It was fun to skype with you guys on Christmas, even though I couldn’t see you. Now that all the parties are over, it’s back to work. Luckily, the next time we talk face to face will be at home!
After skyping, the week continued with some fun activities for us. We had a ward talent show on Saturday and they told us, the missionaries, that we had to do something. As well as being forced we felt like we should participate because we weren’t sure if too many members would do anything – and we didn’t want it to be a flop. We kept putting off our sketch until Friday night, which reminded me of the many late night school projects I’ve had. We decided to write our own “church history rap”! 4 hours after we started, we had rehearsed and polished a pretty sweet sounding rap.
I tried committing my part to memory, and thought it’d go over well. Saturday night came around and a lot of people were participating in the talent show. Even without us, it was a quality activity. But our turn came around and we took our place in the middle of the floor. Our rap started and it was good. BUT I FORGOT ALL MY LINES! Absolutely terrible stage fright. I managed to get out the first 2 or 3 lines but after that, I just drew a blank. Now here were my thoughts; “okay elder Johnson, what are you going to do? You are being watched by the whole branch and you forgot the lines to your rap. Up to these first 15 seconds, no one is too enthralled by the song. You are already in the middle of the floor so there is no going back.”
Well I decided to just go crazy with my dance moves!! If I couldn’t rap, I could at least dance while Elder Colindres raped his lines (Luckily, Elder Colindres raped all his lines and saved the song we wrote). So I started shuffling…and everyone went crazy!!! After that it was the Moon Walk, some Jerking, the Cranky Frank (a dance made up by elder hatch). The members got so excited to see me dance. In fact little primary children came on the stage with us and started dancing. In the words of Elder Colindres, “you know it’s good when the primary kids join in with you.” In the end we were happy and the branch was clapping and laughing. I should say, I’m so thankful I invested hours upon hours in church dances, cuz if I hadn’t I wouldn’t have been able to bust out all those moves haha.
I thought it was such a neat experience and also a good lesson. Looking at our skit, it was looking like a failure. We simply didn’t do what we had planned. I admit I literally FAILED at raping. But even though I failed at raping, we didn’t fail in the end. Our skit was actually a success. A big success. I think that erased some of my fear on criticism. Friday night, I was so scared that people wouldn’t like what we planned and that we would be embarrassed. But as soon as I decided that I was just going to do something no matter what, that fear of criticism went away, and people actually enjoyed it.
It’s kinda the same in life – right? We plan various activities from real performances, to dinners, to dates, to work, to service, to church lessons, to recreational activities, and it goes on and on. Sometimes we feel these activities are linked to our self-esteem and it’s possible that they might be criticized. True, we might fail in perfectly executing the plans (just like I failed my rap) – but when we simply do our best and go all out (like I did with my “white boy” dancing) things will work out. I remember watching a Mormon message where a young father basically said, I learned from my service in the church that I could put in my very best and that was always acceptable. This is just one of those fun life experiences you have on a mission.
Later on Sunday, I was asked to give a talk, 30 minutes before sacrament meeting! First time I’ve ever given a talk on my mission. Let’s just say I’m grateful that as a missionary you are always studying gospel topics, so they are always in the front of your head. Again, I had a little bit of stage fright which is normal, but did my best and people said it was a good talk!
I know you guys still have a week of vacation, so first off, enjoy the New Year’s Eve dance for me! Practice your Shuffling, because you never know when you could be in a third world country and need to entertain a big crowd. haha. And second, when school restarts have fun with your studies and at work as well. You’re going to fail in some aspects – but you can still be successful in the end :) I love you guys, like I said; talking with you was the highlight of the week. Keep safe and have some fun adventures this week!