Monday, March 30, 2015

ANDERSON CAME TO BLAS!!!

Holla everyone,

    Short email this week... So this week my other MTC companion came out here to the Islands of San Blas. We are all together now!!! WOOHOO!!! We are soooo excited. 

This week has been a hard one as well but thanks to all the new skills that I have developed here on my mission I was able to puss through. We also had a baptism this week. I was really cool because our convert got baptized in the ocean. Really neat experience. 

I have been trying to learn more on the Kuna culture this week so next week (when we actually have a computer on our island) I will get back to you guys. There is however a Book of Mormon in Kuna. It only has parts of it but its still pretty cool. 

General Conference is coming soon and we are all excited about that down here in Blas. We love to hear the prophet. 

Well guys love you and miss you a ton!!! Have a great day and week!!


-Hermana Patrick




                                                              MTC companions
                                                        My MTC comps (Anderson and Hall)
  The missionaries

video
                                           
 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Lamanites or not??? :)

Nuegambi everyone,

      So this week has been the hardest of my mission thus far. I even cried.... The church here on the island is just really hard. The members are not very strong in the gospel, we only had 29 people at church this Sunday and only 8 of them were adults, the rest were kids.
We only had 45 mins of church and kids were running around everywhere while trying to take the sacrament. Our branch president doesn't have any counselors or any help with anything. There are only 2 worthy priesthood holders on the whole island which has been hard as well.
When people get sick we run around everywhere trying to find someone to give a blessing. We have tons of less actives and tons of work to do. It has been hard. We now realize how great the church is in the states haha. My companion and I said that when we get home we are going to be some much better church members. We realize that it is a ton of work. We have to type a book in Spanish on how to give blessing... The exact words because no one knows how to do it. My comp and I just cried because we know that this is there salvation and they are doing nothing about it. We know that the gospel is true and we really want them to know for themselves as well. We had a guy tell us this week that his religion is Kuna. He said that you cant be a Kuna and Mormon at the same time.

But you guys want to know something amazing???!!! So my comp and I believe that we are teaching the Lamanites. Just like in the Book of Mormon when it says that the Lamanites will have the gospel, well guess what!! We are giving it to them. So just a little Kuna history
for you guys......    So a long time ago as the Kunas would say there
was a man named Ibeorgun that came down to visit the Islands here.
They said that this man was a prophet and he preached to them and that he chose followers to teach the people. They said that he was with them for a while then he went back up into Heaven. Sound familiar???
We think that this guy was Christ. Christ came down to the people to teach them and chose followers. We just know that they have really bad traditions of there fathers so they are a bit lost right now. Me and my comp think that these people are the Lamanites. Its really cool to think about and helps us keep going.

Well thats all for this week guys.... We see that same people like 30 times a day because the island is so small haha... The Kuna is coming along and so is the Spanish. See you guys soon!! Love you!!

-Hermana Patrick


P.S congrats to my Uncle and Aunt that are getting sealed in the temple this week!!! :) Love you guys!!


                                                           
                                                                our restroom
                                                         My companion and I with the Kuna kids

Monday, March 16, 2015

Funeral!!

Nuegambi/ Hola Everyone,

     So this week has been an adventure here on the island. Roaches are now my best friends, sorry no more dog stories! So we were walking into the bathroom one night (which I actually got to send a picture of). When we unlocked the door there was a huge roach on the ground. I screamed and ran away. My companion goes into the bathroom with the broom and hits it down into what we thought was the water. She tells me that it is clear to go. So I walk in and sit down on the toilet.
While using the bathroom the roach came out from the toilet and ran under my legs. Now just a reminder...... we use the restroom right over the ocean so when my companion hit the roach out we thought it went into the water but NO, it was hiding in the toilet waiting for me. So anyways, I am still using the restroom while screaming and my companion comes running in with the broom and hits the roach again into the water. She runs out and is crying pretty much. I run out of the bathroom (not with my pants up, but good thing it was night time) and scream. My companion is rolling on the floor and thinks that it is soooooooo funny. So now she just tells that story to everyone we meet.
Now that I look back it was pretty funny, but at the time..... SO NOT FUNNY!!!!

So we still have a bat friends that come and visit every night. The just hang out and what not. Not really sure what type of bats they are for the people that wanted to know. We also have spider friends and tons of ants. Oh the ants love us soooo much!!

