Here I am, world. Take it or leave it. Wow, that sounds like one of those horribly cheesy t-shirts that promotes having an individualistic attitude. But that´s nothing; I once saw a young lad right here in the D.R. sporting a doozy that said, "I dig your boyfriend." Well, if that isn´t ignorance is bliss in action, then I don´t know what is.
But let´s get down to brass tacks. I am now officially nine months, working for 10, thank you very much. And yes, I did eat my pizza, and loved every morsel. Hermana Bryant thought it was a bit too doughy but that´s the difference between her and I - I have NINE MONTHS and my taste buds have been sandpapered down to nothing, so I enjoy even simple flavors. Don´t worry, Hermana Bryant, it will happen to you too, con tiempo.
But speaking of dead, I feel like it would only be fair to point out that I am killing off all the men of my mission. To kill a missionary, as I think I may have explained, you have to be in their zone and have a connection to them somehow. My mission father, Elder Ferreras, died after my second transfer, o sea, the end of my training. Killed him good. My step-dad, Elder Martinez, died the transfer after he became my step-parent. Elder Bitton, who was my district leader and not necessarily mission family at all, was also brutally slaughtered in my presence. And now the mission dad of my kid and his own kid is going the way of the plane soon as well. He is in this room with me and several other missionaries as I type, and he just got his airplane info. He is dying this transfer, after the training period of his kid and my kid is finito. Man, I am a man-killer. Eh, what else is new. Wouldn´t want to change my streak. But I am highly amused by the turn of events. I also have inherited 2 new mission sons because two other Elders in my zone are training. That makes four kids in total. Who signed me up for this? Who´s trusting me with these kids? Well, if they come out strange, don´t say I didn´t warn you in advance about my limited skills with younguns. But going back to the whole death thing, it is very popular to tell a missionary who only has two transfers left how dead they are. "Dude, you are so dead!" That´s what I get to hear every time our zone gets together on P-days, whenever else it´s necessary. And since we have two Elders about to die, I hear it A LOT. I am still thinking about how I will die. Hopefully in a beautiful and bright blaze of glory. But only time will tell. I have nine months to figure it out (well, a little less than nine now :)
But I guess now I should talk about, you know, the actual WORK I´ve been doing here out in the badlands. The baptism of Eladio is coming. It´s about to get real people. This is the man who, once again, walk with a crutch and doesn´t see well. His favorite past times include smiling a lot, hanging out with his wife, and mentioning the importance of our Señor Jesus christo every other sentence. I love this guy. This baptism has been in the making for 2 years now. When my companion asked him the final baptism question (are you ready to be baptized and keep the commandments and take upon you the name of Christ?), his wife interrupted and said, "oh, claro." I had to split a gut because she was right. If anyone is ready, it´s him. We´re just waiting for them to get a copy of their marriage certificate for verification, and it´s a go. Claro!
As for Olga, we reset her and her kids´ date for the 12th of May. She is also chomping at the bit and was sincerely bummed when she couldn´t get baptized this week... or the last one. It was supposed to be for this week, but when we visited her with one of our members, she showed us her wound, and Hma. Carmén, the member who was with us just came right out and said, "uh... no. She needs to wait, that wound is too fresh. She´ll explode in the font." Well, what do you say to that? And Olga´s health is definitely what matters right now, so we moved the date. She seemed sad, so I told her how this is common and we have to move dates all the time. Crazy things always seem to come up before a baptism (Satan, you turd), but it´s not gonna keep us from getting it done, by George.
But on the plus side, we did get to have a Baby Shower for her. She was not expecting it at all; I´m not sure anyone has ever done anything like that for her before. But we had a good turn out. I almost got lung poisoning from blowing up 48 pink and white dusty balloons, but a small price to pay for the smile it brought to Olga´s face. Now she has enough pampers to sink a ship and some really cute socks and underthings. It was definitely the first shower that the ward members here had experienced. I know they have them in the capital, but they don´t seem to be too common here in the capital. But I guess there´s a first time for everything.
And speaking of first times, yeah... it´s been raining like a beast here. Or it was this past week. That is not the Azua I have come to love and hate. It just plain and simple does not rain here. Which is what our apartment must have been thinking/feeling as well, because it was equally unprepared for the downpour. The little hole that was in our ceiling in one of our extra empty rooms is now a big hole, with plenty of water damage in the walls. At least my poncho and bucket are good for something now. And a bonus? Early morning exercise. When the rain was at it´s worst, we were sweeping our roof 3 times a day. No, none of that was a typo. Our roof is shaped like a jigsaw puzzle and is not slanted, so all so the rainwater just gets trapped up there. It would be cool if it wasn´t against mission rules to swim. But yeah, the rain has since abated, so it´s all good. For now (ominous noises).
And I must say, I´m sorry it´s been awhile since I´ve done a "How to Do in the D.R." but the C.D. player on this computer doesn´t work. So I will leave you all with useful advice instead: If missionaries of any religion come to your house, don´t tell them you will meet with them and then hid in your house the next day or conveniently be gone. I know telling people you´re not interested in slightly uncomfortable but it´s even more uncomfortable for us to show up to your house, sometimes going out of our way, and then go away, unloved. I´ve heard some bad stories from other missionaries (and experienced some myself), but I think the winner was the Elder who went to someone´s house with whom they´d scheduled an appointment and a voice from inside said, "I´m not home." Here´s how it should be done. We come up to you. You feel awkward because maybe you go to another church or just don´t want to talk about religion right now. So you tell us that. We invite you to church anyway and tell you to have a nice day. And if it´s mango season, you might offer us a whole boatload of mangos, even after we politely say "that´s ok." But hey, that´s life. Sometimes you gotta take a mango for the team.
So, now you know all you need to know about missionary life (and rejection). Well, for this week, at least. Cuz that´s all the time we´ve got for today. But don´t worry, I´ll make sure to say a little prayer for you. And in your spare time, you can say one for me too.
Más Y Más,