Monday, May 30, 2016

Adventures in Missionary Work

Six weeks ago I told president that if he was going to make me a leader, I COULD NOT handle the stress and responsibility of sister missionaries. He just smiled and said, “I love you Elder Rich.”

Fast-forward to yesterday where Elder Herrera and I are waiting for the hermanas near the chapel around 9:00 at night to give them some important documents concerning a baptism. These hermanas are usually very punctual, but they never showed. We waited and waited and waited and eventually just assumed that they had forgotten and were about to go home when we got a call from the hermanas. Hermana Torres, a sister from Colombia with an attitude that could fry and egg, talked with my companion and after listening for more than a minute he just handed me the phone. I mouthed, “What’s up?” and he just shrugged. I then listened as hermana Torres explained the situation and all I understood was ¨We don’t know.... the door was open...wasn’t there...we went inside.... bible...suicide.... life insurance.... door pushed me...ran out...we called the cops."

Now, unless you are telepathic or understand frantic Colombian Spanish, you are about as lost as I was in the moment. They told us where they were and Herrera and I went running through the city like maniacs to get to the sisters.

We show up and there are several squad cars, they are interrogating the sisters separately, some of the cops are talking with neighbors, and I was completely lost. I asked hermana Alvarez, a super reserved, Chilean sister, what the heck was going on. She was about as embarrassed as I think she could be and a shade of red I didn’t know was possible for Latinos.

She explained that they had had an appointment with an older gentleman who in their first visit said he had considered suicide once but then found a reason to live. He wasn’t there when they passed by for the appointment and so they left and came back later. When they passed by the second time, the gate was open, the door was open and all the lights were off. They screamed into the house and called his phone but never found him. Hermana Torres assumed the worst and decided they had to go in to save/find him. They walked in and found on his table and open copy of the bible, some type of insurance, and a flower. I admit that that is pretty weird, but the hermanas took it to mean the old man had taken his life.

They began to check a few of the rooms in the big house and apparently a door pushed back when they tried to open it so they fled the house and called the authorities and then called me.

Anyway, so Hermana Alvarez gets done explaining this and I am trying to process what spirit possessed them to go into the house and look for a corpse when I look up and see a little old man on the porch. I asked, “ that him?” The hermanas looked up and both began to scream and cry and ask where he had been. Turns out he was in his backyard snoozing in a lawn chair and woke up to intruders in his house, cops on his porch, and some white kid looking really lost and out of place in the middle of it all. The cops left and the sisters went inside to have their lesson and LEFT US THERE. We just looked at each other and walked home, our hearts still pounding in our chests.

Moral of the story: Sisters are very spiritual and great teachers and nurturers, but when it comes to some type of real life situation, please let the elders do the talking and decision-making.


Elder Rich

Apparently Dominos is cheap and plentiful.

The usual: Ate dominos, got bit by a dog, got yelled at in the streets, had some spiritual moments, and ate cold dominos. Life is good.

Elder Rich and Elder Herrera. There's only a little over seven hours of daylight this time of year in Punta Arenas. Elder Rich said you can lean into the wind and it will hold you up.

The photo shoot was called "The YOLO Fridge - a wilderness experience"

Elder Rich cooked up a taco feast. Believe it or not this is very different then what he eats on a daily basis. 

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