Well, training my new “hijas” has been a bit of a roller coaster. I call it the “Lost Dog Effect.” I remember how, when I was little, I always LOVED dogs. But, of course, the Simonson Family can’t keep a dog for very long (other than Rockee…if she is still living….). So, after feeling like I had “loved and lost” way too many dogs, when I was about 14 I put up the pretext that I just hate dogs. Even when I was 18, I was still playing the I-hate-dogs card until Rockee took care of me.
Well, I think that my hijas have kind of done the same thing to me. After having the first one taken away in an emergency transfer, the next one going to a new area and calling me crying almost every night for the problems they were having, the next one that worked so hard to learn everything and begged me to teach her more, and then went on to train and open an area but got to a point of disobedience where I, being her Leader, had to go to her house and tell her that President wanted to talk to her and that she would have to go home if things didn’t get better, and then the last one that I loved to death and became my best friend in the whole world, and then one day she comes home with a headache and next thing I know she was on a plane home.
I guess that’s why I wasn’t too excited to train, especially not to train TWO people at once. I don’t think I have really been the best trainer every (aside from the part that I haven’t been able to get up and work for almost two weeks!) because I haven’t opened myself up to really love them like I loved my other companions. I put up the pretext that I couldn’t love my companions so much, because I would just get hurt in the end (I know, I know, I will NEVER be able to be a good mom with that kind of attitude!).
As I was sitting in study hour doing practices with one of my companions, I had to try really hard not to be frustrated because I felt like she just was not getting it. Then, a stern voice pierced my heart “I gave them to you, because I thought you would love them.”
My heart ached. It’s no coincidence that I am training both of them. It’s no coincidence that they both happen to be young women with some very big trials in their lives. I prayed for forgiveness and tried to start being better.
It’s not easy to love, but I remember a sweet little boy that was only a part of my life for a short time, and since the beginning, I felt he was only going to be there for a short time, so I didn’t let myself love him. Then, I finally couldn’t put the walls up any more and I made a decision to love that boy as much as I wanted to. And yes, it hurt when, the night before leaving on my mission, I bent down to hug him and the Spirit told me it was the last time I would be able to do it. It hurt a lot. But, it hurt a lot less than if I would have had to say goodbye, knowing that I never loved him like I should of. Charity never faileth. It doesn’t mean that it doesn’t bring pain, but at least it doesn’t fail. Sometimes, we just have to take down our walls, and decide to love.
It started out last P-Day. I was unable to write all the details that I wanted, because I had two Elders (an x District Leader and current zone leader) that refused to leave my side. They just kept talking and talking and talking and trying to convince me to go to Quistococha, a jungle beach type place, with the Zone, since it would probably be my last time. I told them no, that I needed to be on rest, that the hike to the beach would be too hard for me to make and sitting there watching while everyone played volleyball would just make me more depressed. Basically, I was being a party pooper.
When I argued that not being able to make it to the beach was a valid excuse, the looked at each other, then looked at me, and one said “I will carry you.” Thinking it was a joke, I just laughed until the other, my Zone Leader, looked at me and said “No, it’s for real. Hermana Simonson, I really want you to come.” So, I went.
The Elders found a MotoKar that would take me through most of the hike part, and from there I was actually able to walk (without being carried;)), to the beach. Slowly, but surely. And, I wasn’t walking alone. My companions, Hermana Dickey, and Elder Avila and Elder Muñoz patiently walked beside me, laughing the whole way. Some of the missionaries were playing volleyball and others were playing soccer, but there was also a little group sitting with Hermana Simonson, making sandcastles and laughing.
It continued throughout the week. The shelf next to my bed is filled with protein bars, oils, pills, wraps, more pills, lotions, more pills, hospital receipts, vitamins, etc. It made me depressed. With my worldly eyes, it looked like it either belonged to an old woman, or a young woman with way too many problems. Well, I decided to put my Spiritual eyes on. Instead of looking at all the medicines and remedies, I started to think of all the people that had given me those things. I put a little post it on each on to say who gave it to me. Now, when I look at that stupid little shelf, I see a list of people that love me and care about me, not just a list of problems that I have.
