Tuesday, August 4, 2015

One-month Accomplishments

1 month home from the mission.  These are the boring stats as they slough from my brain:

9 job interviews; 3 job offers.  3 more interviews set up.
5 family home evenings participated in.
4 dates: 2 with the same girl, 1 with another girl's family.
1 email to my sister on her mission in the Philippines.
5 times entered the temple.
8 medical appointments to general physician, dentist, and ENT doctor.
5 movies watched, plus 3 episodes of BBC's Sherlock.  Dull.  Boring.  Catch...you...later.
2 sessions of Institute attended; 3 church services for young single adults, 8 services in total.
7 Church leader talks read.  2 watched.
1 teaching appointment with English elders.  More to come with Spanish as well.
3 ukulele lessons taught.  2 songs learned.
1 wedding attended.  Good friend.  Was.  Disgusting.
Gas pumped 2 times.
4 packets of Filipino Ramen prepared and consumed with chopsticks.
Almost 44 eggs eaten for breakfast, 89% sunny side up.
2 trips to Cafe Rio, 4 to McDonald's, 1 to Wendy's.
7 Filipino get-togethers with Filipino food.
11 new people met outside of my family who speak Tagalog.
1 YouTube video uploaded.
12+ hours in three-day segments of job-search seminars attended.
~20 posts on social media, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn; 2 serious posts.
2 decent pictures.
$308.40 spent on textbooks.
3 batches of sauerkraut pending.
1 haircut not had.
1 windshield wiper blade replaced, out of 2.
2 more languages initiated on Duolingo.
2 blog posts.
0 personal items needing replacement since mission, i.e. deodorant, gel, cologne, &c.
4 resumes created, 2 cover letters.
70+ words per minute typing.
27 days until Fall 2015.  I'd better have a job by then, maybe a girl too.
1 brain fried from sleep deprivation.
Infinite more projects that I need and want to work on.  Not enough human time for planning or execution.
33 useless statements in this blog post.


Sincerely,
Russell deJesus

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Two Weeks Home

Adjusting back from two years of life as a missionary frustrates me.  After 10,000 hours of performing a complex task, the performer is considered professional.  At eighteen months, I was technically professional at planning, proselyting, and teaching and mentoring, leaving me with six months to actually utilize that profession.  After those six months of using that profession, I stepped aboard a plane that took me away from that professional life into a completely foreign world (my family moved to a different neighborhood as soon as I left for my mission).  I have no job, no friends, no personal phone, no ghettos or chicken shacks to wander into, and no formal responsibility to counsel people.  This must be what it feels like to have your umbilical cord cut (except, anatomically speaking, cut umbilical cords feel no pain).

To keep me busy, I filled Google Calendar with events such as scripture study and Institute of Religion classes, physicals and dentist visits, job searches and seminars, and hangouts and dates.  I am one who does not believe that we can ever run out of responsibility.  Perhaps the most tragic ignorance is that of responsibility.  When we run out of responsibility, would we not thus become held responsible for seeking out more responsibilities?

I gave a talk at church on that same thing, calling it enduring to the end.  I reiterated to the congregation what the Bishop told me prior to my talk.  The purpose for having homecoming talks is to excite the young upcoming missionaries to go on their own missions.   I told the congregation that he instructed me to tell a couple of mission stories so they can glimpse at the life of a missionary in New Jersey.  I did so, sharing stories about Irvington and Bernard, and also quoting Eminem.  At the end of my talk on enduring to the end, I mentioned my belief that the best way to teach is to teach a question.  I taught them what Stephen Covey calls "beginning with the end in mind."  To what end are you enduring?  In other words, why would you go on a mission?  Then, targeting other members of the congregation (as inspired by the Lord in His temple prior to me writing the talk), why get married if it won't last forever?  Why go to heaven when you expect no more responsibility?  Why live?  What's the goal?

Again, I spent two years, practically 24/7, teaching these things, so I could go on.  But I have decided to make this blog my professional blog from now on.

