Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Politically Correct Missionary Wednesday

My brother, Elder Fields serves in Chicago as an LDS/Mormon missionary. These are some excerpts to his tales...

Dear viewers,

Two things I forgot to say last week: 1) Traffic in the suburbs is only congested during rush hour, instead of all the time, like it is in the city. 2) For once in my mission, my apartment is on the ground floor so I don't have to climb a billion stairs to get there. With that said, we shall move onto the events of this past week!

My companion and me had the privilege of having dinner with our bishop this week, something that I never had done in my previous two wards, That was a good experience. Also, once a month our ward volunteers at a soup kitchen and Thursday we had the opportunity to help outwith that. It's just another memorable mission moment.

On Saturday and Sunday our ward put on their 17th annual live nativity. The show ran once every half hour, they had live animals and everything. It was absolutely amazing to behold. I learned one important bit of information from this show; where the set was set up, right behind the inn stage was a big tree. So no wonder there was no room in the inn, that tree took up all the room. Ha ha ha! I kid really, but in all seriousness, the show was fantastic. The show was better the second night as there were more people, warmer weather and no rain.

After viewing the show there were more activities inside; they had several really good musical performances in the chapel, including a high school choir Saturday night. It was really weird to have a high school choir in a church, but it was also very cool. The best part was that there was no argument about separation of church and state. I have heard lots of stupid arguments about that kind of stuff out here and am glad nothing was said.

In the first overflow there were over 80 smaller nativity scenes of various types and sizes. Some of my favorites included the yarn people, and the Asian displays; but my absolute favorites were the Eskimo snowmen and the Vegi-tales scene. The last room held a mix and mingle with cookies, cider, and the 'Joy to the World' movie. I think the whole two nights were very successful in regards to missionary work.

When all was said and done, we spoke to the sister who was in charge of putting this whole show together. She thanked us heavily for our help in not only the event itself but also for all the help we offered in setting up and taking down for the event. I kind of admired her for all the trouble she had to go through to put this thing together. She only had a month's notice in getting everything together and hardly had any volunteers to help her out besides the missionaries until the last week or so. She told us it could have been alot easier but there were lots of obstacles in the way. There were two groups of people involved; the first didnt want to help much or recruit help because they were afraid of offending people. The second was the lazy group whome the first feared to offend. I had thought that these two groups only existed in the city but it turns out they are everywhere in the mission! I have a strong dislike for the atitude of that second group. They think that just being baptised and attending church is enough, well I have a news flash for them: It's not!! Get a calling and get to work! If you think your own soul is saved, that's fine but it give no excuse to not help others and bring them closer to Christ. You're not only person in the church, nor are you just a viewer, you should be in the church to help move the work forward. As far as the first group goes, they are just being stupid in their attitude of "let's not offend them, so we don't ask". If they get offended because you ask them to do something, then so be it, but don't be a coward about it. You're not helping the cause by simply letting them be lazy.

This group of people realy truly aggravate me. They are the reason this program almost didn't happen. From the beginning this program was meant to be a huge effort in mission work, and a great Christmas program. These people decided that in their fear of also offending nonmembers, if they had to have the show at all, they decided to make it just a fun little gathering and avoid any offense. Hello!! How dumb can you get? If you're going to put on a huge program like this, it must be for the gaining of and strengthening of a testimony, of witnessing the great miracle of the Savior's birth; not just a fun activity for those who already have a strong testimony of Christ and the gospel.

That's what's tearing this work and world appart, the fear to offend people. You can not only see it here, but in the political corectness and attiude of the world today, if you want something, just get offended and now people give it to you on a silver platter. (Has Elder Fields been paying attention to Lieberman's hissy fit in the senate?!!) But I digress..., back to the subject at hand.

People in this chuch need to stop worrying about being so offensive, you can offend someone by just saying you're a Mormon; I do that all the time. So quit yer bellyaching! And besides, this program wasn't meant to get people into the water, it was meant to get them interested, show them the true meaning of Christmas, what this church really is about. Showing up doesn't mean they have to be dunked in the baptismal font, all it means is that they wanted to have a good time in this Christmas season. We extended the invitation and they came, that's all we asked. It was meant to show that we are human too, and if they have questions about us they can ask and we'd be more than happy to give them the answer. I didn't talk to too many people there, the missionaries were there more for presence then anything else. Nonmembers would go to their member friends for the answers they wanted. We know we had some success because we had several tables full of material, pass along cards, ect.. and by the end of those two nights a lot of that stuff had vanished. So even with the struggle that went on in putting it together, the event was very successful. I hope this event continues for years to come.

Well enough off my rantings about the show, let's move on to something more pleasant. Monday afternoon we recieved a call from Elder G., the vehical coordinator, who asked us for help in doing car checks for the Valparaiso Indiana Zone Conference on Tuesday. The both of us were more than happy to help out, as it was a chance to take a road trip to a zone neither of us have served in, and now I can say that I've been to seven states. After agreeing to go we were less then happy to find out that to get to zone conferance on time we would have to wake up at 4 am to be there on time. So that moring we dragged our tired selves out of bed and made our way to to the mission office. We were in for a very pleasent surprise when we got there; we got the opportunity to play santa clause by loading up all of the missionary gift packages into the mission van. At 5 am it made the job alot more pleasent to imagine Elder G. as Santa and us as his "little helpers" loading up his slay. I continued this image throughout the trip and it made the whole conference and day even better. When all the missionaries arrived and the Christmas zone conferance meeting actualy started, I imagined that when we were unloading the packages from the mission van that the missionaries were the kiddies all fast asleep in bed (Editor's Note: Was the Mission President's talk that boring?) and we unloaded all the gifts from the slay to under the tree, aka the package room. I imagined that the happy joy I felt in delivering all those gifts must be how Santa feels every year when he makes his Christmas run. Then I was snapped back into reality by the true reason we were there, car checks. :( There was nothing magical that could be compared to christmas here. After our task was done we attended a portion of their Christmas zone conference. Then I jumped back into my fantasy land by imagining that lunch was Santa's milk and cookies. After zone conference, unlike Santa, I stuck around like a proud parent who would watch their kids ravage through the gifts on Christmas morning. This also gave me great joy, even though it was just the missionaries tearing through their Christmas packages.

That joy I felt must truely be how Santa, and all parents feel on Christmas morning. Give it five to ten years and I would be more then happy to do the job again for my own kids.
Other than my Christmas illusion, O discovered something else: Valparaiso Zone is a very enjoyable place. It's a small zone with fewer missionaries, but I think if I had my choice, if I couldn't go back to the city and die there, (Editor's note: end the mission there) I would want to die in this zone.

Wishing you all the christmas joy I felt this year,

love, Elder Fields.

1 comment:

Alexandria said...

Interesting. Okay I am not going to lie I just skimmed this...but I figured it was neccesary to get to know my future Bro-in-law!