Thursday, 21 May 2015

My Body is a Cage

OKAY so I know I've used more Arcade Fire song titles than any other band, but maybe that's just because they've got the best song titles :)
M&M's  - Elders Massey and Martinez off sharing the "good word of God"

I find a lot of fun in pulling out gospel principles from some of my favorite songs, and I'm super excited about this one, so if I rant a little too much or sound super dorky, I ask for your pardon.
Win Butler, in introversion, sings a line quite profoundly true in how we work and in how we live as individuals. He laments:
 'My body is a cage that keeps me from dancing with the one I love, but my mind holds the key'.
What he's really saying to us here is that, we have the possiblity to obtain so much in our lives, but our greatest enemy or the thing that holds us back that most, is ourselves. Kinda ironic isn't it? We all want happiness, success, and so much more in life, but far too often, we struggle to find it because of our own obstinate nature (look at me, using big words!). This was something I found really highlighted in my week, in a LOT of ways.
I'll start with the example of a couple investigators we have. One is a younger guy named Keke, he's like 21-23, something like that, and he's a super nice guy, but also quite obnoxious. A few weeks back, we were teaching him and a few of his friends, and he kept hitting his one friend on the top of his head every time we'd ask questions. All I can say is, if I were the friend, I woulda whacked him pretty hard. With that aside, we were teaching him on Sunday afternoon, and asked him why we didn't see him at church, why he hasn't read in the Book of Mormon, etc., and really, his excuses were pretty lame for the most part. We started to go into teaching him the Word of Wisdom, but we got hung up with him about stuff in the Bible (like the word Sabbath translates to Saturday in Portuguese, so there's a HECK ton of people who get upset about that), and we just had to straight up tell him, 'y'know, Keke, we've given you the opportunity to find answers to aaaaaaaall these things, through the Book of Mormon, and you haven't read it. We've invited you to try out to see if these things are true, and you haven't. There really isn't a whole lot else we can do for you' which, is very sad to say, but also really is true. As missionaries, we don't have the ability to exercise his agency for him, and it's his job to use the key we've given him to unlock the door. In all our lives, we've been given the opportunity to act and to choose, and when we choose to not do something, it's really our own fault.
We met another guy, this week, whose name is Va, and he's a boss guy. He was someone the first elders who came to Maio a year back taught, and did super well with. He said that when he met them, he had a super bad drinking problem, but he doesn't drink anymore, and is cutting back on cigarettes as well. When we met him, he was like 'Elders! I've only smoked two cigarettes today!' and we were like 'uhhh, okay...' but then he told us the whole story and it all made sense. We were able to teach him once this week and also commit him to baptism. While the guy certainly isn't perfect, he's using those things in his life to cahnge the way he lives, so that he can find the happiness our Heavenly Father has promised him. Our next step, however, is gunna be to get him to come to church, because we didn't have any investigators come to church (AGAIN), which was certainly frustrating, but at the same time, we can't make people show up to church. Sorry, ranting. My bad.
The last example I had from this week that went super well with this song title (which was why I was so excited to use it) was with myself. There was one day this week where I really felt that I'd hit a wall in my progress indivdually as a missionary, and it annoyed the heck outta me. We taught this one guy named Kaka and Elder Martinez let me do a majority of the teaching, and when we walked out of the lesson, I hated how I had taught it. I don't mean to say that every time we talk to someone needs to be perfect, but I just hated how I felt like I'd stalled, and really, it wasn't anyone's fault but my own. I've gotten used to teaching things in an easy, non-special way, to the extent where I feel like I just hit play when I sit down for a lesson rather than actually talking with the person. So, with that in mind, I started to really work on what my next step needs to be, to get over being a robot missionary, and actaully being a Representative of Christ. I feel like 'my mind holds the key' to get to that next step, I've just gotta use it!
One other funny story from the past week, less about me mental cages and more about physical ones, as I've started to break through some cages that contain me every day, and by that, I mean my pants. Now, Maio is a realtively flat area, which means I have been gaining weight, even in Africa (I know, that's kinda sad). So, this week, we were walking around, and started to kick around this little soccer ball we found while by this little field. Elder Martinez and I were just kind juggling it back and forth when I kicked my leg a little too high in the air and felt a little more leway come from down under, which I soon came to find was a tear in my favorite pants. I thought it was pretty funny, but at the same time, I'm a little sad because they were my favorite pants.
Anyways, those are my (many) thoughts from the past week! Hope y'all have had a good one too!
Elder Massey

              Typical African woman carrying her load on her head....never ceases to amaze me!

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