I was browsing through my mission journal a bit ago and decided to copy a few excerpts for your reading pleasure (or boredom). A few observations: 1) I was extremely moody/emotional. 2) The first half of my mission all I talked about was Shelley, my pre-mish girlfriend who I wanted to wait for me, who was there when I got back, who I didn’t marry. 3) 95% of what I wrote is embarrassing to read. 4) I was a little kid. 5) I grew a lot. 6) The mission isn’t nearly as romantic when you’re going through it as it is when you look back on it.
Friday, August 16th, 1996
…I don’t know if I’m feeling the Spirit enough. Everyone talks about how much they feel the Spirit. I think I need to feel it more often because this just isn’t very enjoyable to me. I’m not enjoying the Spanish and I’m not even really enjoying the church part of it. Maybe because I feel so tired… I really am missing time alone with myself… sometimes, like tonight, I just feel like there is no way that I can do the things the Lord expects from me.
Monday, August 19th, 1996
…here’s the thing, I get annoyed at Elder G. and Z. for following the rules so strictly, like if you wake up at 6:05 then you are a sinner (I get up at 5:40 so I’m not in danger) it’s just the concept. The thing is it should be okay to follow the rules, it’s just that they act like if you just waver a little bit then you won’t live a successful mission. I mean, this could mean my death as a missionary but I don’t think that if you get up at 6:05 a couple times (the concept) that you aren’t going to have a successful mission…
Saturday, August 24th, 1996
…I love this work, I love the MTC, I love the mission!! Soy Ã¡nimo. Me gusta el mission. Quiero servir me Padre con todo me cÃ³rozon. Yo sabo el evangelio es verdad. Tengo que tener la fe en Jesucristo. No con El, soy nada.
Friday, September 6th, 1996
…I’ve noticed in the past few days that in the class when the teacher is gone everyone starts to talk and laugh and it takes away the Spirit. During the song Elder T. and everyone was almost yelling, it was ridiculous. I said how irreverent that was and T. asked why I always scold them. After the prayer I said it wasn’t me, I was just reminding them of what the General Authorities say about reverence and Quiet Dignity… I’ve noticed that since I’ve been here I’ve gone from taking a lot of the rules nonchalantly to following them.
Domingo, October 13Âº 1996
Well, it’s here, this is the time I have been waiting for for 19 years. I’m going to Guatemala tomorrow… I’m going in sprinting. Right now I feel like nothing is going to stop me. I don’t care about cold showers, I don’t care about bugs, I don’t care about bad food, I really don’t care about that stuff (of course it’s easy to say that right now).
Jueves, October 17Âº 1996
Okay, I HATE NOT KNOWING THIS STUPID LANGUAGE!!!!! I feel like the biggest idiot! The people say stuff and I don’t know a thing they are talking about. They will just say one word or something and I’ll be lost and then they wonder why I don’t understand them… sometimes I just want to yell out “TRY LEARNING ENGLISH IN TWO MONTHS!!!!!” In fact I think I might tomorrow.
Sabado, November 9Âª 1996
…I said things in the plat [short for “plÃ¡tica” which means discussion] that I haven’t said before, and I even solved a problem. I introduced the BoM to them and asked if they wanted to know more about Christ and the lady went off about how they are Catholic and I shut her up, and got them to realize that they need to read it. They said they’d read, meditate, and pray about it. It was great. I almost think I did a better job than the RM that I was with.
Viernes Diciembre 13Âº 1996
…I just have to rely on the Lord. I just need to be more humble and have total faith in Him. President Hinckley’s saying “Forget yourself and get to work” is so hard to follow because I’m always thinking about myself with this language and my lack of ability to teach. It’s a nice and catchy saying and all and it sounds good and inspirational but if I forget myself I quit learning Spanish and how to teach. I don’t know, maybe I’m not applying it right.
Thursday, January 16th 1997
…we have a baptism this Sunday, Luisa Garcia. It’s an old lady… at times I’ve seen her almost cry. Even really old women can totally be touched. Today we gave her the 4th which has the Law of Chastity. After explaining things I started to commit her to this law. I couldn’t even get half way through without laughing so hard. She started laughing, Elder W. was busting up. I’m sitting there committing a 70 year old woman not to go out and commit adultery.
Wednesday, June 11th 1997
Today we gave a first plat to a loser. Elder M. asked him if God told him to change religions would he? The guy says that he would have to talk with his pastor first. So then I asked him if God appeared right in front of him and told him to be baptized in our church, would he do it. He said he’d have to talk with his pastor. So then I asked him if his pastor had more authority that God and he said yes. We had a prayer and left. LOSER!!! The guy was saying that he was called as a deacon (or something) because there were three pieces of paper, two with the word “no” on them and one with “yes” and he picked up the one that said “yes”. So I asked him if that was how Peter, James and John got their authority and he said yes. The guy was an IDIOT!
Tuesday, January 6th, 1998
There was a lot of partying going on today, who the heck knows why, but that’s why I love this place, they are ALWAYS partying. There were some chicks that I’ll just say made me really want to go home. It’s hard to see so many hotties and not be able to look, taste or touch. Ugh… it just makes me count “just seven more months!” But to see the changes in the people we’re teaching makes me with I’m here longer. It’s weird because it’s stretching me from both sides but I’m super happy with the tons of blessings the Lord is pouring out on the people here in Chimal. I shouldn’t ask for more but I’m going to.
