Friday, March 22, 2013

2003 - 2004

The day I entered the MTC, what was called "the raising of the bar" program took effect. They stopped teaching missionaries to memorize the discussions word for word, but instead know the doctrine really well and have an outline prepared. That was ok by me. I don't memorize the written word as easily as I can write it.

After a week at the MTC I re-discovered how little I like sitting still at a desk. Ever since returning home I got used to biking fourteen miles a day to and from work. I was scratching the walls and ready to lose my mind.

After two weeks I got used to the routine.

After three weeks they had us get on a bus, ride to the airport, and board a plane bound for Pocatello, ID. It was a little sardine can with wings, and a few of us with airplane problems were uncomfortable, but I was fine.

In Pocatello we met the mission presidency and their wives and spent the night at the mission home. The next morning we received our assignments and were driven to our first areas. I didn't have far to go, just down hill and in the very stake the mission home was located in, the Highland Stake.

My fist companion, Sister Porter introduced herself and claimed she was in therapy, then held up an injured finger.

The first six weeks in the field were the hardest for me. I couldn't quite get the hang of teaching a discussion without an outline in front of me. Then there was the fact that I wasn't that mature of a person and socially a little awkward.

At the end of the first six weeks I was almost ready to call the mission president and ask to go home. I just wasn't cut out for this. for about ten minutes I thought that way, then had a good cry. After that I remembered this was the commitment I had made. I was going to see it through.

That night I was told to pack my bags, I was being transferred. Of course they didn't tell me were I was going, just to be waiting at the Stake Center.

I they took me to Rexburg and my next companion, Sister Cole. She helped me finish certifying, taught me how to hold a half decent conversation, and introduced me to ketchup flavored Pringles and fruit leather. We had a lot of fun and took tons of pictures.

picture by Travis Lovell
I felt sad when I was transferred to Ririe, but before long I fell in love with the Ririe Stake. I had a good companion, Sister Starritt and we did a fair amount of teaching, and had a number of baptisms (including one that seemed to surprise everyone in the town of Ririe itself). Eventually Sister Starritt was transferred and Sister Romrell took her place. We explored as much of the area as our car would go and found homes and roads not even on the map yet.

My next transfer took me to the Blackfoot West Stake and my new companion, Sister Fredline. We knew each other from before the mission, being from the same stake and attending the same student ward. We surprised our mission president at not needing to introduce us. Maybe it's because we were from the same stake, or maybe it was her humor, or perhaps it was the fact that she was the only companion I ever expected to punch me in the kidneys, but Sister Fredline was my favorite companion. Sadly she was eventually transferred and Sister Webster came in. I think she was the most serious and focused companion I ever had and I wished we could have had more lessons and baptisms for her sake.

My final area was Idaho Falls, right in the same neighborhood as the temple. Initially my first companion in that are was Sister Song. There wasn't a whole lot of work to do in the way of proselyting, but the records were a mess and badly needed updating. We spent a lot of time tracking and finding places not listed on the record. The last six weeks, two new sisters, Sister Kohl and Sister Royston were brought in fresh from the MTC to work at the Temple Visitor's Center and to proselyte part of the time.

I wonder if Sister Song would have hated me if I told her the truth, and that I had indeed, when the mission president asked, told him that I thought it was time for her to train a new missionary. I'm sure she would have forgiven me.

In August 2004, my time in the field was over and it was time to go home.

I had a little bit rough start starting over at home. Jobs were scarce and dates were no where to be found, but eventually I found a holiday job as a contract seasonal letter carrier and saved enough money for college classes in the spring.

It was a couple of good years. My apologies to those I didn't mention. If enough people view this blog or ask about it, I'll write something more detailed.

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