Monday, February 20, 2012

February 20, 2012

PANAMA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AH. I. love. it. here. It is crazy crazy nuts but I love it! I don´t know where to start - so much has happened in the last week. Probly the most eventful week of my life - bar none.

So it´s really hot here. Like - people weren´t joking when they said you sweat all day every day. I even sweat in my sleep at night. I arrived here in the dry season (the hottest part of the year) so I pretty much sweat my meals off in like an hour. Speaking of meals, we have a cocinera here! It turns out every area out here has one. They are church members who get paid by the mission to feed us once a day. Sister Carmen and her daughter (Itzel) are so nice to us, and they help me so much with my spanish. Itzel knows a bit of english from school (it´s a required class here in panama) so she is especially helpful - I help her with her english too so it´s awesome!

My first day here (Wednesday) was crazzzzzy. Elder Rich and President picked me up late late Tuesday night at the airport so we just slept at the mission home that night. Oh! Speaking of which, AmericanAirlines left one of my luggage bags in Miami on accident, so I had to wait a few days to get it. But I have it now, it´s all good.... Anyway, Wednesday morning President, E´ Rich and I walked across downtown Panama City to the mission office to fill out paperwork and such. It had to be one of the most memorable experiences of my life. Panama is the most civilized country in central america, but it was still so so so different than the states. A lot of the houses are tin and everyone and everything is just really... Idk how to say it. It´s just different here. Haha. So at the office, they gave me my mailing address for here to Panama. All missionaries here in the mission have the same address - it´s really nice cuz my mailing address won´t change the whole mission. It´ll be the same for the whole two years.

So a little bit about my comp - Elder Rich. He is waaaaaay chill. Bien prity (means ¨super tight¨ here in Panama. haha.) He is from Hurricane, UT and played.... you guessed it, bball and football in high school. We´re kinda like the same person. Haha. He is soooo sweet! Idk how I lucked out like this, but he is awesome. Like really, he is a good missionary and we have so much in common! I´m really lucky I got a gringo for my trainer because usually greenies get natives for trainers so that they can learn the language faster. But it´s really nice because he helps me with spanish a lot and after a long, hard day of working and speaking spanish, english is like my comfort. It´s really nice to get a break from it at night with him. Haha. His other companion - Elder Caal from Guatemala - went home early the EXACT SAME day that I arrived. Can you believe that??? Maybe this is the reason I was held back in the MTC - so I could be his companion. Who knows. Sweet though eh? I´m real blessed to have him.

Allright so my first plane ride....... what?!?! It was LEGIT. I loved it. We flew out of SLC at 6AM and so the plane was only half full. I had a window seat and I was just loving it the whole time. I think the guy in front of me thought I was crazy cuz I just stared out the window in pure utter amazement the whole 3 hours to Dallas. Hahah. I even used the plane toilet just to say I did! Another experience I´ll never forget. Oh and random! Michelle Lunt (a girl from HS) was on my plane all the way to Miami! She was going to visit her sister in Puerto Rico I think? It was the biggest coinsidence ever haha. We thought it was funny though and we took a picture. Airplanes..... changed my life, people.

So you know how I was gonna place 3 BOM´s? I was only able to place one.... :( BUT! The one was super super super good. So I was waiting at the departure gate in Miami - just sitting there, kind of sad cuz the payphones wouldn´t work (I´m REALLY sorry and sad about that btw!!! I was wanting to talk to Dad and Dave so bad :() Anyway, I got talking to a group of these people at the departure gate. Just small talk at first - particularly with a guy named Mario. We got talking and he told me he´s a native from Panama but he currently lives in Florida. I then started to ask him some gospel-centered questions after a while... he told me he´s recently recieved a lot of help from praying. He´s had a hard life and he´s recently gotten into Cristianity and he said he really likes The Bible. Entonces, I then taught him the short version of the first lesson - we discussed Jose Smith and The Book of Mormon. I especially focused in on the Book of Mormon. I had one with me so I showed him the introduction, showed him Moroni, and got straight to the point. I bore my testimony to him and told him he needed to read it. I promised him if he would, he would know The Book was true. I told him after he knew it was true (because I know he will), to find some missionaries like us - because they´re all over the world. I gave him the number to the mission home and gave him a flyer for Then, I saw him reading 1st Nephi on the plane!! I was so happy. I reallllly really hope he hits up the missionaries - he was a great man. Great man. If we don´t baptize him here in Panama, I´m leavin it up to my bro in Talahassee to find him. Go find him, Elder Farnsworth. Haha.

So about the work here in Panama. INCREDIBLE. You remember how I told you I was preparing to see miracles??? I wasn´t lying. I already saw one. Something that is It is out-of-this-world. I´m serious. Unfortunately it´s a long story so I´m gonna have to tell you about it next week. But prepare yourself - it is LEGIT LEGIT. Joshua 3:5. I am so lucky to be a missionary.

Another cool thing that happened in the work this week is I put down my first fecha (bap. commit)!!!! My second day here, we were teaching this kid named Javier (otherwise known as ¨Chookie¨ - his whole family calls him that.) Chookie is 13 yrs. old and he´s gonna get baptized!!!! Now we´re just working on getting him to come to church. But ya! My second day here, asked the bap. question in spanish and everything! I´m gonna baptize someone!!!!

Speaking of church, it is super cool here. It´s just like it is in the states - another testament that the church is true (except no Mom, I didn´t have to wear my suit - they never wear them here.). Haha. We got Chookie´s whole family to come to church! It was really exciting. E´ Rich and I are working miracles, I tell you.

Well I´ve gone way over time today so I gotta end this email!!! But I absolutely love it here. I love you guys and I´m so sad I didn´t get to talk to you!!!! There´s always Mother´s Day, right? :) Prepare yourselves for story time next week - crazy missionary miracle.

Love you!

Elder Clarke

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