Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Some Stress-Out and others Stress-In

Yet another bike crash left me with half a shirt, (Bummer because it was my new shirt. )
January 27, 2016
    Today was an okay day.  This morning we got to go to the temple as a district which was awesome.  I hadn’t been to the temple in a very long time, so it was badly needed.  The lame pat of the trip was that we were forced to go to the 10:00 am session instead off the 9:00 session and afterwards my companion decided to attend a sealing session without telling me.  So what should have been a hour delay, turned into a two hour delay and kinda put me in a bad mood.

Miracle #536: There were 2 huge miracles today.  First of all, the servers in our area were all closed so we were worried about being able to get online to write our letters.  We asked someone if they knew of another server in the area and he offered his home to us because he said that missionaries in the past helped him and he wanted to return the favor.  The other miracle was getting a last minute division where we started looking for a referral.  We entered into the wrong street where we saw a woman standing outside.  It was super awkward, but I felt prompted to talk to her and she was very open and receptive. 

    The funny part of the day happened in the temple when the sisters, who made us go to the late session so they could sleep in, actually fell asleep many times during the session.  This emphasizes the difference between all of my American companions and my Latino ones in their attitudes about sleep.  All of my gringo comps have had the mind set that sleep is something that we need but should be avoided during the day if at all possible.  My latino comps have considered sleep to be like a delicious food that you should eat as much as possible (without being directly disobedient.) Elder Leon was the exception to this generalization.

January 28, 2016

    Today was a fun day overall!  This morning we had a trainer meeting which turned out alright, but it made me feel super guilt for a few things that I am not doing very well.  After the training, we had lunch and returned to he office to do divisions with Elder Diaz (one of my true mission friends). While we were at the office, I got bored so I asked if there was anything that I could do to help them.  They asked me to start correcting the tests that we took on Tuesday in the zone conference.  We met with Elder Diaz and then we headed out to work for the day.  Even though we contacted for the last three consecutive hours, the day seemed to fly by and we had a blast.

Miracle #537: Elder Diaz’s sister, who was diagnosed with leukemia just 4 weeks ago, is now considered be in remission.

    The funny part of the day was just contacting with Elder Diaz.  it was a total blast because he is a goofball in the contacts and it made it a lot more fun.  During one of the contacts in particular we had a very good time.  We realized that the two of us have been together for the majority of of our missions.  In fact, we have been together for almost a full year in either the same house or the same district.

January 29, 2016
    Today was awful.  I had a good morning with Elder Diaz where I was able to help him with ideas for the district meeting and we had the best companion study that I have had for ages.  After that, we went to switch back and I got frustrated almost immediately.  It is just stupid that I get mad over this, but I can not stand how slowly my companion rides his bike.  Elder Diaz, who is in horrible shape, had no problem keeping up with me and even then we were able to talk as we rode.  Anyways, through my irritation we started talking about that issue and I quickly realized that the bike riding wasn’t the real problem.  As we talked, my companion finally opened up a little and admitted that he is feeling depressed and is wanting to go home.  He has no energy an is feeling back, stomach, and joint pain.  I realized that those are all symptoms of big time stress and that his reaction to stress is to simply shut down. 

Miracle #538: Not that I finally know my companions real struggle, I can start to help him.

    I called the DL and he recommended that for most of the day I should let him relax and try to alleviate some of the stress (watch an approved movie, chill, etc.) Ironically, those are the things that stress me out.  I have noticed that when I am not working, I start getting anxious and stressed.  It is the opposite with my companion. I remember feeling very stressed in the beginning of my mission and when I hit a certain level of stress, I would blow up.  But with my companion he sort of self implodes/shut down. For me, when I am feeling stressed for whatever reason there are things that I can do to help relieve the stress.  1. PRAY, PRAY, PRAY. 2.  Read the scriptures. 3. Fast for strength. 4. Just go to work and keep busy so the time passes. But these things are not working for my companion so I have got to learn to have more compassion so that I can help him.

January 30, 2016

    Today was a fairly normal work day, but for some reason I was exhausted.  This morning I decided to help out my companion with his exercises instead of doing my own thing.  That meant that I had a little extra time to sleep.  Anyways, I am not sure why, but I was so tired all day long!  There was about 3-4 hours in the middle of the day when I was almost passing out.  We had a good day of contacting, but we were in what must have been the geriatric section of our sector.  We contacted old person after old person.  The oldest man was 91 years old!

Miracle #539: My companion is feeling better today as far as stress goes.

