My blog entry about watching General Conference in 1975 versus 2011 started me thinking about the differences in serving a mission as a 19 year old single adult in the mid 1970's and a 55 year old married man in 2011. Here are a dozen that come to mind.
Then: About 35,000 members of the Church in Argentina.
Now: About 400,000.
Then: 10 companions over a 24 month period.
Now: 1 companion for 36 months.
Then: My bicycle (I named it, "Trigger"), my feet or a colectivo.
Now: The Toyota Hi-Lux 4x4.
Then: 7 pensions to live in.
Now: 1 house to live in but 10 hotels to sleep in while traveling.
Then: It took 2 weeks for a letter to go between the U.S. and Argentina.
Now: Instantaneous cell phones, Skype, emails, texts, Facebook and blogs.
Then: 3 suits, 7 white shirts and 2 pairs of shoes.
Now: 15 suits, 20 white shirts and 9 pairs of shoes. (Diane takes good care of me)
Then: Wondering how, of all of the places in the world, I was called to serve as a missionary in Argentina.
Now: Grateful that of all of the places in the world, I was called to serve as a missionary again in Argentina.
Then: A battery powered cassette player, unreliable film strip projector, Bible, Triple Combination (they didn't make the 4-in-1 sets yet) and a notebook filled with laminated pictures.
Now: iPad 2.
Then: Looking for a great adventure.
Now: Trying to avoid the types of adventures I used to look for.
Then: Tap water and its biological consequences.
Now: Bottled water and its physiological and psychological tranquility.
Then: Hand-writing a weekly letter to my Mission President.
Now: Reading and responding to 190 weekly missionary emails.
Then: Being somewhat of a knucklehead.
Now: Being somewhat of a knucklehead. Ok, I know that is the same, but I am a knucklehead for different reasons now than I was then. I will say this, though, I loved being a missionary when I was 19 and I love being a missionary now.