This week has been a challenging one, but a good challenge! Since it was Elder Sapden's first week of training it was am adjustment for the two of us. This week has really given me a lot of respect for my trainer or as we call it here my tatay (father). This week has alos given me a chance to think about my dad as its Father's Day! I want to share with you some lessons I have learned from him, and how it has helped me on my mission.
1- "Sometimes you just gotta choke it down Trev..." At home my dad uses this phrase when we eat something we don't like. This has helped me a great deal while adjusting to the food here. It has also been a source of laughs, when I'm about to eat soemthing gross (like dog, cat, frog, rat, whatever) I always hear my dad saying: "choke it down". There is also another lesson that I have learned from this that has to do with swallowing pride. No one likes to do lose an argument, and even if its hard, its always better just to "choke down" our own pride.
2-"FAILURE!!!!" We have a game called "Risk and Roll 2000". Being a part of the Johnson family we each very very competitive when we play board games, especially this one. You keep rolling the dice until you want to stop, or until you roll a losing "roll". When someone throws a bad roll my Dad and others join together in yelling "FAILURE!!" and we each get a good laugh out of it. I remember though when this tradition started, my sister Ellie and I hated playing the game because we would get embarrassed when everyone would yell "FAILURE", but as time passed, we learned to love failure, and try to do better next time. Like life we each get a little embarrassed when we fail, and even though people might not yell "FAILURE!!!" they might laugh at us. It's not learning how to fail they makes us great, but its learning how to laugh at ourselves sometimes, and try again!
3- "The Ten Commandments of Grooming" This has come in handy on my mission. My Dad is a huge grooming nut. He knows everything about dressing in formal attire. When he went to pick out a suit for my mission with me, he was the male equivalent of best friends helping a bride pick out a wedding dress. He also taught me how to tie a tie, polish my shoes, take care of my slacks and shirts, the importance of ironing a shirt, and other things some missionaries sadly don't know. In sacrament meeting once he wrote me "The Ten commandments of Grooming", which I still follow to this day!
4- "Don't Take Yourself Too Seriously" This is one of the last things he told me in person before I entered the MTC. Like number 2 on this list, we have to learn how to laugh at ourselves a little. We also made room for jokes with each other. Like "Flamin' or shamin'?", or the sick and tiny dance. He also taught me a lot about timing, and when it is appropriate to joke around. He always jokes around, but he still maintains his dignity.
These are just 4, but there are many other things that I have learned from my awesome Dad! I honestly think fatherhood is something that most of us take for granted. The world today sees them as just "breadwinners", "work-a-holics", and other demeaning things. to me, my Dad is a friend, a guy I can always have a man-to-man talk with, and a guy I can look to as an example. I love you Dad!
In other news we had to travel to Calsiao this morning for a meeting, but all the buses were full ( when a say full, I mean full. There are literally people hanging off the sides when they reach "capacity"). So we had to take a tricycle. Normally we only have 2 to 3 people riding at a time, and on occasion 4. But we decided to to save some money and try to do 6. Now take in mind, a tricycle consists of a motorcycle, and a side car. putting 4 people (plus the driver) is already pushing it, but 6 was a feat of engineering, and human flexibility. We ended up with 4 Elders in the side car, and 2 Elders (plus the driver) on the actual bike itself. In total we fit 7 people on this thing, the same number of people you can fit in a mini-van! After this experience, I learned a valuable lesson "There's always room for 1 more!" or as they say here: "Isa pa!" (one more).
This week was great, I love being here, and every minute is another reason why I know that Heavenly Father loves each of us.
Elder Trevor Kent Johnson (TWMYK)