Original article posted by Greg:
My first day with my new companion in my new area went well. I may have mentioned he has a terminally happy attitude and seems willing to do whatever I want to do as far as missionary work and how we use our time.
However, he doesn’t speak much, and when he does it’s only in response to a question – and only the shortest answer possible.
The area is a huge change from the coastal town I just moved from. Here there are people a-plenty. And my companion and I managed to get referrals and first discussions in amounts that amazed both of us. (but especially him, I suspect)
Monday went well, and I was excited for the new opportunities available to me.
Tuesday was equally good, but my companion was pretty beat by the end of the day. So much that he wouldn’t talk, nor look at me, nor talk to me except to give short yes, no, and I don’t care answers. I was also pretty tired, and he suggested that we go home a bit early and make
calls rather than stay out all the way till 9:30. I said okay. But
he just got worse and worse. He was twitching by 9:45.
Out of nowhere he said “The mission really takes it out of me.”
To which I couldn’t think of much to say, but that I think it will get better.
Then he told me that president allows him to call home occasionally because he has had a hard time on the mission, what with leaving home
and not being used to being away from his family. Then he said that
probably he would be calling home that night.
Well, what can you say? I barely knew the guy, so I said sure, why not?
So he called home and spoke with his mom for a while.
The next day was even worse. The entire day he was a bundle of nerves.
I couldn’t communicate with him, and it seemed everything I did made him mad. He would hardly talk. If I remember right, it was that morning that he said he would “Probably be going home in a couple of weeks.”
I said oh. Then he said that his mom would call that night and let him know.
Basically, long story short, he’s been wanting to go home frequently throughout his mission. But his mother keeps telling him to stay. I told him that if he wanted to go home to just call president and tell him. Then president will immediately get you out of there, because a missionary who is not committed to doing the work is useless. And I told him that unless he can give 100% as if he was going to stay for 1.5 more years I didn’t want to work with him. He said he would. So we went out to work.
And I prayed my guts out that he would have a good day so that when his mom called at the end of the day he would be able to say that the day went well and maybe he’ll try it out a bit longer.
Well, he was good until the shank of the day, when that phone call loomed nearer and nearer. Then he got testy and agitated again.
Thursday was about the worst day as we did our weekly planning session.
He didn’t seem to understand or even want to understand my reasons for doing anything. He was shaking the whole time and never looked at me once. Then kept his back to me most of the rest of the day.
I found myself wondering where I would be transferred to next.
Thursday night brought another phone call.
Friday was an upturn in emotion, but still a day of endurance.
Saturday was about the same till we got to watch conference- which lifted both of us. (on a side note, go to conference with a problem or a question and you’ll definately get a lot more out of it.) Then sunday helped again with more conference and several good lessons.
Monday he seemed back to normal, and maintained it on tuesday. We’ve even started to almost converse after he had his interview with president on tuesday.
Please pray that he’ll figure out how to be happy doing what he’s doing.
and that I’ll know how best to help.
Well, in the process of this, I discovered something I hadn’t ever thought of before. Simply that addictions can include people too.
My companion has an addiction to his mother. His favorite scripture is
about believing in your mother. The scripture he shared in his talk yesterday at Zone Conference was about being strengthened by the convictions of mothers. He has told me that he didn’t ever have
friends, but spent most of his time with his parents. His reason for
coming and staying on his mission is his mother. When he thinks about her, his whole countenance darkens, and all he wants to do is go home.
When something goes unexpectedly or causes him any level of stress, he
wants to call his mother. Which makes him think about her for the
whole day. He starts shaking and twitching. Stops smiling. Doesn’t
want to work, and does whatever he can to quicken our return home so he can get his fix.
Now I have been critical, but I believe I have been honest, too. He
really has an addiction to his mother which affects him physically and emotionally and mentally. And it has been a harder week than I have had since I first arrived.
But, when he is focused on the day rather than the future or the past, he is the hardest working, happiest, most willing companion I’ve ever had.
Well, I can’t think of what to do except try to be his friend and get
him to trust me a bit. I think that Heavenly Father is trying to get
me to rely on him a bit more, because there’s no way we can be successful without his help this transfer.
Of course, uplifting and encouraging letters and pictures are always a
big help. My thanks to Tom, Ben and Blaine, all of whom are
tremendously uplifting in their correspondance.
Re: People Addiction
I think your diagnosis is accurate. I wrote you a letter today, by the way. Borf!