Tuesday, August 28, 2012

"...these 2 are different; they have the Spirit, they work hard..."

So a few stories for this week. The first one is pretty different. It was 9:30 and Elder Saldaña wanted to go to McDonalds. I said, “No, we need to stay in right now...you should've eaten dinner earlier when I did. We had time...” He wasn't giving in and said, “Fine, I'll call the zone leaders,” and I said, “Yeah, they will probably say yes to anything you ask them.” So he said, “I'll call President Hiers.” Of course I didn't think he was serious, so I said, “Yeah, go for it; call him.” So he did, and I thought he was just pretending. Then ten minutes later president called and said, “Hey Elder Bassett, I am bringing McDonalds over to your house to feed your companion. Do you want anything?” I couldn't believe it. So president came over at 10:30 at night (because he got lost coming to our house) to give my companion dinner. I felt pretty bad, but he taught us a good lesson about obedience and how he would rather go out of his way to help us be obedient than have us break a rule. He went upstairs, and our bedroom was clean, but the other missionaries’ was pretty bad, so he talked to them about cleanliness and then went on his way. Elder Saldaña didn't quite understand why that was rude of us to call when he has other things to worry about besides him being hungry, so I hope he doesn't try to do it again.  

So things have been better this week...well not really…just my perspective has been better, and I have been happier. Personal study is tough with all the noises the other missionaries are making, but I usually just go to the office and try to focus. It is still a struggle to have effective companionship study. I drew the line when he wanted to role-play bashing...ha-ha.  I am learning to be patient and just listen and learn from him. I can't say this without sounding snobbish, but there are just some things that I know are important and he doesn’t. He really doesn't like to leave commitments or talk about The Book of Mormon in the first lesson. And when we contact people he ALWAYS says, “We aren't here to convert or baptize you, just talk about Jesus,” because he says it helps get close to people, but it's just not the truth. He thinks we should avoid talking about the restoration when contacting, so that's been tough. I try to talk about how we need to follow preach my gospel, but his attitude about preach my gospel is that just like the old lessons that they had to modify, one day they will realize some things are wrong with preach my gospel and change it...so, basically that he knows better about how to teach people than the first presidency since we are some very intelligent 19 year old boys… Anyways, that's frustrating..

The one big thing this week, though, was skipping study. It is his and all his previous companions' belief that if you have a busy day then skip study. He says "nothing happens in missionary work unless you talk to someone, and if we are in the apartment studying all day then we are wasting the Lord's time." I have tried and tried to fight it, but it’s just not easy. I am finding ways to compromise like waking up earlier and taking part of my lunch to do language study, but I just wish we could do it how we are asked to do it.

This week I did a split with the other two missionaries in our house. I went with Elder J. He has been struggling the past few weeks with getting up and out of the house and just doing anything really. Elder Saldaña wants to help them. I think we should just leave it to our leaders, but I didn't have much say. So Elder J and I just studied together for a couple hours, and he just talked about how it’s been hard. So I set some goals with him about studying and being up on time and how I wanted to help him. Unfortunately they didn't quite follow through, but he did teach a couple lessons last week so things are getting better slowly.

The cleaning thing has been tough. I have been good about cleaning every night, but nobody is following my example, yet and there is too much for me to do alone. Next story of the week that is just a typical night in the life of Elder Bassett: I am cleaning, doing the dishes as I usually do each night (have never received a thank you by the way), they are playing Risk like they do every night until 11:30, and I just keep cleaning. When I go to vacuum the dining room, the handle and the tube for the vacuum are gone. I ask where they are and Elder J says, "Oh, upstairs on my bed. I was pretending the handle was a gun, and the tube was my headband when we were playing this morning." "I see, ok thank you. I will go get them" I go up and finish vacuuming and come downstairs.  Elder J says "Hey, Elder Bassett, what did you do with my cup? I can't find it." "I washed and put it away for you Elder J." "Ugghh, fine I GUESS I can just get another one" (which by the way he left out when he was done...and after that experience I realized maybe I have developed a little patience on my mission, because I don't know how I didn't flip out right there after cleaning his egg pan everyday (which he promises every night he will clean the next day, but never has.) So every night is a struggle for me to not get frustrated, but I am developing good habits, so that’s ok.
A lot of house for 4 missionaries to live in and one to clean
But what a view!

