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Nine Moons » Blog Archive : Rating My Companions » Rating My Companions

Rating My Companions

Rusty - April 29, 2010

Zirker: 5
Area: MTC
Months together: 2
Distinct memory: Reprimanding me, as my district leader, for farting in the middle of our roommates companionship prayer (long, hilarious story that deserves a separate post)
Other thoughts: He was my first companion and this was the MTC. We were all trying to adjust and it just sucks. He was actually a really nice guy, but super strict and we had absolutely nothing in common and had nothing to talk about. My room/classmates were my saving grace.

Callison (trainer): 7
Area: San Sebastian, Reu (coast)
Months together: 3
Distinct memory: Always said, “Lo que sucede…”
Other thoughts: Helped me get my feet on the Guatemalan ground and provided a base for how I would do missionary work the rest of my mission. Great guy but homeboy was trunky, he was always asking about the States, movies, girls (his girlfriend waited for and later married him). This sucked for me because I was always trying to forget the states and my girlfriend.

Wahlstrom: 9
Area: San Sebastian, Reu (coast)
Months together: 3
Distinct memory: Being chased by a drunk man with a machete (and Wahlstrom squealing like a little girl)
Other thoughts: Not my hardest-working companion which was nice because it forced me to take responsibility and pick up the slack. But he was easily the funnest and funniest companion. I’d often ask him how to say a word in Spanish, and if he didn’t know, he would just say the English word with a Spanish accent (“Elder, how do you say semi-truck?” “Esemi-trook”). Never got old. And we suffered the bad food together splurging our leftover money on expensive Skippy Super Chunk peanut butter and sliced bread.

Sierra: 6
Area: Hunapú, Escuintla (coast)
Months together: 2
Distinct memory: My first experience teaching a snake.
Other thoughts: He was my first native companion (from Honduras), which was a struggle, both from the cultural differences and that my Spanish still had a long ways to go. Considering he had only one more month than I, we got a lot done and generally got along just fine. But those two months were the first major transition in the mission for me, both because my Spanish dramatically improved and that I became friends with Elder Alleman (my zone leader), the greatest missionary I ever knew. Just knowing him made me a better missionary.

Miller: 8
Area: Hunapú, Escuintla (coast)
Months together: 4
Distinct memory: He always wiped his oft-sweaty forehead with his tie. It was gross.
Other thoughts: It was with Elder Miller that I learned missionary work. True, hard-working, gritty missionary work. Not necessarily my favorite time, but probably the most important 4 months of my mission. And the dude was surprisingly good on the basketball court, one of those guys who you hate because he has no flash and kills you with the basics. Great, great guy.

Plummer (greenie): 9
Area: Hunapú, Escuintla (coast)
Months together: 1
Distinct memory: Both of us getting dengue fever in succession.
Other thoughts: The moment he told me (on the bus ride from picking him up) that he made a map of the MTC tunnels I knew we’d get along. Good thing because he’s now my brother-in-law and one of my best friends (I married his sister, though I don’t have any recollection of him ever even mentioning her while we were together). I remember getting annoyed at how uptight he was about his (greenie) Spanish, but I’m sure I was probably even more uptight with my trainer. The only downside to the companionship is that we were only together a month.

Vargas: 5
Area: Chimaltenango (mountains)
Months together: 2
Distinct memory: Him returning prematurely from a 3-day split and (literally) yelling at me to give him his allotted money and me refusing until he agreed to finish the split.
Other thoughts: He was my first companion as a (dual) zone leader. I thought I would have scored him lower than a 5 but when I think about it we actually got along okay, he was a pretty funny guy. But I didn’t like teaching with him and he lead by title rather than example (acted as though people should respect/listen to him because he was ZL rather than because he had something to say or show.)

Torres: 10 for the first three months, 7 for the last one
Area: Chimaltenango (mountains)
Months together: 4
Distinct memory: “¡Me vale!”
Other thoughts: My best companion. We were a perfect companionship. We got along like best friends, we got each others’ humor, we worked ridiculously hard, we had tons of fun, we had total trust in each other, we had tons of success, our zone was awesome, this was easily the best time in my mission. And to cap it we had the greatest zone Christmas party ever. If anything bad happened we’d just say “Me vale” (a strong “I don’t care”). Sadly things went quickly downhill at about the 3-month mark which is one of my two biggest regrets of the mission.

Murrillo: 8
Area: Monte Maria, Guatemala City
Months together: 3
Distinct memory: Him suggesting we baptize the active mentally handicapped guy in the ward to boost our stats. (he was joking)
Other thoughts: Easily the most humble and kind companion I had, maybe in the whole mission. From Panama, he was just a solid companion who I got along with just fine and we had a small amount of success together.

Avila: 9
Area: Monte Maria, Guatemala City
Months together: 3
Distinct memory: Him telling me that except for the mission president he’s likely had more sex than anyone on the mission (he was a convert, obviously)
Other thoughts: The oldest of my companions at 26, also the most mature and most laid back. He drove a Honduranian version of a Harley before his mission and never sweated the small stuff. We got along swimmingly, we worked hard and we had some great successes, the biggest being that we got a woman divorced (which is almost impossible in Guatemala), got her and her companion married and then baptized them both and their two kids.

