So, Panama is definitely hot. I sweat every day. I like the humidity, but it`s definitely not what I am used to. Can I just say my handkerchiefs were probably the best thing I brought. I use them all the time.
So, I`ll start with my trip here and then give you a run-down of the week.
Wednesday of last week I got up at 3:00 am to get on the bus to the airport. The MTC did give us food so that was good, but Mexico airports security is nothing compared to LAX. We had to wait at the airport for about 5-6 hours before we got on the plane. And then it turned out that my seat was in first class. That was really weird for me, but there were about five of us Hermana`s who were in first class. So, I got lunch and a blanket on the plane, and a really good nap.
When we got to Panama we got picked up by the Assistants, and taken to the temple. At the temple we stayed in a hotel place they have there. We were talked at for about an hour or two in Spanish in the church building on temple grounds, and I didn`t understand a lot of it. We got to do a temple session though. The temple is tiny, but really pretty. They had to bring extra chairs to seat all of the new missionaries in the session. There are 23 new missionaries, 9 Americans, the rest are Latinos, and only one is an elder. Poor guy.
Anyway the next day we got to meet our new companions. My companion`s name is Cambronero, which everyone has a really hard time saying. It`s really funny, because everyone can say my name, but no one can really say her’s. She’s trained two other American sisters, and has opened three areas. She`s really sweet, speaks English, so when I don’t get something can explain it to me.
We’re in an area called CoCo, but our ward is called Biencherrie 1. There are three sets of missionaries in the ward, all of us Hermanas. We’re opening a new area. The elders had it before, and didn’t really do much as far as we can tell. So, it’s been an interesting week as we had to divide the area in three, and try to figure things out. One set, the zone leaders live with us. They’re Curtis and De Aguilar. Curtis is very similar to Katherine personality wise. De Aguilar is teaching me Panamanian words, like Fula which is a white person, sopa which is what’s up, and chomba which is a brown person.
We’re about an hour and a half from panama city. Were more in the rural area. The people do not have a lot, and the houses are very humble here. You`re rich if you have actual windows instead of the decorative cinderblocks for windows. Every thing in the houses are cement and cinderblock. It’s very different from home. I’ll admit sometimes I want to be home, but when i talk to the people I forget all about it. apparently thinking about home is called being trunky, Cambronero say’s she is too.
Anyway the house we live in was the Elders before, and when we got there was a mess. We spent basically the first and second day cleaning it. It looked like they never cleaned it. Then, on Saturday we painted it. The elders in our zone came and did it for us. We were going to paint it a pale lilac, but the paint turned out to be pink. Not all the walls are painted, but our house now looks like a Barbie house on the inside.
Friday we did contacting, which is basically trackting. We got 5 investigators out of that, and have appointments to meet with them again. Cambronero does most of the talking. I just try to follow along and give my testimony occasionally. We are starting with zero people here, so we are just trying to get some investigators.
An interesting thing Cambronero said and Curtis too was that I must be a very strong person because the Lord put me into such a hard situation from the start.
We had a ward activity on Saturday and one of the girls in the ward basically adopted me. So, whenever she sees me she hugs me, and holds onto me. She looks about 10-13. She’s also helping correct my Spanish. Then, that night we went to the Riveron family for dinner and they are so sweet. They fed all the missionaries, and threw a small b-day party for Curtis. The daughters taught us hand games, and the mother told us to call her MaMa. I have a couple mom`s here, because Cambronero is also called my mom in missionary terms.
Then yesterday we went through our area with the ward mission leader and he introduced us to some less actives. And we visited a few members’ homes. I actually had a spiritual prompting I followed in one house. A mom has a daughter in the hospital and I asked her to read “I Need Thee Every Hour” in the hymn book before she went to bed. I actually got my point across. Cambronero says I should follow those kind of promptings.
I love the people here they are so nice.
Good luck on everything you guys are doing.
Love you lots
P.S. I did get to pet some dogs, but I try not to do that all the time. There are a ton of stray dogs here and Cambronero is kind of afraid of them. I`m not, of course, but that’s me all the time.
This is the only picture she was able to send this week
And since there are so few pictures this week, here’s a picture of our sister Kayla hugging a giant stuffed animal dog when she misses Natalie:
E-mail Hermana Natalie Palmer directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
Even a short, encouraging e-mail would be great!
If you would like to write to Hermana Palmer, here’s the mission mailing address:
Carrasquilla Entrega General 0834
Republica def Panama
(The Palmer family is going to be sending Halloween decorations by next Monday, September 30, 2013. Drop something by if you want us to try to add it to the envelope – we’re hoping to only do flat things that are easier to package and send)
To follow the blog for the whole mission check out: sunshineinmysoulpanamamission.blogspot.com