Here is what I have learned so far in my two weeks home:

People are not so individually different two years back, but the general population seems to have changed dramatically.  My brother is still my brother, my friends, my friends.  But my brother is not still my brother in Rush Valley, but in Stonebridge, neither are my friends my friends from high school.  Individuals retained their personalities and most behavior, but the general population now differs from the general population two or three years ago.

Jobs with my specifications seldom appear in the average job search engine.  It takes creativity, sometimes, to network or be invited to a job interview.

Scholarships also take work.

I am very inspired to change my major from Physiology and Developmental Biology (premed) to Communications.  The Communications major allows me to be versatile in the skills and talents that I enjoy in studio art, calligraphy, film, music, comedy, writing, education, special needs, medicine, culture and languages, &c., and provides paths to career fields such as speech-language pathology, stage-and-screen travel, and diplomacy and saving the world.  This is what I have been telling future employers now, as I have a background in translating documents and speak five languages.

Here are a few purposes for blogs, as explained in the article, "Dear Founders, Startups Are Easier If You Write Everyday:"

  1. Get better at explaining your ideas to others – if you can’t form a few sentences that make sense to other people, you won’t be able to explain these same ideas in person.
  2. Explore a long-form idea over a series of posts. In the same way that you have a conversation with people over an extended length of time, your thoughts on a topic may change. Write about it – the results may surprise you.
  3. You never know who you will meet. Amazing people will find you because they read what you write. The possibilities are endless.
Whether for simplifying ideas for others, exploring long ideas, or networking, the cliche adage holds true, that blogs cannot contain every thought or feeling of any human, even a human as simple as I.  But I plan to devote the rest of my blog entries to my findings in subsequent studies, particularly in those areas aforementioned that I hold close to my heart.  I promise that the entries will be brief.  Again, the cliche, "don't make promises you can't keep."  But those are the best kind.  I hope future employers (and children) find this blog useful.  I do; typing and writing down my thoughts ensures that I can stop worrying about them.

Thanks for reading.


Russell deJesus

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

July 6, 2015 - What.

Departing
Well,

We're getting doubled out.  See ya in a few hours.

Love,
Elder deJesus

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Checked Out

Hi,

Well, I've pretty much checked out.  Forget that last email that said that I'm not trunky.  Going home, baby!

Just kidding.  Well, half-kidding.  I worked as hard as our new technological responsibilities permitted.  For example, we were expected to laboriously transcribe most of the paper teaching records from past missionaries (the area book) into our new electronic record book (the Area Book Planner app) in our iPads.  We spent much of our backup proselyting time in places with wifi hotspots, such as libraries and coffee shops.  We were to do so before Saturday, and we barely met the deadline.  We have more to transcribe too, so we expect to take some more time in libraries transcribing records this coming week.

The sort of downtime from missionary work caused me to seriously reflect on what kinds of things I should do when I return.  I planned activities and a schedule that will permit me to accomplish these activities.  They cover topics such as my physical and dental health, education, career and finance, spiritual studies, marriage and family, and hobbies.  I just don't wanna be a less-active member of the Church or throw away any minute of my life.

Anyway, kinda a boring week and a boring email.  But the Gomezes are progressing!  I love that family.  I'm sure that Jayden will eventually go on a mission.  And we found Elizabeth and her family.  They are so excited to be baptized!  And I'm going back to school!

Love,
Elder deJesus

Monday, June 15, 2015

Past Three Weeks, Next Three Weeks

Well,

I got 5 minutes left.  

I will miss Jew Nersey.  I will miss even this white man's town; there are a few things that keep me sane.  For example, in front of the library, we encounter the most peculiar people, one of which sports a veiny abdominal protrusion that she said was caused by a radiation ball from an emergency helicopter that hit her during childbirth in the military.  She attempted to cut it out using a dull and rusty scalpel, but her abdominal muscles proved tougher than the blade, so she shaved her head.  Another person graced us with comments such as, "I'm not Chinese; I'm Colombian!" when asked if he has ever heard of the Mormon missionaries.  We taught him the first lesson.

