Ahhh yeah. Here we go.
Have I ever told you guys I love to write? Well, I do. Adore it!
It is amazing how as a missionary I get to feel such love: it actually makes me very protective of my investigators when I contemplate transfer... I remember thinking to myself, "If the new elders even think about messing up with the Rodriguez family, whoo boy... I'm not sure what I'll do, but it won't be nice." As if that were even a problem. Its such a funny thought that popped into my head and an emotion that can develop in such a short time.
I've got a scripture for you guys: Proverbs something or other: "Even a fool that shutteth his mouth is esteemed a man of understanding." Close enough. But that has been one of my take aways for this, my first transfer. You see, I learned that I want to be so very obedient that it can escalate tension.
It's all about picking your battles, and being content to be obedient by yourself if needed. For instance, if I want to be in bed exactly at 10.30, I will only make others mad if I tell them they need to also.
I learned from my momma that we can't change other people, and that we can't try to solve other people's problems.
Another thing that I've learned is that this is about doing your best, then being content with what your best is.
I came out here on the edge of my seat, anxious TO share the gospel, anxious WHEN I shared the gospel and anxious IF I didn't share the gospel. Just one big sweaty ball of anxiety. People noticed, and I would get very embarrassed. And then, I would say something stupid.
I remember during one of my exchanges I was taking the lead. We were visiting with these guys and all of a sudden the exchangee said "Well, Elder Johnson has a message to share with you."
This caused me great anxiety, as I did not have a message to share. I stammered through an awful pulled together thought, then ended with an invitation to read the Book of Mormon. Red faced and sweating, I tried to find good words to put a cap on this unprepared, awful situation. These are the words that came out of my mouth:
"Would you like a Book of Mormon? They're pretty much the only free book that nobody wants."
Ah. I'm not sure what part of my brain thought that would be a good way to alleviate embarrassment, but I will tell you now that it only served to exacerbate my shame.
The other Elder gave me the, 'Shut up Elder' sign and as we left, I felt stupid. Out of hearing range the Elder asked me how I felt. I told him, "Embarrased. Duh."
He told me that it was actually a great visit, and that my little outburst was more of a funny dumb moment than a lifelong shame.
"Yeah right I thought."
He told me that once he had an investigator who, when he decided to validate, conveyed the following (straight faced):
"Don't be afraid to ask questions. Questions are like farts. If you let them build up and never release them, you will be in pain and unfocused, and it will stink really bad. But if you just let it out, than we can move on in happiness."
That really helped me to hear, and I finally relaxed.
I love you all.