After a day of trying to get ourselves situated and after sleeping on the floor of the mission president’s Guatemala City apartment, all of us missionaries were assigned a companion.
A few of the nuances from being in a different country with a different culture, different language, and different people, had sunk in a little bit. Only a little bit, though. I got to my new apartment, a one bedroom, concrete floor apartment without a phone where a rooster was tied up just outside my bedroom window, five feet from my bed. Yeah, I was happy when the day came that the owners finally ate that rooster, but he was replaced the very next day.
On that first day, though, long before I was accustomed to the feathered alarm clock outside my window, I was ready to go. My new companion was Elder McConkie. He wasn’t super excited about getting a brand new missionary as his companion, though, because he didn’t feel comfortable with the thought of being a leader. He had a colorful sign above his bed that said, “I’m not afraid to be a leading hombre”. I always thought that was a funny way of saying it and I later found out that his previous companion, Elder Howell, who was an amazing artist, made the sign for him when they found out that he would soon be training a new guy. He was intending for it to say “I’m not afraid to be a leader”, but while working slowly on the colorful letters he accidentally wrote “leading” instead of “leader” and, not wanting to start the sign over again, thought that “hombre” would be a good Guatemalan way of rounding out the sign.
“Well, should we go get busy?” I asked Elder McConkie after we’d been in our place for a few minutes.
I was anxious and I was excited and I was nervous about getting out there and diving into the real missionary/Guatemalan life.
“I was thinking you could take a little time to get unpacked and stuff,” he said.
“Unpacked?” I said. “All I own is right here in these two suitcases and it’s almost all clothes. Let’s go do something.”
My knuckles were the ones that knocked on the first door, but that was about the only thing I was really able to contribute. We successfully got into the very first door that we knocked on and we had a nice sitting down discussion about Jesus Christ. Well, I guess I should say that everybody but me had a nice discussion. All I heard was “blah blah blah blah blah.”
After leaving there, we were again successful with our second door, getting in and having a nice discussion about the gospel.
“Don’t get used to this,” my companion said. “Getting into your first two doors, I mean. It doesn’t usually go that well.”
Because we got into those two doors and had discussions with them, we found ourselves out of time and needed to get to an appointment. That’s where things went from interesting to, well, even more interesting.to be concluded...