Then, President and Hermana Gomez came by my house several times. DO you realize how amazing and rare it is to have a President that physically goes to your house to check on you? One time, they got there later than planned and Hermana Gomez came up my stairs and said “Sorry it took so long. Usually I bring sick missionaries some fruits and things, but I knew Hermana Simonson isn’t the biggest fruit fan, so I had to make some cookies.” I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.
Then, when things didn’t get better as expected, Hermana Gomez felt that there was something the Hospital didn’t find, so her and President personally took me to a specialist and he found problems that the Hospital didn’t. He ordered me to more rest and, even though I cried a bit at the news, I got back to my house that night feeling pretty good about life, for having spent the entire night in the giant mission home, eating Mexican Food and laughing with the Gomez Family.
Anyway, even before the leg problem, everyone had started to call me “Job” and they thought it was pretty funny. Well, as I reflected on all the amazing help I have received this week (it would be impossible to write it all out) I remembered a scripture I have always loved:
So what if (as everyone loves to remind me), I’ve been really sick and almost got sent home, I haven’t been sleeping too well, my companion went home, my whole district got sent away on an emergency transfer, I have to train two people at once, my area is falling apart a bit, I’ve spent a lot of time in the Hospital, I was drugged up by a crazy doctor, and, well, a lot of other stuff happened and, to top it all off, I fell in a sewer?
I have been blessed to be part of an amazing zone and amazing ward where I am being taken care of. Even if everything seems to be falling apart, I have one thing more than just Vitamins and Testimony: I have amazing friends. Heck, I would call them my family at this point. Sometimes, I let myself think “Meghan had everything she wanted, so why does Hermana Simonson have all the bad luck?” But, I realized today that, honestly, I am a very lucky girl. I mean, how many other people can say that they are in another part of the world, doing the hardest work there is, but somehow are still surrounded by family? How many people can say that they are perfectly happy, even with an infection in their leg caused by other people’s poop? I am pretty sure I am the only one! That’s some great luck.
The best part about all the support that I have gotten, is that I never have felt that the missionaries feel obligated to support me because they have to be Chrsitlike. I have just felt that they have done it because they really do like me and like to be with me. I don’t know if it’s true, but at least it’s how I’ve felt!! That’s when I realized something: if I have been able to be so loved even when I can’t work, that means that they don’t just love me for my work.
Sometimes, I felt like I only had friends or that I was only a good missionary because of the things I’ve accomplished and because of the success I’ve had or the position I am in. I think I really based my self worth as a missionary off of that. But, I finally had a realization that I have needed my whole life “What we DO as a missionary (or as a person), is less important than who we ARE as a missionary (or a person). Just because I can’t work, doesn’t mean I am not a good missionary. I learned that with the experience I shared about last Sunday in church. Well guess what, the church was fuller than ever yesterday! Not because of the things I can do, but because of the person I can be.
No matter who we are or how strong people might think we are, we all come to points in our lives when we really need to have someone look us in the eyes and say “I will carry you” or “I want you to be there.” I am so grateful for the blessing of being surrounded my one family while the other is far away. As I said before, I never realized that I had family from Chile, Guatemala, New York, Maine, Peru, Honduras, The Dominican Republic, Mexico, etc. But, I sure do! And, I am so grateful for them. When everything else seems to be falling apart, I have a lot of people there to put it back together.
Love- Hermana Simonson
Another Little Thought:
I was looking over some old emails right now and found a message that an old District Leader sent me last week when he saw me with crutches and heard my story (already knowing better than anyone else all the things that have happened) and said (it's never the same after translating) "Remember that not fainting, is better than just surviving." I can "faint" and just try to survive the end of my mission, or I can push forward and try to keep doing everything in my power and ENJOY my mission like I always have!