A Day In My {Missionary} Life: Feburary 9th, 2003

From my journal Sunday February 9, 2003 {living in Rechousa, serving in Valadares branch}

"So yesterday was a challenge. I thought a lot about what I'm doing here and why. I sincerely hope I never have a companion that I really don't get along with because this is hard enough! I'm sure there is something integral I am to learn...and I'm searching for it.

We walked a lot yesterday! Up hills, around corners, behind construction, in between roads, and under bridges...and taught a wonderful palestra in the morning!"

A sign along the road--one of our busy walking days--notice the cobblestones.
I think I tripped on them more than any other missionary in our mission.

I remember those busy days of walking. Our mission was a no-bike mission and only a few sets of missionaries had access to vehicles. I never had one, and though we did use the public transit fairly often (bus, taxi, & train) --we did a significant amount of walking in each of my areas. 

I was extremely glad we didn't have bikes--in my mind riding a  bike around skinny roads and cobblestone streets, with a skirt on, and carrying a bag, just sounded extremely awkward and probably dangerous. Can you imagine? Riding a bike makes me feel like I'm going to fall over at a any time...much more so with those conditions.

I remember those very first days as a missionary, walking around Braga and coming home with tired, achey, blistery feet. While the pain was annoying, I was excited about the distances we were covering and the goals we were reaching for. 

There were times in each city I lived in that walking took up a lot of our time. When we were walking through busy areas, we would take the opportunities to talk with those who would stop when we greeted them. I got used to being ignored fairly quickly, and learned ways to make connections quickly to get more out of those contacts. When we were walking through more rural areas, we had time to make plans for our visits, discuss things on our minds, entertain each other, and strengthen our friendship/companionship.

Sometimes those walks were great opportunities to discuss challenges as well. Clearly from this journal entry, my companion & I were having a rough time. I remember I annoyed her about something and it set off a bigger discussion about the way things were being done. 

Much of it boiled down to personality, experience, and culture. Sister P was my first native Portuguese companion and we realized we had different expectations of each other. Once our emotions came to a boiling point and we hammered it out, our ability to work together came much more easily. We understood each other better and we tried to be more compassionate toward each other. This was one of the great lessons of my experience as a missionary--how to live with another person, learn from each other, and the actual work it takes to love someone by serving them.

Often we face challenges,
some times they include long walks
or steep hills

Some times those we are walking with

don't quite understand 
where we are coming from
and these are the moments 
when we can stop, listen, & love.

I needed this reminder
especially after  this last week
at my house.
More on that on the fam blog: HERE.

A Day in My {Missionary} Life Series: Revisiting memories from my missionary adventures in Portugal--one day at a time. This year marks 10 years since I returned from my fast-paced, emotion-packed missionary life. I'll be sharing photos from my cheap camera, paragraphs from my tattered missionary journals, and bringing to life some of the memories that, while bright in my heart, are becoming dim in my mind. 

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