Week 10; January 20, 2014: Not a whole lot…

Hello!

So unfortunately, not a whole lot has been going on this week. We had lots of teaching appointments that ended up getting cancelled or we ended up getting stood up. So that wasn’t fun. We’ve been trying to get teaching appointments for some potential investigators that we stopped by a long time ago and no one is getting back to us.

We have a couple of temple presentations we’ll get to do for some nonmembers next Monday though, so hopefully that’ll go well.

From everyone that we know that has gone through, we have heard great things about the Gilbert Temple and I’m kind of bummed because I don’t think I’ll be able to go. The only way Elders get to go through the open house is if we bring an investigator with us… and we don’t have any. I haven’t had any since the entirety of this mission. And at this rate, we probably won’t get any until right when the transfer’s about to end. So it’s been really discouraging.

Soooo yeah. Not exactly feeling the most motivated right now. I’m kind of in the mindset that it’s too late for me to be able to get to do anything. I haven’t taught any nonmembers the entire time I’ve been here and chances are that I won’t get to go to the open house that we have all been hyping up this entire time.

Hope everyone has a great week!

Love, Elder Foxx

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Week 9; January 13, 2014: Companion struggles

Hello!

So this week was not too productive because we had meetings almost every single day. Monday was P-Day and it was actually Elder Ward’s birthday (one of the elders that lives with us) so the Zone leaders tried to plan a small birthday party where we would go to Joe’s Barbeque (because they give free Birthday meals) and then play Apples to Apples at one of the church buildings… and then suddenly they just didn’t show up, other people in the zone did not show up, and the only people who did show up had to leave after only being there for 45 minutes. So that ended ubruptly and wasn’t as good as it could have been. Then Tuesday was District Meeting and trying to visit a few members. Then Wednesday, my companion decided to do exchanges and then on Thursday, there was a leadership meeting and my companion had to go to it since he’s the District Leader so that was, again, another forced exchange.

One thing I learned while I have been on exchanges though was that I am not the only one struggling in this companionship. Literally everyone in the district is struggling with their companion just as much as I am. So exchanges were kind of being used mostly as just a break from our companions. Which is good because we need the break… but then it’s bad because then it only makes me continue to not like my companion because when the exchange ends, I’m just thinking, “Oooooh great, now I have to be with this guy again.” Soooooo yeah, not fun.

Saturday, we were supposed to have Elder Holland speak to us, but he had to cancel at the last minute so instead we heard from Elder Write of the Seventy. It was a very good mission conference. One of the biggest things that stood out to me were the various stories of Returned Missionaries who end up either becoming inactive, becoming athiest, having word of wisdom issues, etc. One of the stories he shared was about a guy who was addicted to coffee and he ended up getting called on a mission. So he served the two years and then went back to drinking coffee again. Then he’s called to another mission and serves those two years and then comes back home and is ready to drink coffee again. But then the waitress who handed him the coffee was one of the investigators he taught that got baptized a couple months prior. From then on, he never drank coffee again. But I always thought that was interesting and I just never really understood how it is that someone can serve two years teaching all these things and then almost immediately throwing it all away once they return home. Ever since being on my mission, I have heard the story far too many times.

Anyway, so this week has been okay. I’m having to bite my tongue so many times around my companion though. Oooooooooh boy, do I have to bite my tongue based on all the stuff he does. I can’t remember which day it was, (I think it was Friday) but we were at our dinner appointment and dinner didn’t get done until 5:30 and we had an appointment with Bart at 6:00 (which cancelled since he was sick anyway, so I guess it didn’t matter) so we decided to start out sharing a spiritual message so we could share something while we waited for dinner to get ready. So my companion volunteers me to share a spiritual thought. And since we have not talked with this family about the Gilbert temple yet, I tried to encourage them to invite their friends to the Open House and talk about why temples are important. So I start doing that. Then one minute after I’m talking about it, my companion completely interrupts me as if I had never said a single word and then starts talking about how through Jesus Christ, our sins can be forgiven. Had NOTHING to do with what I was saying whatsoever and it was totally disruptive and just flat-out rude. I’m sorry, but you do NOT tell the junior companion to leave a spiritual message and then interrupt them halfway and talk about something completely different as if nothing he said mattered.

Oh, and don’t even get me started on Sundays. I’m not going to mention what he did this last Sunday… but let’s just say that it’s a bad thing when some people were genuinely not sure who is the Senior companion when one missionary has only been out for two months with no MTC experience and the other missionary being out for fifteen months and having been a senior companion for several transfers and a district leader for three times in the past.

And ultimately, that’s probably what makes this transfer worse than it is… because I was the one who stayed in the area and he’s the one who came in. So when he does something stupid or does not know things that he should because I have told them about them a billion times ever since the beginning of the transfer, then who does the blame go to? Me. Because even though I am the junior companion, members look to me as a senior companion and as one who should know absolutely everything that’s going on, including the stuff that Elder Parsons never told me about.

I really, really missed being productive in the mission field. I REALLY miss being productive. Because when I was with Elder Parsons, we got something done each day and I saw the changes we were making even when we didn’t have investigators. My only issue was feeling inadequate for the job. I didn’t have any homesick issues or anything. Ever since being with my current companion, we have not been productive whatsoever. We go around visiting a couple members here and there, but in the mean time my companion just wants to go all salesman mode and try to get people to join the church on the spot. He is super trunky and tries to get me trunky by trying to get me to talk about what games I used to play, what movies I used to watch, etc. (trunky means when you miss home or you want to go home) I don’t mind talking about it… but I hate it because then I’m not focused on the work. And neither is he, quite frankly.

