Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Week #6 in Panama!

Hello my wonderful family!!
I am going to keep this email very organized because I received lots of emails this week and I want to respond to them! So first of all, I had divisions again this week except this week I stayed in my area and my comp left. My new temp. comp was one of our zeta ellas, Hna. A. She speaks zero english!! It was such a good experience for me though because she doesnt know my area so it was really a test for me on my knowledge of my area and my spanish. I know a lot more than I thought I did! We went to a members house for dinner and I was obviously speaking spanish because I had no choice and they got mad at me, jokingly, because they said I speak way more than they thought and I need to be speaking more! Theyre definitely right. I will learn so much quicker if I just SPEAK. And listen. The gift of tongues is so real though. I really shouldnt know or understand as much as I do after just three months.
The day after that we had a service project with the whole zone bright and early in the morning. We went to the Wako Mormon, this big <area> where all the mormons live, and carried heavy buckets of mud back and forth. It was lots of fun actually and it felt good to work out. My body felt like it got hit by a bus the day after though. Totally worth it. Anyway we got SUPER dirty and muddy and sweaty during this project and as we were leaving and saying goodbye to the members, one of them told me la agua se fue. I knew what that meant, that the water left, but I didnt put it together that it also meant there is no water in the city and we would not have water in our house when we got home. So yes, after the messiest day of my mission, I did not get to shower. Luckily, we had a water reserve for an occasion such as this and were able to rinse off with 2 liter soda bottles filled with water. It was quite an experience haha but I rolled with it. Until we got home that night and still had no water. Thats when I started getting a little concerned. Right after my comp said the prayer before we started planning, I started complaining about having to go to bed disgusting. And sure enough right as I was whining we heard the water come on. Sweetest sound ever! Definitely taught me a lesson on faith!!
As far as the work goes, we are still moving along trying to find investigators who are going to progress. We found about 5 new investigators this past week, though, so hopefully some or all of them will progress this coming week! The focus of Colon is Menos Activos, so we work a lot with them, but its always wonderful to teach investigators. We actually found these two sisters yesterday from a reference and they seemed super positive. We teach them again this week so Im really excited for that. The problem, though, is that one of them just had a baby a few weeks ago and she believes in this myth that her mom told her that says that she cant take her baby out of the house in the morning or night time for three months. So we are going to have to really rely on the Lord to help us figure out a way to get her to church at 9 in the morning!
We watched the Womens General Broadcast on Saturday in ENGLISH!! The gringas in our zone all watched it together. It was amazing and somethings I will never forget. We had so much fun listening to it together and being uplifted. I cannot tell you how excited I am for conference this weekend. We will get to watch it in English too, which is such a blessing. My heart is sooo happy. I cant wait to learn from the prophet and apostles. GET EXCITED FOR CONFERENCE!!!
Soo we had shrimp. Again yesterday. But I got creative. So heres what I did. I peeled all of them. They were smaller this time which meant he gave us more. So I peeled them all and took all their little legs off and put them in a pile. I took my time doing this. I was trying to buy time figuring out how to get away with not eating them without offended him. Once I peeled them, I looked at the pile and got the GREATEST idea. I put all the peeled ones under the pile of shells and legs and nastiness. It was genius. It all blended in and I didnt eat a single one. Haha my comp said Im evil but I think Im just creative. hahahaa
My comp might leave me this wednesday! Its cambio week and shes been in this area for almost 7 months so theres a good chance she might go and I might get another comp. The president knows we want to stay together on more change, though, so we know that if she does go itll be because the president received revelation that she needed to go. So even though we both do want one more change, we will be content with whatever happens!! I will let you all know next week! I love you all lots and Im going to try and respond to some of the other emails now!!
Hna. Anderson

Monday, September 22, 2014

Week #5 in Panama!

Hi all!!

So I usually make a list before I come here of the things I want to talk about, but I forgot to this week, so if this email is crazy and confusing, I apologize.

