Sunday, September 25, 2011

I'm Coming Out! (I want the world to know)I'm Coming Out! (I want the world to know)

Well, I have reached the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel, and this is officially my last week in prison, er, I mean, the CCM (MTC), D.R. edition. I just realized my last entry was ridiculously lengthy, and I actually don't have much to say, so this one will be much briefer.
       Other than being overly sassy and questioning to my teachers and chasing a large lizard around the temple, nothing too exciting has happened. Ok, that's not entirely true. I did get to go out into the real world for a few hours this past friday with an experienced, Spanish-speaking missionary. Us Elders and Hermanas in the CCM went on splits with the Elders and Hermanas out in the West Mission (my future territory!) and it was definitely an experience. I literally almost killed my ankle twisting it in some crazy pothole; the streets out here would be a lawyer's dream in America. If you don't constantly watch your step you could fall into some hole and into oblivion. But it definitely felt legit; I appreciate that this country is not America because it reminds me how diverse the world is and I hate the idea of things becoming too homogenized. Differences equal learning, and I love me some learning. So what did I learn out in the field? Well, for one, that I will be sweaty a great deal (which isn't really news to me) and that I better get used to having a short companion if she's from South America. Hermana Oroxom, the girl I went on splits with, was literally more than a head shorter than me. We must have made quite the pair, and it was especially interesting because I was trying to understand her Spanish (she's from Guatamala, and thus knows the language fluently) which means I have to understand someone whose lips reach about to my belly button and who also is speaking a language I'm not fluent in as though she's practicing to be an auctioner. As the natives would say, "Ai, mi madre!" But we had a lot of fun, and I was surprised at myself. Instead of feeling awkward and uncomfortable like I kept expecting, I wanted to talk with everyone and felt a little bummed when we'd just pass people by. I even invited a few people to church (In Spanish, in case anyone was wondering). Though it's weird to think I'll be doing that every day starting in a week. And that by the time I leave the CCM I'll only have 16 months of the mission left.
        The only other thing I really have to say of interest is that on Sunday, my mission Presidents, the Rodriguezes, came and spoke to us. They talked about missionary service (shocker) and had us ponder about how we want to be remembered when we leave. My favorite answer was Elder Bryant's (yeah, from MY district), when he said that he didn't want to be remembered so much for who he is but rather for the work and service he leaves behind. By their fruits ye shall know them. It's true. It's so normal to want to be recongnized or stand apart from the pack. I know I enjoy it. But for a year and a half, it doesn't get to be about me, or any of us here for that matter. It's the people and how we can help them. As Elder Bednar (my apostle of choice at the moment) said, we are the channels or conduits of information for the investigators, but we are not the light. The spirit is what converts people. True dat. As a dear, dear aquanitance of mine would advise, I need to get out the way, get out the way, get out the way, MOVE! I'm still learning how to do that, but I think I'm getting better at listening than speaking (which I'm sure will come as a surprise and a delight to family and friends alike).
Well, that's about as serious as I can be without feeling awkward. On a lighter note, I still get a huge kick out of making people slightly uncomfortable. You should see the looks on the faces of Elders and Hermanas in my district when I tell them seemingly harmless things like I enjoy bringing in cool things from other beliefs into my own (Karma anyone?), or that I'd totally be Buddhist if I wasn't Mormon (Elder Cowley in my district seconded me on that one, at least), and most popular, the dreaded F word- FEMININISM! After one of my obvious pro-female comments, Elder Blotter looked at me and asked, "so, are you... a feminist?" Why yes, yes I am. I had to explain to everyone why it's not a dirty swear word, and I think I've already won them over... in spite of me. They even seemed intrigued and impressed when I told them I've never been beaten (by either gender) at leg wrestling. So lest anyone worry that I've changed too much, there you have it. And for those who are concerned that I've not changed enough, I'll just refer you back to the third paragraph.
Well, that's all I have for you for now. Tune in next time to find out how I...

UPDATE: So I don't remember if I mentioned it in the last entry (I never remember what I wrote), but we have these things called progressive investigators where our teachers pretend to be another person and we have to treat them like a real investigator. It feels so real that sometimes I forget that it's actually just my teacher sitting in a small office. Well, the other night (Tues. Sept 20), Juan Luis (a.k.a. the infamous Hermano Rubio) agreed to be baptized. Just like when Christ told his disciples to speak and their mouths would be filled... yeah, I just started talking, and I knew what to say to meet his needs and concerns. Obviously, it wasn't really me, it was the spirit, but it still felt really great. It just makes me simultaneously excited and terrified to do it in real life. Oh, and what I said about this being a short entry at the beginning of the post... Yeah...

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