Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Feliz año nuevo! 2013! Y feliz cumpleaños abuelo, papá, y mamá!

So much has happened this week! I hope you guys are doin´ awesome. I am learning good things here in Penonomé every day. Sorry I didn´t write yesterday... I wanted to apologize. Here in Panamá, yesterday was a holiday and so all the internet cafes were closed....so ya. Nos toca ahora.

So first of all, I hope you guys had a HAPPY NEW YEAR!! I can´t believe it´s 2013. What´d you guys do? I´m happy to say we worked the best we could that day, although there were quite a lot of people sleeping or recovering from their night-long party. Fun new years day fact: a drunk guy came up and kissed me on the arm, and asked me and my comp. to accompany him to Chitré.... he seemed a little homosexual as well. Hahah it was funny.

Allright a few quick things back from Christmas that I forgot to mention to you guys: I was finally able to watch Dave´s mission call opening! Yes!! It teared me up a little bit. I appreciated that gift maybe almost more than any other. Thank you so much for sending it. And thank Amy for making it! I really loved it. Also, Christmas day we were able to paint the house! Way to stick to the panamanian tradition right? We painted it blue. I´ll send pictures. Finally, I also recently recieved the Christmas letters from Grandma, Grandpa, and our family Christmas letter! Man - grandma and grandpa´s letters were the bomb. Tell them please that I loved them. Grandpa´s temple experiences especially were great. I can´t wait to read his book.

Ok so we´ve been seeing lots of success in the ward recently. Sunday, we had 91 people in church!! Usually it´s like 65. Attendance is going up, and I think a large part has to do with what we´ve started here in the ward amongst the members. First, Elderes Aguirre, Kniff, Carrillo and me have started a fun program called ¨Miercoles con los Misioneros (Missionary Wednesday)¨. What we´re doing is every Wednesday night, we go to a different member´s house and hold a family night, where they invite friends, neighbors, and there is food and games. Then, we post on the bulletin board every week a big picture we print out of the family night, along with a little description of what we did, we the lesson was about, etc. It´s looking to be really successful. Also, the other thing we´re doing to help the branch is reviving ¨group night¨ every Thursday. Last week, the attendance had tripled from the week before! 38 people! Us missionaries are really looking to make it more exciting, and get the member´s support behind it. We wanna turn this place into a ward - not just a branch.

Allright well I thought I should probly mention the progression of some investigators: I wanted to let you guys know that Edelsy, José, Karol, and Michael are really progressing. I know they are gonna get baptized - now it´s just a matter of when. We´re aiming for the end of this month - the 26th of January. Also, we have a lesson with la familia Sotto tonight - Mom - thank you SO much for fasting for them. I know all our sacrifice for them will not go in vain. They are great, that family. Lastly, I don´t know if I´ve mentioned Luís before, but he´s the husband of a less active mother. Anyway, he´s a BALLER at basketball. Like, probly the best panamanian I´ve yet seen here. So anyway, we´re trying to get them married and decided it would be fun to use bball to have a lesson with them. So, a few days ago, us 4 missionaries, along with him, played bball at the church, and then had a lesson about marriage afterward. It was pretty successful, and I REALLY wanna baptize him. I asked President to leave me here another change so I can see all these guys get baptized. I don´t know if you guys remember ¨Carvinales¨ from a year ago, but it´s like the panamanian Mardi Gra - everyone takes like half a week to drink and just do whatever they want. It´s get pretty ugly - especially here in the interior. Last year in Chorrera it wasn´t so bad - it doesn´t get too bad there. But here, President takes us out of the area for like a week, and that´s gonna hurt our investigators too I´m afraid. But just pray for em all :) They´ll be ok.

Lastly, I just wanted to mention a cool experience from Sunday. We walked in a little late to church cuz we were waiting for and brought an investigator. Anyway, when we walked in the first thing I hear is that the guy at the podium said I was about to give a baby blessing. What? Hno. Castillo wanted me to bless his baby. No sé. So with literally like 5 seconds notice and without having ever done it before, I walk up and give the baby blessing! And gave him a name and everything! Aaron Enrique Castillo Morán. I didn´t do it perfect, but it was a really really cool experience and I felt The Spirit work through me. I loved it.

Anyway, I´ve gotta go cuz my time is up, but I hope you all have a grrrrrrreat week! Grandpa, Dad, and Mom especially!!! Happy birthdays!! I´ll talk with you all next week!

-Elder Clarke

P.S... I was THRILLED to see that picture of Whitcomb with you guys on Sunday. That made me so so happy. He´s a stud huh?

P.S.S.... guess who´s coming to visit the mission is a couple of weeks??? Elder D. Todd Christofferson! Yessir.

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