Monday, February 24, 2014

A Change of Scenery

So, things are a little different this week. . .okay a lot different. Because instead of being on the third floor in the Bishop's Office of the Numazu Church, I'm in an internet cafe in Fuji City. You might ask "Alex," or "Elder Mueller," or "Dude! I thought you said that transfers were two weeks ago and that you would be staying in Numazu for six more weeks. Why on earth are you in Fuji?" And to that I would reply "Well, that's a long story." Which story I will tell you right now. . .
In Fuji area, there are two sets of missionaries, one pair of Elders and another pair of Sisters. And last transfer the Elders here were Elder T and Elder P. And things were not going very well because they don't get along very well. I found out on an exchange with Elder P that he is extremely hard to live with. He has some strange habits such as the fact that he hardly ever says a word, he can't really make decisions. In all seriousness, he may have mental problems.
Through all of this, Elder T was not really handling it well, and for a while he would just tell everyone that he could talk to to listen to him tell the exact same stories about how hard it was to live with Elder P. And so Elder G who is the district leader was reporting to the Mission President, about how things were not going well, and trying to convince him that he needed to transfer them at the end of the transfer, far away from each other.
Soon before transfers, we had interviews with the mission president, and Elder T said that he told President Yamashita that he could do another transfer, but only so that no one else would have to deal with him. One of the things about having a mission president who doesn't speak your native language is that you have to be very clear about what you want to communicate, which -- as I have found -- is not one of Elder T's strengths. And because of that, President Yamashita thought that Elder T wanted to do another transfer with him, so that he could help him. And so Elder G continued to recommend that they transfer, but transfer calls came and went and they didn't get a transfer call which meant that they would be staying together for six more weeks.
Niether of them took it very well. Elder T pretty much gave up on missionary work, and Elder P started spending hours and hours on the toilet and sleeping. And things continued like that for a couple weeks, improving just a little when Elder T said that he wouldn't give up after all.
Then, last Wednesday, Elder G and I got a phone call from the Assistants to the President telling us that the Fuji Elders would be moving into the Numazu apartment and working in Numazu for the rest of the transfer on Saturday. We weren't happy. That apartment is not big enough for four people, and there is nothing for them to do. In Fuji they practically had no investigators, and we didn't have any investigators that we could give to them. It would have just been terrible, and so then that night, Elder G and I both had a terrible time sleeping because of the stress.
On Thursday morning, Elder G started trying to get in touch with the APs in order to get them to change their minds and find a different solution. He also called the Fuji Elders and asked Elder T what he thought, and Elder T thought it was a terrible idea too! And after hours of back and forth and anxious waiting, The President and his Assistants called and told us that they had decided that Elder G would become Elder P's companion and that I would be going to Fuji.
I really loved Numazu. The members love me, I know what I'm doing there, it was a gorgeous area and best of all, when I got there after having been in the MTC for so long, it felt like I was coming home. After that call I got really sad, but I knew it had to be done. Elder G got really sad too. He's had a really hard mission so far. Lots and lots of really hard companions that drove him to the brink of insanity, but he never gave up. Ever. But he said that training me was one of the best parts of his mission, and I really didn't want to be seperated from him.
All of Friday, we visited people I wasn't going to get to see again, and we had a lesson with our progressing investigator, A, who we commited to be baptized. If she does get baptized, I'm going to be able to go, and she might even have me perform the baptism. And all day, I had headaches off and on and I was pretty sad. And that night Elder G and I, instead of our normal banter back and forth in the evenings, sat in silence with our journals because neither of us wanted to say anything.
On Saturday, I packed all morning, and I had no appetite and I had a headache. They were going to take away my trainer and I was going to have to go somewhere else. And Elder G asked me for a blessing so I gave him one, and then they came. And we went to McDonalds and I sat in silence and looked out the window, and then we went to Fuji.
Since then, things have been getting better. That first night, I was not in good condition. Elder T has a habit of making things far more dramatic than they need to be, and so he made it sound like the Fuji ward was in huge trouble and that it was all on our heads if it came down, which is totally bogus, but I didn't realize it until I actually went to church the next day because my mental health was in serious trouble, but all it took was talking to the members and the Fuji Sisters for a while to know that I was going to be fine here, it was just going to take some adjusting.
Elder G called last night for weekly reporting and so I got to talk to him and he seems to be doing just fine, which is really good. I love him so much. He is the best missionary in the mission. I really believe that.
So that's why I'm in an internet cafe in Fuji. I'm getting a little better every day. And doing little things that help so that the trauma of being taken away from my bean area and thrown into an extremely hard situation, like cleaning the Fuji apartment or getting Elder T to stop complaining about Elder P, things are looking up.
Through all of this there was much prayer and trusting in the Lord that things would be alright in the end. And I am so grateful to Him. I know He's there. I know He listens. And if anyone who reads this is having a hard time, my advice is this. Please just pray. Just do it. Place your trust in God and everything will be alright in the end.
With love,
Elder Alex Mueller

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