Well as for the work..... THIS IS THE HARDEST THING I HAVE EVER DONE IN MY LIFE!! The church in the states is just soooo different. We didnt have all three hours of church last Sunday but this Sunday we tried really hard to. People will just come to church to take the sacrament and then after they leave. The men dont have priesthood meeting and the lady's dont have relief society. Its just really sad.
Speaking of that....

So this week we had a 65 year old man that was a member of the church get really sick. So we went to visit him and see how he was. When we walked into the little stick house there he is laying sick with a really high fever in his hammock. We sang him a hymn and said a prayer and asked if we could come back later to give him a blessing. He said yes and we went off on our way. We searched and searched on the island for a worthy priesthood holder to give a blessing. We FINALLY found two, one that couldn't read or hear very well and didnt know how to give a blessing. And the other, our branch president that had only given a blessing once in his life. We had to practice with him over and over on how to give a blessing. It was crazy. But anyways, so we go and give the guy a blessing and it went pretty well. The following day during a lesson we got the news that the guy died. We went over to the families house to see if we could help them with anything and they told us to go in the house. We looked at each other and just walked in.
When we got closer we noticed that the guy was breathing and was still alive. He couldn't walk, talk get up or anything, but he was alive. I guess the guy that said he died didn't really know haha.... But the following day, Friday the 13th the guy died at 1:30 in the morning. It was really sad. He was a really nice guy. So hear the culture is a lot different so when someone dies EVERYONE knows. Mostly because we live on a small island. But they go into the house of the dead person and eat and sing to the body. So thats what we did... We went and sang hymns to the body. It was a bit strange but actually kind of cool.
Then people ate and prayed then after that they all started to dance and play these pipe things. When someone dies they take the body across to another island and bury the body, in there hammock. So we have been helping with that this week........


So sorry if the story is hard to understand. I dont have much time and spelling and grammar mistakes are hard to fix with so little time.

So we have new investigators and are working hard. Love you all and miss you tons!!!

Love Always

-Hermana Patrick



                                           our beds

                                       
our bathroom

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

SAN BLAS AND 8 MONTHS ON THE MISSION!!!! :)

Hola everyone, or should I say Nuegambi

    So sorry that I couldnt write very much last week. So just to give everyone the update. I had E changes to San Blas. I had E changes because my companion that Im with right now didn't have a companion because her companion went home, so I took her place out here on the Islands of San Blas.

Can I just start off by saying WOW!!!! Its is soooooo pretty here. I am just surrounded by water. It is like something you see on a postcard. The water is soo blue and the sand is just wonderful. I wish I could send you all a picture but I cant. The internet is super slow so I cant send pictures unless we go into the city. So until then sorry guys....

So first day out here on San Blas. I had about a 4 or 5 hour car ride out to the shore where I would be meeting my new companion. I got to the shore and got out to found out that we had a 3 hour boat ride to our island. We stayed to night at an island called Carti Tupile where another set of sisters live and work. It was only about 30 or 45 mins out so not to bad. We searched and searched for a phone to use to email our family and finally found one but it was soooo slow that we could only email for a short time. That and well, there were 4 of us and 1 phone haha. So the next morning Hermana Hall and I (By the way Hermana Hall was my companion from the MTC) got up for a 3 hour boat ride to our island, which is called Ticantiki. We got to the island all wet and salty and unpacked and got settled in. We got some clothes to take a shower but guess what???....... No water! haha.... And oh let me just tell you about the water/ shower situation.... So our "shower" is you get water from the river and you take a bucket and have at it. Its a bucket shower party... Im really not to sure if we are actually clean haha. But a shower is a shower I guess. So we forget the shower and just unpack and clean. We set up our beds.....
oh yeah let me tell you about the "bedding" situation as well. So we sleep on hammock. Yep that is our bed every night. I haven't really slept in about a week because Im not use to it yet but Ill get there.

So yeah anyways.... so we get all settled in and the water comes back on so we take "showers" and go out to start meeting people. We met about 2 people and came back for dinner and to sleep. Oh and let me tell you something else..... We have friends that like to come over our house every night and just "hang" out. Literally.... HANG!!! There are about 5 or so that just love to come in. Their names are BATS!!
BATS!! and BATS!! They all have the same name look at that. Well they just fly around and chill in our house. I don't want to know what happens when we sleep.

Okay so on with the story. So we get up the next morning and have to walk about 20 25 yards across the way to use the restroom that is not in our house. Oh restroom situation... So its this little tiny room over the ocean and there is a whole in the bottom and that's where you go... Not to be nasty or anything but when you go #2 the fish just wait so they can eat it... then we eat the fish.....
yeahhhhhhhhhhh.... anyways so its pretty much like camping everyday of my life. Just a long camping trip. Just throw a little teaching the gospel in there and BAM that's whats going on.

