that in the next e-mail, though.

I promise I´ll send pictures this coming week and hope you all are doing well and working hard. And Dad, I still remember those five dollars you gave me when I was just a little boy (referring to our talk about feeling sorry for ourselves and the hardships we experience, which when compared to others who are less fortunate than us, actually aren't as bad as we thought). And I still think you´re the best Dad in the world.

Your Elder that was in a trio but now isn´t again,
Elder Austin Michael Ascura

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