Sunday, April 22, 2012

What to Do when your Options are Few

So, I´ve heard it said that small and simple means can bring about
great things. Well, I hope that´s true, because sometimes even small
and simple is hard to come by. Being without is not a feeling I´m used
to, but the funny thing is, I used to think of myself as taking things
in stride. I mean, my family acquired a TiVo a mere few months before I
left for college. Then I went to college, and- No TiVo! I had to GET
UP to change the channel! The indignities of life were many. But the
thing is, I got used to it. Eventually, I just knew that when a
commercial came on, I couldn´t fast forward my way out of it. So I
started to make good use of my time during those trying periods of
overly-played promotions and got up to get a snack. It´s amazing how
ingenious we can be when duty calls.

And now, once again, I find myself being called to the front lines. I
am left to ponder how I can make a mountain out of a molehill. I have
to accomplish something big or at the very least, SOMETHING, with
little or nothing at all.

Fire one: Spanish. It comes and goes. Sometimes I´m fluent and
sometimes I´m not. But everything my companion Hma. Bryant feels in
regards to most first-time missionary moments, I´ve already been
there. Right now, she is struggling with the "why doesn´t anyone pay
attention when I talk?" dilemma. When your words are few, how do you
have a conversation? How do you teach about something as important as
Christ's restored gospel? You just... do. You take what you know, then
watch it grow. And sometimes the growth feels deathly slow. But when I
think about how far I´ve come (and how far I will hopefully go), I
realize my companion will be just fine because I am. And as your vocab
grows, the more confident you feel. And the more confidence you
feel... hello mountain, adios molehill.

Fire Two: Poco agua. I normally don´t think of myself as a demanding
person. And I prefaced this with "normally." But I do enjoy the
occasional night showers to rid myself of the sweat and grime of the
day. I also enjoy clean dishes. And laundry. And floor tiles. These
things seem, well, normal. But when there is no water coming out of
your faucet, these necessities of everyday life become more like
flittering fantasies. Which means your reality becomes conservation.
Wash the dishes every so often. Bathe more frequently from bucket (the
house I live in in Azua has a normal shower, unlike in the Yuca, so
this isn´t normally necessary). And pitch in with your neighbors to by
an extremely long hose that can reach the tank on top of your house so
you can, with permission, use the cistern of the people across the
street. I´m not sure I´ll ever be able to willfully wast water again.
I wonder how many people in the states even know where there´s comes
from? I didn´t use to. But now I do. Now I do.

And on a slightly less depressing note, I have Fire Three, which is,
cereal and other food options in general. The D.R. is not big on
diverse flavors and cereal is expensive. As you may have seen on a
past episode of "How to Do in the D.R.," I eat cereal in s special
way. My flavor of choice is Cornflakes. Why? Because they are so very
versatile. You can put bananas in them. Yogurt. Coca powder. And
suddenly, they are transformed before your very taste buds. The
potential is endless. Hey, it´s small. It´s even a little simple. But
tasty. Very tasty.

And finally, what about Fire three, which would be, if your members
are few and far between? For those wondering what the difference
between a branch and a ward is, it´s essentially the members. In a
branch, there aren´t as many people as there are in a ward, so some
people have multiple callings. In a ward, there can be lots of
activities, because there are enough people to share the work and put
them on. But I´ve gotta say, this branch rocks it with what they´ve
got, which is essentially, a lot of really dedicated youth willing to
put in a lot of time and effort. They go out with us to visit
investigators. They sometimes teach seminary. The put on the Wednesday
mutual activities. And pretty much anything else that is necessary to
keep a healthy branch up and running. And not to say we don´t have
some outstanding adults, cuz we most certainly do. Some people have
faith and dedication that I can´t seem to wrap my mind around. They
give talks in Church often and frequently and visit less active
members, even though many of them have school, personal business,
personal lives. It just goes to show as our mission president says,
the Lord doesn´t need a lot- He just needs what he has to be faithful.

But what really amazes me most of all is how little time it takes to
retroceder, o sea, go back to how things were. It´s hard to imagine
going back to a world of easy-access frozen burritos and of course,
TiVo (no, this blog is not sponsored by either), but that´s because
I´m not sitting here with the remote in my hand. How long does
experience continue to teach? How much of what I learn will affect and
stay with me always? Hard to say now. But I hope at least that I can
remember what I´ve learned long enough to apply it in my "normal"
life.

Oh, and before I forget, sadly, Olga and her kids were not able to be
baptized. She had to go to the Capital for a surgery. But she is very
enthusiastic and sure she´ll be ready for this weekend. As long as
she´s up for it, so are we. Ready for anything, and then some.

Well, I´m off to see the picture show. Ok, I´m really off to go end
P-day with a Family Home Evening with Hermana Segunda and Hermano
Querido, members of our branch. But life in the D.R. is a little like
a constant show, so I guess, one and the same.

Yours truly, and truly yours,

Hermana Sweeney

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