Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Week 3 at the CCM

Here is Alyssa's latest email. Again anything in red I inserted.

Her email is for anyone who wants to send her an email. Her Pdays are Tuesday at the CCM.

If you email with her and she shares anything you think the rest of us would like to hear about forward it to me and I will add it to the blog.

So I got sick. I had a really bad sore throat yesterday and the day before and now I am just super congested. That's all. I'll be fine! At least I don't have a parasite like a few people here do. wooo hoo!! Yeah not pleased about being sick but what can you do??

I will tell someone to email you for me. (I asked her to have someone email me when she gets to Panama) As for Sundays it is your lucky day!! I took a picture of our schedule for the week so you can have a little peek at what life is like at the CCM. Enjoy! (I asked her why Sunday's were her favorite day)

Johanna (friend from Jordan High, that I couldn't remember where she got called to, when she knows 100 missionaries I can't keep them all straight) is going to Kennewick, WA. And it was the least I could do for Parker! (Elder Parker Burton lives 2 doors down from us and is at the MTC now as well - she brought a package with her for him) Another Beetdigger got here this week, but you don’t really know him, but Robert and everyone in that neighborhood does. Elder Chandler Smith got here, I think he is headed to LA but I'm not sure.

We have had a rough week as a district, we all got reprimanded for who knows what. You would think that people would understand what obedience is while on a mission, but I guess not everyone does... anyway then our district leader made us go around and say two things that we think need to be changed.

Also our two afternoon teachers were talking about goals and the one got mad because we hadn't made any goals. So that’s what we did. Well the thing that is frustrating is that they tell us over and over, you need to talk to natives!! Yeah well that is easier said than done because the only time we see them is in the lunch room and we can only sit by the sisters. The other problem is that they all sit together and when you do sit by them they don't seem very interested in talking to you. It seems as though they all don't like the Americans because we don't speak Spanish. Which is really hard. So I was telling my teacher Hermano Arevalo (My favorite) and I started to cry because I was frustrated and he told me that he was grateful that I was feeling this way because it shows that I have a desire to learn and because it is important to go through trials. Then he started to cry and told me that he feels the same way because the American teachers don't want to talk to him in English, which he is trying to learn and really wants to learn, he says it hurts his feelings because they won't help them. Then he told me that he knows I will be a good missionary because I have a desire for it. He said that he was going to tell his friend Hermana Cruz (who is serving in Panama right now) that she needs to look out for an amazing missionary coming her way. Then he said that he knows that I will get the language and that I shouldn't worry because he doesn't worry about me learning the language. He said that I am actually really good and that he doesn't worry about me, he worries about some of the others in my class. I told him thank you and then we had to start doing something else but I don't remember what. He is such a sweet guy! We all love him!

(Insert dist. Pic)

Okay so the people in my district. I'll send a picture with names. (I asked her about the people in her district and where they are from)

Left to right. Elder Angell (Georgia), Elder Delos Reyes (Washington), Elder Loveridge (Herriman, Utah), Elder Faerber (Minnesota), Elder Ballsteadt with his hands up.. (Midway, Utah), Elder Fridal AKA District leader (Logan, Utah), and Elder Pace (Arizona) we have one more named Elder Parker who is from Texas but for some reason he wasn't in this picture...

Girls: Hermana Latu (Rose Park, Utah), Hermana Barth (Holliday, Utah), Hermana Howe (Pleasant Grove, Utah), and me (:

Elder Ballsteadt is from Midway, he knows that one guy (one of my customers) with the twins or at least he knows the twins haha. Only Hermana Latu and I are going to Panama from our district. The other two are going to California. We have two elders going to New York, one going to El Salvador, two going to Texas and like 7 going to California. There are 9 girls in the whole MTC going to Panama.

Speaking of being goofy that was part of our discussion as a district... No more singing when we aren't singing the hymn for the devo at the beginning of class, no whistling, no talking about things unrelated to our work here, no talking above a whisper, no fun... haha it didn't really stick though...

