One of friends was reading her email from her missionary son and how shocked he was to see the conditions of his apartment, coming from the MTC, in the Phillipines. She spoke about how she would have loved to have flown over to his apartment, cleaned it, bought a new stove, purchased a 2nd hand washing machine, and fixed the air conditioning unit - and all before he got home! She then made her family have cold showers and eat canned food only - so that they could all share her son's experience which is sooo funny - because it is was exactly the thoughts I had when my first letter home from my sons -and their description about their new homeland - Republica Dominicana :-)
"What’s DR like? Well, it’s super hot super hot not really like death hot it’s just that we walk around and we’re all covered so it’s like hot haha uhm the power is never on besides night time around 9pm-3am so you iron shirts, wash clothes, enjoy the fan and light then because once it goes off its off haha. The streets are dirty real dirty! rubbish everywhere, we have to walk places, and it’s all rock and dirt, the houses are really like shacks that are falling apart it’s not very good but the people are lovely like you walk by say hello and they say hello you can talk and they talk to its hard for me cause they’re like sharks if they know you can’t speak spanish (which I can’t) they don’t hold back they go faster... the shower is pretty much a hose in the wall you have to keep your mouth closed cause if you drink it you’re gone (sick).
I had a bucket shower this morning cause the water ran out it was okay I’m getting used to it, beds are really really nice like my bed is so so good if I didn’t have that I’d probably die so that’s good. The kitchen, well its always dirty we use bleach to wash dishes cause water is dirty haha uhm. Washing is interesting - not the same, and yeah it’s a hard as mission but I love it that’s how you become a real man haha when you lose everything you have and realise you can live like this or that people do live like this there’s no other life. Last night we taught a lesson 8pm no lights so it was so so dark! We still taught and still felt the spirit. That’s what it’s about!"
Then the gem of the whole letter - "It’s all good though I love my mission I always remember the words of my mission president "Welcome to the best mission in the world and that’s what it is" haha! DR!"
I don't know about you - but when your kids are raised with working amenities and utilities - you are left practically stunned after reading these kinds of letters. It has taken a couple of months for me to come right with it and accept that this is just the way it is going to be for my sons and I am okay with it - only because my sons are okay with it....and have accepted the challenge and in his own words wrote:
My favourite quote: "you can destroy this body, but my spirit is indestructible" [So] my spirit will keep growing, I grow closer to God than ever before, I will learn more about His gospel, I will serve him more, I will testify of him more. I will become more like him. So I’m not stressing about what can happen to this body of mine here, because my spirit will keep growing forever and ever and ever."
From an earlier blog you will know that my son missed emailing me and I was frantic - thinking the worst and I got my missionary mamas network going and he was found and got the message to write home. Needless to say he was not impressed...
"If I don’t email one week then you need to pray and wait, you can’t just skip to the end and say I’m in hospital because truth is I probably will be teaching someone while your freaking out, so next time might be worth praying first and waiting to see what up because I told the zone leaders that I email you ever week and I have, and that I wouldn’t think my mum would ring that much. So you don’t need to move a mountain to try and get in touch with me because I will find time somewhere in my week to email you just need to trust me. Other than that know that I’m on a mission so I’m going to be busy, I’m going to get sick, I may get hurt, I already have got lost before and many other things you wouldn’t to happen to me but that’s a mission."
So recently - when he didn't email - I let it go - and even managed to keep positive hanging on to his little email. The day after his PDay I get an email and he had been in bed for 24 hours - wiped out, feverish, sleeping. He brushed it off and said he had sun stroke - so I leave it because he has taught me that "it is a mission mum". The week later on PDay I am casually informed by my baby boy that he has had a round of the newest disease to hit the Carribean - the Chikungunya disease!!
Of course I worry about him as he was out - sleeping, drinking water and taking pills to manage the pain and fever... His poor companion - and my poor baby!!
I talked to him about his attitude and how regardless of all of these things - he remains positive. He tells me it is something that he has to work on - that it doesn't come easily but after being worked on and practiced and he shared this with me:
"I realised no matter how bad the day goes you can walk for miles and teach no one everyone can fire and tell you to go away yet when you get home you’ll never hear a missionary say I wish I didn’t go out there today and that’s exactly how it is here.... you could have to walk hours a day in melting heat, teaching houses that feel like ovens, sweat while you eat your food for lunch, take bucket showers because the water in you apartment is out, walk in water up to your knees because the drains don’t work, lie in your bed and sweat because power is gone, not be able to flush your toilet paper and even then you can choose to smile and serve because that’s what it’s all about."
So in sickness and health - my son's attitude of gratitude comes shining through. He is an inspiration to his parents and brother and we love him for it. He reminds me everyday to be grateful for what I have - even if I have nothing - be grateful for that.....
What lessons are/is your missionary/s teaching you??