It’s another blustery day in the hundred-acre mission field. The weather here is crazy. One minute it is tropical summer and the next it’s sweater weather. Somebody told me the other day that if you don’t like the weather in Houston, wait a minute! Haha that’s pretty true.
I think the same could be said about missionary work. If you feel like things are going smoothly, wait a minute! Haha and vice-versa. This past week our investigator Ana who totally wanted to be baptized told us that her mom is not going to let her meet with us anymore. Her mom wants her to go to the Catholic church. I guess they’re all going as a family. What?! I know. Totally stinks. But there’s really nothing we can do about that. It’s just SO HARD for me personally to walk away from someone who so obviously has felt the spirit and started to see some real spiritual growth, and who has such strong desires to keep growing! What can you do. . . KNOCK DOORS and find someone else to teach! The good thing about missionary work is you can always find someone else to worry about and it gets your mind off the people you have to leave behind.
So last Wednesday we went to do some sight-seeing in San Jacinto City, where the U.S.S Texas finds its berth. I think my poor brain hadn’t had that much non-religious stimulation in six months (today is my six month mark by the way!) and was flipping out. I kept asking all the elders ten billion questions about battleships and whether or not they would join the navy and “what is that for” and other questions they couldn’t possibly know the answer to. But it was way fun for me. I thought it was fascinating the way that ship was put together. I could never live on it though. Anyways, the point of all this is that I found myself, at the end of the day, behind the wheel of the Lord’s car, with two backseat drivers in white shirts and ties sitting behind me telling me, “don’t follow the zone leaders, we know the way home.” In other words, “the zone leaders are trying to lead you down the path of righteousness but we’re gonna lead you down the path that ROCKS.” And I totally succumbed to peer pressure and split off from the group. (actually I didn’t have much of a choice. I would do just about anything to avoid having my district leader (backseat driver #1) mad at me – we work with him on an almost daily basis.) So there I was, in the fourth largest city in this wonderful nation, stuck in rush hour traffic and –of course- taking the WRONG exit onto the WRONG freeway. The right freeway twists around and goes up over the wrong one so all the other missionaries could look down on us in mock pity and wave as we inched under them. And we inched for about another forty minutes before finally traffic broke enough for us to realize that in order to exit the freeway we would be going well out of our mission boundaries. Welcome to the Texas Houston mission, where the freeways take you into downtown and where missionaries from the East mission get sent home for visiting! Haha. Probably one of the most stressful car rides of my life! But we were all just laughing so hard. Every time we tried to fix a mistake, we ended up making a worse one. Anyways I finally got smart and decided my own knowledge, though limited, would be better getting me home than any information I was getting from the back seat. (I realized this about the time one of them took out his camera and started taking pictures of all the things we were seeing that we weren’t ever supposed to see since they’re in the Houston mission.) Let’s just say I was happy to set foot back on Houston East soil.
And speaking of the Houston East mission, we have a strange phenomenon here that the President is very concerned about. Since we have both English speaking missionaries and Spanish speaking missionaries, there naturally comes with that demographic a divide of sorts, and he wants to eliminate it. So he’s starting at the root of the problem and trying to correct our language. He no longer wants us to refer to them as English speaking missionaries – he’d prefer we don’t make any sort of distinction. I think he’s a wonderful President and trying hard to improve our mission but there are times when we really need to refer to them that way! For example, when we meet an English speaker and we want to give the referral to the “English missionaries.” How else do we say that? So my District leader came up with a long list of other things we could call them. One of them was “muggles.” When I heard that, I just turned to Hermana Harry and said, “do you know what this means?” then in my best Hagrid voice...”you’re a WIZARD harry!” hahaha! But the moral of the story is, we’re just going to try to bridge the divide which is what President wanted in the first place.
“The boy who lived” and I have actually had quite a week. Our zone leaders asked us to knock doors for two hours each day, after three o-clock in the afternoon, so we’ve met some interesting people. We chose a new apartment complex that we had never knocked before and started knocking fairly randomly at a door that was on an end. A cute Hispanic woman who was probably about sixty or seventy opened and let us set up an appointment with her for the next day, then told us that she was the only Hispanic in the complex. We knocked a few more doors just to make sure and she was telling the truth. Everyone else confirmed it as well, so we decided we’d be more productive somewhere else. Anyways we went back to teach the woman we met and turns out she’s a less active member! But it was so odd to me because she never told us. We got about halfway through the first lesson before I figured it out and asked her. Sure enough, there she is on our ward directory. That was a weird experience. But I told her that the Lord must be calling out to her to come back to church then because all of that hullaballoo just to meet her. I don’t think she’s going to come. Some people are so strange. But I really do think that we were led to her. Why else would we have received such strong impressions to knock that complex? I’m glad the Lord is more patient with his lost sheep than I am. As for me, I’m working hard to improve my patience. Which is just a missionary way of saying that I totally lose my temper after visiting less actives that show no interest in coming back to church but happily claim that they have faith they will inherit all the blessings of an active member in the eternities. It just doesn’t work that way. Something interesting I’ve noticed about the Hispanic people is that they are very quick to accept the gospel but – and they’ll all tell you this- they’re very lazy about STAYING in the gospel. We have a lot of less-actives. I guess that’s probably true with everyone though.
And I don’t have anything else super-interesting to write about. I think the hardest part about missionary work (and I think I’ve said this before) is just the monotony. It’s never boring but a lot of the time it’s just average. It’s like flying a plane. 90% nothing and 10% high stress/ultimate excitement. But I have noticed, since I’m doing my six month mark nostalgia, that looking back you can see how far you’ve come even though at the time you didn’t realize you were changing.
I hope you’re all changing and growing and progressing as well. As I tell my district leader, “may your every wish be granted.” (that’s what I tell him when he says “this is a dumb song” and I read his mind and change the track…but I mean it sorta seriously to all of you…or at least most of you, depending on who reads this. Haha jk okay all of you!)
Love you lots!
p.s. Meg - i officially had a dream about you. I dreamed I went to go see you because I hadn't heard from you in so long! And you were sitting in your pajamas on the top bunk of a bunk bed so I think you weren't expecting me. haha. Don't make me come find you! Write me....