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Interesting Missionary Situation Dot Dot Dot


Duncan

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A couple of months ago we had two additional elders in our ward for a few weeks and the ones serving here didn't really know what was going on. One of them had served a transfer in our ward previously so everyone knew him. Last night I found out the whole story. These two missionaries were "learning how to live" Basically they didn't know how to cook, clean, do laundry (or they didn't do it) and the branch they were serving in the members complained to the Mission President about their personal hygiene. On top of that neither of them are what you call the most social of people. But you can't help but love them though! So, they were here to learn to do all this stuff and saw a counsellor to help with their social skills. I have never heard of this before

kind of funny one of them is a little larger and once he was showing someone how to get baptized and was going through the hand motions and he slipped and fell on the baptisee...! would have paid to have seen that!

Edited by Duncan
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I have long thought that there needs to be a class at the MTC teaching basic social skills so that elders (i'm sure a few sisters could use it too but i've only had experience with elders havings issues with this so far) would have a clue on how to behave when they are guests at dinner.

I've sat through way to many excruciating meals with missionaries who won't talk and have no idea how to keep a conversation going, where they won't hardly look up from their plates even or make eye contact. And then the really fun times are where they will only talk to each other and go on and on laughing at inside jokes or whispering about things between themselves while the family hosting the meal is completely ignored.

It makes it really hard to trust them with investigators.

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I'm afraid I'd be guilty of not training my sons as well as I could have and would be worried that would be one of my sons in the future. Looking at missionary photos of my older sons mission apartments tells me that alot of work needs to be done to teach cleaning methods. But I guess it doesn't bother the youth as much as when we get older. I wonder if the age of 18 yrs old will be a problem in that respect? They're just babies it seems like. Hopefully there will be some help in the MTC on how to live on your own. For a 5th Sunday once, our ward had some previous Mission Presidents speak (I"m calling his wife is a Mission Pres. here). They both said there was a problem with the missionaries not knowing how to work hard and not knowing how to keep up a place, like cooking and cleaning. I guess that's the parents responsiblity, poor people.

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Missionaries come in all sizes, colors, shapes, and with a divergent set of personalities. Some are quite bright while others are not so bright; still others are humorous while others are rather serious; some know the serious end of a broom while the other does not even know what a broom is. Generally living skills get worked out during the first companionship where a senior companion takes the junior companion under his wing and teaches him all the skills necessary to be successful on their mission....and sometimes that means this is soap, this is a washcloth, this is the shower, every morning you lather up completely and rinse off. I don't think we find these types of experiences as often as was found years ago; it seems young people are not as often found living on the farm and other country areas where a different lifestyle was enjoyed. However, there are the rare exceptions where it is necessary. I would have thought that most of these types of problems would have been straightened out at home and through the raising the bar directive. A mission is not the place to correct the mistakes of poor parenting, but it is a place where compassionate teaching takes place often.

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I have long thought that there needs to be a class at the MTC teaching basic social skills so that elders (i'm sure a few sisters could use it too but i've only had experience with elders havings issues with this so far) would have a clue on how to behave when they are guests at dinner.

I've sat through way to many excruciating meals with missionaries who won't talk and have no idea how to keep a conversation going, where they won't hardly look up from their plates even or make eye contact. And then the really fun times are where they will only talk to each other and go on and on laughing at inside jokes or whispering about things between themselves while the family hosting the meal is completely ignored.

It makes it really hard to trust them with investigators.

it's so true, it is SO true. if they can't do the basics like laundry for crying out loud then how can I let them know about my friends. I had one comp. who ate like a pig and made noises...I could have died a thousand deaths when we ate out..so I enrolled him in my charm school

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I was at a dinner appointment once where fried chicken was served. After cleaning the bone of my piece of chicken and licking my fingers, I looked up for another and saw everyone else using fork and knife to eat theirs.

Edited by BCSpace
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I don't mean to be critical... but... based on my experience with the way some of the ward sisters keep their own homes, it does not surprise me that some young missionaries don't know how to keep up their living quarters.