    The funny part of the day was contacting this super grumpy old man who want of on a rant about how Americans (sometimes Chileans get offended when North Americans refer to themselves as if they were the only Americans, and then other times when they want to insult us, they refer to us as if we are the only Americans.)  Anyway, according to this guy us “Americans” are all rapist and murderers, and that we are just the scum of Europe that got kicked out.  I am surprised that I didn’t even get irritated.  He was equally argumentative and derogatory about religion so in the end I just testified to him with all of my conviction that I could summon and with authority that I don’t always feel as a missionary.  He turned us down, but I fell fine because I knew that I did my best. These kind of experiences have become common place to me, but I realized today that they are really hard on my companion who is not used to the rejection.  In talking to him today about how he is feeling, I realized that he has never really experienced any real stress before in his life.

January 31, 2016
    Well I hope that today was a good learning day for my companion.  According to our little deal/goal, it was his day to lead.  Meaning, he was responsible for things like deciding where to go, getting out of lunch on time, and I was in charge of leading the lessons and such.  In lunch, I just decided that no matter what happened, I was going to wait until he finished the lunch and got us on our way.  It took 2 hours, but he finally cut the lunch and we got out of there.  I think that the situations are the only way that he is going to learn how to do it.

Miracle #540: This week our bikes didn’t get a single flat tire.  I think it was the first week in 2 months without a flat. 

    The funny part of the day was going to an open house for the stake center and getting to see all of my office buddies.  Elder Furner’s companion wanted to go contacting with my companion, so I got to talk to my buddy Furner for a while. He was in charge of one of the presentations for the open house.  I was finally able to just talk to someone about this whole situation with my companion and it felt good.  It was also fun to talk to Hermana Clark (a senior missionary) who is kind like my mission aunt/grandma/mom.  We just talk like we have known each other for years.

February 1, 2016

    Today was a decent day.  We taught a decent number of lessons with a fair amount of new investigators.  In the geriatric win, we taught an awesome couple who are, in my opinion, super ready to receive our message.  I still cant find the balance between leaving my companion out to dry and doing things correctly.  I feel like it is more important that he learns than that everything gets done right.  Training is way stressful. 

Miracle #541: The wife of one of the old person contacts we did on Saturday is super interested in our message. 

    The funny part of the day was getting mad as my comp for laughing at me for calling sliced meat “carne.” Apparently in Chile, no matter what kind of meat it is, if it is sliced they call it “jamon” meaning ham.  I argued with him that actually the word “carne” is a more general word describing all kinds of cuts of meat, while “jamon” should be a more specific word used for a specific meat.  They have just reversed it in Chile. The Spanish language in Chile is very frustrating because it is so slang and sometimes over simplified.

February 2, 2016

    Today was decent overall.  This morning was a decent district and zone meeting after which Elder Diaz talked to my companion and we learned about a few new things that he didn’t share with me.  This afternoon he told me that it bothers him that I work with “too much force and strength and not enough heart.”  Hmm, I thought to myself, “I work hard because my heart is in the work.” We are finally coming to understand our differences in work ethic and relaxation techniques.

Miracle #542: We got special permission from President Cook and the Bishop to go out teaching with a super mature deacon in our ward.  Today was our first division with him. 

    The funny part of the day was when some difficult North American sister missionaries in our zone got after me for speaking English to my companion.  I literally said five words to him in English.  I reminded them that he is going to be serving his mission in the States so I am supposed to help him with his English.  These two particular sisters do not like me at all.  I try to interact with them as little as I possibly can to avoid conflict.  I usually do alright, but failed to keep my distance today.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Car Magnet X 2

