Thursday, August 21, 2008

I Don't Know If I Could

Want an eye opening read?

Daily Bread

by Emily Milner

Segullah Fall 2007


I have no idea why this article made such a huge impression on me, or why it stays with me. I've never been to Equador. Nor have I ever been on a mission myself. And yet I go back and read it every now and then because it speaks so eloquently about things I take for granted every day.

This post just draws me in and makes me want to gag and cry and laugh at the same time. Not necessarily the description of your optimal spiritual experience. But there you go.

Come back and tell me what you think.

26 comments:

Paul said...

I think there really are some benefits of having served in the states.

Not that you don't still end up eating some unpleasant things. But uncleaned cow intestines? Oh. My. Gosh.

N8STER said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I love how she says that she prayed over every meal her entire life but had never truly been grateful for her food. I also love the part where I never served a mission in Ecuador. But my brother went to the Guayaquil mission, and now I have all kinds of questions for him. I don't remember him sharing stories like this!

~Kristy

Yvonne said...

Wow! That would be a real test of faith.

beckers said...

Yipes. That story is amazingly great, and completely gross at the same time. :) I was hungry before I sat down at the computer, and now?? Not so much!!

Two Princess Girls said...

The article weighted heavily on my heart. I can't imagine having to endure eating the food she describes. Yet she was full of grace and love for those that served her. What an inspiration for those of us who are much more fortunate and take simple things such as meals for granted.

Melissa said...

Wow... sometimes I wonder if I would have made it as a missionary... what a great story. Thanks for sharing... I'm off to have a bowl of Cheerios. Plain. That's about as crazy as I get with my food...

mormonhermitmom said...

Gives new appreciation for "please take this cup from me, nevertheless, not as I will..."

Heather said...

Love the article...

Salt H2O said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Salt H2O said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Salt H2O said...

I served in Chile and it wasn't that bad (the people weren't as poor) but the food was bad.

I was not nearly as righteous as this sister. Wow, what a great person. I found ways to get around eating the food.

In Chile they fed you like you were an Elder, and if you cleaned your plate they brought you another one. I tried the eating quickly method so the stomach would catch up later- but when they bring you a second plate you're asking for severe pain.

I ended up telling different the members that I could only eat chicken. (It saved me from a meal or two of intestines- but the chicken in Chile is laced with hormones so I started growing hair in places humans should NOT have hair!) In addition- I always had a plastic sack in my missionary bag to put food in when no one was looking. A lot of homes had inside dogs (easily fed underneath the table)

I'm grateful I didn't have the challenges that this sister had, but with the sacrifice I'm sure she loved the people even more.

East of Eden said...

This only cements my belief that the missionaries need to be given enough time and money to cook for themselves, no matter where they are serving. It is too much of a burden for members and it is too much that a missionary be asked to eat filthy food after going all day in missionary work. I know that's probably going to get me sent to somewhere not nice, but I don't think I could have had the grace this lady did.

Amy Peterson said...

We do take so much for granted! When we pinch pennies is no capri suns! I know makes me want to sale my house and move into a dirt floored hut somewhere so my kids will turn out ok!

Paul said...

E of E,

It doesn't really work that way. A lot of members see having the missionaries over as an opportunity - a blessing. And it's a chance for the missionaries to solicit referrals - by far, the best way to find investigators.

The stories you end up telling after your mission make situations like this worthwhile, IMO. Every time I went through something scary or trying on my mission, I thought, "THIS is going to make an AWESOME story!"

Think of the writer of this story. If she exclusively ate food that she had bought and prepared, what would we have read today? "I remember this one time, my companion and I found a sale on Macaroni and Cheese - it was THE BEST! And oh, the VARIETY! I bought spirals. And regular. And the kind shaped like little Dora and Diego characters. And. And."

Would anyone be blogging about such a story? I say NAY!

Stacey said...

I don't think I could do that..just reading about it makes me want to vomit. Kudos to that missionary!

Earl and Vickie said...

Thak you for showing me Segullah.

Charlie said...

I can completely relate to the author of that post. Being an immigrant myself, I know not to take for granted the most basic things, like food, running water, plumbing, and electricity. It's a very different world out there.

Tami Vincent said...

What a great testiment to knowing that if you serve the Lord he will give you the strength you need to get through. Love that article.

East of Eden said...

Paul, for what it's worth, I'm an RM. In my mission, a very poor Eastern European country, not even 5 years post communism, we were not allowed to eat with the mememebers, for the fact that it forced them to give up their meager resources to rich American kids who had the means to feed themselves. That's my point, most missionaries have the means, they need not put that burden on the membership. And you don't have to have a dinner appt to only ask for referals, there are many more effective ways of interacting with members, IMO.

I also have plenty of "cool stories" from my mission experience, but missions should be more than just creating "cool memories" to share with the folks back at home.

Em-Cat said...

I was a missionary in Uruguay, and let me tell you that the food wasn't nearly as bad as Ecuador, but I definitely ate some interesting things. I remember my senior comps eating for me when I couldn't finish a meal and I would do the same for my junior comps. I can't say, however, that I was always really good at it, there were a lot of things I couldn't bring myself to eat, so I would hide it in my bag (gross I know). The article definitely brought back memories though...This sister should be given a medal! It looks like she really had it down to a science.

Paul said...

E of E,

Sorry, I got the impression from your earlier post that you were a prospective missionary ("I know that's probably going to get me sent to somewhere not nice...").

Of course, every mission is different. What works in one mission might not work in another. You seem a bit angry, though ("but missions should be more than just creating 'cool memories' to share with the folks back at home"). I can't imagine anything I could have said or done to upset you - but please accept my blanket apology, regardless.

I bet you had some cool stories, serving in an area like that.

Elizabeth-W said...

Loved the part about truly being grateful.

Corrine said...

while in Brazil, we'd have families feed us while watching us eat, because all they had they gave to us. i always felt guilty eating their food. luckily for me they were so poor in my area that all they served was rice and beans...i did have intestines once...and the chicken feet which they loved I could never eat, and let their kids eat them because that was their favorite treat.

oh food, it truly is a blessing that i think we often forget.

kristen said...

Fantastic story!! I love it.

This brought back many memories.

Em-cat: I too served in Uruguay. I was there '97-'98 (probably before you....) When were you there?

It's amazing how God grants His missionaries with the gift to eat certain foods at certain quantities. Sometimes I still can't believe some of the things I ate, and that I really didn't get sick!! (Ok, I did; but nothing a little Pepto-Bismol couldn't cure.) And I totally did some of the tricks already mentioned: putting food in the bag when they left the room, or feeding it to one of the dogs.

Nancy Face said...

My brother served his mission in Equador. I'm not going to lie...I'm glad it was him and not me. Wow, that sounds terribly selfish! :0