We went to the temple again today and we will go one more time before we leave. It is awesome but today I was so sick and congested and exhausted (had to wake up early to go) that I couldn't focus. It took all I had in me not to fall asleep. There is an elder here that Hermana Howe knows that is from Panama so he was kinda telling us a little. We didn't have much time though, but he said it’s mainly arroz y pollo (rice and chicken).

Haha that’s hilarious! I love the Stick Alyssa. Yeah you should send me a stick Abby (:

Oh so I have to tell you what happened last night. We had an awesome lesson on the Atonement, and we watched this video of elder Holland and he said that the reason why the mission is so hard is because we are experiencing a fraction of what Christ went through. I wish I knew the name of the video but I don't I know it was on YouTube though. You could try to find it just type in something like Elder Jeffery R. Holland and Elder Henry B. Irying, Missionary Work related to the Atonement. IT IS SOOOO GOOD!! I can't even do it justice by explaining it so just try to find it and if you can’t I will ask my teachers what it is called. (I found it and watched and it is probably the best 10 minutes you will spend all day)

Also early this week we had a really good lesson on Ether 12. It was amazing and exactly what I needed. I was having a hard week at first and after reading that I understood why. I'm not 100% sure of the verse but in part of it says that if men come unto Christ (which is what missionaries are all doing) then He will show you your weaknesses and if you humble yourself before Him then He will make the weak things become strong. And then in verse 37 it was just like BOOM! Go read it! I'll let you figure it out, it's that good! (here is a link to Ether 12)

Anyways after the lesson last night we were at dinner and it started to pour!! By the time we were done it was still coming down. So we took off our shoes and started running, yeah well Hma. Barth and I both slipped. I had a few bumps (one right on my scar) and the others are on my foot and it’s really bruised. But here is the crazy thing, I fell right smack on my butt hahaha... yeah and no bruises no nothing! Power of the garm-trons right there! (Hahaha the girls in my room have picked up that term because that’s what HMA. Barth calls her garments.) Long story short I'm fine. But Hma. Barth ripped her skirt right up the back... it was bad... Oh well at least we are okay!

Hahahaha earthquakes... yay!.. not

The sirens have gone off 3 times now and we haven't felt a thing (My teacher says it’s because of the mountains, but that doesn't make a lot of sense to me, as long as I don't feel it that I don't care what it is)

So I found out that with DearElder it is free up until I leave the MTC but the problem is that it still takes like two weeks to get here apparently because they print them off in Provo and then pouch mail them here.. dumb I know.. As for the package I'm not really sure.. maybe a take 5 or something. Oh and by the way, I love the shoes that we got at Macy's even though they are ugly. (Black Clarkes) They are amazing! Just so you know.. umm

haha So btw its really cold in Mexico, which makes no sense.. Okay you mentioned Christmas morning! WE HAD NUTELLA THIS MORNING!! We didn't have anything to eat it with because since we had to eat so early to go to the temple the waffles weren't made yet but that didn't stop us from getting a great big spoonful and eating it like that (:

No me gusta black widows!! But Abby will be the coolest kid there!! (we have a black widow in our yard that Abby gets to take to school for insect day) Haha. There are mosquitoes everywhere here! I got bit 11 times two nights ago... not fun... But it was kind of funny because I showed one to our district leader and he was like uhhhhhh I think you should go see the doctor because I think that means you have Malaria! Oh the brains of 18 year old boys.... And I was like no I'm just allergic and he goes nooo I think it’s malaria and I'm sitting there like yeah I have malaria and I don't know how my own body responds to mosquito bites, okay Elder!

