Monday, May 11, 2009
The call !!
Sunday May 10, 2009 - 5:00pm MDT
Someone answers. Speaking rapidly in Spanish. I don't understand a word.
Elder L: Yeah?!
The sound of his voice was pure heaven to the 5 of us sitting in the room. Me perched RIGHT AT THE PHONE. C, Tuffy, BFF Griff and Splenda. We've got him on speaker phone so everyone can hear, talk and ask questions.
He is good. He is more than good, he is great. He is LOVING his mission. He has a terribly strong accent and mixes Spanish and English constantly. He catches us up to date on all the latest things that he hasn't included in his emails. He likes his companion and describes him as a "straight up gangsta". I ask him to elaborate, but he promises in an email. His comp does not get any support and is in fact not getting or making a call today. I am glad I got that package out yesterday to him. That makes me feel very sad for him. And sad for his Mother who is missing out. But then, I remind myself, I don't know the story so hold on the judgements.
He tells us about his sector, the members, his specific assignments. Apparently the sector that he has been assigned to was similar to the last one in that they have had serious problems with the members and their relationships with the missionaries. His Mission President specifically told him that he was assigned there to fix those problems. He feels like he is making progress. I feel like he is the one to go mop up the messes.
We asked about his health and the fleas. Yes, he has fleas. There is a dog that has been there since he was a puppy and whatever missionaries live in the house just take care of him, but he is flea-ridden. In fact, he says, there are so many dogs, there are "gangs of dogs going around and fighting other gangs of dogs". I ask him, have you been bitten? Silence. Luke? He quietly answers "si". But quickly points out that it wasn't bad, didn't even tear his jacket, no skin exposure. But the dogs are mean.
I ask about other adventures and he starts into a story and then stops and says he will wait and tell us when he gets home. I push him, tell me now! I guess last winter they were using a gas heater to stay warm and poisoned themselves with carbon monoxide. They were able to get help before they passed out. Um, maybe I don't want anymore stories.
Me: "Have you ever had a door slammed in your face?"
Elder L: "Oh yeah". He tells me, doors slammed, things thrown at them, yelling, cursing. You name it, they've had it. My heart hurts. He tells us about all the people that just wander around drunk or passed out. Drinking on the street is legal there. He tells us that sometimes they approach someone, begin sharing the message and a few minutes in, realize that the person they are talking to is completely wasted out of their mind.
I ask about his area. It is similar to his last one in that it is the ghetto. A slum. Very poor people. He then tells us of an experience he will never forget. They share a duplex-like house with a member. They have an upstairs and a downstairs and apparently no locks on the doors. They were downstairs talking when they heard a noise upstairs. They went up to investigate and find a man sitting on his comp's bed. Higher.than.a.kite. They don't know if he is there to rob them, hurt them, or what. Call the police and the landlord quickly created a lock. They were pretty unnerved. I am FREAKING.OUT. Deep breath, he is on the Lord's time, he is safe.
We originally thought we only had an hour, but ended up getting an hour and a half. We are wrapping it up.
Me: "Are you happy?"
Elder L: "I'm happy Mom"
Me: "Are you healthy?"
Elder L" "I'm good mom."
Me: "Are you still glad you went?"
Elder L: "Best decision of my life!"
Now, one more call at Christmas right before he gets to come home. Baby steppin to December........ Baby steppin to December.....