Thursday, March 20, 2014

Suitcase Heart: 17 March 2014

¡Hola familia y amigos!

They fumigated all of Fundeci (the apartment complex we live in) this week, which means our house is basically just a graveyard for cockroaches.  I wonder how many times I've used the word "cockroach" in my emails.  Far too many. Someone should count and tell me.

Today was one of those picturesque days that you wish you could just live in forever.  We spent the day waking up (still at 5:30, shoot me now), studying, and then taking a glorious cat nap. Following that, we went for Papaya milkshakes in front of the Merced (one of the four beautiful churches marking the Central of Leon), and then to the Mexicanita to enjoy some rather delicious quesadillas. And then we were able to climb onto the newly painted part of the Cathedral of Leon with our good friend Nicole, and had fun running on top of the snow white domes and getting the soles of our bare feet covered in chalky paint and soaking up the sun (pictures to come soon).

 They didn't even charge me three times more for the price of one ticket to climb up this time, because I have my Cedula and am officially a Nica for the next year. Ha.  I wish you could have seen the look of frustration on the woman's face when she realized she couldn't gyp me again. We found out later that there was apparently a level 5 earthquake while we were standing on the tippy top, too, but we didn't feel anything.  I guess if I had to choose a way to die falling off of a Cathedral would be pretty cool.  Didn't die, though.  I'm more likely to die from an overdose of rice.

Anyway, not a whole lot to report this week, other than the fact that I think I was legitimately depressed this Sunday.  We had two huge conferences for all of the stakes of Leon, and the chance to invite families for Saturday and Sunday to be able to baptized before the end of this change. My hopes were so high. Maybe too high, honestly, and we had more than seven families who promised that they would go.  And you know what's heartbreaking? When you really, truly believe and expect something to happen, and then it doesn't.  Every other companionship in the Zone brought at least one family to the conference, and as I'm sure you've guessed by now, we brought no one. No one. Not even one single person would come with us.  Saturday was hard enough, waiting for them to show up and then realizing they wouldn't, and Sunday was just...the worst. New lowest point of my mission right there.  We passed by for more than 10 different families, and one by one were told that "something had come up," or they weren't home, or "I have to make soup," or what have you (three of the excuses were "I have to make soup," for some reason, haha. Who even wants to eat soup when it's more than 100 degrees outside??). We passed by for some of them twice. First to wake up them up and have them confirm that they were going, and then later to find out that they had then no intention of going whatsoever. By the end of the morning and realizing that we wouldn't even be able to bring anyone, after having practically begged some people, I lost it. I felt so...deceived. We had one last family who said they would come, and they didn't come, either.

I think more than anything it made me appreciate even more fully the Atonement of Christ, and how He has descended even lower than our lowest of moments. Although it wasn't exactly ideal, I'm weirdly grateful for how I felt yesterday. I feel like I was permitted to understand just a little bit more of how He feels, when he hopes and expects us to do certain things or be a certain way and then we don't or aren't, because let's be honest, we've all had moments in life when we go a different path and decide to make soup. I know in our lowest moments He's there, and sitting alone with Hna. Gonzales in the conference room surrounded by empty chairs that we were pointlessly saving, I know that He was conscious of the desires of our hearts and how we were feeling.  Sometimes He loves us enough to let us understand and rely on Him just a little bit more than we were before . . . because honestly, without Him, I know that I can do nothing.

It was a low day, and I think I easily could have resigned myself to just staying low in my thoughts for the rest of the night, but . . . I'm on a mission, and, unfortunately, "wallowing in self pity" is not on the list of things we're permitted to do. So, we set out to work. And I can now say that I have a testimony of the scripture in Ether 12:6, that says " . . . . I would show unto the world that faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith." That night we were able to find two new very positive families, one of which accepted a baptismal date after only talking with them for five minutes in the street. I don't know what will happen this Sunday, but I'm hopeful.  I'm living in the trial of my faith, but things are looking up. I'm just trying more than ever to forget myself and go to work. Matthew 16:25, "For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it." I'm in the finding process. It isn't easy, but I know that I'm being blessed 100 times more than any "sacrifice" I might be undergoing. The same goes for all of you. Those moments we're trying to do good even when all of the elements are against us are the moments we're walking shoulder to shoulder with the greatest and most perfect missionary there ever was, and I don't mean me (haha). I cannot ever work hard enough to express the love I have for my Savior.

A few days ago I was thinking a lot about my suitcase, and how I've been living out of it for almost a year now . . . which led me to think about traveling in general and how great and terrible it is at the same time. The interesting thing about traveling is that you come to a new place expecting to see/experience new things and take them away..but what I'm finding is that rather than taking away, I've been leaving behind. I can never be this girl again. This tanned, sweaty, happy missionary girl, weaving her way from house to house in the dusty, sunny streets of Nicaragua. I can't be in Germany, brushing my hand against the Neuschwanstein Castle for the first time (literally a dream come true), or lost in a quiet wood in the Forest of Dean in England, or tromping through the mud in rainy Scotland. I can't be the little girl hiding in her closet reading books into the late hours of the night, or sneaking out onto the trampoline to talk late into the morning hours with a close friend. I can't be the girl laying on the floor laughing with her friends in a college dorm, procrastinating 12 page papers and going on 7-11 slurpee runs. I can't be that same girl, and I am her, too. It's a divide that's hard to reconcile.

What do you do, when you have to leave a place or time that you truly loved? You just have to move on like nothing happened, mentioning it on occasion, when the truth is that everything happened. You being you happened. But you can never quite explain it nor can you hide it or change it . . . you just leave it behind and carry the parts you can with you locked in memories and imagery and feelings in your heart, always with the half-secret hushed desire/expectation of coming back and reliving it someday, while simultaneously accepting that doing so would be impossible. You're different, the place is different . . . roads once familiar take on an alien feel..and you're left with no other choice but to revel for a moment in that fleeting, comforting feeling of finding something lost, and then intentionally losing again. Traveling is about losing just as much as it is finding.

Changes are in two weeks, and I must admit I've lost my psychic powers. I have no idea what's going to happen anymore. There's a rumor that I'll be staying here with Gonzales for another transfer (which would make sense . . . isn't it always that when you get along super well with a companion you're never with them long enough, and when it's more of a struggle it's longer?), and I don't know what to think about it. I'm going to pack up my suitcase, spend a final day with Rosita and Roger and Nicole and Hermana Johana and Nady and Luis and Iris and the accruing number of people I know and love, and then I'll say goodbye to them. Knowing full well that I will probably never be a missionary in Leon with them ever again. 

Jacob 7:26: ". . .the time passed away with us, and also our lives passed away like as it were unto us a dream. . ." This week passed by so quickly I couldn't even believe it . . . and sometimes I feel like my entire life is just passing by so quickly I can't even believe it.  Isn't there some sort of pause button somewhere?? Geeze. I can't seem to catch up!  Most of the time I'm just really grateful that my thoughts are not God's thoughts, because if they were, the world would stop functioning, haha.

I wish I had something hilarious to tell you, but I must admit I'm just feeling kinda...drained.  Happy, but tired. Heading to Managua for a Training meeting tomorrow so we'll be waking up at 4:30..oh joy. 

Love you all! The Church is true,

<3 Hna. Behan

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