 Mom, you asked a few questions in your letter I will address. My old district leader is doing well. The missionary he trained is Elder Bingham, he is a temporary missionary that will just serve two transfers here just to make sure his kidneys can take it (he has some rare condition), and he is doing well now serving in northern Utah. He is from Syracuse, which is in this mission, and never went to the MTC. He is a good guy. I am proud of  him for staying out here. He almost went home, because it’s been pretty hard on him. He gets kidney infections frequently, and the work the load is a little too much for him, but he wants to stick it out.

The best part of this week, I think was getting letters from Elder Gee, Elder Mckee, and Uncle Peter...they all had unique experiences from the mission that were very encouraging...I especially appreciated Peter telling me about his mission because it sounded EXACTLY like the experience I am having. I am very happy for him and Summer.

There is an unfortunate belief that all the missionaries I am around have. It is that the more disobedient you are, the more success you will have. I guess they have seen enough missionaries that break the rules and don't study, but they just know how to get to people and baptize a lot. That attitude is very aggravating, and I try to just avoid it whenever it is brought up, because they sincerely believe that that is true and obedience is just a waste of time. Mom, I liked the part about your letter when you said you never want to stop growing. That is exactly how I am and why Elder Saldaña and I fight a lot. I want us to keep growing, and he thinks we are already there and really thinks we are already the most obedient and hard working missionaries out here and have nothing to worry about. I have learned to forget about what he said about me not enjoying life. I think that is just the way I am: working hard makes me happy and other people perceive that as me just doing it just to prove to others I am better or just because I have to do it. Peter's letter also made me feel better about how that is just the way I am, like the meals thing peter brought up. He said he would often skip meals to go to work. I have tried to cut lunch short before, because we usually finish eating in 20 minutes and then Elder Saldaña takes a nap. Technically, yes, we get an hour for lunch, but why not just go out and work?? His response to that is you don’t want to go crazy and work too hard. You still have to stay normal. I guess we just have opposite opinions about that, because I feel like that is the opposite of "losing yourself in the work."

In our companionship inventory we settled a lot. It was about 50 minutes long and just had a lot of arguing and getting nowhere until we each came up with a goal. He is going to stop criticizing me for trying to be obedient (that was the goal I made for him), and the one he made for me is that I can do things for the right reasons and enjoy them (I do enjoy them, but he thinks that I am not happy because I am working too hard which is not the case...but whatever. I agreed to it and said I would start working hard for the right reasons). Since then, things have been better. He told me that I needed to stop questioning him and just obey, because he has been out longer and knows better, but I said that we need to discuss things rather than him making all decisions. Since then we have been doing that. I ignore the little rules he breaks like staying up, listening to music on his headphones, whatever, just because there is nothing I can do. He knows it is wrong and can make his choices for now. I just need to love him and set an example. By the way, thank you so much for the music, Mom. It is perfect. Any old efy cd's anyone had go ahead and send them out.

I decided the worst thing ever is the saying, "That's mine; just leave it out." That’s what people say when I try to clean up their stuff. I try to explain that it needs to have a place and that there is no reason three pieces of pizza should be on the counter without a plate and maybe I could just put them in the fridge for them? but nope...they might eat it tomorrow for breakfast, so they want it left out...interesting people. I really hope at some point I get companions or other missionaries that are just normal like the people that I hung out with at home. It feels like all the ones I know are just really different people who don't know what cleaning is or just don't really want to be here...anyways I'm complaining again. I’ll stop.

