Sunday, July 21, 2013

What Has Been Seen Cannot Be Unseen... Week 17

G'day brothers and sisters and friends and family!
As the title may have hinted towards, there were several things which I witnessed as a missionary this week that I hope no one ever has to see/ go through ever again. To start off, yesterday we approached an elderly couple watching a footie game [rugby] in their car port under their house. We made ourselves known, started to talk to them, and after we established that they were Greek Orthodox and didn't want to change, a man (their son, we think) shouted from an outdoor shower, "What the **** is going on!?" at which point he exited the shower... Behold, our eyes were scarred as our gazes fell upon his beer belly and other accompanying things. He shouted in surprise and retreated back into the shower, and I began to walk away, confused and horrified at what had just occurred and what I had just witnessed. Elder Traconis turned and ran back to the bikes as I followed in a shell-shocked stupor. Hence, the title: what has been seen cannot be unseen. To add to that, we were trying to get to know a person so as to teach him when his wife or sister -I'm not sure who- pulled out her breast and began to feed her infant. That's probably the tenth time that's occurred on my mission, in which me and my companion have been giving a lesson or talking to someone and ta-da! The wife, or the woman present, just whips 'em out and starts feeding right there, absolutely no decorum.  Ah, the glories of serving a mission! I can't honestly say I'm not fazed when that occurs anymore- it's happened so many times it's almost expected.  Unfortunately for Elder Traconis, that was the first time that's happened to him, so he was a little red in the face and noticeably averted his entire body to where he had almost done a complete 180 while trying to teach the father/brother figure. To follow that up, he was hit in the face by a bat yesterday as we rode back to our flat, and he unintentionally ran over a rat the same night. To top it all off, we've been having bike trouble like no other pair of missionaries I know, and we've had to change out tubes almost every other day this week. Oh, fun side-bar: I can ride my bike with no handle-bars... anyways...
The work was average and involved lots of walking due to our unfortunate, recurring bike situation, but at least I've started to pick up some on the weak points that I identified yesterday. Now, my mother has made it known to me that she caught some flak for the way I went about discussing my own imperfections last week, and the simple truth is that when she speaks for me she is right- the bar that I set is my bar, and if I fall short, it is me that does the rebuking. I will be fine, and the only thing expected of us missionaries is our best. It just so happens that my best is very high up there and I tend to be disappointed if I do not hit that mark. I do not feel it wrong for me to have set ridiculously high standards for myself- the Lord expects our best and I intend to give the best. I do need to acknowledge that the chances of me attaining the perfection that I so eagerly desire are not very high, and it is not going to happen in this life, and I should be a little more forgiving of myself, but alas, I do not want to let that become a way to rationalize poor performance. Thus, the bar remains high. Please, for heaven's sake, my mother knows me better than anyone else on this earth, and if she says I'm just being me, chances are very high that I really am just being me. I would highly recommend that those who doubt what she says concerning me rethink their own train of thought. How would it be that my mother -the woman who carried me, birthed me, nursed me, raised me, and has spent more accumulative hours with me than anyone else- would not know me as well as you think you know me? Not trying to shoot anyone down here AT ALL because I do love you all heaps!!! I just get a little peeved when others think they know me better than my own mother does; that is -as we refer to it in the mission field- false doctrine, and to be truthful there are probably only two other people who can even hope to come close to her concerning their knowledge of me and my nature (Dad, and Amber- they've been named, stop trying to figure it out XD).   [I actually just told him that people had asked if he would be okay and commented about him being so hard on himself - I was trying to let him know how much people care about him. He apparently mistook concern for him as criticism of me.  Such is the dilemma of black and white text across 9,000 miles. :)]
Hopefully I have more happy tales to tell next week. I got heaps of mail from my family and grandma, and I'm trying my best to write you all back! Thanks to everyone who sent me those lovely emails today- I really do appreciate every single bit of love that you all so generously give! Especially letters and cards! There's nothing better than getting a letter in the mail! Just so yous know... ;D
Lots of Love from Down Under,
-Elder Schomburg

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