Sunday, April 27, 2014

And all of this in one week?

Hola familia. Cómo están?

This week has been absolutely nuts. In fact, I would say it was probably the craziest week I´ve experienced my entire mission. Lets go with a quick rundown of what has happened, and I will explain each one in detail:

  • An Elder fell, and split his head open.
  • An Elder 2 days later got hit by a car and his now headed home for recovery
  • I was told I was going into the field instead of receiving the new president
  • Miracle after miracle happened.

Alright, now. Let´s get this show on the road.

First, there was an Elder who fell and split his head open.

Apparently, he and his companion were walking up a small pathway to go to a house for a service project. As they were walking, there was a bit of very loose dirt. He stepped on it, slipped, and fell around 5 feet, head first. He landed on a rock, which split the skin.

Now, when I say it was a miracle that this happened, let me just say that he received literally no other injuries to his head other than the skin split.

No concussion. No fracturing of the skull. No broken neck, strained neck, or anything. Everything was completely normal minus his skin. An absolute miracle.

He had to get 32 stitches, and for that reason, I could not write on Monday, as I went to stay with him to make sure he was okay.

He is doing fantastic now. In fact, he really has nothing to worry about. The scar will be EXACTLY where his hair is, so you can´t even see it after his hair grows in.

It´s really cool to see that he was protected like that.

Next, 2 days later, an Elder got hit by a car.

This was just nuts. I couldn´t believe what I heard.

Apparently, he was crossing a street, and a car going around 40 miles an hour hit him. His companion told me that he bounced off of the car, and went about 6 feet into the air before landing on the ground. The windshield (he went up into the windshield even) was damaged pretty bad, and because of that, they were sueing the Elder (or the church; not sure) for damage to the windshield.

That Elder received so much damage that he is going to head home after they operate on him and fix his... everything.

Remarkably, he received injuries MUCH less severe than he should have received. In fact, he only has problems with his arms and hands, and basically nothing else. His head is fine, his back and legs are practically unscratched. It was another miracle. The car didn´t even stop. It collided head-on, full speed. So the fact that he is just dealing with arm fractures is an honest miracle.

This next piece of news is going to just change everything again:

The President is going to send me to the field again.

Originally, I was going to be in the offices until the new president showed up, and then I was going to be the secretary to train him and basically show him what he has to do in terms of finances.

However, the President called me into his office around 2 days ago for an interview, and this is what he told me:

Elder Carter, I have made a decision that I´m going to send you out into the field again.

I was absolutely stunned. This announcement punched me harder than the one where I was going to be the secretary.

He continued:

I don´t want you to think this is because you haven´t been a good secretary. I am sending you out into the field because of what I see. You look like you´re weighed down. I don´t see you as happy as you were before. You look really tired as well.

I was honestly surprised. I didn´t think it showed at all. I tried to mask it the whole time so that the President didn´t worry about me.

Next he told me:

How long have you not baptized?

Almost 8 months, President.

That worries me. It means you haven´t enjoyed the precence of the Holy Ghost as much as those who do baptize every week. I´m returning you to the field so that you can feel the joy that it brings. You´re in a very hard ward, and you haven´t had any success at all. You look very discouraged.

I was honestly unable to think about what was going on.

Elder Carter, I don´t want you to feel like that. I don´t care how good you are with computers. I don´t care how intelligent you are. You have been very good here in the offices, and have done very great things, but I don´t want you to be here if you are like this.

This whole conversation was just absolutely nuts. The President has secretaries so that he can focus on his own work, and it´s just absolutely insane that, in spite of all of the stuff he has to do, all of his meetings, interviews, zone conferences, and trainings, he cares enough about 1 missionary to send him to the field again just so he feels happy.

He finished with this:

When the new President comes, you are going to be worrying about baptizing every week, and you will be doing it. You will not be worrying about the money. You won´t be worring about facturas (I honestly don´t know what this is in English.) You won´t be worrying about anything here. I want you worrying about how you can teach better, how you can baptize more, and more than anything, I want you to focus on enjoying your mission.

So there you have it, folks. I´m going to be leaving as the Financial Secretary in 1 transfer. I am going to train the new Secretary for a transfer, and do all that I can to make things even better here, and then I leave to go be a regular, teaching, studying missionary.

To be honest, it´s exactly what I want.

Don´t get me wrong, I really have enjoyed being a secretary, but I just don´t know if I would have enjoyed it much longer.

There´s a lot of hard things about it. 1 is that you and your companion just have no communication. You don´t have the study time in the morning to work on your lessons. You don't have extra time to contact or have more lessons. You aren´t able to focus completely on the people that you´re working with, and how to make them feel the Spirit, and their needs. You get a little less sleep because you´re constantly tossing and turning in the night, worried about what lays ahead the following morning in the offices.

Above all of that, the entire ward is just super hard. There has been little progress, if any at all. Elder Diaz and I have worked very hard to try to improve the situation, but many times it results in a nil.

All of those stresses just keep building. There´s no respite until you leave. You get no time to rest and recharge, because during that time, you´re working in the offices. (Mondays) Not only that, but you get very little time to teach as well, and little time to work in the offices. Basically, you just get a little bit of time for everything, and it just never seems like it´s enough.

It was very hard to be a secretary. It was probably harder than the actual mission. Heck, the actual mission seems EASY compared to working with the thousands of pesos that I was daily managing here.

However, many good things have resulted from my efforts in the offices, namely:

1.) I have a lot more patience now. I have learned that people do not think as fast or as simply as I do, and sometimes, when something seems very simple, very quick and easy to do, to another person, it is something impossible.