BUT!!! I wouldn't want to be anywhere else. It is amazing here and I am learning soooo much. I think more then anything I am learning to be so grateful for all the things that I have at home. Washing dishes here is a pain because you have to go outside with a bucket of river water and just have fun. The language is pretty tough as well. Not everyone on the island speaks Spanish so we are learning Kuna now. Its hard but I know about 7 words in Kuna now so that's good. We have Kuna lessons everyday at this ladies house. Its hard because we are learning a new language in a language that we don't know very well.
But it is amazing. The kuna people are such hard works and they love us. All the kids just follow us around all day haha. Everyone on the island knows who we are so we are pretty much famous here. It is going to be an adventure for sure and I am so grateful for this opportunity to serve here. I love it but it is hard.

Okay guys, Love you and hope that you love my email haha... Miss you tons!!! Oh and did I mention that I had 8 months on the mission yesterday!! Time is going by so fast. Well love you all... keep the faith!!

Love Always

Hermana Patrick


Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Information on San blas

The San Blas islands are a group of islands in the archipelago de San Blas, located in the Northwest of Panama facing the Caribbean Sea. There are 378 islands within the archipelago and they are scattered around in an area of about 100 square miles. If you leave the Golfo de San Blas by boat you will enter the Caribbean Sea. The majority of the 378 islands have no inhabitants, but on the larger ones you will find the gentle native people known as the Kuna’s. These people can be found on the larger inhabited Islands; Aguja Island, Guanidup Island, Chichimei, Yandup Island and El Porvenir.

What can you find in San Blas?

The San Blas Islands are the number #1 vacation destination in Panama and probably in Central America. This is because the Islands are not yet discovered by the massive tourism industry and fully in control of the native Kuna’s. The Kuna’s protect their lands against massive tourism and keep them healthy and beautiful. This makes the San Blas Islands of Panama unique if you are searching for untouched nature and culture. You will sleep in eco-friendly accommodations made by the Guna’s Indians from natural materials which they found on the Islands and in the jungle. The most common way to get around in the San Blas archipelago is by sailing from island to island, but you can also book flights from Panama City to the airports located on El Porvenir, Playon Chico, Achutupu, Ogobsucum or Corazon de Jesus in San Blas. Driving to Guna Yala (San Blas) is also possible, you will have to take a 4×4 jeep from Panama City to Carti

The native inhabitants are called the Guna

The native people living on the Islands of San Blas call themselves Kuna’s or Guna’s. The district/region in Panamawhere you can meet the native inhabitants is officially named after them; Guna Yala or Kuna Yala. The Kuna’s are community of proud people that have their own laws, norms and values that go with their culture, which is by the way totally different than the traditional Panamanian culture. Since the last headcount of all the Kuna Indians an estimated 300.000 live in Panama, Costa Rica and Colombia, only 50.000 live on the San Blas Islands. When you visit the San Blas Islands don’t forget to try some of the traditional Kuna food

The history of San Blas starts around 500 years ago

Around 500 years ago the Kuna’s where living in the Darian Gap that is now the border jungle of Panama and Colombia. This was a very dense jungle that made moving through very difficult and trading with other communities rare. In order to flourish the Kuna’s decided to go up north/west into Panama. We’re now arriving at the years 1650-1750 when the Spanish already occupied many places around that area. The Spanish conquistadors called the Kuna Yala reagion a pirate zone with many places to hide. The Kuna’s did not bother the pirates and where slowly starting to settle among the island trading with the Pirates and Spanish explorers.

Arriving 200 years ago

The first real settlements of the Kuna were build on the Islands of San Blas around the year 1800. The Kuna had plenty of food and trade roots with different families, pirates and explorers, which benefited the growing of the community. Another important historical event that did not stop this growth in their community was that the islands had no jungle diseases that kept the numbers of Kuna people low in the years before because of deadly illnesses. These days the Guna receive healthcare of the Panamanian government if they need it. Yet, these days the numbers of the native Guna’s are declining since many leave to earn money outside Guna Yala.

n 1903 Panama became independent

In 1903 Panama became an independent country but the Kuna did not want to be part of Panama and where protesting against the new Panamanian government. In 1925 the Kuna communities gained the status of an independent state within Panama. This gave them more influence over their own culture and rules. In 1938 the Kuna made their own constitution called “La Carta Organica de San Blas”, which was approved officially approved by the Panamaian goverment in 1945.
Since 1940 no tourist where allowed in San Blas
No tourist and scientist where allowed in the Kuna empire until the late 1940’s. After the 1940’s they began to open the borders and the first tourist followed the scientist, mostly anthropologists where visiting the San Blas. Nowadays the San Blas Islands are open for tourist and the Kuna run a pretty good tourist business. But after all these years they still keep tight control over their own people and cultural legacies, which resulted in a strong preservation of nature and culture in San Blas.

