Number four is especially important. They say that all good things come to an end. I say all good things come AT the end. It´s always at the end of our 6 week transfers that we get a few new awesome references that have the potential to become even more awesome investigators. There´s just a real difference between someone that listens to everything we say with a glazed-over expression and the people who are so intrigued/weirded out/hungry for more, that teaching them becomes a true interaction, an experience. It´s not an everyday thing either, so when it happens, it´s especially hard to let go of. But for now, at least, I don´t have to. One lady, who we´ll call Grace, was just really animated about us teaching her the Plan of Salvation. And during the whole lesson, she kept saying, "I´m so glad you guys came, I was waiting for a long time for you guys to show up," (sometimes they or we get confused about what hour we say we´ll be stopping by). But this is the kind of response that makes all the cockroaches, dirty streets, and pervy dudes seem worth it. This is how we hope people feel when we stop by. Because on the mission, I have developed Casper syndrome. I´m a friendly ghost, but some people are so afraid of what they see and might hear, that they immediately run. Then again, there are the people who go out of their way to seek us out so that we can pray for their lost and godless friends. That´s always a treat. But remember: you normally have to be wearing a life vest in the river of life to help someone else who´s drowning. So, save yourself! Or at least, care about your own salvation as much as your "wayward" friends. Or the beam that is in your own eyes might cause you to knock them out cold.
Anyway, I´ve come to a couple interesting conclusions in this especially busy week. One: I understand more now of how the Book of Mormon prophets must have felt. They say many times, "I would like to write more about what I feel/know about this subject, but the people who will be reading this either aren´t able to understand it right now or it´s not really appropriate at this time." In writing my blog, I feel that I´m pretty straightforward, but because of my current mission calling, there are some things I just can´t say, and some experiences I can´t share completely, because, well, it´s hard to explain (with the limited time I have) all the people I meet and the culture I´m living in, a culture that is so very different from my own. It´s not a bad thing, but it is frustrating at times. Oh, and after our second companion exchange with Hna. Dalia, whose parents have a non-profit organization in Guatemala, I realized that sometimes, that´s what missionaries are- non-profit servants. Many members like to enlist our services for a variety of different things. Sometimes, (in my case), it´s helping their child with English homework. Other times, it´s helping put together their baby shower. Although I have to agree with an Elder who said, "I don´t know why they don´t call it a Baby Bath. Who gives babies a shower?" Good point. For Hna. Soto´s baby shower, my companion and I were put in charge of the shower games. I think my favorite was called "Baby Gigante." It´s when a team of two races against another team of two. One woman is the baby, the other is the mom. The "mom" waits in a chair on the other side of the room, and the "baby" has to crawl on all fours to get to her. The "mom" then proceeds to pick up her "baby" and rock her, and sing her a lullaby. The baby then has to crawl back from where she came from, and the "mom" also races back to the other side of the room to feed her baby some of that really tasty baby food from a jar. it was quite a site, and I don´t know why, but hearing it all done in Spanish made it all the more amusing. The crowing moment was when one of the "babies," who is about 40 years old, spit out her mouthful of food onto her unsuspecting "mother." I guess she wasn´t expecting it to be so gross. And we, the looker ons, weren´t expecting to be so delighted. But all in all, it was a highly successful shower, bath, whatever. And it makes me realize the real profit in service is watching all the hard work paying off in the end. There´s nothing quite like it.
And now... bragging time. Well, I don´t know if it´s really bragging or conveying the truth, but it FEELS like an achievement, at least. As of this transfer, I´m officially the Hermana with the most time on the mission. Super cool? Oh, yeah! It´s like high school all over again, feeling on top of the world when you finally are a part of the senior class. But technically, I haven´t reached the top alone. Hermana Clark has the same amount of time as me. But still... I´m pretty impressed with myself. It´s not every day you serve an 18 month long mission for the Lord, after all. Well, I guess I can stop patting myself on the back now, lest I fall over.
Oh, and how can I forget the unforgettable BAPTISM OF CHARLIN!? Now, that was an experience. Of course, the whole thing started late, and there were one or two mishaps in between (one of those things I mentioned I, well, just shouldn´t write about), but the point is, it HAPPENED. It´s done, and Charlin was then confirmed a member of the church in sacrament meeting the following day. It was a true privilege to be a part of it all. Someone at her age, only 14 years old, who, in spite of opposition from family and some friends, still did what she thought was right. I´m glad to know that these people exist in the world, and even better, that I get to meet them and be part of their lives.
Well, I´m oddly sentimental today. How bout we round it all off with some good ol´fashioned nonsense? First of all, I had no sense in saying Hna. Dalia is going to Puerto Rico. She´s going to the Santiago mission, which is in this country. She´ll be leaving to go there tomorrow. So young, so fresh. I hope she´s ready for a wild ride. And second of all, I had a really interesting conversation with my now almost ex-companion, Hna. Rodriguez. Apparently, some cartoon characters in this country are the same as characters in our country (bugs bunny, for example). And then others are just completely different, so as to keep the alliteration and flow of the name. For example, Fred Flintstone here is "Pedro PicaPiedras," o sea, "Peter RockPicker or RockCutter." We argued as to which one sounds better. For me, it´s all about the Fred. Sorry Rodriguez, but tell Pedro to shove it. Oh, and also interesting is that some verbs in Spanish have been created directly from English ones. We were passing Blue Mall one day (we´re not allowed to go in there), and Hna. Rodriguez asked me, "what´s 'hangear?' I read the sentence it was in, saw the picture, and realized it means "hang out." In Spanish, you can say that you pass time with your friends, but there isn´t a real direct translation for "hang out." Well, until now, I suppose. I checked, and the word didn´t make it into the dictionary, not even my tigre Dominican version. But the continuous break down of the language barrier never ceases to fascinate me.
Anyway, I´d love to hangear more with y'all, but well, I gots to go. The profitable (but non-taxable, non-refundable) life of service never ends. Well, not for a couple more transfers at least. Until then, remember to be grateful. Be grateful that there is a day to be grateful in our country. And that it is accompanied by food and lots of it.
Hna. Sweeney "The Fearless" (except on transfer days)