Sunday, January 20, 2013

All I need is a Miracle

Over the course of having a mission blog, I´ve come to realize that most of my titles are pretty dramatic and attention-grabbing. I guess if it was false advertising, I´d have to feel guilty about that. Fortunately, the causes behind said catchy titles are usually well-found and deserved. This week is no exception. I should have remembered from the last time Hna. Bryant and I were together, but somehow, I let myself forget- we have an unhealthy amount of adventures when placed together. And also an unprecedented amount of Deja vú. If you think or read back into the past, you may remember me mentioning such things as ridiculous quantities of mangoes being gifted to us, or crazy, broken down washing machines... things of that nature. Well... it´s happening again. It´s not even mango season, and everyone we visit who happens to have a mango tree in their backyard is handing them to us. I don´t even know what to think, but I don´t have too long to dwell on it, because there´s also the fact that, just like back in Azua times, the centrifuge that spins our clothes dry really doesn´t seem too interested in doing it´s job. Which is bad news for those of us who don´t feel like hand-wringing a boat load of clothes late in the evening. Oh well. Bryant is now a capable, willing assistant. I don´t have to squeeze and stress alone. And to top it off, the Bruno Mars song that we used to hear always and often in our old haunt called "Mirror on the Wall," starting blasting out of nowhere while we were out walking on the street a couple days ago. I feel like life can be both poetic and ironic... when it wants to be.

But anyway, on to what everyone really wants to hear about- the miracles. Right, right? Ok, so get this- imagine two hermanas who have to keep going into the capital for medical tests. They´ve gone Monday to talk to the doctor and she in turn tells them both to go get further testing done. Without going into too much detail, this involves a sonogram for one of the two parties involved. Tuesday and Wednesday are both spent in the capital to get the tests out of the way... just a capital good time. I just can´t seem to shake Quisqueya, because almost every time we went to the capital, we passed through my old area. One of the hospitals we went to was even located in an area where I had done a whole bunch of contacting. The Deja vú be making me dizzy. I feel like I´m spending more time in my old area than in my new one. But I digress, and after you all ingest, I will continue to profess.

But rewinding to Tuesday, we can more fully comprehend why Wednesday was even necessary. "Why not just knock all the tests out of the way at once," you might think, "so that these handy hermanas can put their yokes back on and get back to the ol´ grind?" Well, there may or may not have been a little, er, detour, on the way to the hospital. O sea, the destination was reached, just not with the intended participants. So get this: The mission truck is filled with the President´s assistants, 2 other elders (one sick, the other, the lucky companion), and a couple of travel-weary hermanas. We were all anticipating finally getting some grub and finalizing an already overly-long day, but the stop light just didn´t seem to want to change. And for us, it never really did, because in the middle of some smart-alec remark made by someone in the back seat, the whole truck starting vibrating pretty roughly. A couple seconds later, I look out the side window and see a truck passing too close to our own- so close that it is essentially crashing or scraping into us. I think "what kind of an idiot is in such a hurry that they are now causing tons of damage to our truck?" I had no sooner had such thoughts when Hna. Bryant exclaims, "hey-the driver is passed out!" Well, "luckily," the truck that had slid by us had gracefully come to a stop on the side of the road, right against the curb. It would appear that the hubcap or whatever part covers the front tire, had become bent in and had stopped the car from moving forward. Which is great, considering the fact that the man behind the wheel was seizuring and if the air bags had gone off... anyway, no one was really sure what to do with the guy, but everyone finally decided to put him in our truck. For some reason, Hna. B and I got out, and the other Elders drove away to take the man to the hospital. How lucky to have four  Elders who happen to hold God´s priesthood right there, at the right moment. Coincidence? I´ll let you all arrive to the obvious answer of no on your own. But apparently, the Elders drove fast, and those not driving gave the man a blessing. Hna. Bryant and I also threw in our own prayers curbside. After calling the men the driver worked with so they could take care of the vehicle, the Elders arrived to worry about insurance information. And they said the seizuring man was recovering nicely. So all in all, just another miracle. Although, because of all the fuss and flurry, the Elders couldn´t really take us to where we needed to be. Fortunately, we were in the city I had been working for, oh, I don´t know, ALMOST 8 MONTHS, so I managed to get us back home, in spite of the distance. I may have patted myself on the back just a tad.

