Sometimes We Don’t Grow Up

As I was thinking back on my business trip oddly one of the first things I remembered was the second night there when I went to exercise in the hotel’s gym. A student/friend of mine was there on the treadmill and we talked for an hour and watched Backyardigans. And the funniest thing was the look of pure joy on his face as he watched their car turn into a boat when they fell into the river. Now, for context’s sake, he is a web designer/computer geek. I’m not sure exactly how that’s context, but his mind works in such imaginative realms that what we were watching was exactly how his mind worked when he was a kid (and continues to work still today). He said that his childhood games were mainly inventing things and imagining space adventures. And this is what makes him so good at what he does, he sees things in a completely different way.

Spending that time with him made me think back on my childhood games. And to be honest, most of them involved talking. I would play out on the island in front of our house (the area of land in the middle of the circle driveway, and have imaginary conversations with people. Yes, there adventures and mysteries to be solved, but all of it involved deep and drawn out conversations. I guess this may be what I continue doing in my life. Talking. And that’s probably why I had so much fun at Foz, because not only did I spend my time in the meetings talking to Elder Wilson (or sitting quietly playing grownup) but outside of the meetings I got to meet so many people!

Most of my conversations were due to the fact that I’m a volunteer. There were many administrators who have considered requesting volunteers for their unions or institutions, and wanted a first-hand look at what one was like. I will admit that’s a lot of pressure, but thankfully I thrive on pressure. And one thing I’ve noticed is that I always perform better when I’m representing something other than myself. Here in the Division I feel that I represent not only myself but the church in America, since many members here have a very low opinion of us. At the council, I represented the Adventist Volunteer Service not only to Elder Wilson but every South American administrator I came in contact with. And I was so pleased to hear several people tell the volunteer coordinator, “If we can get a volunteer like that, we’ll sign up today.”

Secretary of the Northeast Brazil Union.
Such a sweet man!

And I actually got several offers to come serve in different parts of the continent. I got used to hearing, “If you want to give another year Angela, we’d love to have you there in ________.” And for me this was very important not because I wanted people to think I was wonderful (although this was an added bonus) but especially after my experience last time around in Costa Rica. When I arrived there, there were a lot of negative expectations placed on me due to the bad experiences they had had with previous American volunteers, and I suffered for their mistrust. It’s good to know I’m leaving high expectations for the volunteers that they meet next.

Bah! I still don’t like that word “leaving.”

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