Wisdom Gained in Brazil:
- I now know, in graphic detail, exactly what I would do if I ever got peed on by a dog.
- Fun with Portuguese: Pecador = sinner. Pregador = clothes pin. These two words are not to be confused.
- The more I learn about everything that goes into a baptism, the more surprised I am that mine ever happened. It's like realizing after the fact that someone produced the Mona Lisa with a LiteBrite.
- Manga is now my new favorite fruit. I would translate that as mango, but they really don't even compare. So when I go home to the States, that thing they call a mango I will strictly refer to as a rock.
- There is no problem I have that doesn't instantly look better after a shower.
- Colanders melt.
- You know you're a missionary when: you find a really great scripture about the Holy Ghost, and become visibly angry when you realize it's from the Doctrine and Covenants.
- My companion has been on a mission long enough that she has no idea what Angry Birds is. It was the first time I realized how weird I'm going to be when I get home.
I've been in Brazil for about 3 months now. It has been the strangest experience of my life to watch everything I ever knew about myself gradually slip away, and be replaced more and more by someone else. I find myself continually laughing at a line from that movie Hitch--where the one guy says he doesn't like the clothes he's wearing because they don't feel like him, and Will Smith responds, "You is a very fluid concept right now."
Feeling like that continually has been the most disorienting experience of my mission. But that's the heart of what a mission is all about. It isn't just about helping people change their lives to be closer to Jesus Christ--it's about being changed continually be the very same things you're teaching. The longer I do all of this, the more I realize that being a missionary isn't just giving away 18 months of my time--it's giving everything I've ever cared about to the Lord--and having all of it changed, bit by bit, and handed back to me in a new form. I gave Him my life, and when I get it back again I won't recognize it.
Why? Because the vision He has of who I can be is different than anything I ever imagined. I can't become that person on my own. And as I trust Him and allow Him to help me, I'm becoming less of the person I wanted to be, and more the person I need to be.
In the end, I think that'll be the most important lesson I'll learn from my mission. Trust in the Lord. The mission is one continual exercise of trusting in the Lord.
I am, as ever, your humble servant and never-deviating friend,