In RS emphasis is placed on the importance of creating a clean, comfortable environment in our homes, yet some sisters seem to let this go in one ear and out the other. Some of the most faithful sisters have the worst homes... I mean pretty bad... and they are the first to sign up to have the missionaries over for dinner (I shudder).

When we have Church potlucks, sometimes I'll ask... Oh, who made this?... and will not hesitate to move on even though I keep my reasons to myself and trust that the blessing on the food will be just that... a blessing on the food.

from the beach on a cold, gray winter's day... GG

Edit to add: Whenever I cook for a potluck, I take general precautions such as wiping down all of the countertops with antibacterial wipes/cleaner, scouring the cutting boards, mopping the floor (because I have a cat)... then I wear a hair net, and wash my hands frequently. I would hate to have anyone become sick over food that I had prepared so I'm careful to take steps before and during cooking.

Edited by Garden Girl
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This is SOMEWHAT a different subject, but my daughter reports that of all the companions she had, only one knew how to and liked to cook. Most of the others bought frozen dinners and/or prepackaged meals. Sigh. It's a different world out there than the one us old folks lived in.

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I was at a dinner appointment once where fried chicken was served. After cleaning the bone of my piece of chicken and licking my fingers, I looked up for another and saw everyone else using fork and knife to eat theirs.

That happened to me BC... when I was a girl, before each senior prom most of the couples would go out to dinner somewhere special in their formals and tuxes. One of the nicest was The Magic Lamp in Cucamonga CA (now Rancho Cucamonga). Across the highway from it was the Sycamore Inn. Anyway, this one time 3 couples went to The Magic Lamp... most ordered steaks, but this other girl and I ordered the fried chicken... she was from a wealthy family, I was middle class... anyway, our chicken arrived... beautiful big pieces... she proceeded to eat hers with a knife and fork... but I was embarrassed because I didn't know how and so I feigned a touchy stomach and left mine!! I didn't even ask for a doggie bag because what would I do with it...

anyway, I learned my lesson, and, how to eat chicken with a knife/fork. I was never embarrassed again and would eat either with my fingers or utensils depending on what type of a restaurant it was... but I'll never forget my embarrassment that prom night.

GG

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she was from a wealthy family, I was middle class

Seems to be a common thread. I was certainly of middle class background and this dinner appointment was in the wealthy area of Whittier up in the hills. I was embarrassed, but that didn't stop me though I did use the silverware on my next piece. No one mentioned it to me or gave me bad looks as far as I could tell. I still eat chicken with my hands whenever I am able.

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Seems to be a common thread. I was certainly of middle class background and this dinner appointment was in the wealthy area of Whittier up in the hills. I was embarrassed, but that didn't stop me though I did use the silverware on my next piece. No one mentioned it to me or gave me bad looks as far as I could tell. I still eat chicken with my hands whenever I am able.

That's why it's finger licken' good.
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About 8 or 9 years ago, I befriended some Elders from the Arizona Phoenix Mission. Twice a month I would do something with them on their p-day. Our favorite activity was when I spent $200 on some hard liquor with a very high alcohol content and I taught them how to make cocktail molotovs. We had a blast! It was interesting to get a phone call from the Mission President asking me why I taught his missionaries to make and play with explosives. I thought I was gonna be in deep doo doo. But he was cool about it and asked me not to do that any more. Well, I didnt until after he left the mission and the new president came in.

However, I have realized that I'm not so much afraid of the presidents but their wives are different story. I have gotten in trouble with the wives more than being lectured by the president. Them Mrs. Presidents scare the hell outta me.

I do like the socially awkwards missionaries. They have the potential to be dirtbags. Dirtbag missionaries are the ones you can have a good time with and who aren't "letter of the law" type. Sister dirtbags are rare but they can be fun too and the most devious. The other missionaries are just Elders or Sisters and I love them for their sweet spirits but despise their idolatry of Bruce McConkie.

Edited by Valentinus
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However, I have realized that I'm not so much afraid of the presidents but their wives are different story. I have gotten in trouble with the wives more than being lectured by the president. Them Mrs. Presidents scare the hell outta me.