I wish you could see the campus that we live on. It is so pretty! WAIT A MINUTE I JUST HAD A THOUGHT!! Mom meet my good friend , Google meet mom! No seriously Google it! It's gorgeous! Oh and did I mention the wild parrots in the palm trees? Yeah they are bright green! Kind of awesome!! My Spanish is coming along, or so I think, so I hope. (I looked it up on Google Earth and you can see it from overhead and the gate out front but because it’s not public Google couldn’t drive down the inside streets so you can’t get a street view of what is past the gate, her pictures from last week are as good as any I can find online)

Okay I LOVE YOU!! Tell my Abby I love her and I miss her muchooooooooooo

Love <3 Hermana Wandell (:

P.S. Oh btw today is the half way point of the CCM!! Hermana Latu and I made up colors for each week. First week you are a greeny, then you are yellow, then orange, then red (that’s us right now), then purple and then blue. Oh and people wear too much cologne/ perfume, the kid I am sitting next to right now is making me nauseous! Okay TTFN!!
Tell Abby I love her! And that she is the cutest little sister in the whole wide world (:



Friday, August 23, 2013

Week 2 at the CCM

Hi All, here is Alyssa’s 2nd email, again sorry it took me so long to get it out. Also I just wanted to give you all her email address in case anyone wants to send her a quick email. It is below. Feel free to share these with anyone and also if you know anyone who wants to receive them give me their email address. I listed her blog below, I will post a bunch of pictures on there she sent)

 Hi mama!! So today as we were reading our emails, Hermana Barth (roommate) says "This is seriously better than Christmas morning!!" Amen! Haha I haven't really had headaches. I had one the other day but that's all. And I am sooooo grateful for the Spanish background that I have because it helps sooo much!! And I can imagine what it would be like if I didn't because there are like 3 people in my branch that haven't had any Spanish background at all. And about the waking up thing, you would think that waking up at 6:30 would give you a ton of time but it really doesn't, especially when 10 of it is taken up saying prayers and 5 of it is trying to wake up enough to function. But I manage. Haha.

So the first week was insanely long!! But the 2nd week literally flew by. On Sunday I was like wait a minute.. last Sunday was like yesterday, where did the time go? I think now that we have got the hang of what we are doing it goes by much much faster. Which is a good thing. Because Sundays and P-days come around much sooner than expected. (Those are my favorite days)

 So on Tuesday after I emailed you the new people finally got here, (WOOO we aren't the greenies anymore! We are like fading to a yellow!) haha anyways, we had this plan that we were going to go up to all the new kids and speak to them in Spanish just to be like oh we aren't the new ones anymore, you are. It happened to us when we got here too. Well anyways as I was doing this the 2nd person I look at is Elder Ryan Sperry (one of her friends from Jordan High) and at that point I was like forget it!! English it is!! So I sat there and talked to him and shook his hand and I was really excited to see him. Elder Adam Millet and Hermana Johanna Pullens  (friends from Jordan High) left this week, lucky ducks...

Okay so I love my district! They are all so funny and we really are like a little family. Each person has their own little quirks that makes them unique and it is so much fun. It really is like being in a room full of brothers and sisters. There are a lot of musically talented people in our district so we like to sing hymns together. Elder Fearber likes to sing the base line, Elder Angell harmonizes with him, I sing the soprano and then Hermana Latu harmonizes with me. It’s really awesome. We could be like a little Mormon band. We could call it the Elders and the Hermanas or something random like that. Every day I gain a new respect for someone in our district. I love it when the guys get really emotional because it’s just sweet.

Anyways another story of how our elders are awesome, we got back from dinner last night and some of the boys were in there and all of a sudden I hear this really weird voice speaking in Spanish and I’m like what in the world is that?? The elders all laugh so at that point I knew something was going on. I look around and I can’t find anyone but I realize that some of the elders are missing. So I look out the window to see if they were outside and no one was there. Then I hear it again coming from the cupboard. So I open that and still nothing and then next thing I know Elder Ballsteadt is coming out of the little cabinet below the cupboards.. haha 5 of them had crawled in there. It was really funny.