Anyways, this past week was a good one. Very different. Tuesday was just a normal day and I don´t remember anything special happening. Just lots of work work work!! My poor body hates me. Nothing I do here is good for it. Ive gained weight already for sure. Its inevitable with the food we eat here! I just dont want you all to be shocked when I come home 50 lbs heavier haha. Mom, you´ll have to sign me up at your gym!

Wednesday we had our first Zone Conference. It was actually a multi zone conference so a lot of the missionaries in the mission were there. This computer has auto correct in Spanish, so if you see random spanish words its because I was trying to say something in english and the computer changed it. Sorry haha. Anyway, it was fun because we got to see a lot of the missionaries that we came here from the CCM with. It was good to catch up on how our missions have been going. It was also cool because the mission pres and his wife spoke to us and his wife cant speak spanish so her talk was in english which was a nice break. She told us that Pres Carmack went through the WTC 25 minutes before the first plane hit on his way to work because he worked a couple of blocks from there at the time. How crazy is that! Its insane to think that the Lord protected him because he still had so much work to do here on this earth, including being our mish president. Super cool. After the conference we went to Albrook, which is one of the bigger malls in Panama City and is actually where I am right now, and ate as a zone. It was fun but it felt strange because we kinda felt like a bunch of college kids out for the night haha. Oh the strange life of a missionary.

Ummm Thursday I dont remember much happening either that was anything different than the normal day to day stuff. Actually Friday or Saturday either. I really need my journal to remind me of these things because my days just all blend together! Oh wait! Friday, we taught the seminary class here. Actually my comp taught and I agreed with what she was saying haha. It was fun. The Jóvenes here, the teenagers, have such strong, awesome testimonies!! A lot of them are converts, too. Im so impressed by them, especially since they have so much working against them here. Three of the jóvenes in our Ward who are also recent converts did visits and contacting with us yesterday and it was really good and the spirit was so strong when they bore their testimonies. I loved it. Speaking of yesterday, I do have a Little bit to say about that. First of all, church was good. Probably because I took the Liahona in English and read it during Sacrament meeting because I just really wanted to learn something at church haha. But I did and so it was good! Im starting to build stronger relationships with the members here, even though the language barrier makes that a super tough thing to do. But Im trying!! Also, yesterday when we were contacting we contacted this lady who has apparently read the BOM and was telling us we are evil and of the devil. I didnt know she was saying this until my comp told me after. I could tell though that the things she was saying weren´t positive about the góspel though by her tone and the way my comp was responding. While I was listening I just felt that I needed to bear my testimony and so I did and it was probably super confusing and made no sense, but Im glad I did it. I hope she realizes the truth some day.

Today we had a multi zone p day here in Panama. We played sports and had a real good time. However, the sun was super strong and Im fried. Not too Smart, but I really didnt even think to put sunscreen on when we left this morning. Im going to be feeling it tomorrow though! Its okay, Im a missionary, its part of the job!

Okay well I think thats all for today. Ill talk to you all next week!

Love and miss you all!!

Hna. Anderson

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Week #4 in Panama!

Hello ...

First of all, today was super cool. We got to go to Portabelo, not sure if thats how you spell it, but it was soooo pretty. its a touristy place. We went as a zone. Lots of fun, I will send pics!!

Okay now for this past week!! It was a really good week and I have some pretty great things that Im excited to share with you all! Okay soo in the beginning of the week I was trunky for the first time since I left home. So that was a bummer. But I prayed A LOT for help with that, and the Lord came through! Any time I felt trunky, I just prayed and it didnt last long. I could NEVER do this without Him. Never. 

Then on Tuesday we started an English class! We taught it with the other gringo elder companionship in our area and it was super fun. I didnt actually teach that much, because I dont even know enough spanish to teach an english class. Way sad haha. But it was still fun and it actually helped me with my spanish to see it taught in reverse. 

On Wednesday we went to menos activos house and her son taught us how to make platanos, also not sure if thats how you spell it, but they are my FAVORITE here in Panama and Im determined to find them in the states because theyre fried and delicious and Im going to need them when Im home haha. I just love the food here. Everything is better in Panama. Everything. I eat a lot. WAY more than I ever ate at home. Which I thought was just because I exercise here a lot more with all the walking, which it is, but other hermanas were telling me that its also a mental thing. Since eating is the only normal thing left in your life, you love it SO much more. Same with sleeping. Haha its the best. 

