Friday, July 31, 2009

Quit whining, Suck it up, & Go Do Your Job 7/31/09

Quit whining, Suck it up, & Go Do Your Job 

Friday July 31, 2009 written that night 5 minutes after coming in the door.

Sometimes it just seems like too much. Working within Russian culture with an American mind set makes Elder Simmons crazy. As Sister Guschen said, they wake up in the morning and expect to have a problem (many self-imposed) that they cannot fix and will have to live with. I wake up and wonder what someone is going to do that will make my day exciting.

This one today was something like the perfect storm; a series of missteps, misstatements, and missed opportunities. There is a YSA Conference in Yekaterinburg starting August 6th for which our mission only had to figure out how to get people to it. My job was ONLY to receive the entry fee and account for it. Finally 3 weeks ago the attendee list was completed and sent to me by the "20-something" young man that was in charge for our mission's effort to do so (he lives in Krasnoyarsk). I was only to give this list to the travel person in our office to buy the train tickets. He complained about the list being late and those tickets might not be available and then waited another week to start buying them.

August 2, 2009

I had to quit writing Friday night because I had to help prepare the table for dinner. The Zone Leaders were bringing an investigator to dinner and a discussion and we were late getting home because of the foul-ups that came to light all during the day.

This is Sunday and I had some extra time and thought I would finish the posting. I sat down at the computer and received another of God's "Tender Mercies" (little blessings); I cannot remember what was so upsetting Friday. I know the general subject, but I cannot write about the details. My mind is a total fog.

It is a miracle for which I am grateful every day. These frustrations caused by the culture clash seem so unnecessary and wasteful at the time that I can barely contain the negative energy they spawn, and yet the next day I am there doing my job as if yesterday didn't happen. It truly is a miracle.

OK, here is the one for today. I just got a phone call from the Zone Leader in a city 40 hours away from here telling me that he has a YSA Conference attendee from Novosibirsk who is visiting her family in that city and wants to know where her train ticket is. She says that a young adult who is in charge of the tickets in Novo said that she could have such an arrangement because she told me what was needed and I agreed to make it happen.

First of all, this young lady in Novo (name withheld) never mentioned it to me, mostly because she doesn't speak enough English to say that to me. She can hardly get out hello and good-bye, let alone explain what this traveling girl wanted and get my approval. Besides that, I am not the one that gives approval for anything on this Conference. I JUST COLLECT THE MONEY. Are you people listening? I AM NOT A DECISION MAKER HERE. I have assiduously referred all questions about tickets to our travel clerk employee who bought them. The fog has lifted for the moment, and I am back to the culture clash, feeling that anger and frustration again.

An hour has passed.

I just had an hour's venting with Sister Cindy about what makes me crazy here and the miracle is back. It is a fog in my mind that prevents me from recalling and mulling over the details of those things that make me absolutely . . . I'm not sure that there is a word for it.

I am angry that things are happening that should not occur, frustrated that I have not been able to correct or prevent them, personally hurt that I have not been able to do a better job in preventing these situations or handle them better, and ashamed at my own weakness in getting angry in the first place. Is there one word for that?

Anyway, the fog's back and I welcome it. It is a protection from all of the things that would cause me to violate the prime directive here which is, "Keep the Church in Russia and do what ever is necessary to keep the missionaries here to find those people who would accept the Gospel if they heard it."

I am ready to get to the office again on Monday and do what I can and what I am allowed to do. God has blessed me with a low tolerance for my own errors and I am praying every minute of every day for him to bless me with a high tolerance of the endemic inaccuracies and fallacies of the world I live in here.

What a job. What a country.


Shannon Simmons said...

love you dad. you can do this. the world is full of unhappy people, but you are one of the happy ones sent to remind them that there is something better than what they continually sit in. keep working hard:)

lelia said...

Amen and my prayers are with you - a well written account of anyday anywhere but maybe without the language handicap and cultural differences. Small stuff? Maybe? After having visited with you in your Novo invirons - I have a very clear picture of your joys and frustrations. You are doing a great job - Lelia

Trisha said...

I love you!

Mom/Cindy said...

Keep up the good work.I love you, too.

Marilyn said...

The fog is usually a blessing, a tiny miracle here at home too. Maybe that's one of the delightful things about getting older - more fog in order to release our stresses and concerns, especially over things we have no control. I've found that this past year has brought more and more fog and I can barely remember much of what has been distressing in my life. Thank goodness for fog!

Rosa Lee said...

Hang in there, Elder Doug. May we all recognize the fog for what it is and have it lifted from our lives by the light of Christ. Take courage for the Lord is on your side.....

samnarene said...

We enjoy reading your interesting blog. Your photos tell quite a story, too! :-) I am glad we had the opportunity to meet you in the Service Center in Moscow. Warm regards and best wishes to you both.

Bob said...

Sorry for the extra pain you are going through at the moment. But, as always, you seem to have discerned the spiritual purpose in the temporal problem.

English1 said...

Hi, Elder Simmons -

I have experienced the fog you speak of so eloquently, one time in particular that came as a result of intense prayer to be released from thinking about a particular situation for just a week. I just needed a brief break from the intensity of emotion I was feeling, so I could carry on and function normally. And so the blessing came to answer my need and I literally was unable to focus on the issue that had so weighed me down. It lasted one week exactly and was a powerful witness to me of the love our Heavenly Father and Jesus have for each of us, including me. Clearly, you are experiencing this over and over, so that your burden may be light and you may carry on His work. Thank you for sharing the reality of your situation and your gospel-centerd, personal perspective. Despite our varying circumstances (yours being quite unique), I relate to your words and emotions on many levels. Thank you for taking the time to write, as well as for being honest and thoughtful. Your efforts are cheered on continually across the ocean!