The investigator thing was really hard but she ended up becoming our teacher and she is such a sweet heart. She is from Salt Lake as well. So now we have 4 teachers, her and the 3 Hermanos. They are all amazing. And Hermana Doxey is awesome because she is such a good teacher and she hugs the girls whenever we leave class. I love her! But now we have two new investigators haha... but they are our teachers. Hermano Muñoz and Hermano Arevalo (both from Mexico, and Arevalo doesn't speak any English, which is really hard but also really good because it forces us to talk to him in the language.) We were supposed to teach yesterday but the elders took 12 minutes longer than they were supposed to and so they left us with only 3 minutes to teach... so we are teaching tomorrow.

The food is alright. I miss Chick-Fil-A like it’s not even funny! I miss American food! And I never thought I would see the day when I was grateful for hotdogs... cause the ones they have here are gross.... yeah.. oh and I ate crab the other day. I didn't like it. It was a cream cheese crab egg roll type thing... yeah. And yes we can buy snacks. They gives us $10 a week to spend (120 pesos) and if you don't need to buy anything else then you can buy ice cream or candy or cookies or other unhealthy but very delicious things (;

The temple was awesome but it was really hard because NO ONE spoke English!! The lady that asked me my name couldn't say Wandell so I had to write it down for her and explain that it sounded like an l and not a ll because in Spanish they are two different letters and sounds. Oh and the dress that they gave me was literally 10 sizes too big... yeah it was fun... haha no but it really was awesome. So something that is kind of interesting, the floor plan to the Mexico City temple is the same as the Jordan River temple. The inside is the same, escalators and all. Obviously the celestial room is different and so is the outside. The outside is awesome!! The only way I can really describe it is like a Mayan temple with the Mormon twist on it. It's beautiful!! and big!!

Hahaha... another thing that is really funny is I keep telling them stories about Robert (Alyssa’s best friend who is from Germany) and so now they refer to him as "our boy Robert" because they feel like they know him. haha. 

And yeah I noticed in one of the pictures you sent that Abby had a bandaid on her knee. Poor girl. Tell her I love her!

So what did you tell people when they asked about the stick Alyssa?? (Abby was so sad that we were going to Disneyworld without Alyssa so “Stick Alyssa” was my solution that made her happy – picture attached oh and photo by Scott Hancock Photography, if you need his # let me know J) My Hermanas all think that is hilarious and they think Abby is the cutest thing, which of course she is. (: 

So... I have to tell you about my panic attack. It wasn't really a panic attack but you will understand once I tell you. So we were sitting in class the other day when these annoying sirens go off, our teacher starts looking out the window (in Mexico it is normal to here sirens alllllll the time, especially at night when you are trying to sleep...) anyways he goes uhh I think we have to go out to the green dots (safe spots, designated areas where we have to go when the alarms go off) well we are on our way out there when I hear my teacher go "it is the seismic alarm." and at that moment I was like uhhh what did you just say?? yeah these alarms go off when the sensors detect seismic activity. At this point I'm like you're kidding right, nope he was being serious. and so I start bawling! I don’t do earthquakes.... I seriously was so afraid, and everyone was like what’s wrong and I was like this is my biggest fear. Yeah scary! Anyways we didn’t actually feel it, which was good because if I would have it would have been bad. Then our teacher was talking to us and telling us that aside from the temple we are in the safest place in all of Mexico. He said that the church had someone come and check out the campus and it really is crazy that we can’t feel the earthquakes. But yeah the sirens go off 30 seconds before the earthquake starts. He was also saying that on a mission you have so much protection that you don’t realize. Which I know is true but I still am deathly afraid of earthquakes... yeah anyways...

I feel like I am missing something but I don't remember what. Oh the first week we were here there were reporters from Deseret news and he took mine and Hermana Latu’s picture and made us sign our names. So we will probably be in the newspaper or something so look out for it.

Okay I love you I love you I love you!!! Tell my Ayabby that I love her and miss her and to smile for me! Thank you for everything! I love the letters everyday!! It is a great way to start out my day each morning (:

Love Hermana Wandell!