So we were contacting on Friday, I think it was, and we had just visited a lady who gave us this nasty drink that I totally dumped out when she wasnt looking, it was the worst, and we were kind of bummed because we just could not find investigators for anything. Super discouraging. But then we were walking in this different part of our area that I had never seen before so I asked my comp if we could stop and take a picture. And then after I took it my comp asked me if I wanted to contact the house we stopped in front of. I said yes and we did and she let us right in and we had the coolest lesson. It was a woman and her two daughters, 17 and 10, and theyre jehovas witnesses or something like that but theyre really religious so they had lots of fantastic questions. They were like those perfect questions the investigators ask in the District. It was really cool and we really needed it because we kept getting people who would listen but then just say that we all worship the same god 
<etc.>. But these three were REALLY listening. And in her prayer when we left she prayed for the Lord to let her know if this church is true. We were super excited. We teach them again tomorrow night so we will see what happens!

Okay so now for my super cool experience that I had this week. So we were at dinner and the elders who share our area were at dinner at the house right below us. When we were leaving we past the house they were eating in and I just had this super nagging feeling that we were forgetting to tell or ask them something. But when I asked my comp if we were she said we werent so we just kept walking. But then when my comp started walking up the stairs to the street I still had this super nagging feeling except this time it was that we should wait for them. So I told my comp and we went back to where the elders were and asked them how long they would be and they said a while because they still hadnt eaten. It was already 830p and we needed to be home by 9p so I just said that we could go. So when we got up to the street my comp said that we would pray before we started for home. So I said the prayer, in english so I could say what I wanted to say, and in my prayer I asked Heavenly Father to protect us and to let us know if we should change our plans to walk home. And keep in mind that we walk home alone like every night at this time and its really safe so the fact that I was feeling like we shouldnt wasnt normal. So anyway after we said the prayer, we took not five steps down the road and the entire city went black. No power anywhere. Right as we happened to walk by hno and hna s.'s house, who are our super awesome <friends> here in colon. So we immediately went in their house with them. The power came on like five minutes later but we definitely waited for the elders after that. It was insane you guys. I have never experienced anything like that before. Missionaries are SOOO protected. We will never know if the Lord was protecting us from the power going out because that wouldve been super scary to walk home without street lights or if that was His way of telling us to wait for the elders, but regardless we know He was watching over us!! It was so cool. We were in awe the whole rest of the night haha. The mission is so cool.

Hmm what else. Okay so I locked our keys in the house. That was a bummer haha. We called our landlord to bring us a spare and he was like okay Ill be there in like ten minutes so we waited like an hour and called him again and hes like oh I forgot! And he drove all the way to work with them an hour away and wouldnt be back until after midnight. And then he started talking to my comp about us staying in his wifes house or something ridiculous like that. that was never going to happen, so I went to the neighbor and asked for two wire hangers and started bending those to use as a hook to get our keys from under the door because we have this slot under the door and the keys were just in the door. I tried for SO long, but I could make it work. I kept telling my comp that Corson would be able to figure it out! haha. But it all ended up okay because our super nice landlord asked his friend to bring us a spare so we were able to get in. It was an adventure though.

I had some super nasty food experiences yesterday, also for the first time since Ive been here. A lot of firsts this week. We had fish for lunch, which was fine and doable but then we went to a menos activos house and he insisted on cooking for us. He made shrimp. Big shrimp. I had a real hard time getting that down. My lovely comp even took one of mine because she just drowns it in hot sauce and it able to get it down haha. And I think I ate a bug that was in the rice. I brushed my teeth so much when I got home. It was a rough day for my taste buds yesterday haha.

Well I think thats about the gist of my week!!! I love you all and hope youre all doing fantastic!!

Hna. Anderson

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Week #3 in Panama!

Okay I responded to a few emails before I started this so I dont have much time but Im going to try and share as much as I can! 

