Week 7; December 30, 2013: Christmas Week and Some Companion Challenges

So this past week has been a bit of a hassle. As I said before, there was lots of adjusting to do with this last transfer and it’s been difficult. There are so many things that Elder Parsons set up for both of the wards we covered in the transfers he’s been in this area that he took care of by myself. So now, with me being the only one who knows the area, it’s been really difficult trying to figure everything out. And even now, that has still been a struggle to go through and I’ve been very overwhelmed with all of the stuff I suddenly have to worry about when last transfer, I just worried about learning how to teach and just all the basics of missionary work.

Thus far, I think the biggest thing that I am learning is just how different each missionary is. Even though I have stayed in the same area this transfer, the transfer feels completely different than last transfer because of my companion. This companion is very, very different from Elder Parsons in many ways. Both in personality and in how they do missionary work. For example. When OYMing (“Open Your Mouth”), Elder Parsons and I usually took it as a simple “hello” to someone, offering them help if it looks like they need it, or inviting them to the Temple lights if we feel it appropriate. This companion, however, is more of the typical “salesman” approach and is extremely awkward and usually just annoys people. The biggest example of that is when we were riding our bikes down to one of the houses we were going to visit. There’s this lady who is walking down the street on the opposite direction of us. So my companion takes the completely opposite turn from where we were going and starts biking extremely slowly while trying to talk to her and basically saying, “We’re missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, would you like to hear about how Christ restored His church?” The lady was clearly annoyed through the responses she gave and Elder Whitecar just kept going and going until eventually she just told us to go away. And I knew that was a horrible idea to begin with because when there are two grown men on bikes who are suddenly biking slowly to this one lady and following her everywhere she walked trying to convince her to take missionary discussions, it just looks creepy, both to her and to anyone around us. I don’t really understand where he got half of his ideas from because he has been out 15 months now and I swear that half of the time, I feel that I’m the one who should be training him.

So that has been really stressful. I’ve been having a super hard time getting alone with him just because his ideas of missionary work are ideas I just do not agree with whatsoever. Even the first day at transfers when I explained to him a little bit about how what we’ve been trying to do is build member trust and we’ve been doing a lot of service, he didn’t agree with it. He trashed the idea of doing service for members because he felt that it was a waste of time unless it was for less-actives or nonmembers. In fact, on Christmas Eve when we had dinner over at the Meek’s and at the end when we were about to leave, we set up an appointment to show them the temple presentation. And Brother Meeks mentioned the sign-up sheet that was passed around during church that Elder Parsons had set up where members could sign up to have the missionaries go and do whatever the members wanted (service, spiritual thought, temple presentation, etc.) and Elder Whitecar had no idea what he was talking about even though I explained it to him before. So I tried briefly explaining it to Elder Whitecar, and he pretty much passed it off as being dumb (not in that exact wording, but how he pretty much shot down the idea) and said “Well, the temple presentation is what we want to do so when can we do that?” And it confused the member a little bit, but we set up an appointment to do the Temple presentation. So my companion doesn’t really agree with the major things that Elder Parsons set up and tried to leave to me continue on. And I wish I could… but the problem is that I have a new companion who hasn’t been in the area before, has been out 15 months, is my trainer, and has a very “my way or no way” attitude.

We’ve had a couple arguments and I have had to talk to the zone leaders and even the mission president about it. I was so ready to go home because of how stressed I was, both with the situation, my companion, and with myself. Since then, not a lot has changed. My companion and I are trying to get along better, but it has still been difficult. At this point, I’m pretty much at the attitude where I’ll  just let him do his thing. It’s irritating. But there’s really nothing I can do about it.

Christmas Day was really good though. It was pretty much a full day P-Day so we spent the morning reading letters and opening presents and such and that was good. And I want to thank you all so much for the gifts and for the letters you sent! They really do mean a lot to me and I’ve gotten a ton of stuff. I don’t know where to put half the stuff that I have, haha! We got to Skype home and have dinner at the Westenskow’s and to our surprise, the Westenskow’s had presents they had wrapped for us, so that was really nice of them to do that and we were really grateful. We then got to have a zone party at about 6:30 and got to watch Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. It was kind of funny since everyone spent most of the time pointing out all the christian symbolism in the film. But it went really well and we all had fun. Of course, my companion had to ruin it the night when we got home when he said, “I don’t like the idea of elders and sisters sitting in the same room watching a movie.” And I’m just thinking, “Why…?” and he responds, “Satan’s temptations.” REALLY, dude? Really?Anyway, so nothing really too productive went on this week. It’s mostly just been visiting a bunch of formers who were not interested in taking missionary discussions again and then really awkward and forceful “salesman-like” OYM’s along the way. And some member visits that went okay.

So if there is any lesson to be learned here right now, it is that every missionary is different. And there are going to be things about your companion that are going to really, really bug you. I just didn’t expect that to happen when the companion happens to be your second trainer. I don’t know how I’m going to make it through this transfer… It would be better if it wasn’t for the fact that we aren’t doing a whole lot this last week.

This is going to be a difficult adjustment but I’ll survive. At this point, the only thing I could think of to do is just follow my companion and just let him do his thing.

Anyway, hopefully the next week will be a lot better and not as negative as this. Christmas has been really good though and I can’t stress that enough that Christmas has been really good and thank you for the love and support you have given me. It’s hard to believe it’s going to be 2014 soon… that’s really weird. Anyway, hope everyone has a great week and a Happy New Year!

Love,

Elder Foxx
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