P.S. my address for the MTC is
Hermana Alyssa Morgan Wandell
Carr. Tenayuca-Chalmita No. 828,
Col. Zona Escolar, Delg. G.A. Madero,
C.P. 07230, Mexico, D.F.; Mexico

"Vi una columna de luz, mas brillante de el sol, directament arriba de mi cabeza, y esta luz gradualmente decendio hasta descansar sobre mi. Al reposar sobre mi la luz, vi en el aire arriba de mi, a dos Personajes, cuyo fulgor y gloria no admiten discripcion. Uno de ellos me hablo, llamandome por mi nombre, y dijo, eñsalando al otro, este es Mi Hijo Amado. Escuchalo!"

 Sisters on the same flight to Mexico

 Alyssa at the CCM

 Mexico City Temple


 Mexico City Temple

 Her District at the CCM

 CCM District at the Mexico City Temple

 Elders in Cupboards

 Guy in the garbage she thought was funny

 CCM Roommates

 Hermanas in cupboards

 Hermana Wandell and Hermana Latu

Hermana Wandell and Hermana Latu

 4 Sisters going to Panama



 Roommates at Mexico City Temple

"Stick Alyssa" and Abby 

Hermana Wandell and Hermana Pula
P.P.S. I'm adding some pictures. The pic with the 4 girls with dark hair is 4 of us going to panama. The girls with the blonde hair are our roommates. And the one of the random guy in the garbage I added because he was sitting in the garbage and I thought it was weird\ funny. (I added the ones of her district at the Mexico City Temple, the cupboards, her in front of the Mexico temple and “Stick  Alyssa”)


Thursday, August 22, 2013

Week 1 at the CCM (Sorry this is over a week old)

(Alyssa sent me a couple of emails replying to all of mine so I have meshed them all together, also anything in red I added)

 1 week down 77 to go!

 The first week was really hard, it was a lot of Spanish overload! But the nice thing is that I can understand almost everything everyone says in Spanish, which is really nice. I just suck at speaking it but that’s okay, practice makes perfect!

The CCM is really interesting, it is a huge campus and so we walk a lot. We have our own casa and there are 4 rooms but as of right now only 3 of them are occupied. There are 4 girls in my room, Hermana Latu (from Salt Lake) and I and then Hermana Howe and Hermana Barth. They are all really nice but it is hard to share one bathroom so we have started using the bathroom that isn’t occupied yet. It makes it a little less crowded. I’m not too tired but I do wake up tired because my roommates like to wake up early to get ready and so I don’t really get any sleep after 5:30. But oh well. I’m doing pretty good,  it was hard at first but now I’m having fun (:

Yes I have run into Hermana Johanna Pullens, Elder Adam Millet, Elder David Diaz, and some others that you don’t know. Oh and Elder Parker Burton! There were 11 of us from Jordan (Jordan High School) here this week so we got together after the devotional on Sunday and took a picture (:

My P-day is also on Tuesdays (: And I have run into Hermana Morales a few times. In total there are 10 girls going to Panama, but no boys! Hermana Latu, Me, Hermana Pula, Hermana Smalley, Hermana Morales, Hermana Curtis (LOVE HER!!!!), Hermana Johnson, Hermana Scott, and then two who`s names I can never remember. We have 4 girls in our district, the 4 in my room, and then 8 elders. They are nice and pretty hillarious! We like to get together as a district to play volleyball for gym.

Um it’s pretty rainy here and it’s cold in the mornings which stinks because I didn't bring a jacket. But oh well, I bought an umbrella at the Tienda (store) too. I'll be fine (:

um btw I used the debit card to buy a small predicad mi evanjelio (PMG) and an ice cream and some cookies haha...It was less than ten bucks though. They give us $10 a week to use at the store but mine didn't work yesterday because they don't put money in it until Tuesdays which I didn't know until I got to the register. Just FYI.

