Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Austin - Madison Wisconsin - Aug 16, 2010

How do I even begin? It seems like forever since I last emailed. And even last weeks email, I'll admit, was pretty lame. We had finished playing golf late and didn't have much time to email so I just tried to send a quick one.

I'm just going to start typing, it might be out of order and stuff but whatever.

Yesterday Elder Kelly and I got a late call from our Branch President saying that he got an odd phonecall from a guy in San Diego telling him to send the missionaries to a person in the hospital. He told us it was a brief phonecall and he only knew the name but didn't know how to spell it and what hospital and instructions for us to go visit this lady who is supposedly going through liver failure and may or may not be a member or related to a member. We made some phone calls and figured out she was in the ICU at the University of Wisconsin hospital. It was 9:05 at night and we walked in to her room and we saw an incredibly sick, jaundice affected middle-aged latina with an older lady sitting by her side, that was her mother. We explained who we were and the Mom told her daughter, "it's the missionaries from your Uncle's church. They are here to help." They lady just looked in to our eyes and started to cry. She was in so much pain. As we tried to talk to her and comfort her (she had a very hard time speaking back) the memory of her dark pupils floating in a sea of yellow catching my eye, we didn't stop looking at each other for a good couple minutes as it seemed our spirits were talking. She was begging for help. It was a remarkable feeling but I felt a Christ like love for that woman and I had just met her. We gave her a blessing and she appreciated it so much. I think she thought that we were angels or something she asked Elder Kelly, "can you see yourself in the mirror?" Elder Kelly played along and looked in to the mirror and told her, "Yup, I can see myself. Can you see yourself?" She replied, "No.....no I can't. I'm trying." It defintely had a little more weight than her simply saying that she couldn't sit up enough to see herself in the mirror. We just stood by her side for a good 20 minutes comforting and encouraging her. At the end of it we got a good smile out of her which her Mom said she hadn't seen from her for a couple weeks. It was hard. Elder Kelly and I were both so drained after that. It was hard to see. And the reason she had liver failure was because she started drinking because of marriage problems. Her husband is sick too from drinking as far as I could tell from what the mother said. Thank heaven she didn't have any kids though.

Elder Kelly and I played golf this morning at a real golf course. It was so cool, golfing is such a cool environment. I did so well the first 9 holes but I was getting worn out the last 9 holes. It's tough. On the 6th hole I got on  the green in one shot! I couldn't sink the put though, that would have been cool to get a birdie on my first time golfing at a real course (before we had just been golfing at a little free course). Anyways, it was suuuper fun, we had a cart and everything and the weather was phenomenal! Oh, and there were Hispanics on lawn mowers while we were playing and we started talking to them and they just loooved us. They were so funny making fun of my shot and stuff, and one of them was giving me advice like what iron to use. I came out with a seven one time and he was like, "no no, you're doing it wrong, that's definitely a six." hahha And then another guy looked around in the tall grass and found five lost balls and gave them to us. They were cool.

So tranfers are coming this Thursday, I already know I'm going to Milwaukee, I don't know who is going to be my companion yet but we have a pretty good idea who it is going to be. Elder Kelly is also moving too, he is going to be a Zone Leader over the Madison Zone but he's going to be in a different area, Janesville. So poor Madison Spanish is going to have two new missionaries. Elder Kelly and I have a lot of work to do before Thursday to clean up the place and make sure the area book is thorough and we make the transition as easy as possible for the new missionaries. But it's going to be weird, my 20 month streak in Milwaukee begins this Thursday. I'm excited and unsure at the same time. Elder Kelly tells me that it will be hard to never be surprised at tranfers sicne I know I'm going to be staying in Milwaukee for the rest of my mission. And I was thinking about it the other day, I have to be so careful to never get on the bad side of any members in Milwaukee. I plan on doing lots of service for the members. Instead of running in there on fire and expecting everyone to start doing member missionary work. I recently read through the Ammon story to see how he did it since he served a long mission in the same area too. And it struck me that it said the Lord told him to be patient to be an example to the people. So I'll have to definitely practice that when I don't see immediate success coming out of Milwaukee. It's going to be like a game of golf. I'll need mental toughness and precision for all 18 holes. hahha

Sonya fell off the face of the earth. She is suppose to get baptized this Saturday along with her daughter buuuut there hasn't been anyone in her apartment for 7 days and her phone is disconnected. Apparently she has family in Dodgeville so Elder Kelly thinks she might have moved but he isn't sure why she wouldn't call us. So we're really not sure what to do with that. She wasn't at church either sooooo quien sabe??

Oh, I got to do service at a food pantry last week and it was so cool. It's this really cool service where poor people can come in a literally receive free food and they are giving a certain amount of "points" to spend in the store depending on how many people they are trying to provide for and their income. I got to help a couple of Latinos and they just appreciated it so much that I spoke Spanish, usually the volunteers there are just older white people or students from the local high school. But it was a cool experience, I'll definitely try to find a food pantry in Milwaukee.

So now that Elder Kelly and I are leaving we have like 8 lunch/dinner appointments that are going to happen before we leave in 4 days. Sheesh why didn't we get this many before? I'm thining we should have announced every week that we were going to leave and then when it didn't happen just tell them, "oh it got pushed back another week, for sure we're leaving next week." I bet we could keep that up for a couple months.

I'm really starting to hit a good stride lately. I'm starting to find the balance between helping people feel comfortable and the urgency of conveying the gospel message. It's a hard mix, most people are very uncomfortable to talk to missionaries and so you need to take some time to just talk about anything and help them feel uncomfortable but then when it comes to gospel topics to be able to draw from that comfortability during the free talk and bring that in to the gospel topic is tough. A lot of the people tense up when we start talking about it and make less eye contact or start fidgetting. And sometimes if they obviously feel super uncomfortable we don't even bring up the gospel. We figure that it's better for them to think, "Oh hey, it's not so bad to talk to those gringos in white shirts." And then have future missionaries already have a good step on the conversation when they run in to them again.

I've thought of you all a whole lot this week. I'm not sure why but it seems like a lot of stuff happened this week that reminded me of ya'll. Also, Cecillia and Abinadi are getting married soon, they got the paperwork and they just need to fill it out (they are the ones with the daughter that reminds me of Alaina.) I promise I'll send the memory card this week. Sorry I've been terrible about letters and stuff, p-days are sooo busy and I can't write any other day of the week. No excuses. I'll be better.

Much love,
Elder Papritz

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