Pictures of the San Blas Islands of Panama

San Blas is one of the pristine places of Panama and these pictures will tell you why. The pictures have been taken on random locations in the San Blas archipelago and show the great diversity of culture, nature, wildlife and sea life that can be found around the Islands.

Pictures of San Blas

San Blas Island
Isla Perro, commonly referred to as Dog Island is probably the #1 destination in San Blas for snorkeling, relaxing and enjoying the Island vibe. The old gunboat shipwreck is an excellent place to spot tropical fish, colorful coral and other marine life. It lies just in front of the main beach and is partly submerged when the tide is low.
San Blas Islands Chichimei
As you can see most of the Islands are inhabited by palm trees and palm trees.
Panama San Blas
This picture is taken while swimming in the crystal clear waters around the island of Chichimei. Chichimei is one of the larger islands in San Blas but walking around takes you only 10 minutes!
San Blas Panama
When you visit San Blas by boat and you did not enter the Panamanian maritime borders yet you have to go to this frontier in El Porvenir to enter Panama. Getting a stamp in your passport and paying some dollars for your boat.
San Blas Islands water
In the high season you can find a lot of sailboats passing by through San Blas Panama. The sailboats are all anchored here because the island protects the boats against the bigger waves and sea currents. The smaller boat in the front of the picture is a water taxi that can take you to any island or the mainland.
San Blas Islands of Panama
Another small pearl of an Island in the archipelago. If you look closely you can see the reef breaking the waves of he Caribbean Sea on the left. This reef protects the Islands against Mother Nature.
Aerial picture of San Blas Islands
This picture was taken with a GoPRo camera hanging underneath a drone!
San Blas Guna
A local Kuna woman dressed in her traditional Molas. You can see the nice patterns of the Mola on her arms, legs and middle back. The more color and detail the more value the Mola has to the Kuna’s.
Guna Yala
The Kuna’s is trying to sell fish and Molas to tourist in their wooden canoes. They know how to peddle the strong currents!
Panama San Blas Islands
While sailing we passed one of the many uninhabited Island of San Blas. Most of the Islands are to small to settle on for the Kuna’s so they only use the islands as refuge for rough seas or to collect coconuts.
San Blas Islands
Another amazing picture of a tropical bounty island in Guna Yala.
Guna woman
The Guna’s sell their piece of art, which are called Molas.
San Blas Sailing
This cool photo shows the sail of a sailboat and the blue sky of Panama.
San Blas Spanish school
Most Kuna people can’t speak any foreign languages next to Kuna. They take Spanish classes to communicate with tourist and Panamanians. Some Kuna’s can speak English but most of them learned this on the mainland.
Beaches San Blas Islands
The sand you will find on the majority of the San Blas Islands is crystal white and very fine as you can see on this picture.

Monday, March 2, 2015

E changes to where.......???

Hola friends and family,

       So on Saturday I got a call at about 9am from the A.P.'s of the mission. They called to inform me that an hermana on the San Blas islands didnt have a companion because of... well reasons. The next thing they said was something that will never leave my memory. They said "hermana patrick, your going to San Blas!!" I just about cried when I heard the news... then they told me who my companion was and I actually cried. Hermana Hall (my mtc companion) was my new comp. We are sooooo excited!! If you dont know what or where San Blas is at go on google and look it up. Its soooooooooooo pretty I cant even tell you. I am living on an island right now!!! With kuna people!!! This is for sure a mission of a life time. Im just surrounded by beach everywhere. The caribean! Its so blue and wonderful. They dont speak much spanish at all so I will be switching my mission lang. to kuna for a while. Its hard but sooo worth it. I havent been to my island yet but we will head out in the morning. Right now we are on a different island with another set of sisters for today. Tomorrow will be great! I wish I could send you guys pictures but the computers catch on fire here so I cant haha. Im actually using a phone right now because our computer set on fire. You can walk from one end of the island to the other in 5 mins. Its just wonderful here. Well I have to go guys. Ill give you all the details next week when we hopefully have a computer. Have a great week!!!! :)

-Hermana patrick