Sunday, July 22, 2012

Just a Different Kind of Hard

Short. Sweet. Neither of these concepts applies much to me, but as for my blog today, well, such is the case. It´s the night before transfers and all through the mission, everyone freaks out, as is tradition. I actually am rather pleased with my circumstances; my new companion will be Hermana Rodriguez, who was trained by my trainer, Hermana Brown. In the mission, that makes us sisters. She will be my first Dominican companion. Hermana Lund, my step-mom (second companion), also trained during her last transfer, and her child, Hermana Lopez, is coming here to live in the same house as me and to whitewash Bella Vista. We´ve already lived together, so this should be good. And my Step-son/step-brother who was with me in Azua with Hermana is going to be in my district. Family Reunion y fiesta! I´m pretty excited, but as for being the only one staying in my apartment and area from this last transfer, I have my doubts about getting myself and my comp. around this jungle of a city. Stay tuned for next week when we see if I fly high or fail with glory.

So, in short, it will be hard, but I´ve been thinking to myself that it´s interesting that in every stage of our life, we look back and are amazed at how "easy" another phase of our life was compared to the here and now. "I remember back in elementary school when all I had to worry about was sharing cookies," or "remember in college when it was study and play ALL DAY!?" I was wondering, as I am here in the middle of it all, if I will ever look back with similar sentiments about the mission. Right now, I feel like no, but then again, that´s the real issue. Being in kindergarten wasn´t easy because we didn´t have the hindsight to know how to handle the problems and situations we were facing. Each new phase of the journey becomes difficult because we haven´t reached the peak of that stage of our lives. Once we reach a new phase, we look back and wonder how any of it could have been all that difficult. A little thing called perspective, and when we´re tolling and laboring, trying to survive, we sometimes don´t see how far we´ve come (I love the Rob Thomas song of the same name. It be so very true). But I suppose instead of being afraid/begrudging the next phase of the journey, we should think of it as the opportunity to combat another kind of hard. I haven´t gotten to this level of gratitude yet, but I do believe that you can gain without pain (take it from someone who LOVES to consume endless goodies), but the rewards are few. When I get off the plane at the end of this mission thing, I´m coming off like a champion. Like when I graduate college... and high school... and yes, even kindergarten. And then it´s off the races again.

Speaking of things that are hard, I don´t know why it´s so difficult for me to have a normal baptism. We watch these beautiful training videos of flawless, spiritual baptisms, and then cue center stage to the Dominican Republic West Mission. This Saturday, we did have a great baptism, with the previously described Carlos. We had a baptism from the other ward, Bella Vista, right after us (we share a chapel). But we had to let them go first, because our baptism was missing some key participants, namely, a member of the bishopric. So we let the other group go first, which meant our baptism started two hours late. And the young man who baptized Carlos happens to be a good deal shorter than him, so the first attempt found Carlos unable to come back up again, and when he did, he made hard contact with the back wall of the font. After I picked my jaw up off the floor, the baptism continued and all went more or less smoothly. My favorite was the musical number "I Stand All Amazed" that was sung by Carlos´s brother-in-law and sister. The first first was sung by his sister in Creole, the second by his bro in law in English and the final verse by the both of theme in Spanish. It was very calm and tranquilo way to end a typically untypical D.R. baptism.

Oh, and I might as well add to my seemingly endless list of interesting teaching places. This last week, we taught a lady in her restaurant while costumers ate and the T.V. blared. Normally not ideal conditions, but you take what you can get sometimes. Later, we taught in a mechanic shop with a very avid and attentive husband and wife as our audience. He asked us where in the Bible it says the Mormons are the true church. I mentioned scriptural allusions, and how Jesus himself mostly spoke through veiled parables, but focused more on when it comes right down to it, the church of Christ is the one that bears his name. That IS what the scriptures say. The Bible doesn´t mention any particular religious sect by name, only that by their fruits ye shall know them (Matt. 7). So if you want to know, do a little taste test. There´s just really no other way.

And finally, I have to confess, that the T.V. blaring in the restaurant was showing the same soap opera that seems to play in ever house at around 3:00 in the afternoon. I have yet to discover the name, but I will shame myself into admitting I am not completely vague on the details. Apparently some really attractive blond and Latin man has a really attractive girlfriend who fate had him run into continuously until they just couldn´t deny their feelings anymore. That, and there´s a creepy blond nanny who I assume is only said position for selfish and fiendish purposes, and a little girl, who means the world to tall blond and handsome. I´ve never actually heard anything anyone says, but I´ve seen bits and pieces here and there. Whenever we come to teach and someone is watching this show, no one looks too happy to turn it off because we came a-knocking. This place is in bad need of some TiVo. But I may have to make this show an addiction when I get home, if only to keep up with my Spanish skills. Although something that always interests me is that people in Soap Operas are never watching T.V. themselves, because they´re out living their own lives. Interesting...

Well, in short (ok, obviously, that wasn´t the truth, this is a normal-length entry), I love something that is truly short, which is my hair. It is all gone, and it feels fan-tab-ulous. Hma. Consuelo has magical hands; she didn´t even have to use hair clips or anything. Just scissors, a razor, and some magic spray. She works in a real, professional salon, and has over 30 years experience, so I was happy to leave my hair in her hands. And on the floor. But anyway, happy birthday to another stylist, my own sister, Dusti the Wonder Baker. Ask her to make you a pastry sometime. She´ll be happy to do it. And then she´ll give you acrylics. Here´s to aging well, sis. And with that, I take my bow.

Dramatically yours,

Hermana Sweeney

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