Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Letter #106 - January 31, 2012

Hey Mom,

Well, this is how my last week in the mission went.,


Today after our PDay, we had a ward family home evening in the chapel. Basically it was just a ward activity. Just based on how everything worked out, I assumed that we weren't going to have many people. I was wrong, as a ton showed up. There was a spiritual thought and then everyone was let loose. People went outside to eat watermelon and then the kids came back in to play volleyball with a huge balloon while the adults hung around, talked, and drank mate. It was actually a huge success, and I took quite a few pictures too.


Today was my last district meeting in the mission. It's kinda interesting because before I used to listen really good and write down any ideas and stuff. Today, I didn't even care hardly at all. I still care about the work and the people we teach, but I guess I felt like listening to someone teach how to do it better didn't catch my interest much at this point haha. I also managed to sell my electric blanket and pull up bar (which I bought from an elder a few months ago and never used haha), so I was kinda happy about that. Today we also had a baptism, my last one of the mission. Shirley got baptized today. We had to clean the font again (people left water in it again), and then we had the service. A mini-disaster that happened was we had picked out a tunic/robe thing that we thought would fit her perfect, but it didn't. We actually didn't even have anything that she could have used. Thankfully someone from the ward had something at her house that we ended up using. I also baptized her, as she requested, so that was kinda cool. In the evening, my comp and I ordered pizza to kinda celebrate.


Today we had another lesson with Filia, who keeps filling us with hope about how she'll come to church and get baptized and everything. She was pretty promising again today, saying stuff like 'when I come to church on Sunday, I feel like God will tell me that this is the true church' and 'I must have stopped going to that other church for a reason' and 'I feel such peace her, I think this is the church for me'. We had the lesson in the church and we showed her the baptismal font and everything, with the hope that it'd help her. When she said that we could go with her to the church, it kinda surprised me, but I certainly wasn't complaining. We've started to play soccer Wednesday night, and so we had that again today with a bunch of church and neighborhood kids. It was also sadly my last one, but I played really well so that was good.


Today my comp and I had a lesson with Juan, who's the investigator we have who's come to church the last couple of weeks. They've been kinda pushing that we get him baptized this Saturday (two days) as he's already started going to church and really nothing is impeding him other than just teaching him the commandments he'll have to accept and then do it. So today we planned to explain a little about baptism and everything. At the end of explaining it, he agreed to do so. He also agreed to get baptized on Saturday. So, we started teaching him some of the commandments, starting with the law of chastity (which for those who don't know, deals with the reserving sexual relationships until after marriage, and then being faithful to that person after getting married), which is a requirement for baptism. Well, he didn't accept it. He's like a 60 year old man who's single (his marriage ended in divorce and he has another kid with an ex-girlfriend), and he said that it'd be something he's not willing to accept right now. It was a crusher. He's like 'well, I guess I can't get baptized then'. Really, he said, 'Well, I guess being able to break the law of chastity is more important to me than getting baptized'. He said the closing prayer and he basically apologized for his imperfections and said he does his best. I feel like he'll accept it with time and will get baptized in the near future.


Today we were going to have our weekly correlation meeting with our ward mission leader, but, he didn't show up. It is such a waste of time going to the church almost every week because he says he'll go but never does. Whatever. Today we were also at the church waiting for an investigator to show up. There were some ladies there from the ward who are in the choir practising. At one point one came outside and asked (my comp and I were waiting outside), 'do either of you play the piano?' My comp said no I and said something like 'not good enough'. After a while she came back out and asked if I could still try to help them out anyways. I don't remember how good I was before the mission, but I've gotten to the point where I can play the melody (top note) of most hymns with occasional errors. Well, apparently that was good enough, so I got to practise the piano, helping the ladies find the melody. They thanked me after and said how they'd give us lunch some day for the help (little did they know I was leaving in less than a week), but I appreciated the gesture and was glad that I was able to help a little.


Today my comp and I were just walking around and this one guy in a group of people yelled at us from a bus stop after we had passed it. Generally people do that to try to make us look stupid and make fun of us in front of other people, so we turned around, told him we were in a hurry, and kept walking. Well, most of the people at the stop crossed the street as the bus was coming down the street (to get on), and so since he was pretty much left alone and he yelled at us again, we went to him. He kinda was upset how we were just going to keep walking, but after a short conversation he promised to go to church the next day.


Today was my last Sunday in Uruguay. I mentioned a couple people who said that they would go (Filia and the guy from Saturday), but neither of them did. We did have five other people though, which is great. There was a couple I've mentioned (Florencio and Nieves), Juan (guy from Thursday), David (Shirley's 8 year old kid), and a girl whose family is starting to come back to church but since she lives with her grandparents she never got baptized or has gone before. Also, since I didn't have time last week to give my talk, they told me I'd be able to do so this week. Well, just my luck the two speakers went on and on and on and I was just sitting there waiting for them to end, wondering if they were going to let me speak. They did give me a bit of time, but we were already basically over time, so I gave a really abridged version, mostly addressed to the young men encouraging them to go on missions (it was going to be on missionary work in general with different parts directed to different people). They also invited me to speak in the young men's class after, which I did. I basically expounded on what I already had said in my talk. I also gave each of the young men (like 11 of them) a tie. They were the 75 cent ones that I bought at the start of my mission haha.


Since this week are 'changes', our PDay is on Tuesday. Today I basically went around and said bye to a lot of people. It was really sad. It's really sad ending the mission. Everyone expects me to just be jumping with joy for finally having finished, but it's not like that at all. I think it's because people don't realize how great the mission is. I am really excited to see everyone again (I'm trying to focus on that), but it's just sad knowing that this stage of my life is over. I said bye to the Morreira family, Shirley, Juan, and Juan and Susy (I've mentioned all of them quite a few times over the last couple weeks). These last couple days I also decided to drink mate, the cultural drink that they don't let us drink as missionaries. It's basically a tea, although made with some other plant. I think it's really only common in Uruguay and Argentina. Everyone drinks it. Anyways, to me it basically tastes like hay, or like how dad used to smell coming home from the hay plant where they made alfalfa pellets haha.


Today is my last day here in Mercedes. My comp and I got our haircuts in the morning and now we're at the cyber. After eating lunch we'll be going to centro and I'll do some more souvenir shopping. I'll take the evening to pack. I don't want to visit anyone anymore. I basically said bye to everyone I wanted to and I just want to get it over with. It's like peeling a bandaid off reeeeeeeeeeeallly slowly. I'm also going to have to get rid of a lot of stuff, so we'll see how I prioritize my possessions. I take a bus at 3:40 in the morning for Montevideo where I'll spend Wednesday and Thursday.

Anyways, that is my LAST EMAIL. Thanks for everything you've done for me while I've been on the mission, I really appreciate it. I'm looking forward to seeing everyone on Friday!

Love you,

Elder Fikus

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