This week was a paciencia (patience) builder. It all started with an activity we planned to do here in our zone. The activity was pushed by our penchion, and provided by them. Our activity was based on all the different regions of Peru: from the jungles to the deserts. Each of them has their own special dances and ways of dressing. Everyone was to pick out an outfit, learn the steps to their specific dance, and read a little passage about who they we representing. As we were announcing it to the other missionaries in the zone, a few put up a barrier and told us they weren’t going to participate. In the zone there are only 10 elders and two sisters and four of them decided they were not going to participate. It was kind of disappointing seeing that we were trying to do something for the zone, and then having just a few of them try to shut it down. I got it into my head that we were going to have it, and everyone was going to participate. My companion and I were really trying to push every aspect of it; to build it up over the next couple days that remained. One by one, they started to change their minds. It wasn’t easy, in fact, very frustrating at times.
After we had picked out all that we were going to use later that night, one elder backed out. So we tried everything, but his excuse was his numbers were low, and he needed to work in his area, and because we were doing it on a Friday night and not on P-day… valid excuses, but excuses nonetheless…. We pushed him so hard to do it that I think he felt over stressed and faked being sick. So we took him to get injections because he was acting as if he was practically dying… He faked so well that he actually made himself sick. Instead of going out to work in his area, he stayed in the house, and lucky for him the activity was in his own house. He was able gain enough strength to watch apparently and when we did our final routine, he joined us as we were all jumping and listening to Happy Day together….
The zone has, I think, done a turn around with their behavior. Before they were all like little kids. I think a lot of that had to do with how relaxed I let things go at first. Now they understand, I believe, that there is a time for work, and a time for play.
This week our penchion, who we live with, had family over, his brother to be exact. It felt like a pre-family reunion. His bro and wife are returned missionaries, so they gave me the classic lecture to not be trunky, and work hard in the days that remain! I feel like I have gotten that speech from everyone.
The ward that I am serving in right now is frustrating at times. Just to share one experience that happened this past Saturday, as I was getting a drink of water, the bishop of my ward started to talk to my companion while he was packing up his utensils from the conference. All of the members were around, and all of our missionaries as well. The bishop proceeded to tell my companion that he is a liar, and this and that, all in front of the crowd of people from the just finished conference. I walked in and the bishop ignored me, so I decided to step into the conversation. I tried to take control of the situation, and step into another room to discuss the issue, but he wouldn’t budge. (This wasn’t the first time this had happened, so I was ready for it.) I proceeded to share the answers as plainly as I could to the questions that he asked. We both started to raise our voices, and it started to get heated. He went after all he could complain about the missionaries. How they were sinners, and who knows what else. That we weren’t good leaders because we permit this and that. And how in his mission he did this…………. You get the idea, the list goes on and on. I held it together until some of the members started to tell me that I wasn’t working, and I was trunky, and that’s why the ward isn’t progressing. So I took a break outside and cried. All of the missionaries came around me to show their support, which helped me get it back together. As soon as the bishop came outside I was calmed down. I raced over to talk to him again. We talked for a good 35 minutes after that, and realized why he had blown up, and more or less the reasons why people came to conclusions without knowing what really happened. We figured out the problem and he even admitted to being the cause of it. I saw tears in his eyes, so I know it hit home.
I swear, the more time that I have in the mission, the more I realize the less I would have learned on the outside. Paciencia is the key to a lot of the results and success that we want in life. But to get to the level we want, it takes experiences. This week was full of them.
Every week we make a companerismo de la semana, where we choose a companionship that did good that week. Then we draw a picture based on who it was. The picture says it all. I think that they both look exactly like the fotos! Everybody has skills, we just need to learn to use them in the right way, and man this elder can draw!
-for just a few more days!