Monday, January 24, 2011

M:71/P60: Did I Mention the Water???

Hola Familia,
Another week come and gone!

To start off, did I mention the water crisis we have here?  With all the flooding we´ve had near the major lakes and rivers of Panama, most of the water is undrinkable.  The Panamanians have been really caught off guard here.  Many parts of the country can´t even get a hold of water, much less drinkable water.  I´d be in a lot of trouble if I didn´t have my handy dandy filtered water bottle.  Amongst all the problems with the water, I do think it´s kind of funny to see everyone scramble for the pickups that pass by giving out free water bottles from the government.  If they were really trying to help us, they´d give us water filters for the sink.  Oh well.

I read the message you sent about Hermana Bloomfield.  I definitely can relate with some of that (her frustration for the lack of work in Chorrera and her bout with diarhea).  All missionaries from Panama will have that common understanding of the conditions we all labored in.  I mean, Spencer (Austin's BYU-I roommate who is serving his mission in Peru) has no idea what living in Panama is like.  I bet all the missions are just as unique with their quirks and eccentricities.

As for District Leader duties, that´s an interesting array of things for us to do (In lieu of instructions from his zone leaders or the mission, I sent Austin a list of responsibilities of what District Leaders are normally responsible for).  I´d be curious to see if anyone hates me for making them do something new like a district devotional.  I can already hear the groans of the other missionaries.  We´ll see how this goes.  Thanks for the update on my duties, though.  The zone leaders still haven´t given me my packet.

I, too, am a little curious to see how Braden progresses academically this semester.  He´s really trucking it on through school, isn´t he?  Speaking of school, I´m glad to hear that all my stuff is taken care of.  Thanks for all the help on that end.  My question now, though, is when do I pick classes?  Another Elder headed for BYU told me he was going to pick classes soon.  Should I be concerned with that?

You guys are going to Hawaii, huh?  Living it up without the missionary, huh?  I get it.  It´s okay, I understand.  I can take a hint.  Honestly, it´s probably not much different climate wise than here.

As for the work out here, things are improving.  They might even be looking up.  We´ve just placed two baptismal dates with a an elderly sister (yes, another one) and her grandson.  They´ve been investigating the Church for a long time and have been due for the water long since.  We´re beginning to find people to teach, although it doesn´t look like it will be an easy search.  Teaching is going well and I feel very comfortable teaching about anything in Spanish.  And the fact that I can teach English to people helps me get my foot in the door.  For example, we have a recent convert who has two Jehovah´s Witness sons.  Both of them have basically hated us and stayed as far away from us as possible, like as if we were lepers.  Now one of them is on a friendly basis with us because I help him with his English.

As for the adventures here, I can´t say much else.  It´s hot here.  The zone will be heading to Tocumen today to have multi-zone P-Day.  I don´t know why.  It´ll likely be boring.  I hope you all are enjoying the snow still.  Take care and stay safe, everyone!

Your Elder in Panamá,
Elder Austin Michael Ascura

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