Friday, March 5, 2010

Thursday, March 4, 2010 (My big brother, Jim’s birthday 1945)

Today is not only my big brother Jim Johnson’s birthday but it is the only day we make any progress during the year. Because today we “March Fourth!” And speaking of progress, today I got a lot of “Diligencias” done. I picked up 4 packages at the “Aduana” and spent an hour at “Centro de Servicio” again this week. While there I worked with Hna. Jarne German on the Neyba Branch budget and checking account. I also went to Hna. Dayanara’s office to straighten out a lot of problems Hna. Johnson is having with IMOS. It seems we will never get IMOS to work smoothly. Three other people I wanted to see weren’t even in their offices or I would have spent another hour there. I finished this morning “Diligencias” with a stop at the bank to make a deposit for the mission.

This afternoon I went to the “CCM” (Santo Domingo Mission Training Center) and the “Casa de Huespedes” to deliver mail to the missionaries there. I spent an hour at the “Tienda” (Temple Store) purchasing tons of stuff for the Elder and Sisters in the mission. When I got back I worked the rest of the afternoon in the office catching up of bookwork. It was a successful day.

While I was on my errands today I noticed how many trees are leafless and look dead or dying. Mirador Park that runs 5 miles through Santo Domingo is full of big beautiful trees but now the park looks like it’s in Nebraska during winter. I think I know why the trees have lost their leaves and it’s not because they’re deciduous and it’s winter. It doesn’t get cold enough here to make trees drop their leaves. The reason is lack of rain. We haven’t had significant rain in the capital since Christmas. I thought winter in the Dominican Republic was the rainy season, well I think I was misinformed. Except for the 3 days of rain at Christmas time we haven’t had rain in 5 months. I hope it starts raining soon and greens up the city again.

This afternoon we received word that we are losing another missionary. This time the Elder isn’t going home because he is sick, he’s being sent home because of his temper and fighting! He doesn’t have the social skills to get along with his companions. Instead of working out differences, reasonably and rationally with his companions, he attacks them! The missionary was given reprieve after reprieve. He was counseled and admonished. But last night was the last straw. The damage done to companions, the public, physical facilities and the reputation of the church is irreparable.

More than a decade ago we heard our inspired prophet say that we need to “Raise the Bar” for missionaries to enter the mission field. I know that having good social skills, a sound mind and good mental health is one of the bars that the prophet was talking about. Being able to get along with a companion is a social skill that is absolutely a must in the mission field. If a young man or woman hasn’t learned it before they enter the MTC they are in for a rude awakening.

I know that the Lord’s church has divinely inspired men leading it. I also know it is hard for priesthood leaders to say no to a young person that wants to go on a mission. It is especially hard to say no to parents that want their son or daughter to serve a mission. But the mission field is not the place for a young person if they are immature, hotheaded, lack self control and discipline. The mission field is not the place to learn these skills either. They must be taught at an early age by loving parents and caring leaders.

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