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