So they had us teach an investigator already! It’s obviously not a real investigator but it sure feels like it because she is super intimidating and she will become our teacher soon. Oh did I mention we have to speak\teach her in Spanish... yeah on day 3!!!! It was no easy task, but it is slowly getting easier. We have two more lessons with her and then we get 2 investigators. We have two teachers right now Hermano Mu񯺠(ß something that gets lost in translation from the Spanish keyboard)and HMO (hermano) Hopoate. HMO Mu񯺠is from Mexico and Hmo Hopoate is from Springville, Utah! They are both really nice. Then we have another guy who comes in and helps us sometimes when the other two aren’t there. His name is Hmo Arevalo and he speaks absolutely no English which makes it kinda hard but it’s also really good because it forces us to speak in Spanish.

The food here is ehh... haha they feed us a tonnnnn of carbs! rice, tortillas, bread, cereal, pastries, noodles, etc. Some of the food is really good and some of it is really gross. For example, we had meatloaf one day that was good and taquitos one day. But then another day we had these tortillas with this orange stuff in it and the only way I can honestly describe it was cheddar flavored instant mashed potatoes.... yeah I didn't eat that.... They usually have fruit for us which is good so if all else fails I can eat that. I have learned not to eat the soup though... it’s weird. like carrot soup and potato soup.. yeah need I say more? They give us pancakes, waffles, cereal, yogurt or some Mexican dish for breakfast everyday. It is cafeteria style so you can choose what you want. I had pancakes the first day and soon realized I didn't like them because   A: they are as thick as my wrist   B: they put something in it to make it sweet   C: they are sooooo dry!!  So its cereal or Mexican food because the pancakes and waffles are the same... They seem to try to make things they think we would like but it just goes wrong, so you learn what to avoid. haha.

So sorry if my spelling sucks, there are two reasons behind this.   1. This keyboard is sticky and it isn't an English keyboard so yeah...   2. I have so much Spanish in my head that I try to spell things the Spanish way not the English way...

Okay well I hope you are having fun in Disneyworld! I miss you guys and I love you! Have fun! We are going to the temple today which should be fun (:

I LOVE YOU I LOVE YOU I LOVE YOU!! Hug my Abby for me please and tell her how much I love her!

Hermana Wandell (:

 BTW I forgot to mention in the other email that we found out what day we get home. I leave on the 3rd of February in 2015! I hope you are having fun and that you aren't being driven crazy! I'm a little nervous for Panama because they tell us all the things about how we have to have filtered water in Central America and we can't wear jewelry because we will get robbed  and how we are likely to get parasites and so on and so forth. Yeah not helpful... oh well. It is what it is! BTW I can totally tell who Lucy belongs to, she looks a lot like Brent. I don't know if I can send pictures or not. I think I left the cord home that connects to the computer but I will figure something out. You might have to find it and send it to me when you send something for Christmas. Until then I will use the 4 GB card so that I can mail it to you so you can see any pictures I take. You will have to use your imagination until I can send it to you which probably won’t be until I get to Panama. I would say send the cord here, the only problem is that by the time you get home it will be too late to send it because mail takes forever to get here. Oh and by the way we can only take pictures on Pday.. haha yeah.

 Oh and it is so funny how many people here are from Utah... we probably make up like 50% of the 900 people who are here. It’s really funny. For example all of the girls in my room are from Utah. 3 of us are from salt lake and the other is from the Provo area. So it is fun to talk to everyone and figure out if we know any of the same people. For example there is an elder in my branch that went to Hillcrest who knows Eli and was at his farewell.. haha oh and I found someone who knows Carlee. He went to high school with her. Yeah it’s interesting. Oh I forgot to mention, I am being eaten alive by mosquitos I seriously have like 10 bites. The problem is that they are everywhere! Including in our house! Okay I have to go, I'm gonna try to email Robert before I run out of time. Good bye I love you!!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Arrival at the CCM (MTC in Español)

