My companion and I had an interesting week as we have been trying to work more with the members. The young men are really motivated to help us out which has been helpful. We are finding better methods to bring investigators to the church.
As we were taking a bus to district meeting, which is a 45-minute ride without traffic, about 30 minutes into the trip a big dump truck blocked the road. The bus driver decided that he didn’t want to move and he just drop us off early. Luckily I knew where we got off, just at the borders of El Empalme, and so we just started to get walking. We felt like Pioneers as we walked and walked and walked and walked. It took us around two hours, in which we passed around five different roadblocks, but we did make it to the District meeting. When the meeting was over, we headed back.
After walking in the blazing sun for hours I heard a man call out to us, “Hey, what’s going on?” We explained everything, as I stared at the passenger in the side seat. Wow, he looks a lot like my 1st bishop, Obispo Bravo, I thought. Just then he calls out, “Elder Irizarry, how you doing?!” It was really cool to run into him and talk for a little bit. I am not sure how it was that we crossed paths, but I can tell you that I felt as though it was meant to be. After pondering it more, and recounted how many things had to fall in place so I could run into him that day, I could not help but know that it was divinely planned for me to run into him. The day he had to travel there, the time he had to leave, the day we had district meeting, the time we got out, and the day they planned to work on the roads. The list goes on and on. During that moment I did not know exactly why I was out there, but I do know how I felt. At the end it was like, heck I'd walk in the sun for four hours every day just to feel like I'm accomplishing God's errands. It was super cool.
I believe they were working on the roads because of protests about road conditions. I am just glad it wasn’t anything as bad as the protest that had happened before I was ever here. Apparently, since this town is the farthest town away from the Panama City it is often times forgotten about every now and then by the government. Years ago there were riots where they filled up balloons with gas and started throwing fire (literalmente #EchandoFuego). The streets were in terrible condition, broken up and ruined. This was a day in which they were protesting but it was a lot tamer this time. We just had to walk a little bit more than usual.
For Mother's Day, I was able to travel to the zone leaders (45-minute bus ride) and we were able to Skype (call) home and talk with family which was great. I had my last companion Elder Lopez talk in English with a blonde wig on for the family saying, "Hello, my name is Elder Irizarry, I got turned into a Latino." We all had a riot with six missionaries crammed into a small computer closest to call our families. The next day happened to be our P-day de Eldere and we ended up staying the night with the zone leaders and playing soccer today and eating at a Bob Marley restaurant which was super good. The owner had dreadlocks that went down to his knees.
All in all, I loved seeing my family this week and I truly enjoy serving here in Almirante. I am so blessed!