2.) I have learned how to manage my time a little better. I have learned that sometimes, you just need to buckle down and do what you have to do. Sometimes, you gotta bite the bullet and do the things you just don´t want to do because you have no choice.

3.) I have learned that as a higher-up, sometimes you have to take the hit of looking like "The Bad Guy." As a the Financial Secretary, I am in charge of making sure that the Lord´s money; the money that represents the sacrifices of my very own family, is used correctly, and not wasted. In order to do that, I must be firm. If I am overly kind, I will not get the results I need.

For example, there was an Elder that didn´t pay attention when he was withdrawing his money, and withdrew around 300 pesos, thinking it was a reimbursement. Around a week later, he called, asking why he had not received his transport money (the 300 he withdrew). He wanted another 300 pesos deposited to his account. I had to basically just be completely mean and tell him he had to pay attention to his withdrawals. Even though I look like I´m super mean and that I just don´t want to help him, it´s not like that at all. It´s that I cannot deposit another 300 just whenever he wants it. This is money that God is giving us, and I´m not going to treat it like Christmas candy.

That kind of treatment is necessary, and unless we tell them like that, nothing will happen, and I will receive the same calls day after day.

I learned that sometimes, you just have to give up being a friend.

Now, I understand a little better, Mom and Dad, why you kept telling us that your job as my parents was not to be my friend, but to be my parents. I get it now. You told us no to so much stuff not because you were trying to be mean, not because you were trying to ruin our lives, not even because you just weren´t in a good mood that day. No, you said no because you knew better than us, and even if we didn´t see it in that time, that "no" was going to make us better.

I have said "no" to many Elders. Many missionaries now think I´m just a super angry secretary, and that I hate it when people call me and things like that. But the reality is, I´m trying to do my job. I cannot loosen the reins just to be your friend. I must be "The Bad Guy" sometimes because you cannot continue doing what you just did.

Wow, that one was really long.

4.) I have learned how to have a little more common sense.

5.) I´ve learned that the Lord is still smarter than I am. And, in that same aspect, I have also learned that my parents are incredible sources of boundless and endless wisdom that I cannot even begin to match. Time after time I have seen things that I tell myself:

"I´m the dumbest, most stupid kid in all of the entire existence of everything. My parents tried to teach me this before I even got here, and now, I´m here, and I don´t know how to do it just because I didn´t think they knew anything. They probably didn´t even know if I was going to have to do this, but they still did it anyway. I have no idea how they knew this."

I know, Mom and Dad. I know. You told me so. Finally, I´m seeing the light of your infinite seership of parenthood. Just try not to make me feel too bad about being so hard-headed as a teen ;).

But in all seriousness, I haven´t ever been able to understand how you guys understood so much about life and adulthood. How did you guys know the answer to almost every question I´ve had in the offices? I swear, it´s like you´re omniscient!

I don´t really know if anyone but Mom and Dad and other parents are going to believe me, but I honestly understand much better my early life at home, and why you acted the way you did all those years. I don´t even know how you managed to keep going after years of constant apparent failure.

But, with all of that said, I still can´t say you´re cooler than I am. Sorry. I still dominate in that category. Super smart, but just not cool. >:D

Now, having said all of this stuff, that doesn´t mean that I´m perfect in them, or that I´m super amazing and awesome now. I´ve just learned a lot more about stuff like that, and I´ve improved in these things. I´m still impatient sometimes, and I´m still struggling to manage my time well, but I´ve learned how to do it a little better.

Finally, I said miracle after miracle happened. Well, those Elders surviving their injuries are miracles, but even more, there were miracles in our sector as well. 1 was that some guy gave us free food in 7/11. He was a member of the church and we had no money (basically blew it on the water/light bills again) and he just let us take the food free. It was only worth around 100 pesos (like, 8 or 9 bucks total), but still, MIRACLE.

There were a couple more, but this email is just a bit too long, and we wanted to go get some shopping done and go eat, so I´m going to head out.

WE ALSO GOT THE PACKAGES!

I was a little sad because there weren´t any notes or anything like that. I enjoy those a lot.

But seriously, bunny ears? Really? Man...

I didn´t take a picture because I forgot my camera at home that day, and then just kinda spaced it afterwards, so the candy is half way gone because I´ve been sharing it with everyone (I hate not sharing. Sharing is great. Yet another thing Mom and Dad taught me....)

Pictures:

1.) I really like Tijuana. Especially the parts with all of the garbage. Those are the best. Because then I get to pet all the puppies!

2.) This Xbox Live offer was great! We forgot how fun it was to play Xbox! Too bad it was just for this week though... We had fun while it lasted I guess.

3.) I drank the water. It made one of my eyes an over-achiever. (HA! Dad, you had better remember that joke.)

I´m just terrible at taking pictures! I hate asking people for it because I feel like I´m a tourist, and I hate asking members if I could pose for a photo with them because I´m just scared they´ll think I´m just here for pictures and not to teach. Just super weird.... But I´ll do what I can to get the pictures you all want.

Hmmm.... I really can´t think of anything else super fun to write about. Other than the fact that I really miss my music.

I actually remember that the last normal song I listened to was new when I left, and so I heard it only one time, and now I don´t remember the song anymore! (Is it bad that I´m talking about how much I miss my music? I´d say that´s border-line apostasy right?)

Okay, well, I´m out. Thanks for reading my essay. Overall, I think that the book "Where the Red Lord of the Night" was really great, and should be kept for future generations.

AP English joke. I´m such a nerd.

LOVE YOU ALL.

Elder Carter



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