This part of the post was written on Tuesday. Events referred to took place on Monday.
So, as might be guessed from the title, today was Spanish territory. I’ve known this was coming: 2 days ago Kamil dropped off some spanish children’s books and cookbooks, and the day before that Jorge found a “random” Spanish GC. And yesterday Kamil asked who all spoke Spanish.
So, I’ve known this was coming, but I thought they would give us TIME. Like, to prepare a canvass. You know, something besides, “libro, bueno, diez dolares.” I mean, really.
And then Wyson actually makes an announcement after worship. As he’s calling out names I’m like, oh crap, what did I do THIS time. Anyway, and then he says, “go backstage and grab as many spanish books as you can.” And my anxiety cranks up about 10 notches.
Going to Spanish territory was something I wanted to do, but at the same time, I didn’t want to do it. My Spanish is TERRIBLE. And I’m supposed to be a Spanish major.
Anyway, so, we stock up on books, Wyson sets a goal of 12 3 book sets, and then we can take off early and go swimming. For the record, we reached the goal, but are still waiting for the swimming part. The leaders are having a meeting. That’s seriously the 4th meeting they’ve had in the last 36 hours. What could they possibly be meeting ABOUT?
And it turns out that not only are we going to Spanish territory, we’re doing BUSINESSES. Now, by now half the leadership knows that if you want me to succeed, you DON’T put me on businesses. I have a DEATH fear of them. I think I am the only one left who feels this way. Everyone else has gotten used to them by now. Not I.
Anyway, so, I go to the cafe, and I use the bathroom. I’m there for a long time, and I’m pretty sure I’m going to chicken out even though I’m praying. But then I came out, and the guy looked really nice, so I figured I’d canvass him. He had his daughter with him, and I was kind of switching back and forth between spanish and english. I actually admitted that i was nervous and that that was making me worse. Oh man. I’m still so embarrassed. I want to erase that from my memory, it was horrible. Why am I writing this down?
Long story short, he ended up borrowing money from the register for Heroes Verdaderos (Real Heroes) for his 5 year old. He and she were both so nice. she said I spoke really good spanish, after I said I spoke it horribly.
A few businesses down, I entered an ice cream shop. Well, actually this old man opened the door for me because he saw I had a big bag of books and was carrying them as well. I wish I could forget this part as well, but that’s because of my….well, me.
You see, he had most of his front teeth missing, and I have a hard time understanding people like that in English. he wasn’t speaking very clearly, so I completely wrote him off.
After the girl rejected me, the man asked what I was doing, so I explained as best I could in my broken Spanish. I tried to answer his questions, when I understood them. I showed him the books. I showed him every single Spanish book I had. When I pulled out Peace, he got really excited and clutched it to his chest, and indicated that this was the one he wanted. (He had already given me the money, it was just a matter of choosing a book.)
And then he asked if I wanted some ice cream. I communicated that I can’t eat ice cream, so he said I could have another drink. He said he would pay. Which is good because I don’t have a whole lot of money right now. I wish I could tell you what I drank, but I don’t know. I had a choice between about 4 flavors: pineapple, strawberry, mango, and rice. Well I thought rice was a weird flavor, so I decided to try that. It tasted like sweet rice water, and it had ice cubes in it. It was SO GOOD. We talked and sat there for a while because I’m a slow drinker and this was a tall drink.
Even though communication was hard, I enjoyed talking with this man very much. Ashamed as I am of it, I write this down because God taught me a lesson. People are people. I almost missed this man because I let my prejudice get in the way. When I can’t hear people or understand them, I tend to stay away, but we are all God’s children, regardless of whether we can speak clearly or not.
I hope I meet that man in heaven, when language is no longer a barrier and everyone will speak clearly. I hope he tells me about the book. He read out loud for me, and he could barely read, but he was so excited about Peace. I hope he tells me how he laboriously read through it, and how, even though he said he already knew Jesus, it changed his life.
I met up with Kiana shortly thereafter. While we were waiting, she said that one of the ladies she canvassed had asked if she’d been to the boot shop. She told the lady that she had, but that the manager wasn’t there. The lady then scribbled a note for the manager, telling her to look at the books. Kiana asked aloud if she should go back. I was hesitant at first, but then when I saw the note the lady had written, I strongly encouraged her (well, us, really) to go. And then I prayed that James would be slow in finding us, because I had already called in that we were ready for pickup.
I prayed that all the way down the block.
Fortunately James was slow, and he said, “I’m here” just as we entered the boot shop. I then had to go back out and explain that “we moved, we’re in a boot shop, and I don’t like this part of town so please don’t make me stand outside too long.”
It’s Kiana’s story, really, so before I get this down for testimonies I’ll chase her down. I’m not sure what was going on except that the woman was there this time, and she was very interested. She almost got a 4 book set, but put back one at the last minute. The one she put back was God’s Answers.
So that was our (Kiana’s really) last business experience. It was such a blessing to see though, because someone was excited about our books.