This past week was pretty uneventful, but it was a good week and I learned a lot. So I started the week out feeling kind of down about just myself as a missionary. I didnt feel like I was doing enough or being the kinda of missionary that I could be. During comp study I think on Tuesday I talked to my comp about it and I just told her to push me harder because I want to struggle. I want to be uncomfortable because thats the only way Im going to learn. She agreed and after that we really started to change the way we did things in a way that would force me to learn more. Like we decided to only speak spanish outside of the apt. Its tricky and frustrating and sometimes just really quiet haha but its worth it because I learn the language a lot better that way. 

I had my first division this week. I was nervous about it because I didnt know what it would be like to go somewhere else and be with another comp for a day. Mom, I brought all my bedding with me because I wanted to sleep on it and I didnt want anyone else to sleep on it haha. But I actually got super lucky because I got put with Hna. A. Shes Gringa too and shes super fun. She has 10 months in the mish. I really liked going with her because I learned so much from her. When we were contacting I talked A LOT more than I ever had and its because I made myself do it. Ever since then, Ive definitely been not as afraid to talk to people with my very minimal spanish. I just do it because I know thats how Ill get better. Hna. A. is also a very different missionary than my comp, which made me realize that I get to decide what kind of missionary I want to be. Ive been spending a lot of time trying to figure out how to be a certain type of missionary that I think I SHOULD be, when really I just need to figure out what type of missionary I WANT to be. Im excited to do that. 

Soooo I did something super weird on Friday night because this country is confusing my body. Like a lot. My poor body is getting stressed out with all this change haha. Anyway. So we were asleep like normal and all of a sudden I jumped out of bed and started screaming apparently and jumping around. Its weird to tell this story because it was such a weird experience. I remember it happening but its also kind of a blur because I was almost completely asleep. Its like I dreamt it. Like I probably would have thought it was a dream if my comp hadnt been there to witness it. But anyway I was freaking out and my comp was like whats wrong whats wrong and apparently I just kept screaming and then I finally came to when I sat next to her all I said was snake. Apparently I thought there was a snake on me. Ive never been so confused in my life haha. It was the weirdest thing ever. I was soooo out of it. Then we said a prayer and my comp sprayed bug spray everywhere and then we just went back to sleep. I wonder if this sounds as weird as it actually was because it was super weird haha. Im telling you, Panama is messing with my body in every way possible.

Also, this week while we were contacting, we contacted a man from Denver who retired here. So he knew English. He rejected us, in English, and it was strange because it was the first time Id been rejected on the mish in English. I didnt like it. It sounds a lot harsher in English. It made me super grateful for the first time since Ive been here that Im NOT in a cushy clean states mish because I know Id have the hardest time hearing rejections like that all the time. Heavenly Father knows me all too well.

Right now in the work we are just doing a lot of contacting because we have no progressing investigators right now. We are just trying to find that one person who we know is just waiting for us to find them. We are going to keep trying hard every day!! Its super hard to see so many people reject our message when we know that we have exactly what they need to be happy.

Okay well thats all that really happened this week aside from the usual Panamanian craziness!! I love and miss you all so much!! Thanks for the emails!!


Hna Anderson

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Week #2 in Panama!

