Saturday, February 1, 2014

Dearest family and friends,

I wanted to share a few thougths about what I have been learning and experiencing being with Elder Umaña. Even the first time we were together we got along really well and learned to communicate and respect each other. What a huge blessing it is to feel supported at all times. 

As a missionary we are always with our companion. Always. Sometimes that is great, and sometimes it can be hard. You definitely do not suffer from lonliness (in that sense), although sometimes all you want is a little privacy. That is a general comment from my experiences and talking and counseling with lots of other missionaries. But when both companions decide to contribute to the relationship, it can be a great support. Here are a few examples. 

Today after shopping we had to clean the house and make lunch. Elder Umaña took control of the stove and I grabbed the broom and mop. Within an hour the house was spotless and the food was ready to go. We had an incredible lunch of mixed onions, bell pepper, tomato, cheese, a piece of meat, macaroni and cheese, and a blended drink of milk, banana, spinach, and who knows what else he threw in there. It was delicious. And both having eaten, the house being cleaned and shiny, we both had time to write a few letters.

Elder Umaña has learned that he loves music, even though when he arrived he had never sung or played much of anything in his life. Since we have been together he has asked me to teach him how to read notes, how to sing better, how to play the piano. And he has loved it so much that he now plays the guitar and has written a few of his old songs. How cool is that!! And remember that he is a public accountant that spent all his days behind a desk without a whole lot of creativity. 

And he has been teaching me how to use excel more and more effectively. And besides that a lot of other things like formality in the spanish language, opening the mind to other cultures, hard to explain, but lots of really neat things. 

When I make mistakes he does not take advantage of it to make himself feel better or more important. Instead he recognizes that I really was doing my best and that I really did think that was the best thing to do. It is something we both do. And so we are starting to see really positive things happening. The attitude of many Elders is improving, their desire to work better and treat everyone well is improving. 

And with so many new missionaries arriving, Monday we will be opening 3 new zones in the mission. There will now be a total of 12 zones. That means instead of traveling 9 times every six weeks, we will have 12 visits to make. Wow!! That is a lot to fit into so few days! But we will make it work.

My mind is a little jumbled today with so many things going on, but I am doing great, learning lots, being stretched and stretched. Sometimes I think I can feel my brain tissue pushing the inside of my cranium with so many different things running around.

Well there is my attempt at a congruent weekly report. I hope everyone is doing great, looking for ways to serve in real and meanigful ways (the most meaningful service will always require a sacrifice on our part) and loving life!

Lots of love,
Elder Brighton

PS For the first time in long time we got to go and do some real work this week. An only mother is going to be building a little room to stay in above her mother´s house. So we went with her to load up some bricks that someone had donated to her. It felt great to toss those big concrete bricks again. Elder Umaña and I made a two man throwing chain, tossing them one by one from the ground up into the big truck, and then later from the truck and piling them back up in front of the house. The back was a little sore the next day, but man, it sure felt good!

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