Saturday, May 10, 2014

Difficult Week!

So I sent another message with pictures hopefully it came. The pictures are of Rock and Brother Tujague (his friend from coaching days. Victory should know who he is! =D BYU Cougars), Rock and his kids and then Sister Hatfield and I spending some time at the Lake on our Easter Lunch picnic. 
This week was such an emotional roller coaster. I will try to spare you the gory details but in short the sister missionaries in the Castaic ward have identified a bully. Without going into what all happened it put me in a very hard situation and President Hall and I have talked for about 2 hours 30 minutes in person and over the phone. Yesterday was the worst of it all. Our Bully sought us out took us outside and proceeded to yell at us and belittle us. It didn't matter what we did or said it was going to be his way. I felt so small, so unappreciated. The focus of Rock getting baptized was entirely lost in this members perspective because all he could focus on was what we had done that he didn't like. I will admit that with all the events it could have been done better but what is done is done and it cant change. After our little show down at church we left. (It was right before the last hour of church) When I had finally calmed down enough to talk we decided to take a picnic to Castaic Lake (the park) to work through more of the emotions of the day. So here is what is now happening; Essentially my companion and I are now slaves to the member (our bully) and for the sake of our recent convert it has to be that way. President Hall has counseled me just to go with what he wants. It stinks because I am not the type of person who goes with the demands of others unless it is for a very very very good reason. The fact that I am literally a slave to the demands of this member is killing me. I have to be at his house when he says we will be there. I teach what he wants us to teach. We get no say and are not allowed to give suggestions. Follow the Spirit?...out the window, mostly. The member is in total and complete control. President Hall was extremely upset when he learned the details of our showdown. He also had to calm down and make sure he didn't do anything that would allow me to see his anger over it all. He was sad that I had to have this experience. It was a good conversation he and I were able to have. We decided the best thing to talk about after all of this came to light is to let it go. He compared our bully to the one year old child that punches you in the nose. You don't throw the child down and step on him because of it. You change the position he is in so he can't punch you. Basically you don't engage. In our confrontation with the Bully I had the rare opportunity to put into practice everything I have learned on my mission of getting out of a heated argument/discussion/situation. I tried so so so hard to not engage. I wasn't perfect at it but I did try. President Hall is very proud of my efforts and that brings me comfort. I was also told that while I am trying to let go of the things that have happened I shouldn't work on forgiving him for 3 years. Why 3 years? I have no idea. Maybe by that time I will realize I have forgiven him and will know that it doesn't matter anymore. I will have let it go. While I have been thinking a lot about letting it go I have thought of Dad's phrase he used with me when I had another bully in elementary school. Set yourself free...Its the same concept and one I believe I will work on my whole life. At the end of the conversation we reviewed things that have happened to me on my mission with bully's. Turns out I have had quite a few of them. President Hall shared with me some of his insight into my mission. He said, "I have just sat here and listened to you talk so calmly about your mission. Not about what was so horrible and bad but the things you have learned." He explained to me that on my mission I have learned a gift of self awareness, the ability to recognize things I need to change. He told me that I have learned to be teachable and that Heavenly Father must really love me because he keeps sending experiences to me so that I can be teachable. I probably wouldn't have learned these things any other way. I am teachable because I love my Savior and want to follow him as best I can. Heavenly Father is hearing my prayers and knows the desire I have to be better. He suggested that Heavenly Father must have something for me to do and so he is helping me now so that I can be prepared to do it later. President Hall then asked me "Why do you think I understand so well what you are going through?" My answer was because he has been through it too. He explained that everything I have been through he has gone through too but much later in life than me. Last night I learned what has changed about me while I have been here on my mission. It was an answer to a prayer. I have been praying to see the changes in myself because I still feel there is so much to change in so little time. He stopped me when I explained that and told me, "but you recognized it!" I recognized that there is still change that needs to take place. And there always will be. Its just a part of life. He also explained that when he finally figured things out he started to love the imperfect him because that was part of The Plan. It was so good and better than the hug I had been longing to have. (Which he ended up giving me...heehee..... shhh....)
That was a really long explanation of a 48 hour period of time but there you have it. Easter dinner was amazing! We went and had some authentic Korean food at a members house! It was so yummy! Still working on perfecting my chopstick skills though. ;) The most important part of this week was Rock's baptism. He is baptized and confirmed and it is wonderful. A word we use in this mission with each other is "Shaka" (shaw-ka) Which literally means "everything is good." So, Shaka. 
I love you all and hope that you had a wonderful Easter! 
Hurrah for Israel!
Sister Cottrell

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