A continuation of "That one time on my mission"
A few weeks ago, Thunderground shared the story of Scot Carrington, a returned missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He spent two years in the Gilbert Islands, and although our first article talks about some of his experiences, quite a few of them were omitted for the sake of brevity.
Below is a Q&A with the rest of the information from our interview with him.
What did you miss most about being home while you were on your mission?
“Besides my family, I missed the food for the first little bit. It dies down a little bit, but you never don’t miss the food. I also missed being able to swim and being around water. I swam all the time back home, and not only did you not really have time to swim (on a mission), but it was a rule because it's pretty easy to drown (in the ocean). I definitely missed the mountains because (the small islands) were just strips of land and the highest point was about eight feet. I missed being able to get out and do outdoor stuff.”
What do you miss most about your mission now that you’re home?
“Wherever you are on those islands, you hear the ocean, and I miss falling asleep to that. I also just miss the food, which is interesting to say. I miss the fish, and the bananas they have out there are so much sweeter, and they had great papaya. But I think the thing I miss the most is the people. They were such good friends and I still talk to them now. They started getting a little bit more advanced and they have internet in a couple different places throughout the outer islands, so they can all get on a phone in an internet cafe and use Facebook. I just miss talking to them because they're so funny; they make everything a joke, even when it’s something serious or if it's something bad that happened. They laugh about everything and it makes it so much easier to be a goof and to not have to worry about messing up, because if you mess up, everyone’s just gonna laugh about it and you are too.”
Listen to Scot speak Kiribati
English translation of his testimony:
"Hello to all of you. I would like to bear my testimony to you all at this time. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is true and it is the Church led by Christ in these days. If there is someone who would like to know peace or the love God has for them, they only need to seek. He/She that seeks and asks of God and it will be found peace by them from the power of the Holy Ghost. The Spirit is ever-present and bears the love of God to all people if one simply desires to find it. I gained my testimony in the gospel before my mission, but it was for sure strengthened throughout my time of service in Kiribati. I think that there is a piece of me that will always stay there, because Kiribati is always in my heart. I refuse to forget the stories of my friends there, I can’t. Just like God will not forget about his child, and we are all his children. I know that he loves everyone. So I will also strive to remember my brothers and sisters in Kiribati. I know that through of time of service we can come to know, even if only a little, the love God has for his children, whatsmore for ourselves. I say these things to you, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen."
What made you want to go on a mission?
“I wanted to go on a mission because when I was in high school, I hit low points in my life and the Church is what built me up and helped me get out of that. I gained a testimony with the Church and I felt like it was the true thing to believe in. I gained my testimony through the lowest point in my life — it brought the light back into the darkness — and I just wanted to share that with other people who felt like me or who were looking for something, but didn’t know what it was. I wanted to spread what I had felt.”
What were the lows?
“During my sophomore year (of high school), I had good friends, but it was the first time I had really been picked on and bullied. They really hazed me and made inappropriate and vulgar comments and it really brought me down. When I spoke up, my friends were all there to support me.”
What went through your mind when you found out you were going to the Gilbert Islands?
“Honestly, I was thrilled because I wanted to go somewhere foreign and I wanted to learn another language. My cousin went to Africa and I heard his experiences and the conditions people lived in, and I thought it sounded awesome to go help people like that. When I looked it up online, it zoomed in on this little piece of ocean and you could barely see the land. I was like ‘Where am I even serving?’”
Let’s jump forward to the last few weeks of the mission. What was that like?
“In the first couple weeks when I was with my trainer, he really wanted to go home. I didn’t get trained at all and I just saw how little got done and how much it frustrated me.I was told to finish strong while I was in the (Missionary Training Center), so I wanted to do that for the last few weeks. I didn’t want to repeat what happened to me, I told my companion, ‘I don’t want to be trunky, and if you ever think I’m being like that, I want your honest opinion because I don’t want to be remembered like that I don’t want to remember being like that.”
What was the toughest part of the mission?
“I was with a native companion, and he spoke some English, but he really didn’t understand everything that I would say, especially with the culture difference. We didn’t get along very well, so he didn’t really talk to me a whole lot. It was almost like I was just alone out there I couldn’t understand anything anybody was telling me. Thinking about home and not being able to communicate with people and feeling like I was failing at what I had been sent out to do was probably the hardest part.”
Talk to me about a funny experience from the islands.
“Their opinion of White people in America was funny. They’re just secluded and what they hear is off the radio, and the broadcast can be so awful sometimes and so inaccurate. I heard from the radios at least three times that America had gone to war with Russia and China while I was out there. I got a note back from my parents saying ‘No, we’re not at war. Why are they saying that?’ It was so inaccurate, and there's no way to really know what it's like in America unless you’ve been there.”