Despite my current companion, I am enjoying the mission. I have definitely learned a lot this transfer, (although most of the things were, “what not to do when you’re senior companion and/or training” and “what not to do as a missionary in general”) but still I have learned a lot. No matter what, I want to serve the full two years. But this transfer has been super discouraging. The only thing that’s semi encouraging is knowing that literally every companionship in the district is having this problem. But that’s not even encouraging, that’s just knowing that at least I’m not alone in the situation.

I hate making my latest emails being essentially, “I can’t stand my companion” letters but I really need to get this stuff off my chest or else I’ll just go completely insane. As I said before, I want to serve the full two years, so it’s not like I’m thinking of dropping the whole thing altogether. And I know that further out in the mission that the chances are very high that I might get companions worse than my current companion. I’ll just have to endure when those times come… just as I have to endure now.

I hope everyone has a great week. I appreciate all the letters and emails that I get, they really do mean a lot to me.

Love, Elder Foxx

Week 8; January 6, 2014: Roller Coaster Ride

Happy belated New Year’s!

It’s hard to believe it is now 2014. Even more so, I just realized that by next week, I would have been out in the mission for two months. That’s weird… it’s kind of interesting how time flows being in a mission because each day feels like it goes on forever (especially this transfer), but when I think back and realize how long I’ve been here, I think, “Wait, it’s almost two months already? I am just now getting used to thinking I’ve been out for a month.”

Another thing that I’ve learned in the mission is how much it is just like a roller coaster. One day, you’ll feel super happy and ready to go. Then the next day, you could be feeling absolutely miserable. Then the next day, you’d feel a little bit better. Then miserable again. And then a launch all the way up to “happy” again. And it goes on and on. The days haven’t been as consistent as I would like.

During New Year’s Eve, we didn’t do anything too special. It was just like an ordinary day except the Mission President had us go home by 6:00 PM instead of 9:00 PM for safety reasons (specifically drunk driving) and the zone leaders had us study Preach My Gospel until 9:00. I really missed getting to watch fireworks and staying up to count down until the New Year, so that kind of sucked.

Then on Wednesday, January 1, me and my companion went on exchanges with Elder D. and Elder McBride (I was with Elder D.). I hate to say it because the white handbook specifically said that exchanges were not meant to be used for this purpose, but I was honestly looking forward to exchanges just to get a break from my companion. But anyway, Elder D. has actually been in the exact situation I am in right now where he had served a mini mission back in Utah… only he had it way worse because he only had 8 days of notice to serve and the area he covered was only ten to fifteen minutes away from his home. So we talked a lot about that and he talked about how it was super difficult for him in the MTC because he tried his best to avoid answering questions when they were being taught something, but he still walked away from the MTC with everyone thinking he was a genius, not knowing that he had served a mini mission prior, haha. Anyway, so it was good to have someone to relate with and we got along pretty well.

On that day, we mostly tried to visit members that unfortunately were not home. But the ward mission leader for the ward Elder D. covered has been really ill for the past week (actually, EVERYONE around here has been getting sick this transfer. I don’t know what it is, but something’s going around) and so we stopped by and we gave him a blessing. And Elder D. volunteered me to do the sealing, which I had never done before, so I was pretty nervous about it. But he said I did well, so that’s good.

Anyway, nothing too eventful happened after that. Although when my companion and I were proselying and we were looking at the map to check where we were, this guy walked up to us and introduced himself. His name is Bart and apparently he has been taking missionary discussions for a very long time and has met with at least three different missionary companionships in the past. He even flat-out told us, “Yeah, I don’t really know why I’m not baptized yet. I’m just a little hardheaded, I guess, the missionary’s did their part, I just never did mine.” Which I thought was interesting that he worded it that way because it means he knows exactly what the problem was. So we scheduled to meet with him this upcoming Wednesday to try and have discussions with him. We’ve been trying to think what we can do to help because he clearly likes what he was being taught and liked visiting the missionaries, it’s just he never kept the commitments that were left to him. It’s been several months since missionaries met with him, so we’re hoping this could be a situation where, “He wasn’t ready then, but he might be ready now.” We may end up talking to him about the temple and inviting him to the open-house since that’ll be something he hasn’t heard from missionaries before. And maybe going through the open-house can help him out and get him to making commitments. Really hoping this works out because the guy totally seems golden except for that one issue.

As far as how me and my companion are getting along, it’s still rough. Neither of us want a sucky transfer, so we’re both trying to get along, but it’s been difficult. It’s been very difficult. More than it should be really. I can just feel how much the adversary is working at us and trying to get this transfer to fail in one way or another. I have never noticed him working as strong before as he is now. I don’t know if it’s just that I’m more in tune to the spirit so I can feel when it’s not there or if the devil is just working as hard as it can to not make this work. Probably both, but this transfer has been feeling miserable for the most part. Still, I’m praying for the strength and I know I’ll endure.
Oh, and in better news, this upcoming Saturday, Elder Holland is going to be speaking to us and a couple of the other missions in Arizona (I think the Tempe and Scotsdale missions are the other two he’s speaking to, but I can’t remember) so that’s exciting.

Anyway, that’s about it for this week. Hope everyone has a great week!

Love,

Elder Foxx
(Picture of our Christmas tree)
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