Oh, we got in a fender bender this week. Somebody rear ended the car behind us while we were stopped and pushed that car into us. Our bumper was falling off on one side, so I just took some brackets out and put it back on even though it will probably fall off again soon. That was kind of fun, I guess.

I think I'm going to diagnose myself with OCD, ha-ha. Somehow, whenever Elder Saldaña gets a piece of paper, it ends up crumpled up with footprints on it or something. I get OCD about it and want it left perfect. If I turn in a progress record, I want it to look nice and not folded up in my pocket. I guess that is just me being OCD, but I try to not let him have any important papers or write on anything, because it isn't humanly possible to read his handwriting. And the area book, another OCD thing of mine; if it is a new investigator, it goes in the new investigator section; if it is a less active, it goes in the less active section; progressing investigators, in the progressing section...right? NO, everything goes all inside the progressing section no matter who they are or if they have been dropped, because that "just works better that way." I am going a little insane with that, because he won't let me organize it, because he likes it like that, but one day I will fix it, and hopefully he just won't notice it.

We kind of had good and bad things for member trust this week. On Sunday, our ward mission leader saw us tracting and was impressed. Our elder’s quorum president stood up in priesthood and said "I have been with a lot of missionaries over the years in this ward, and I will be honest they have all been bad, but these two are different. They have the spirit, and they work hard. Start going to lessons with them. These guys are great." I don't necessarily think we are any better, but anything to help us get some more support is great. The bad thing is the high priest group leader came in to PEC (he wasn't present last week at church) and said, “So two weeks ago, why was there one missionary waiting in the car and the other one was inside the house with a sixteen year old girl?” Apparently, when Elder Saldaña's old companion was on splits, he was visiting girls and was alone inside the house with a girl when the high priest group leader came over to the house. When he asked him where his companion was he said in the car and just laughed at him. So that is just great. I am just happy I am not his companion right now. I don't know how Elder Saldaña dealt with him.

Oh another thing I obsess about...Elder Saldaña's driving. He gases with his right foot and breaks with his left, and he thinks it's cooler to start the car in low then shift up to two and then into drive like it's a manual which is just ridiculous. We are driving a four cylinder Corolla not a Mustang. Anyways, he always does dumb things then blames it on other drivers. I used to tell him it was his fault; now I just ignore it and nod my head. I reaaaaally want to drive. I am glad we have safe backing rules, because he needs it bad. We have a HUGE garage, but backing in is just impossible. He always goes at some weird angle. I have saved my bike from being hit three times. I guess I am just picky.

So, I think this week will be a lot better of a week as far as lessons. We had two member presents yesterday, because we passed around a sign up sheet when people can go with us. We are going to bring them when they say they can and just pray someone will be home to teach a lesson, because usually lessons fall through or people just aren't home. I'll let you know how it works. Even though Elder Saldaña and I have our differences, we are getting better, and I am learning to respect and love him more. We are trying to save on miles, because we are over for this month. The last two weeks Elder Saldaña’s last companion used almost all of our miles, so we didn't have any left. We have talked to the vehicle coordinator, and he is aware. We said we will do better next month, but we are the least of his problems. A Spanish missionary last month went over 3000 miles (yes that is three thousand); meaning he gets 1500 for the month and he used 4500, and they didn't take his car away or anything. That was surprising to me that there were no consequences. The bad thing is that that wasn't for missionary work. He serves in Idaho and drives to Ogden just about every day to visit people. Wow. So this week should be lots better with lessons and everything. Our branch president is starting to trust us more, because he has just admitted how bad the missionaries in the past have been. Things are picking up, and I am working as hard as my circumstances will allow, which is still a good amount. Just FYI we cover six stakes in our area, so we drive a lot. We just got a text from the family that owns our home that the lights need to be turned off. The other two missionaries slept in this morning, so we left without them. I guess they forgot to turn them off. They really want us out of that house, and I can't blame them. Well, I hope all is well. I love you all,
Take care.
Elder Bassett

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