From the Parent of a Missionary
I can’t believe that I have already had the same amount of time here in Pajon as I had in my 9 weeks in the MTC. The time really flies when you’re in the mission!
I have come to learn that every week is an eventful one. On Monday, we got a new investigator when we went to a Family Home Evening with the ex-branch president. He has the nicest house in town, so I felt like I was back in the US for a little bit. I got fuller than I have been since the MTC when I ate 5 pieces of carne asada with some rice and beans on the side… but anyways. His mom broke her leg and was therefore staying at their house, and we explained the Book of Mormon to her. With nothing to do, hopefully she finds plenty of time to read. The Lord works in interesting ways!
There is also another aspect of the mission that I have learned about. There is something that we call “snakes” here in the mission. Just like Eve was tempted in the Garden by the serpent, so do the young flirty girls tempt the missionaries to get distracted from the work. Unfortunately, some of the missionaries feel like they have found their wife in the mission and some fun stuff like that. But we had some nice snake experiences while contacting this week, and another one in the bus, and even with an investigator. All of the Guatemalan woman think I’m handsome or something….
I also had a really nice experience on Tuesday when we got a reference from a member and met a new family. We taught a great first lesson, and then they even asked for a blessing for their sick baby. The only problem was was that the mother was breast feeding, and she didn’t stop. So I really awkwardly put my hands on the baby’s head and closed my eyes tight to anoint the baby. That was a really… spiritual… experience.
I have been getting really good at learning the slang words of Guatemalan spanish. For some reason they say ¨water (agua)¨ for soda, so if you want water water, you have to ask for pure water, or¨”agua pura.” And I learned that “bato” is used for “hey, man.” And “neta” is no way, “A la gran” is holy cow, and “cabal” is “right!” in a sarcastic way. There’s much more, but everyone laughs that I’m gringo and know all the words.
On Wednesday the ward had a sports activity, and they attempted to play basketball. I’m definetely not a hoopster, but I easily outclassed every person there. They double dribble all the time and can’t shoot at all. Even the young men who destroy me on the soccer field could barely dribble. That was fun to see. Right now it’s winter vacation here, and ALL of the kids are out in the street playing “futbol”.
I have also noticed that for some reason all of the drunk people love the missionaries. We always get approached by them. The other day a drunk guy came up and started trying to preach to us, and telling us what we believed. Another guy was sitting on a corner, completely drunk, and beckoned for us the come over. I told him we had an appointment and kept walking, and a long stream of swear words drifted through the air after me. Another guy came up to us and started calling us “Alemanes!”, or Germans, even though Elder Torres is clearly latino… who knows. Let’s just say there are a lot more crazy people that walk the streets here. And we went to an appointment with one of our investigators, only to find him completely high and crazy. He thought he was in some sort of a war and was using a shovel as a pretend gun. We tried to enlist us in his one man army, but we declined. I couldn’t see any of the enemies he was shooting at, so I don’t think I would have helped. 🙂
Unfortunately, we had our second sunday in a row without investigators this week. We have been working extremely hard and we have been out working from dawn to dusk. We have a LOT of investigators. But none of them will progress and get off their lazy bums and go to church for some reason. I have had to really learn an important missionary principle: It’s our responsibility to teach as best as we can, and then it’s up to the people to choose. They have their own agency and we can’t take that away. So I try not to get discouraged. But I was really happy to see Vilma with her three daughters in church on sunday, along with another family that we reactivated. Two reactivations, one baptism so far. I am happy and content for that.
After chuch we had a really crazy thing happen. We are assigned a different family for lunch every sunday, and this week we were going to eat with the Flores Family. When we got there, there was a big commotion of some sort. One of the sisters told us that their grandpa had just passed away, minutes before we got there. He was an old sickly man, and had been bedridden for months. But it was still a sad scene. We tried to do everthing we could, but it was really awkward. And the funerals here work fast – he died at about 12:15 and the funeral was held at 8:00. We held a simple service with some of the ward members. It was a humbling experience, and I was thinking a lot about that Plan of Salvation map I made.
I may only have two more weeks here in Pajon. I realized this week how sad I would be to leave. We have had some good times with our investigators here. We always get invited to parties and events. I will miss it if I have to leave. In short, I love being a missionary.
Have a great week!