Okay so my new area is called Vera Cruz. No it is not like the movie.
[EDITOR’S NOTE: For anyone unfamiliar with the movie, a dark western set in Mexico here’s the movie – which I thought was the trailer, but then Mom corrected me. I should check things more closely before linking to them.]
My companion’s name is Alvarado. She’s from Guatamala and has 6 months in the mission.
The area is really pretty. It makes me think of Ventura, to be honest. Just a lot hotter and dirtier. There are hills on one side covered in jungle. It’s really pretty. On the other side is the ocean, but it’s kind of used as a sewer out here, so it´s pretty, but don´t touch it. And there are islands. The islands are San Blas. Apparently all the gringo missionaries that go to Vera Cruz go to San Blas. So, probably in about two or three changes I will be going there. It´s because in San Blas it´s more service than anything else and you teach English, Spanish, and piano. I can do all three, not well, but I can do them.
There is a branch. There are about 70 members and about 40 or more are inactive and almost all of them are children or teenagers. The area is really poor. It´s where all the Koona who are the indigidneous people live. So, most of the adults only speak Koona or a little bit of Spanish.
So, I should probably talk a little bit about changes. The day before changes Cambronero and I went around to all of our members and recent converts and said goodbye. We printed pictures with the both of us and put our information on the back for everyone. We didn´t get home that night till almost 10:30. Everyone was shocked that our area was being closed because that we had 5 baptisms. That´s more than both other sets of missionaries combined. The people that took it the hardest though was the Urena´s. They cried, and when we passed by in the night to go home from the chapel, they were waiting outside to see us one more time. My other person that was hard to say good bye to was Hermana Eyda. She´s been like our mom in Biencherri.
I don´t think any of us got much sleep. Cambronero spent most of the night packing. I think I got an hour, not so great especially when you have a cold. The reason we didn´t get so much sleep was because that we had to leave at 4 a.m. We were given a ride from a member, but he had to be at work at 5 a.m. So, all six missionaries piled into the back of his pick-up truck. There were three of us sitting on the seat and three on top of us. And all our bags were in the back of his truck. We think angels helped with the luggage because some of it looked like it was going to fall off on the freeway, but somehow managed to stay in the back.
We had to wait a couple hours in the giant bus depot here. So, most of us took naps.
At changes which is in the chapel at the temple, we all sat and watched a video that shows where we´re going. Places kept coming up and my name wasn´t there. I got really worried that I was going to San Blas. I have no desire to be stuck on an island where I can´t communicate with anyone for six weeks. Johnson was sitting next to me and in the same dilemma. Then luckily the area for Panama City came up and we´re both in the panama zone. So, we get to have district meetings in the chapel at the temple, and it´s really easy for us to go to the temple.
I´m sorry I´m not sending pictures because my camera is having an issue. I´ll have to check it.
My house is nice. I´m on the top bunk. Yes, it´s cool we have a bunk bed. And again it is 4 Hermanas in the house. We have Latu, who came with me from the MTC, and her new comp Vargas. To get to the house you enter into this courtyard and there´s the house for the landlords their daughter’s house, a small playground, basketball court and best of all 2 dogs! Yes, I have already made friends with them.
OH, also I am now teaching piano lessons to the youth. We´ll see how that goes and to a member as well. I´m also teaching English lessons. The Hermana before me taught both, and as I am the only one who can play piano I am teaching both. I have talked to Latu, though and she´s going to be teaching one day of English, so we have more time to work, because these lessons take up a ton of our time.
Oh, I also have a member family that speaks English more than spanish. They cook American food for us and are giving us Christmas dinner. They are also going to buy stuff for us to do Skype. I have no idea how to do Skype, so send advice next week please! I´ll try to figure out about what time it´ll be here when I call.
If any of you have advice for teaching the piano or English please send that too. I´m completely lost on what to really do. Luckily we have a keyboard in the house that I´m using to practice so that´s helping.
I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas.
I love you all!
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