The Stake Young Men’s president asked me to jot down a few funny missionary experiences so that he could read them (along with stories from other RM’s in the stake) to the youth at our stake youth conference that is going on today and tomorrow (missionary theme). So I obliged and figured I may as well put them on the blog for others to read as well. Keep in mind these were written for an audience of youth.
Back in the olden days (the mid 90′s) missionaries would talk on tapes and send them to family, girlfriends and friends back home. One night on our walk home from our dinner appointment, my second companion and I were walking on opposite sides of the street, both making tapes for friends back home. In Guatemala there aren’t too many street lights so our passage back wasn’t fully illuminated. We passed a drunk man carrying a machete (this is actually very, very common as most men are drunk and have machetes). As we passed, for reasons I can’t comprehend, my companion says to the fella, “HOW!” Indian style. So we keep walking and talking into our portable tape recorders. A few seconds pass and we turn around and see that the dude has done an about-face and is now following us with his machete in the air. At that moment my companion screams like a little girl and we both take off running. We weren’t too afraid that he’d catch us considering he was like 4′ 5″ and drunk and we were both over 6′ and filled with the Spirit of God!!
As we settled in at home we then enjoyed our beans, eggs and listening to the recorded scream and following play-by-play of the whole run. Yeah, he sounded just like a girl.
Guatemala has good food. Really good food. Frijoles negros con huevos, tortillas y plátanos fritos. MMMMmmmmm. I didn’t even like beans before the mish but a healthy portion of black beans twice a day will cure that in about a week. They serve some food, however, that’s not so delish.
Our investigators, the Cuellar Muños family, was as solid gold as they come. One night they invited us over for dinner. We didn’t think much of it until we sat down and they brought out the sopa de mondongo. Cow stomach. Have you ever eaten a 1/3″ thick rubber band? Kinda like that. Except with flavored water poured over it.
As if the taste wasn’t bad enough (and it was excruciating) the texture was literally like chewing on a rubber band, ya know, like impossible to break up into pieces small enough to swallow. So of course my first bite went half-way down my throat while the other half was conveniently stuck in my mouth, thus choking me making my face go bright red. Instead of distracting the family from my trauma (what a TRUE companion would do) he laughed out loud. Eventually the chunk of former-digestive-sack went down, I swallowed a swig of Coke and we baptized the whole family.
My companion and I were teaching a man in the town of Escuintla, Guatemala. As we began to talk about the priesthood he quickly told us that he already had it. Really? Yeah, he got it because a piece of paper said, “Yes” on it. What? Yeah, his pastor wrote “no” on two pieces of paper, “yes” on another, put them into a hat and this guy picked the paper that said “yes” on it. TaDA!! Priesthood!!
After we asked him all the relevant follow-up questions like, “is that how Peter got the priesthood?” and “where did your pastor get the authority to do that?” we decided it was probably time to leave. Not because he didn’t want us there but because this dude was crazy! But rather than just leaving, my companion decided to leave him with (what we thought to be) a throwaway question: “If God told you to change your religion would you do it?” It was such an obvious question I was kind of embarrassed my comp even asked it. But the response was golden: “I’d have to talk with my pastor first.” WHAT??? At that point I figured he didn’t fully understand the question, I mean, my companion’s Spanish wasn’t that great so that must have been the reason he’d answer with such an asinine response. So I clarified: “If God Himself were standing in front of you, put His hands on your shoulders and said, ‘Jose, you must change your religion and be a Mormon’, would you obey Him?” Same response. So my companion follows up and says, “So are you saying that your pastor has more authority than God Himself?” “Yes”