23 Comments »

  1. Cool post. I’ve never done this kind of breakdown of my experiences with companions, partly because there were one or two that I never wanted to think about again. Interesting to read your experiences, too. The big questions I have are: what caused the problem with Torres after the first three months and what is your other big regret?

    Comment by MCQ — April 29, 2010 @ 1:53 pm

  2. Oh, man, this would be fun to do. I’d have to use pseudonyms, though. My list would be longer, even with an 18-month mission, since I never spent more than two months with one companion, and that happened I think exactly once; plus, I was in a couple of threesomes. Ugh.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — April 29, 2010 @ 2:25 pm

  3. I have to say that I feel incredibly lucky that I never had a horrible companion. Most of them were great and I had a couple amazing ones.

    If there was a specific incident that caused the rift, I don’t remember it. All I remember was that things just went downhill, we lost patience with each other quickly, we stopped talking to each other, we were just ready to move on.

    My biggest regret of the mission was how I (along with most gringos) treated the native missionaries. We weren’t jerks or anything, but we were just not as respectful as I think we should have been. For instance, we would almost always talk English with each other even if a native was standing there. We would rip on aspects of the native culture or country without consideration for the fact that most of these guys were from there (or identical cultures). I would get money in the mail (like a $20 bill, which was a huge deal) and would rarely share it. It is embarrassing and shameful. I was just a dumb kid.

    Comment by Rusty — April 29, 2010 @ 2:31 pm

  4. Awesome ratings. Amazing how it brings back memories even though our missions were obviously completely different.

    Comment by DCL — April 29, 2010 @ 2:51 pm

  5. N00b. I had 15 companions in 5 areas if you don’t one area being split halfway through and my being companion to one elder for 2 days while sorted out some activities he and his companion got in before being sent home.

    Don’t know how I’d rate them. Too many factors to consider. Regretfully, I only still keep in touch with my studly greenie though.

    Comment by Bret — April 29, 2010 @ 3:47 pm

  6. Rusty, I can sympathize with those regrets. I was in SoCal, so there were no “native companions” but there were missionaries from all parts of the world who had very different understanding of the language and culture than I did. I look back on my behavior with deep regret and embarassment in many cases.

    One intersting thing is that I was with one companion two different times. He was probably my best friend in the mission but a very difficult guy to deal with in many ways. He was my trainer the first time we were together and then were together again at the time he was going home (He was a ZL at that time). We did not get along well during his last month, mostly because he was terribly impatient to be done.

    After he left, he came back and married a girl in our mission area. I got permission from SL to attend the wedding even though the temple was not in our mission. That was a very weird day as a missionary. I travelled to and from the temple with him, his new wife (who I knew very well) and her mother. I had a strange mission.

    Comment by MCQ — April 29, 2010 @ 4:12 pm

  7. I was in a couple of threesomes. Ugh.

    Ardis, please confess such things only to your proper ecclesiastical authority.

    Comment by MCQ — April 29, 2010 @ 4:26 pm

  8. This is such a good idea, it makes me want to dupe it.

    Comment by Eric Nielson — April 29, 2010 @ 5:23 pm

  9. do I even remember some of the quirky details of some of my companions? I guess I have to go back to the journals…

    Comment by Dan — April 29, 2010 @ 6:57 pm

  10. I’m also very intrigued to hear about what happened with you and Torres after month 3.

    I’d love to do something like this, but I’d be concerned that one of my companions would find it. Did you use real names/real time lines with this, Rusty, or did you use pseudonyms to keep it anonymous?

    Comment by brandt — April 30, 2010 @ 5:23 am

  11. You have a much better memory than I do.

    Like Ardis, and all sisters, I daresay, I was in a bunch of triples (we also called them threesomes, but I’m trying to start a revolution). Triples suck. One member of the group is nearly always on the outs. Even if you are getting along swimmingly with one of them, if the other one is down, it drags everyone down. I wish I could have worked with some of those sisters in traditional companionships–it would have been much easier.

    Comment by ESO — April 30, 2010 @ 6:58 am

  12. Brandt,
    Regarding Torres see comment #3. And yes, I just used real (last) names. I thought about one of them finding it, but after reading it over I don’t think I’d mind if any of them did. None of it is too negative or revealing, I don’t think.

    Comment by Rusty — April 30, 2010 @ 7:07 am

  13. Ardis & ESO,
    In my Chimaltenango area we were given a third companion (greenie) for like two weeks. Total nightmare. But that had more to do with his personality than math. He was like a 8-year old (literally, he’d flail his body around like a child with a crazy face) and said the most ridiculous things in our discussions.

