Thursday, June 23, 2005

Calling all missionary stories

A lot of people don't like mission stories. Members have heard too many already and non-members don't really understand them. This is frustrating to returned missionaries because all our best stories are from the mission. Also, not a day goes by that something doesn't remind you of something that happened on the mission.

My wife Maude is long-suffering. She'll never say anything but I can actually see her eyes glaze over as soon as I utter the words, "this one time, in Argentina..." She probably has a pretty skewed view of Mormons, since most of stories she's heard about them are terrible.

Mission stories generally fall into three categories.
1) Stupid things that missionaries do. I'd wager this is probably the largest category (you can draw your own conclusions as to why).
2) Crazy/weird people encountered in the mission field.
3) Spiritual experiences. This is probably the smallest group.

Well, I am here to provide a safe haven for all your pent-up tales. I love mission stories. Even those in category 3. Maybe because I am "less active" (happy, Steve FSF?) I haven't heard very many. Maybe this will count as your virtual Home Teaching visit.


N Miller said...

I was on a travel (visiting a younger missionary in the district) and we went to the church building to "pass off" one of his discussions. When we got to the church, there were flowers everywhere. I mentioned to the Elder that there must be a wedding going on. We did our business and started out. As we did, there was a mature (in age) gentleman, (probably between the ages of 55 and 65) who walked into the church. I had seen him numerous times before, and he was an outspoken man who was boisterous every time he opened his mouth. So when we stopped him and asked why all the flowers, I wasn't surprised when he boistrously said, "I'm marrying my wife today!" To that, I said, "Congratualations". I looked over at my companion and his face was white with horror. I didn't understand why. Then the man said, somewhat taken aback - "Wow, that's not what you usually hear when somebody died!"

To my dismay, I honestly thought I heard "married", when he actually said "burried". I think I apologized (my mind was not thinking correctly at this time, I don't really know if I said anything or just hung my head in embarssment) and went out.

Ever since it has been a good story to tell when somebody asks, "what's your most embarassing moment."

Hope that was what you were looking for.

HP said...

In the old first discussion, there was a line that went "God wants us to develop and be happy". In Russian, "Develop" in this sentence was pronounced "razvivalees". We always told new missionaries to make sure that they never pronounced it "razdivalees", which meant that they inevitably would at some point. Why bother? There is nothing quite like having your junior companion tell a new investigator that "God wants us to get undressed and be happy" and then have him realize it a second too late. Priceless.

Rusty said...

...if I only had a the time to tell them all...

How about one from the MTC?

Most nights we'd come back from dinner/class and we'd all have a little extra gaseous compound inside of us that needed to be released. Having lived with other guys my whole life I was not afraid to relieve this urge. Over a period of weeks Elder G. was mounting his discust and frustration with my willingness to share (he never mentioned it, he just got more and more frustrated). One night he blew up screaming at me for my insensitivity of those around me and disgusting nature. He told me that's not something I would do on a date (which I replied that I wasn't on a date, that in fact I was in a room full of guys). After going back and forth about my insensitivity and his need to wake up to reality, he said that if I didn't quit he'd go to the district leader (who was my companion who was sitting right there) and I told him there's nothing my comp could say that would make me change. He then said if the DL wouldn't do anything he'd go to the AP. I knew the AP and told him he'd laugh in his face, but to go ahead, I'd love to see what he does. He then said if the AP doesn't do anything he'd go to the branch president, to which I said that if the branch president asks me to quit passing gas I wouldn't obey him, but to go ahead, I'd like to see his reaction. Finally he said if none of these people would do anything he'd go to the president of the MTC and ask for a transfer out of the district. At that point I wished him luck on the rest of his mission and hoped he could force all the rest of the universe to live by his rules. Moments later him and his companion knelt for prayer. Half way through I got an urge... and didn't hold back. Immature? Of course. Funny? Hell yes.

N Miller said...