So needless to say, it´s been a rather trying week. And everything seems to be the last. This last Thursday, I had my LAST interview with the mission president, for example. It seemed a little surreal. We talked about my progress on the mission, how I´m doing keeping the rules, that sorta thing. My favorite advice he gave me was for what I can do for sleepless nights, which is, read the scriptures lying down on my back. A guaranteed snoozer. Ha! But the best part was when he gave me the go-ahead to visit a couple of my old areas, so La Yuca and Quisqueya... here I come, in a couple of weeks, anyway. I probably won´t get to visit Azua because it´s further away, which really sucks, but hey, I´ll take what I can get. And it´s always a good excuse to come back to the country, ¿no?

I also gave what was also probably my last talk in church (she said hopefully). Hna. Bryant gave hers on seeing people as they could be and not only as they are, based on the General Conference talk given in November by President Monson. I gave mine on how the Christ-like attributes of patience and knowledge contribute to missionary work. Patience is a virtue because it is rare to find in most human beings. We all expect it from others but don´t love to exercise it, especially when it´s something we really want. And on the mission, we don´t have the same advantage as people who live here in San Cristobal on a more permanent basis. If they are continuously setting a good example and doing their best to share the gospel with their friends and family, the likelihood of future interest is great. But you don´t plant a seed expecting to see fruit the following morning, and you certainly don´t plant gospel seeds in others believing they will instantly want to be baptized. And besides the fact that these things take time, they also take place in the Lord´s time-not ours. Which isn´t always fun or easy to accept, especially when our wants/desires seem so worthy of fulfillment. But it´s like when you reach the end of a really good book, and even if you didn´t love all the ways in which the author fulfills the plot, by the time it´s all said and done, you know it couldn´t have turned out any other way. And so it is with our life story. As President Dieter F. Uchtdorf sums up so nicely (yes, he is one of my favorites), it is hard to see or learn from the valleys of our trials until we´ve reached the peak of the mountain and can look back on the experiences.

I also mentioned how, if and when the great day comes and someone we know and love would like to learn more about the gospel, well, it helps if we ourselves know something about it. I´ve taken out one too many members who, when asked to bear their testimony about a certain principle, say something witty like, "oh, I actually haven´t read the Book of Mormon all the way through," or "Oh, I confuse that commandment with another one." It´s really hard to teach a principle of truth to someone if we ourselves don´t know and practice it. Knowledge is power for a reason. It´s not the same thing as personal testimony, but it can really help us declare with more certainty what we already feel to be true.

And now for one of my favorite quotes of the week. Hna. Bryant and I were waiting for a member to show up with the church so we could go and teach some of our investigators. While waiting, a couple members were already there who offered us cookies. One packet contained cookies with the word "energy" on them. The other packet´s cookies said "glucose." Well, the little son of the woman who gave us the cookies was climbing the fence of the church and running around like a madman. The mom was yelling for him to calm the heck down. Ironically, he was wearing a shirt that in English said, "My parents taught me how to walk and talk and now, all they want is for me to sit down and be quiet." Essentially. But as Hna. Bryant put it, "well, what do you expect when you give him cookies that say energy on them?" Right after she made this statement, this same child attempted to lift a rather enormous rock off of the ground, Hulk-style. I would NOT recommend these cookies to anyone with high stress levels and/or cholesterol.

Well, I must fight or take flight, and though I would prefer to do both, I´m too tired. Maybe next week, when cars aren´t running into me and I don´t have to deal with the fact that P-day is swiftly coming to the end. And that I only have about 3 of them left. Alright, no more thoughts. When in doubt- keep it simple.

Energetically (not) yours,

Hna. Sweeney "The Fearless" (except on Sundays)

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