Friday, January 16th, 1998
…Well, my comp is a great guy, I love the guy, but I feel like he is getting worse and worse as time goes on… he’s so prideful about being tranquilo that he’s WAY TOO tranquilo, he doesn’t care about anything… he says that he loves to work but he never does the thinking, what are we going to do? Where are we going to go? Who needs to be visited? Which plat does JosÃ© have? etc. He just follows… another thing that he does that annoys me is he always says “summamente importante” [extremely important] always saying how important such and such thing is. That’s about as useless as using the “Spirit Voice” when trying to invoke the Spirit. That doesn’t do anything, it’s what comes out, information the way it’s presented is what’s important, not the fact that it’s super important.
Sunday, February 1st, 1998
…today as we walked through the park we heard a guy preaching to everyone that they needed to give him their offrendas [offerings]. Then he started singing a song (of course with guitars) with the only lyrics being “yo doy mi ofrenda porque soy de Christo, doy mi ofrenda porque soy de Christo.” [I give my offering because I’m of Christ, I give my offering because I’m of Christ.] Nice.
Sunday, February 8th, 1998
…I am so grateful to be in a place where I can see success, where I see people baptized, where I can see the Lord’s hand in the lives of these people. I would have a very hard time in a European mission. It would be difficult for me to believe that the Lord could change people when I don’t see anyone changing.
Saturday, February 14th, 1998
…I got freaking sick. It all started in the afternoon when I had bu [a Central American missionary term, it stands for butt-urine. We always said the only difference between bu and urine is that urine comes out slowly]. I tried to rest but I kept having to get up to go bu. It sucked. Then when I was feeling terrible I asked my comp for a blessing and right before he gave it to me I started throwing up like crazy. I HATE THROWING UP!!!! So he’s giving me the blessing while I’m throwing up… I drank some water but at night I thew up all of what I had drank… when I got sick in Escuintla [I had dengue fever] I don’t remember feeling this bad.
Wednesday, April 1st, 1998
…today we played a little bit of Nintedo 64, the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen in my life. We played Super Mario 64, I can’t believe it. It’s 3D, it’s everything you could want in a video game. AMAZING!
SÃ¡bado, 25 de julio 1998
Pues, tengo que decir que hoy fue uno de mis mejores dÃas de toda la misiÃ³n. Fuimos al templo a ver Magdalena casarse (sellarse) con Abraha. No puedo expresar bien para nada como me sentÃ de estar allÃ viendo uno de los espÃritus mÃ¡s especiales par ami, viÃ©ndole a ella recibir sus investiduras, hacer los conveÃ±os y despues sellarse a su esposo y a sus hijos. A pesar de que ella es inÃgena y latina, adentro del temlo ella es una persona muy hermosa, muy bonita para mi. No sÃ©, me siento tanto gozo de verla fiel, de hacer estos conveÃ±os con Nuestro Padre, de estar tan despuesta de hacer lo correcto, esto me da un gozo completo. [Well, I have to say that today was one of the greatest days in the whole mission. We went to the temple to see Magdalena get sealed to Abraham. I can’t express very well how I feel to be there watching one of the spirits that is most special to me, seeing her receive her endowments, make the covenants and then get sealed to her husband and children. Even though she is indigenous and latin, inside the temple she is a beautiful person, very pretty. I don’t know, I feel such joy to see her faithful, making covenants with Our Father being so willing to do what is right, that gives me a complete joy.]
This is hilarious and pathetic and wonderful and awful and touching. Thanks for posting it.
“Even really old women can totally be touched.” haha
Obviously a son any father could be proud of. Fortunately for me, you shared a lot more of your mission than this brief post, but this post really does represent you and your mission well.
I love this! Thanks so much for sharing it with us. Day by day we work and try throughout life, and sometimes it’s hard to feel that we’re really accomplishing much. Sometimes I feel that Heavenly Father must be so disgusted at me for how slowly I learn and change. But then you look back over the sweep of time and Everything is different. Everything is better. Things really have changed.
As an adult convert, I never have had the opportunity to serve a mission yet for the church. Reading this makes me want to so badly. It makes me taste again what Guatemala tastes like. What a great post! Que bueno!
Beautiful, Rusty. I wish members in the mission field could read such journals, to better understand what missionaries go through, and develop more understanding for the inner feelings and emotional and physical challenges of the missionaries they meet in Church on Sundays. Thanks for sharing.
Very enjoyable. I laughed out loud at the entry about the chastity lesson to the 70-year-old!
Even though she is indigenous and latin, inside the temple she is a beautiful person, very pretty.
Thanks for sharing, this brings back some memories from my mission. I shudder to think what’s in my mission journal… Jounaling has never been my strong point, but I think my mission years were the most journaled of any.
My mission president saved all of our letters and returned them to us as we left. One of my early letters was a complaint against my senior companion who refused to turn on the heater. As I think back on that now, I wonder: (A) Why didn’t he turn on the heater? and (B) Why didn’t I turn it on?
That entry about the Nintendo 64 is classic. I served my mission during the same years as you, and I also recall seeing the NES 64 in Brazil for the first time, and being blown away by Super Mario World also.
Yes, thanks for sharing. Very enjoyable.
Well, actually, quite a hoot.