Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Mission Week 37/Panama Week 26: Put Your Shoulder to the Wheel

Hola Familia,
Well, the week has been long and hard, but things are improving.

I would say that months 8-10 is pretty monotonous so far, but we´ll see if it picks up. Time does sometimes seem to pass by much quicker than I notice.
I´m glad to hear you all can finally stop worrying about (Braden's) eagle projects now. Happy Birthday, Braden! I remembered it. I wrote it down in my agenda. Now you´re technically an adult. And of course, you´re already excercising that right.

It´s nice to know there´s always a spot for me at home (when home from college). 

As for birthdays, I hope no one remembers mine out here. I´d just like it to pass quietly while I´m working. I can celebrate when I hit 22. I hope you all have fun with Des´ given that it´ll be the last one for six months, when Liese will get another one. She must already be turning nine with all of them. (Both Austin and Desiree share the same birthday on June 13th...only 6 years apart.  And Elise thinks it is her brithday, no matter whose birthday we are celebrating.  She has to blow out the candles and help open presents.)

Sorry to hear that you´ve got pink eye, Mom. I just broke out of a really nasty cold that I´ve had for two weeks. Get well soon.

As for the work here, we had a baptism this last weekend and one I think was actually a real conversion. Her name is Denis Rios and I´ll try to get pictures from my companion. We´re still teaching her mother and two sisters and I think two of the three will probably be baptised, but we´ll see. Many of the investigators that we have aren´t progressing quickly, but they are learning. I´m learning how to really break things down to the most basic for them. I keep a lock and keys around at all times as a hands on example for teaching about the priesthood.

We had zone conference this week as well, which had a very big emphasis on working with the leadership of the ward to involve them. The bishop sat down with us and seemed sincerely interested in helping and is requesting paperwork I´ve never had to fill out before. Talk about positive problems. I just hope that the effort brings around some results.  Oh, here's something exciting.  Besides a baptism, some guy threatened to mug me on a bridge we often cross at night. I think there are gangs here, but they work differently. But they usually respect missionaries.  They still haven't learned that missionaries are poor and don't usually carry anything of worth except maybe a cheap camera.

Things are moving slowly and I think I´m really going to have to sit down with my companion and help him with his teaching. He´s still semi-new and his last companion hardly let him teach. So he´s still sometimes a little shaky. I think part of why I feel so sluggish out here is that we don´t seem to be finding many new faces. That means we´ll be knocking on doors soon. How fun.

Note: This is common in every mission when the work slows down and you start feeling a little down and depressed and you resort to the most dreadful form of proselyting: Tracting door to door where missionaries seldom find success.  But despite having doors slammed on our faces or people showing no interest in our message of Christ, we continue to march and sing:

Hymn: Put Your Shoulder to the Wheel

Verse 1
The world has need of willing men
Who wear the worker’s seal.
Come, help the good work move along;
Put your shoulder to the wheel.

[Chorus]
Put your shoulder to the wheel; push along,
Do your duty with a heart full of song,
We all have work; let no one shirk.
Put your shoulder to the wheel.

Verse 2.
The Church has need of helping hands,
And hearts that know and feel.
The work to do is here for you;
Put your shoulder to the wheel.

Verse 3.
Then don’t stand idly looking on;
The fight with sin is real.
It will be long but must go on;
Put your shoulder to the wheel.

Verse 4.
Then work and watch and fight and pray
With all your might and zeal.
Push ev’ry worthy work along;
Put your shoulder to the wheel.

Text and music: Will L. Thompson, 1847–1909

Well, I don´t know if there´s much I can write. It feels like a lot has happened, but I think a lot of it has just been internal. Things are improving out here, though. I hope you all take care and are keeping well. I´ll get pictures on a CD today and get them in the mail for you all.

Your Elder in Panama,
Elder Austin Michael Ascura

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