Oh yeah?... wait 'til you meet God and Mrs. God...

GG

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My husband had a companion that licked his plate at one of the members homes. He about died!

My brother in law tells a story from his mission where two sets of missionaries were living in a mobile home. One night at dinner they cooked steaks that had been given to them. The problem was there were five steaks in the package. One of the missionaries picked up the extra steak with his fork and licked one side and set it back on the platter. Another one reached over with his fork and turned the steak over and picked it up and liked the other side and set it back down. Brother in law said that first elders table manners began to improve dramatically after that.

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I was at a dinner appointment once where fried chicken was served. After cleaning the bone of my piece of chicken and licking my fingers, I looked up for another and saw everyone else using fork and knife to eat theirs.

Civilized people do not use a fork and knife to eat fried chicken. I'm sorry but that is just plain wrong. Fried chicken was invented to be eaten without forks or knives. :)

Edited by ERayR
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I'm going to have my brother teach me how to cook, if only basically, before I go on my mission.

Somehow, it appeals to me to be a missionary with the ability to cook, particularly when my companion can't. It's an act of service to prepare food for another, and I find myself desiring the blessings that come from simple acts of service.

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I taught my wife how to cook, and she is now the world's best! I guess I was different, but in high school, I would read a recipe and ask my mom if I could make it, and she would always say, "Sure! Go for it!" My roomates in college all ate "college kibble" (Marshmallow Mateys) and frozen food, and I cooked. It made for lots of leftovers (which they ate, too). It helped with the ladies, too ----- I remember one Sunday, calling around the BYU ward asking girls if they had ground cloves, and nobody did, except for one apartment. They asked what I needed it for, and I told them I was making a spice cake. The girl said, "Tell you what. You borrow the cloves and make the cake, and bring it over and we will make your apartment dinner and we share the cake." Deal! :)

Germans cook a lot more than Americans do, and all of my native companions were excellent cooks. I baked fresh bread almost every day on my mission (you can live off of fresh baked bread if you have nothing else), and I often made mashed potatoes, meat, etc. When I was a bishop, I baked the sacrament bread every Sunday (long story behind that), but when I was released in November, I was asked to keep baking it (the members revolt on the rare occasions that we are out of town and they have store bread). The bishop asked that my 12 year old son make the bread now, and he does ---- and does a really good job.

As far as people skills and etiquette go, I have noticed that our baptisms and member missionary work are directly related to how good the people and conversational skills of the missionaries are. Of course, the Spirit is the most important, and even "gomers" can be good missionaries and be successful, but there's no denying that our ward missionary work follows the same trend of missionary personality.

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I couldn't believe it when my son told me that when members asked him and his companion what they liked for dinner they would say, steak! I guess they were tired of spaghetti. But I was so mad (inside) at my son for saying steak!!! The members spoiled the missionaries rotten. Oh, well, I guess I can attribute it to their age...and not knowing the difference in the cost of steak and maybe spaghetti!

Edited by Tacenda
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My 17 year old is going to make an Elder a lucky companion he is already a very excellent cook and many of our kitchen appliances he owns. I think back on my mission we once used canned mackerel for the meat in our spaghetti :bad: (do not do this).

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I baked fresh bread almost every day on my mission (you can live off of fresh baked bread if you have nothing else), and I often made mashed potatoes, meat, etc. When I was a bishop, I baked the sacrament bread every Sunday (long story behind that), but when I was released in November, I was asked to keep baking it (the members revolt on the rare occasions that we are out of town and they have store bread). The bishop asked that my 12 year old son make the bread now, and he does ---- and does a really good job.

.

My son had a job in a bakery before his mission so his wife, who loves to cook, generally does everything else but leaves the bread to him.

I love that your 12 year old son is doing it now...what a special way to help prepare the sacrament, a rather intimate way to share it with the whole congregation.

Edited by calmoriah
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While I didn't serve a mission, at age 17 I left home and got a job washing dishes. Within a month I was being trained to be a cook. My parents are hard workers and they taught me and my sisters how to work hard. So many parents do everything for their children and don't help them learn how to take care of themselves and others.

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