And the really beautiful thing about today’s story? I knew that I had enough to worry about with Spanish AND businesses. The past few days, I’ve been obsessed with reaching the goal and getting to the pool. But today I said, “God, you know I’ve got ALL I can handle right now. I can’t try to sell a 3 book set (which has never even happened in English). I’m just going to worry about books. Any book. If you want the team to reach the goal, they’re going to have to reach it without me. I’m not going to worry about it, because you and I both know that I’ve got all that I can handle.”
And…haha, I had NO IDEA that we weren’t going canvassing that afternoon until like, halfway through lunch. The day I decide that I don’t care about the goal and getting off early, is the day it happens.
We still didn’t get to go swimming though. Wyson miscomunicated. The rec center closes at 9, the POOL closes at 6. And they don’t allow shorts, so no one except me could go anyway, because I have swim shorts (they said those were ok.)
Now it is Thursday, our last day in Troy. Am I sad? not really. More worried about how I’m going to pack everything. I should’ve sent more stuff with Callie. Apparently Kamil is going to bring stuff to the retreat, but I can’t go due to lack of ride to parents house, so I HAVE to take everything WITH me, or somehow get money to ship things back. Which is going to be expensive and I am running so low on money that Wyson might not get paid back until… I don’t know when.
Yesterday was our last day in Troy, and we wanted to finish with a bang. I know not whether we as a team did or not, I wasn’t paying attention to today’s goal (due to lack of pool.)
The morning was really slow. It just felt like the last day of school, and who does work on the last day of school? But in the afternoon there was one lady who was really interested, but she only had $20. So she went through all my books and asked which I liked best. I said I LOVED Man of Peace, and then she asked which I preferred between Peace Above the Storm and Lessons of Love. Well, I have read all of maybe 3 chapters of the former, and 8 chapters of the latter, so I recommended the Love, which she got. I called them in, and then not the next house, but the house after that, God used me to get a 3 book set out to a woman named Verna. She was very interested in the cookbook special, and she came out with $30. I had a damaged book that Jeandra said I could sell for $5, so I told Vera that she could either have change, or I could give her Joy in the Morning (Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing.) I asked her if she wanted it and she said yes. She was so very kind, even though she spoke so very little. I’m honestly not sure how with it she was. She told me that she lived with her children, but they were grown, and her sister.I hope she is more with it than I computed, and that she (or someone in her family) enjoys the books.
The Lord uses me to get out a 3 book set THE DAY AFTER the whole team had a goal.
And then, I really need Anthony for this one, because I wasn’t there for half of it. Anyway, it was, though I didn’t know it then, the last house. There was a group of teenagers outside hanging out. Lord, I don’t want to go over there. Please don’t make me go over there. I was standing at the door of a house, praying that they would come out and that Anthony would be fast and work his way to the teenagers before I got there. But no one was answering the door. Anthony has his back turned… if I skip this house and cross over to the other side of the street, no one would ever know…. is Jeandra watching?
And then, as so often happens with canvassing, I get a guilt trip. If you were a real Christian, you would love canvassing. You would never skip a house. It would never even occur to you.
Lord, please, can I skip this house? Please Lord don’t make me do this. No no no no no no no NO “Hi, how are you guys doing today?”
It turned out that they were the easiest teenagers to talk to that I’ve ever met. While canvassing. At first they were going to reject me, but then one guy said he’d take a look. I showed him the books, but he goes to university and doesn’t like to read more than he absolutely has to. While we were talking, Anthony had finished his side of the street. Since I was on the last house, I wasn’t sure if he’d cross over or not, or just call in for pickup. Anthony is a much better seller than I am, so I waved him over.
While Anthony was talking to the guy, someone told me I should talk to their mom, that she was generous and would probably buy something. So I went to go talk to her. She gave me a small donation, and said she would probably help more but she was flat broke except for what she gave for the HD (and then didn’t even take the HD.)
I was fine with that, so I went back to Anthony. By now Jeandra was there, and the guy has 2 DVDs in his hands. His friend actually loans him money to pay for them. And it’s time to go. I WANNA KNOW WHAT HAPPENED DANGIT. Anthony didn’t tell me.
I’m rather ashamed of it, but I felt kind of jealous. Anthony got the sale instead of me? And then I was ashamed of my jealousy: I should just be glad the DVDs got out, what was WRONG with me?
I hated myself more in that moment than I have all summer. And this summer I have hated myself a LOT.
And then Anthony surprised me: he said that, since I was the one who started the conversation, that I should have half the sale, and slipped me $10. I asked if he was sure, and he said yeah. Jeandra saw that and nodded and said, “fair is fair.” For some reason I thought she would protest, so I guess this was all the encouragement I needed.
I thought about refusing, but I’m selfish. And, really, I guess if I hadn’t opened the door, Anthony couldn’t have walked through it. If I hadn’t started the conversation and called Anthony over, I’m not sure anything would’ve gotten out. So it really was a joint effort and I WANT TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENED. Gah. I like Anthony but now I need to track him down because I’m annoyed.
What would’ve happened if I’d skipped that house? What would’ve happened if I’d never skipped any of those other houses I’ve skipped this summer because I was afraid? Rebellious? couldn’t stop crying? (Well, I don’t think the latter is entirely my fault, but there have probably been better ways to handle it.)
Anyway, my laundry’s done. We’ll speculate about could have beens after I wake up properly.