Hello all!!!
I cant believe I will have already been here for two weeks tomorrow. Dad, it does feel like its going fast in a way. So much has happened since Ive left home though so it kinda feels slow in a way too haha. Regardless, its wonderful. Im going to try and be smarter with my email time and share the important parts of my week first and then do details later if I have time. I didnt bring my journal this time because I realized how sad Id be if I lost it between here and home somehow so Im just going to keep it at home from now on and just try to email based on memory haha. But dont worry, anything I forget to tell you I wrote about in my journal so you can just go back and read it in a year and a half haha.
So first of all, I realized that last week I didnt tell you anything about the food here. Its actually super nice because we only have to provide breakfast for ourselves and then members make us dinner and lunch every day. I love the food here. It could be because Im so hungry by the time we eat that anything will taste fantastic to me, but either way I really love the food. Im going to get so fluffy here. I can already feel my body expanding from the mountains upon mountains of rice that we eat almost every meal. Im pretty sure Im going to always have to have rice in the house when I get home because I am in love with it right now. Either that or Ill be so sick of it that I wont even be able to look at it haha. But my favorite part of the day, aside from bedtime, is when we are walking to or from dinner at night and the streets are just filled with the smell of rice cooking. I love it. I love Panama. I hope I always love it this much. So we eat a lot of pollo and rice and pasta. However, Ive already had fish twice haha. The Lord helped me a lot during those two meals because it literally looks like they chop the fishs head off, fry it in a pan, and put it on your plate. It wasnt bad though because one of the elders showed me to just squeeze a lemon over it and all you can taste is the lemon because theyre so strong here. A member gave me three lemons yesterday and it made me so happy. AND she had salt so I was able to have salt for the first time since Ive been here. They dont use salt here at all haha so thats been rough. Sugar is also pretty scarse haha. Nothing like the states. But its fantastic.
Okay now about church. The chapel is actually fairly normal. The actual chapel has air conditioning which is wonderful. But the classrooms dont. And neither does my house by the way mom. We each have our own fan though so that helps a lot. I have not had to bear my testimony in church yet. Probably because theyve all already heard my testimony over and over because its the only thing I can really say in lessons when we teach haha.
Corsons house is way nicer than mine by the way haha. But I love my house and feel super comfortable there. Like I said, the Lord is helping me SO MUCH. We have only cold showers and will always have only cold showers. Be grateful for the warm ones that you have Corson! However, I dont mind the cold showers because its a relief from the heat.
I sweat a lot here so thats why Im always shiny in my pictures haha. Im constantly sweaty. And as a result, my skin hates Panama. But good news! This is apparently a problem for like all gringos here and my comp is taking me to a dermatologist that they go to tomorrow so Im super excited for that.
I love the rain here. The thunder is my favorite and it rains sooo hard. I love walking in it. I just smile the whole way. The rain is the greatest.
I made a decision this past week to try really hard to just always be happy while Im here on my mish. Im going to face some really challenging things, I know that, but I also know from talking to other missionaries who are older in the mish that your attitude makes all the difference. So Im determined to have a positive attitude and to make the best of every situation. Im not okay with looking back on my mish after Im done and having regrets so Im deciding right now just as Im getting started to make it as great as it can possibly be.
We read in my comps journal last night of the entries from when she first got here and it sounds almost IDENTICAL to mine right now. It really inspired me and helped me to see that everything Im feeling is absolutely normal and that nearly everyone feels the same way when just starting out. Shes so great though and I asked her if she is happy with her mission and she said she really is. I want to be able to say that when I turn a year old.
My Spanish is coming slowly but surely. This week we are going to work really hard on it. I realized earlier this week how much I miss talking to people and connecting with them, so Im determined to learn this language so I can do that again!!
Well I think thats about the jist of my week. I hope I answered all of your questions! I want to send a few pictures and possibly respond to you guys a couple of times if youre on.
Also. You can send packages here, mom, to the address my mission mom sent you. So I was wondering if you could send me a few things sometime this month. Can you buy (with my money) the cheapest ipod shuffle that there is? I say cheapest because they charge you dues here if you ship in stuff thats worth a lot. So just the cheapest one that they make. And before you send it, will you load it up with uplifting music, church music, talks, and my 2013 EFY CD that should be in my stuff somewhere please? My comp has one and a speaker and we listen to it every morning and I love it so just in case my next comp doesnt have one Id really like to have one of my own. And I can get a speaker here so dont worry about that. Also, in the same package, can you send me some more skirts? like 4 or 5 from goodwill or like half price day. Maybe just bring whit with you and if they go to her mid calf, they should be a good length. ... Buy all this with my money including shipping. Thank you soooo much. And let me know when you send it so I can watch out for it.
Whit, whats your email again? I keep wanting to attach you to these but I cant remember your email address. Also, its now september so Ill be expecting my next batch of pictures of my nephews!!! You can send them in moms pkg for me if you want :) please and thank you!!!
I love and miss you all so much and I hope youre all doing GREAT!
Hermana Anderson