    Comment by Rusty — April 30, 2010 @ 7:12 am

  14. In chronological order (and without names, for obvious reasons), I would rate my companions as follows:

    8 (1.5 months)
    7 (4.5 months)
    4 (2 months)
    5 (0.5 months)
    7 (2.5 months)
    2 (2 months)
    2 (2 months)
    2 (2 months)
    1 (0.5 months zu dritt–no “threesomes” here)
    8 (3 months)
    8 (2 months)

    The work that produced lasting results was done during the bolded companionships. Go figure.

    Comment by Last Lemming — April 30, 2010 @ 7:36 am

  15. I’m having a hard time imagining what a Honduran version of a Harley would sound like.

    Comment by John Mansfield — April 30, 2010 @ 7:47 am

  16. I had some great companions, but I was also a magnet for “problem elders,” ’cause of a rep I earned that soiled me for a good chunk of my mission (another story, another time).

    There was one companion in particular, Franken, who had gone three-fourths of the way through his mission without getting a single baptism (an elder usually racked up at least 20 by then). He was the Angel of Death disguised as a companion, and our area was a long, lonely, picked-over stretch of highway that connected a nearby city to a beach town we weren’t allowed to tract; most of it was trailer parks. I hated Franken for being my punishment and for the pain he naturally was, and when we were on bikes I’d ride him ruthlessly from one stop to the next, until he was admitted to the hospital for dehydration. Every day with Franken was doing hard time. But then, a miracle: An inactive good-ol’-boy had us come teach and baptize his four older kids. Franken’s curse was lifted, and so was mine. A couple of weeks later, they transferred me to a college town as a ZL.

    As for my favorite companions, the last I heard, most of them went inactive. Franken’s probably a bishop.

    Comment by David T. — April 30, 2010 @ 10:58 am

  17. Great post, great idea. My first comp “Herman Dempsey Riffle Jr.” was the perfect comp for me at the time, he set me right by example and called me to repentance – which I needed. We baptized 3 ladies in my first area, one has died the other 2 I still keep in touch with and have visited.

    Other comps are interesting, I’ll evaluate on my own and savor the experience….thanks for the memories Rusty.

    Comment by Don — April 30, 2010 @ 6:02 pm

  18. Fun!

    Comment by Ben Pratt — April 30, 2010 @ 11:43 pm

  19. I once had an ice cream cone of double Herman Dempsey Ripple Jr.

    Comment by MCQ — May 1, 2010 @ 8:30 pm

  20. The belief on my mission was the emotionally and spiritually strong missionaries always got paired up with the problem ones. The theory was they could handle them and still be productive.

    At the end of my mission I began to doubt it though because all 15 of my companions were pretty alright guys and good missionaries; then it hit me.

    Comment by TStevens — May 3, 2010 @ 7:08 am

  21. Ha! I always heard, TS, that if you can’t figure out who the “problem companion” in your companionship is, it’s you.

    Then I got into the mission office and found out the reality: it’s a real crapshoot putting companionships together sometimes. The only thing I can compare it to is that card game we used to play at FHE, you know the one where you use two decks of cards and you try to make combinations that you can lay down and get rid of your cards? We used to call it “Confusion” but I’ve heard other names, including “Rumikub” or something like that.

    Anyway, trying to fit new missionaries in every month so that each one had a good trainer, and take out the missionaries who were leaving, while trying not to transfer too many missionaries, while trying to make sure no one got put with anyone they were already companions with, or got sent back to an area they had already been in, while trying to keep “problem missionaries” with “strong missionaries,” while trying to give good missionaries a chance at leadership positions, while blah blah blah…

    It was a wonder we were able to just get it done in any reasonable way each month. It was seriously enough to make anyone insane. And when someone would then call and complain about their companion, we usually thought it would be much easier to just kill them rather than upset the whole fragile balance again.

    Comment by MCQ — May 3, 2010 @ 1:43 pm

  22. I followed the transfers every month like a football game. I’m glad I didn’t have to plan it, but I did think it was pretty interesting to watch and speculate how various people would get along and how they would do. People were moved around all the time. I stayed in two areas for 6 months each, but that was rare. My mission president once told me that he had to keep moving some people around to keep them out of trouble. He told me that by way of introduction to a new companion who I would have to deal with (he promised me) for just 5 weeks (after that he would be moved into the office and then sent home). That was an adventure!

    Comment by Tom D — May 3, 2010 @ 11:16 pm

  23. I have a few companions that I know changed my mission, and a few that I would rather forget.
    One of the things I was grateful for was that my mission experience with the natives, in Brazil, was really very good. My first Prez was a gringo who really strove to make sure that we only spoke Portuguese at all times and demonstrated a huge love for the culuture. So, we really didn’t have a gringos vs. natives vibe. At least when he was president. With my second president (Brazilian) I saw a lot of anti-american sentiment from him.
    As far as the transfers went, one of the missionaries I lived with and I (we lived 2-3 companionships to a house sometimes) started a betting pool on who would go where and with which companion. The mathematical formula we used to figure out a winner was pretty impressive, no thanks to me. My friend was a stats major, and knew what to do.

    Comment by Alex H. — May 19, 2010 @ 8:55 am

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