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Saturday, March 19, 2016

The Parable of the Elder and the Swiffer

There once was a Mormon missionary serving in the New York South Mission. His name was Elder Atoa and his companion was Elder Cubas.  He left his family, his friends, his country, and the life he was familiar with and traveled to America.

He was proud to serve the Lord and was a dedicated and consecrated missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  Each morning he and his companion would arise at 6:30 to have breakfast, exercise, read their scriptures, and plan their day.  By 11:00 they would be out of the apartment teaching the gospel and providing service for anyone in need.  They would arrive back at their apartment in the evening by 9:30 and be in bed by 10:00.  They followed this routine for six days a week.  On Sunday, they would attend their Church where they would speak from the pulpit, provide a lesson, or anything else that needed to be done.  After Church they would visit members.  This was how they would spend each week for two years.  And, they would pay for it either with money they had earned before leaving on their mission or their parents would provide the money. From the money, each Elder would receive a monthly allowance that they were expected to budget to provide for their food, personal items, and clothing.

Every three months a Senior Missionary Couple would visit them to see how they were doing.  Were they keeping their apartment clean?  Did they need anything?  Did they like their apartment and were they comfortable?

On one such occasion, the Senior Couple was very impressed with the cleanliness of Elder Atoa's and Elder Cubas's apartment.  They asked the Elders, "Is there anything we can do for you?"  They answered, "Yes, we sure could use a mop to scrub our floors."  Since the mission supplies were quite a distance from their apartment and parking was extremely difficult in New York, the Senior Couple asked if they would be willing to purchase a mop and then submit the receipt to the finance department for reimbursement.

A couple of weeks later the Senior Couple received a telephone call from the finance department asking if they had authorized the purchase of a "swiffer and mopping refills for the price of $35.00.  Being surprised by the cost, the couple said "no", but they had authorized the purchase of a mop.

The Senior Couple called the Elders to inquire about the purchase.  Yes, they had purchased the items.  The Couple said they would authorize a reimbursement check for  the items, but the mission could not afford to continue to provide the cost of the Swiffer refills.  Perhaps they might want to consider a simple mop.

Instead of being defensive and saying, "Well, we did what we thought was right." they responded, "Well, I guess we didn't consider the expense of the refills.  We made an unwise purchase."

Lesson Learned:  When you make a mistake, don't be defensive or make excuses for yourself.  Learn from the mistake.  Be humble......