This morning Abby and I took Alyssa to the airport. What an emotional roller coaster to say the least. The absolute hardest part was when she picked Abby up to give her a hug and they both just sobbed. So heart wrenching. I am so glad that part is over. Needless to say our day got better. Alyssa called me from Dallas to tell me she arrived there. There were about 10 missionaries on that flight. Then I got this quick email from her letting me know she arrived. So relieved!! I want to give a big huge THANKS to everyone who helped get us to this day. Love to you all :)

Hey we got here and we are safe and what not (: Mariah is my first companion woo! I`m really glad you liked the present (: Even though you werent supposed to open it until you left but oh well thats alright, i dont care! It is poring rain in Mexico and the keyboards are realllllllly hard to use cause they are in spanish. Oh and everyone keeps talking to me in spanish and i just stare at them like uhhhhhh wha?? Oh well I`ll get it eventually. And with the phone its all good, i thought that it was because i had run out of time. So i have to tell you two funny things that happened to me today. So i was on the plane and the lady sitting next to me looks and me and says what is your name? and so i told her and she goes okay Alyssa the Holy Spirit is telling me that i need to pray for you. then she grabbed my hand and proceded to do so. Kind of weird... But it was sweet of her, and then as i was looking through my bag i found that money you put in there and on one of the dollar bills it said ``Bless the hands of they who recieve this. Amen`` yeah weird. But kind of interesting, thought i would share. But anyways I arrived at the CCM (MTC in Español) and yeah. Now I am hoping they will feed me because i am so hungry i could eat a horse! Okay well give Abby a hug for me and tell her that I love her! Just wanted to let you know that I`m not dead or anything. Okay TTFN, love you!


Hermana Wandell (:

Monday, August 5, 2013

Her first companion

Here is Alyssa and her very first companion. I truly think this is going to be the hardest goodbye to say.

How the LDS Missionaries first got into Panama (story Alyssa told at her Farewell)

When Elder Spencer W. Kimball opened up the Central American Mission, he said firmly to new mission president, Gordon M. Romney, "Do not forget the San Blas Indians." These Indians live on islands off the east coast of mainland Panama. President Romney said: "I do not know whether he had ever seen the San Blas Indians before or not. I doubt it. But I know that he was inspired to tell me, 'Do not forget the San Blas Indians.'" The only problem was that missionaries were not allowed in Panama at the time.

On one occasion when transfers were about to be made, a white missionary asked President Romney to send him to Panama. President Romney replied "You know they don't let missionaries into the country." The young man's response was "I can get into the country". President Romney asked him "If they won't let a Hispanic missionary into Panama, what makes you think they will let you in?" He replied "They will let me in because the President of Panama is my Uncle."

A meeting was set up with the President of Panama and at that meeting he asked his Nephew what he was doing there. He explained to him that he was serving a mission for his church and wanted to preach to the Panamanian people. The President told him that the people would be angry so he could not let him into mainland Panama but... I could probably send you to the San Blas Islands. There are a tribe of Indians called the Kuna over there and they probably would not care.

The San Blas Islands were first visited on September 21, 1953 by Huish Yates and two missionaries. A chief on one of the islands was not surprised to see them. He told them that, "as he lay in his hammock, a voice came to him saying, that white men from the north would come with a book containing the history of his people."   As the missionaries were teaching the people and telling the stories of the Book of Mormon, the people of the tribe would stop them and tell them that they can finish the story for them and proceeded to do so. The traditions and history of their people that they have been taught and handed down from generation to generation are the same as the stories in the Book of Mormon. This is because the Kuna at direct descendants of the Lamanites.

He's Been There Before (Poem Alyssa read at her farewell)

He's Been There Before

The alarm bell rings at 6:30, I stumble to my feet
I grab my companions bedding and pull off her sheets

A groan fills the room, is it already time to arise?
It seems like just a second ago, I was able to shut my eyes
The morning activities follow- study, prayer and such
When it's time to leave the apartment, you feel you haven't accomplished much

"We have a super day planned,"
My comp. says with a grin
I lowly utter a faithless breath,
"Yeah, if anyone lets us in."

