Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Missionary moments I'd like to forget...

... but can't, since my companion always reminds me.

I read this rather humorous post over on Blogger of Jared. Eric wants to know what we did on our missions that would qualify as the "dumbest thing you did".

My memory may have blocked a number of such things. Others I may be intentionally forgetting so I can't be officially indicted. ;)

It seems there was always something that someone had done that was funny, or worth laughing about, and I guess as missionaries, in a sense, we loved those moments. Something that broke up the routine, something deliciously sensational.

I was just speaking by phone with one of my former mission companions. We were in the same MTC district, but weren't companions until close to the end of our missions. He was my next-to-last companion in the field. We spent two months together, working our tails off, and having a blast. If I had to pick one of the best times from my mission, that two months would be it.

Of course, you take the good with the bad. He reminded me of a dumb thing I did that ended up earning our mission president a death threat from a suspected member of the mob. I had completely forgotten about this. Until today. Rather timely given the Blogger of Jared post, now I have something to contribute.

Honestly, all I did was hold the door open for some kid. Who knew?

This happened before said companion (Elder L) and I were companions. I had just delivered a case of Books of Mormon to his apartment. Elder L and I hadn't seen each other since the MTC, so we took some pictures, chatted for a bit and caught up. On our way out of the building, a kid ran up and said, "Don't close the door!"

Sure, young man, there you go. Have a good day! My companion and I hopped in the van and drove off. Gee, we're so polite! We even made that little boy happy!

Now, picture if you will, a small apartment building. There were two homes in this building. The missionaries were upstairs, and a family lived downstairs on the ground floor. The family downstairs was... well, how do you put this delicately? They were... mean? dangerous? notorious? feared?

*cough* Need I say more? *ahem*

The next morning, the mother of this family gave the riot act to the missionaries. "You left the door open, and my kids bikes got stolen!! I've told you a million times to close that door!"

The missionaries insisted that they always close the door.. Then, they remembered. Elder Eddie had been there, and he didn't know about the front door. Or the screaming woman downstairs. Uh oh.

The woman insisted they buy replacement bikes. Elder L called the mission office, and spoke with our president. Our president said, "Hey, we didn't steal the bikes. It's not our problem." Elder L had to face this woman and deliver the news.

Her response? According to Elder L, it went something like this:

"Well it will be your problem when my friends come over and bash your heads together, and throw you off the balcony. What city did you say your president is in? We have friends there, too. They'd be happy to go 'talk' to your president. We'll make it his problem."

She demanded that the president call her. When Elder L called our president, he was on travel, and said, "If she wants to talk to me, she can call me."

She didn't. She wanted a call from the president.

After another palpable threat to the health and well being of Elder L, his companion, and our president, our president agreed to call her.

Within minutes, he called Elder L back. "Uhh, we'll replace the bikes. You'll have the money today."

And that was that. A simple act of holding open a door for a stranger, and I almost got my mission president rubbed out by the mob. And funds consecrated for missionary work were used to buy bikes for mob kids.

All in a day's work.


At April 18, 2006 6:08 PM, Blogger Val said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At April 18, 2006 6:09 PM, Blogger Sariah in Vancouver said...

Wow... but it makes for such a great story! lol

At April 18, 2006 6:10 PM, Blogger Val said...

That was me up there... I was saying that you shouldn't worry about it that a lot of people they for some reasons use the missionaries and blame them for stuff that they didn't even do on purpose. It can happen to everyone but obviouslu, it's a moment hard to forget lol.

Where did you on a mission?

At April 18, 2006 6:11 PM, Blogger Val said...

I agree with Sariah, it does :P It's like the missionaries in paris who couldn't go to certain places because the people who threaten them with guns and knives lol.... and then they say american is dangerous haha

At April 18, 2006 9:27 PM, Blogger Eric Nielson said...

Nice post, and thanks for commenting on BofJ. I liked your story but would not consider what you did was dumb.

At April 19, 2006 12:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good story years later, however, as a former and future missionary mom, I am not as amused as I could be.

I am rather amazed that they didn't move you to a safer apartment. Had my missionary son/daughter related such a story, the President would have gotten at least one more phone call!

At April 19, 2006 5:16 PM, Blogger Sariah in Vancouver said...

I remember a missionary coming home from serving in South America. In his talk, he shared an experience that he admitted he never told his mom - for that very reason, lol. He said that there were many things he never wrote home about because he didn't want his mom to worry. This particular situation happened while he and his companion were riding a bus, I don't remember the whole story, but it included having a gun pointed at his head. I bet there are alot of stories that moms never get to hear - or at least not until they are home safely.

At April 20, 2006 12:19 PM, Blogger Eddie said...

True. I doubt I ever mentioned that story to my parents. I really had forgotten about it until earlier this week, so this is the first time I've told it outside of the mission.

Val, for the purposes of this blog I served my mission in an undisclosed location, to borrow a phrase from government types.

Sariah, glad you enjoyed the story. I really should look through my journal, it's been long enough--who knows what else I've forgotten.

At April 20, 2006 2:03 PM, Blogger Val said...

Haha no worries :)

At April 24, 2006 4:55 AM, Blogger Suzie Petunia said...

Missionaries have all the fun stories!

At April 25, 2006 11:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that it would be reasonable to replace children's bikes that were stolen as a result of your mistake. The adults may have been mobsters, or anything else, but the children were only children, and therefore, deserving of your grace and generosity. Shame on you for judging the son for the fathers sins.

At April 26, 2006 5:56 PM, Blogger Eddie said...

"Shame on you for judging the son for the fathers sins."

Thanks, anonymous person with no name. I feel shamed.

Wait, why am I supposed to feel shamed? Because my mission president initially felt we weren't responsible for someone else's commission of burglary?

I fail to see a connection. Whether they were mobsters, nuns or Red Cross volunteers, our actions would have been the same.

Anyway, thanks for dropping by, anonymous.

At June 17, 2006 12:19 PM, Blogger sixline said...


Especially because the fallout didn't happen to you.


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