Sunday, February 01, 2009

A reply to Chris

Chris wrote,
my companion Elder Kemmerer has a lot of problems with confidence and learning the language I've been trying to help him but he is such a dark cloud and freaking depressing to work with somtimes
I knew a missionary like that, in my last area.  My companion Ricky Olita and I were split up and both given a "greenie" to train.  I got Jeremy Anderson, who was later my brother David's zone leader.  Elder Olita got the short end of the stick with a bad-attitude American whose name I've forgotten.  He moped and dragged everywhere, sullen and begrudgingly.
Elder Olita was possibly the most dangerous man I have met.  He was apparently from a pretty rough part of Mindanao; I don't know if the stories he told about his mom taking out a contract on the men who killed his father were true, but I did get to see his proficiency with fists (via boxing gloves), throwing knives, and nunchucks first hand.  Not a guy to mess with.  When Elder Olita was pissed, he would be quiet, but there was a dark tension in him until the strain grew too great and he exploded.
An intelligent man would have realized that there were better people to take out attitude on than Elder Olita.  Lazy Boy failed this particular IQ test.
The tension built for maybe ten days.  Elder Olita poured out his troubles to me over lunch a few times.  Elder Olita had had a dim view of me as a companion before he got Lazy Boy, but now I shone by comparison.  (Yes, there's a long story there.  Another time.)
Things came to a head one morning when the three companionships in the house left together to begin proselyting.  Elder Olita was last to exit.  He checked his pockets but he didn't have the house key.  He asked Lazy Boy for it.  Lazy Boy took it out of his pocket and threw it overhand at Elder Olita.  Not to him, at him.  Elder Olita jumped at Lazy Boy with death in his eyes, but was intercepted by Elders Greenwood and Anderson.
They had a nice long talk with President Watts after that.  I think Lazy Boy lasted another month.  But not two.
Rachel: "You don't hear this kind of story at the MTC [missionary training center]."
Me: "It's like my mom told me years ago: if the church weren't true, the missionaries would have killed it off long ago."

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