With the word of God and my faithful Schwinn, we ride off in the street prepared to
Face another day of humidity and heat
It's 9:30 in the evening, the day is almost through
My companion and I are riding home not accomplishing what we thought to do

We ride up to the mailbox, hoping to receive a lot
Only to look inside and hear my echo reverberate "air box"
We go up to our apartment, the day is now complete
The only thing to show for our work is a case of blistery feet

It's past 10:30 p.m. My companion is fast asleep,
Silence engulfs me all about and I begin to weep
In the midst of sadness, I kneel down to pray
I need to talk to father, but I'm not sure what to say

"Oh, Father" I begin, "What happened to us today?
I thought we'd teach somebody, but everyone was away
My hands, my aching hands- worn, hurt and beat;
If our area was any smaller, we'd have knocked every street"

"Why on missions are the days so much alike?
The only difference about today was the flat tire on my bike
Will you send some cooler weather? The heat is killing me
I sweat so bad, it gets in my eyes, it's very hard to see"

"Why do I have to wear a helmet, isn't your protection enough?
People always laugh at me, and call me stupid stuff
Please send us investigators so I may give them what they lack
I want to give them Books of Mormon, the weight of them hurts my back"

"And what about my family: They don't have much to say
I'm sick of not hearing from home day after day after day
Oh Father, Why am I here am I just wasting time?
Sometimes I just want to go home, I'm sorry but that's on my mind"

"My companion, Heavenly Father, what are you giving me?"
The way she rides her bicycle, I don't think she can see
Now you have it, I can't go on, I don't know what to do
That, my Father in Heaven, is the prayer I have for you"

My prayer now finished, I stand up, then jump right into bed
I need my rest for tomorrow, we have another long day ahead
Sleep start to overtake me, I seem to drift away
Then it seems a vision takes me to another time in another day

I'm standing alone on the hill. The view is very nice
A man walks to wards me and says, "My name is Jesus Christ"
Tears of joy well up inside, I fall down to His feet
"Arise," He states, "Follow me to the shade. You and I need to speak"

My attention's towards my Savior, total and complete
He says, "Your mission is similar of what happened to me
I understand how you feel, I know what you're going through
In fact, it would be fair to say I've felt the same as you"

"I even know how you felt when no one listened to you
At times I felt not quite sure what else I could do
I know you don't like to ride a bicycle, for a car would be sweet
Just remember the donkey I rode wasn't equipped with 21 speeds"

"I understand you don't like sweating, in fact it's something you hate
I remember when I sweat blood from ev’ry pore, oh the agony was great!
I see you don't like your companion- you'd rather have someone else-
I once had a companion named Judas who sold my life for wealth"

"It's hard to wear a helmet and have people make fun of you
I remember when they put thorns on my head and called me the King of the Jews
So you feel burdened down by the weight of your pack
I recall how heavy the cross was when they slammed it on my back"

"Your hands hurt from tracting and knocking on doors all day
I guess when they pounded nails into mine, I ached in a similar way
It's hard not to hear from home when your family's not there to see
I lost communication on the cross and cried, "Father, why hast Thou forsaken me?"

"We have a lot in common, but there's a difference between us you see
I endured to the end and finished my mission, so follow and do like me"
He embraced me with His arms and His light filled me with His love
With tears in my eyes I watched as He went back to the Father above

I stood with awe and wonder when a beep rang in my head
I listened and heard the alarm, then realized I was in my bed
My companion let out a groan, "6:30 already, no way!"
I sat up and said, "Come on, I'll even carry your scriptures today!"

No matter what we go through,
When we feel we can't take more
Just stop and think about Jesus Christ,
He's been there before!

By Elder Troy Whittle

Alyssa's Farewell

A big thank you to everyone who came and helped out with Alyssa's farewell. She had tons of people as for her story and her poem she read so I will post those in 2 separate posts.