Monday, December 6, 2010

M:65/P:54: Mugged For A Quarter

Hola Familia,

Ben Hall got called to Armenia?  Didn´t see that coming.  Best of luck to him.

Sorry to hear that your trip to Paris has been so sleepless.  I can only imagine how miserable it is to meander through an art exhibit like that.  I hope you´re feeling better and enjoying the French hospitality.  I expect you´ll be home for Christmas, right?

My companion´s name is George Martín Hernandez.  Honduran.  He seems like a pretty likable elder.  I´ll probably get along well with him.  He´s been in the mission for about six months and is already feeling strange for his first Christmas away from home.  It makes me laugh because I was still in shellshock when I had my first Christmas here.  And now I´m already on the downswing for this, my last, Panamanian Christmas.

As for my new area . . . well, I´m not supposed to be negative so I´ll try to be constructive.  It´s a little difficult to find people because our area is actually quite small.  So when you ask where someone lives, they always give the exact same instructions to find their house.  "El Valle."  That part of our area is about 60%, basically.  It also, according to my companion, has been very overworked.  Many of the people we contact have already turned missionaries away before, so they´re experts here.  We have almost no members in our area, so it´s hard to find referrals to work with.  We have a very small teaching pool for the moment and spend at least two hours knocking on doors everyday.  I´ve already had someone ask me for ten cents with a knife in hand.  I gave him a quarter.  And I´ve technically been bitten by a dog, although he only got at my pants.  I found the saliva on my hip after getting to the house.  And not long before, a dog almost mauled my face as he jammed his head through a fence as I walked by.  It´s been a crazy welcoming week.

The area is calmer than the zone of Colón in general but is probably hotter than my last area.  However, most people respect missionaries, regardless.  I knew that one of us was going to get pulled out just because the Mission President wanted my greenish, gringo companion to have a Latino companion to help his already impressive Spanish.  I guess they figured that three months in Puerto Pilón was sufficient for me.  But I am in a new zone, just a note.

As for after-mission plans, I´m thinking I´ll go to BYU Provo, at least for the first semester or two.  I was considering Colorado as an option but, at this point, I don´t think I can coordinate everything as needed before I come back given as my friends have been fairly slow to reply to my last letters to them.  As for when I´ll get home, I don´t know when the cut off date is for getting into BYU but I think there is a limit to how much time the president here can shear off my service time.  I would appreciate it if you could find the dates for entering BYU.  If I can´t get in on time, I might end up waiting it out ´til winter.

Well, I´m running short on things to say.  I´m trying to keep cheery out here.  It´s weird going back into the holiday season and being in this climate.  All the change of place and people also is making the process go a little slower.  These next few weeks might be a little difficult.  Maybe even more so because we technically won´t have our Preparation Day until Thursday.  We are going to go the temple but our initially planned date, tomorrow, Tuesday, has been very recently altered to Thursday.  I´m not sure if that´s really a wise idea, especially given that this Monday I should have been able to go to the store to pick up food and other things I´ll need for this week.  Not a very considerate nor well-thought out plan, but I imagine I´ll get through.  I´m also still having some problems with some infections on my hands and my ankle.  I´ll probably go get a perscription for some antibiotics soon.  I´ve already found out the fun way that I get allergic hives when I use dicloxicilin.

Well, everyone, I love you and think about you fondly.  I hope you all are keeping well and enjoying the holiday season.  I´ll keep you all updated on all the fun things going down out here in San Isidro.

Your Elder in Panamá,
Elder Austin Michael Ascura

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