We got to talk to Lloyd this Christmas. In his mission, he goes to an Internet cafe and they are closed on Christmas day, so he gets to talk to us either on Christmas eve or the day after Christmas. So we talked to him on Christmas eve.
He's doing well. He was not very happy about being a District Leader because in his mission, all the District Leaders and Zone Leaders are kind of jerks. They lecture and bug missionaries constantly. He didn't want to be part of that, so he was not excited when he was called. But he's working with his district and is trying to help them, not lecture and bug.
He's in a suburb of Panama. His apartment is about half the size of his bedroom back home. He said he can't wait to feel carpet again. Everything is either dirt floors, concrete, or tile. He also hasn't had a hot shower since he was in the hospital.
We finally were able to get some answers out of him about how much he is teaching. He said they teach about 20 lessons a week. That counts the five minute lesson/discussion on the street, but that's still a lot. I remember on my mission I went entire weeks without teaching a single lesson.
He said there are two big problems in Panama. One is that people get baptized and then they immediately stop going to church. He estimated that only about 10% of the members are active in Panama. I think it is about 50% here in the US. He also said that most people don't get married, they just live together. So it is very common to be teaching people that want to get baptized, but can't until they get married. He just had a family get married and then get baptized the next week, so he was really excited.
So, here's his email from the Monday before Christmas! He did wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Well, this week was better, got a baptism! We baptized a couple who had been trying to get married for a long time, and they finally got married, so we baptized them! They are really great. And well, this week was hard, because it was a lot of contacting, but it was cool. Not a lot of lessons, everybody is super busy, but hey, that’s the life here on the mission. I did get to interview a guy for baptism, was pretty awesome. In Panama, they eat a lot of ham. A lot. Tons of it. So much ham it’s crazy. We are actually going to go caroling, and it will be pretty awesome. But yeah, it’s been OK. The comp stuff is going a bit better, I am teaching him how to be able to have fun and work, and to not take everything so seriously, its going well.