The only productive thing I remember us doing this week with two minutes left was that I rearranged my schedule for college and looked at a few scholarships and other checklist items.  Also, we found 9 new investigators total these past two weeks.  Other than that,

Please rest assured,
I'm Not Trunky

Thursday, June 11, 2015

June 8, 2015 - TMJ Disorder

Ow,

My jaw hurts.  Apparently, I have some sort of disease in the joint.  I've been taking stacks of ibuprofen, which makes driving more complicated.  Just kidding.  I haven't been driving under the influence of ibuprofen.

But things be jiggy.  I've been blessed by these past three weeks.  These past three weeks will be the ones that will make me miss my mission the most when I go home.

Yesterday, during church, Elder Taylor and I received the privilege of teaching about the priesthood in Sunday school.  One of the class members asked an interesting question about women and the priesthood.  The Spirit was present as our very own sister missionaries testified of the divine roles that God has given us.

During the fast-and-testimony sacrament meeting, testimonies were borne so powerfully that I could only compare the experience to the day of Pentecost described in the Bible, when the ancient Apostles awaited to be endowed with power.  The brother that I described last week, whose career in the NFL ended after a severe stroke bore his testimony and the Holy Spirit rushed into the room like a wind.

He asked me to help him walk for the first time in church after four years, as his whole left side did not function.  As I grabbed him by his left elbow and left shoulder to lift him, I was reminded of when Peter caused the lame man to walk through his faith in Jesus Christ.  We walked to the front of the chapel and I held the mic for him.  He recited to the congregation the first paraphrased scripture that he proudly memorized after his stroke.  He said, "Never give up.  Faith is never giving up.  The scriptures say that we have to be baptized and receive the Holy Ghost.  Then we can stand before God at the last day.  It says to stand, not sit in a wheelchair."

The bishop of the congregation bore his testimony about how it was this brother's faith that caused him to walk.  As I wheeled him out of the chapel after church, I saw the eyes of everyone still wet with tears.  Many of them thanked the brother for his testimony.

At the end of the day, we taught Jayden with his parents.  His dad, who attended the church meetings, commented on how he only wanted to be active in the Church again because it is a good social club for his son.  He said that when he came to church again yesterday, he fell back into the habit that he was in when he was on his mission.  He said that for the first time in years, his faith had been rekindled by the testimonies of that brother and others.  He bore his testimony to Jayden and us that he knew that the gospel is true.  He and his family will be active again!

The Gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored through this Church, and I am excited to experience more things like this after my mission is over.  This is what Brazilians call saudade.

Love,
Elder deJesus

( saudade: nostalgia )

And I just read this, in honour of the Apostle Elder L. Tom Perry, who passed away.  He said this when he visited our mission:

“I promise you by the power of the Holy Priesthood I hold and the Holy Apostleship, that the Lord will be there to help you, instruct you, comfort you, give you words and expressions, give you peace and give you experiences that will give you everlasting joy throughout your life.”

That promise was just fulfilled (:  Man, I sound like a fruit, but it feels alright.


June 1, 2015 - Stake Temple Trip

Oh, hey,


Jayden was confirmed yesterday.  He is so excited.  We have taught him one of five new-member lessons so far.  His parents are on their way to receive callings in the ward.  They seem eager to participate in the ward, as we observed in Gospel Doctrine class.

On Saturday, Elder Taylor and I were able to help with the Caldwell Stake temple trip.  One of the brothers was in a wheelchair.  He used to be a safety on the Indianapolis Colts football team and is a very large man.  His career ended when he suffered a stroke that disabled him to walk; his whole left side is paralyzed and he has stayed in his wheelchair for four years now.

At the Manhattan Temple, we helped this brother out of his wheelchair to change into appropriate baptistry clothing.  We wheeled him into the baptismal room in the temple and guided him up several steps leading to the font.  Then we lowered him into the font and watched as he performed baptisms for his ancestors.  Tears diluted the chlorinated water of the font as the faith of this brother emanated into the souls of everyone watching.  The past two weekends have been powerful witnesses to me that the missionary work that our Church engages in is from God.

Well, things be jiggy.  Oh, and we got hatdwogs from the corner after the temple trip.

Stay classy,
Elder deJesus