January 21, 2016
    Today was pretty relaxing.  This morning I got up and studied for and hour and then cleaned the house for an hour before my companion woke up.  We went early to Jumbo (the for store) to buy our groceries and I bought some really good stuff.  The best thing I got were jalapeƱos and tabasco habanero sauce.  The thing is that Chilean food isn’t actually very spicy and lately I have been missing the spiciness of “Mexican” food. It was really expensive for the missionary budget, but totally worth it.
Miracle #530: Even though it is P-day, the sister who we live next door to, still fed us lunch.
    After lunch we took a short nap.  I don’t like naps generally speaking because I feel unproductive, but we both felt like taking one.  We really didn’t do anything special today, but it was funny being in Jumbo an seeing tons of gringo stuff.  Today  realized that I ned to concentrate on helping my companion do the things that he doesn’t like to do, like contacting.  He really doesn’t like to contact, in fact so much so that today when given the choice, he just decided to go around and try to visit with members.  I felt that we shouldn’t, but I wanted him to learn for himself.  Turned out that not one of the people he wanted to visit was home. 
January 22, 2016
    Today was a good day.  We had divisions with the zone leaders and I went to their sector.  Going to another sector is like a little vacation while still trying to be the best missionary that you can be. I had a challenge today eating healthy.  There was so much food given to us today!  By the end of the day, I felt crappy, but it was tasty.  The interesting part of the day was visiting with 2 families who I knew from my previous visit to this sector.  My new zone leader is Elder Johnson and he is a super funny guy.
Miracle #531: As we talked in thee evening, we started to share our conversion story.  It really helped me to realize how much progress I have made on my mission towards true conversion.
    The funny part of the day was when we went to the zone leader’s future investigator’s house and one of them just started screaming at us.  As we quickly rode away we said, “Jesus loves you!”  The other funny part of the day was when a car almost ran over me.  This idiot driver just started backing up without looking and almost hit me. I had a good time today despite the near miss.  It gives me renewed energy to go back into my sector and work hard.  The only tip my zone leader give me was to work hard!
January 23, 2016
    Today was rough for me.  W switched back this morning fairly early, but didn’t get the best study time in. After finishing our studies we wen to the chapel to do some stuff on the computer that should have taken about 20 minutes.  We where there for an hour because my companion wanted to download some stuff.  I got frustrated by the case of time, so when we finally left to start our contacting, I was irritable. It is really hard to contact without the spirit.
Miracle #532: V. is doing better in the hospital.  Initially she was given a 40% chance of surviving.  But she is now recovering and so the doctors say that they will pull her out of the coma that she is in. 
    The funny part of the day was fixing my companies bike, again. When he ran over a pothole on his second day in the mission field, the rim actually cut into the tire and split it open.  Yesterday that little split opened up enough for the tube to pop out.  We were resigned to buying a new tire (for the 3rd time) but I cm cup with the idea that I could put a patch on the inside of the tire.  It worked!  The reason that it was funny was that for the first time, I didn’t get ticked at having to fix another bike.  I just joked around and got the job done. 
January 24, 2016
    It was an interesting day for me.  I did not have too much fun because I decided to fast to help me to feel more enthusiasm of the work.  We also have some investigators who need some extra help.  Anyways, I am never in the best of moods when I am fasting, but by the end of church, my fast and prayers had been answered and I felt much better about everything.  The day of work today was pretty decent except for lunch which was also the funny part of the day.
Miracle #533: With the R. family, we had a fiasco in the lesson where the family was offended by the person that we brought with us from the ward.  Somehow I managed to save the situation and in the end, everyone was fine.
    The funny part of the day was when we got to lunch 45 minutes late and the people had just started to prepare the dessert.  I didn’t care enough to want to stay, but it was my companions turn to lead so we stayed.  He didn’t realize how long the dessert would take. We ended up being in their house for almost 2 hours and still didn’t get any dessert.  The other funny part of the day was our HORRID gospel principles class. During the entire class, the teacher was really hostile with me.  Like I am talking pure hatred.  Oh well.
January 25, 2016
    UGH! We had to stay in the house all day today because my companion had an upset stomach.  I finished all my exercise and  studies so I decided to do some little service projects around the house.  I ironed all of my companions shirts, polished his shoes, and made some bread.  We also talked quite a bit.  By the end of the day, he felt better.  In my experience, I have found that you feel better faster when you just push through the small stuff and keep working.
Miracle #534: My companion is better and I found something to keep me busy all day long.
    The funny part of the day was watching the required three hours of “The District” assigned for this week.  My companion hates it almost as much as I do.  The other funny part of the da was in the lunch with the sisters in our ward.  We planned our trip for going to the temple with them.  We typically try to go in the 9:00 session which means that we have to get up around 6:00.  Well the sisters didn’t want to get up early on their p-day so they made us change our appointment to the 10:00 session.  This will make our p-day really short.
January 26, 2016
    Today was decent. this morning we had a zone conference where President gave some messages that he gave in the beginning of my mission.  I am not a huge fan of the large conferences anymore.  I prefer personal teaching and counseling.  After the super long conference, we had a lesson with S. in which she told us that she would not be going to church anymore.  My companion was visibly disappointed, but I felt a quiet reassurance that everything would be fine.  We had a really spiritual lesson where we taught about what is required of a true disciple of Christ.
Miracle #535: M., a member of our ward, invited us to his birthday party.  We are the first elders in years who he considers friends. 
    The funny part of the day was probably when a car ran into me.  Basically it was the same thing that the bus did to me.  No one ever checks mirrors in this country before turning. I managed to not get hurt, but man was I irritated.  TWICE this week!  The other funny part of the day was trying to hold strong to my diet at the birthday party.  In the end, I fell and enjoyed some cake.  It was a little bit of a waste of time, but it was a good support for this member, and also only the 3rd birthday party I have been to on my mission.