Our Zone did a blitz at an apartment building that housed numerous Chinese people (I went on a chinese speaking mission in Toronto) and we split up companionships and I went with two of the newest elders. One of them was a punk (at the time, he ended up growing up out of the punk stage and got serious about missionarary work), and always was a loud mouth about anything and everything. The other was a shy, but prided young man. We started knocking on doors and eventually a group of chinese people let us in. As is the customer with chinese people, we were asked to take off our shoes. We obliged, we started to have a good discussion, in the middle of the discussion, the shy missionary used the bathroom and came back and finished the discussion. As we started to put our shoes back on, I sniffed something awful. I smelled my shoes to see if my feet were stinking (I had a problem when I was younger with stinky feet, but had since rid myself of that problem), and outloud I said, man, my feet must be stinking again, what's up with that?! We walked out and into the elevator, and as we started down, the punk said something like, "wow, if thats your feet, you stink"! At that moment, the shy one quietly said, "that's not his shoes, I pooped my pants." Oh the laughter that came from the punk was enough for me to catch on. Yet, I understood the seriousness of the situation. He was about to go infront of a group of about 12 of his peers and this could hurt any mans pride. Of course, as the doors opened, there were the other missionaries and the punk loudly stated, "Hey guys, Pang (the shy elders chinese name) just pooped his pants! If that wasn't embarssing enough for him, he had a subway ride and a bus ride in packed quarters back to the apartment. It was funny to watch people look at him and move away. He seemed to have all the space he wanted!

NFlanders said...

These are all great.

John, your story reminds me of one of my first discussions in Argentina. The old version of the first discussion contains the line, "Joseph Smith is one of the most powerful witnesses of Jesus Christ." In Spanish, witness is "testigo," which is close but not that close to "testiculo." Of course, we would always joke around about it, until I was teaching a discussion and it slipped out. Fortunately, I don't think the family could even understand me. At any rate, they didn't even bat an eye.

Capt Jack said...

In Argentina I was in a really nice neighborhood called Belgrano. My comp was a complete dweeb--he looked just like a Sleastack from land of the lost, with glasses that turned dark in the sun.

Anyway, we were walking down the street one day and I saw a shop selling reggae music and regalia; Marley t-shirts and all the rest. We went in mainly because we had our usual empty schedule for the day. The guy started talking to us and told us he was into God too. He had even built a little room and had a presentation about God. Did we want to hear it? Hell yes we did.

He took us into a room that was painted black with two hammocks hanging in it. We lay down in the hammocks, he left and turned the lights out, and all of like little Xmas lights started flickering on the ceiling and the walls. Then this tape started, with 'God' talking about the stars, then a reggae song, God came back on babbling some more, more flickering lights arranged in the pattern of constellations came on; this went on for like 30 minutes. It was like some stoner temple trip. When the lights started coming back on, I noticed an ash tray with half a dozen roaches in it. The guy came in, noticed I was eyeing the goods, and said he would've offered us some but he was out.

My comp never noticed, but was so pissed at me for the 'temple trip' he didn't talk to me the rest of the day.

This guy's shop was a regular stop off whenever I could arrange splits with cool missionaries, and everyone loved it.

Kevin said...

These are great. Rusty, I had a companion like that too. Imagine, a 20 year old man who didn't know the pull my finger trick!

Oscar said...

Hey, great picture, Ned! I like it. I don't have any good missionary stories to add, unfortunately. I did read a very interesting story a few weeks ago about a missionary serving in Canada who was arrested because he called an airline and told them there was a bomb on one of their planes. True story.

NFlanders said...

Thanks, Oscar. I figured the page needs a little color on it (besides green).

I guess your story falls firmly in the first category. It boggles the mind, sometimes, to think that these teenagers are the Church's representatives.

I remember one Elder that I replaced in an area was not too bright. In my mission, it was a tradition to burn an article of clothing to commemorate the 6-, 12-, and 18-month mark (or bump-, hump-, and slump-days). This was a third floor apartment above a pool hall and a pizza parlor. It had a balcony in front, but no window in the bathroom in the back.

Anyway, this Elder lit a dress shirt on fire in the bathroom, belatedly noticed that the place was filling up with smoke, and so ran through the entire apartment with a flaming shirt, and threw it off the balcony. I should mention that the apartment was facing the town square, so it was not a quiet street. Parts of the shirt came to rest on the electrical wires and started to burn. The rest of the shirt ended up in front of the busy pizza parlor on the street level. The proprietor, to say the least, was not amused. The apartment, not just the bathroom, was filled up with smoke. When his companion asked why he had lit a shirt on fire in the bathroom, the Elder said it was his bump-day, and he wanted to burn something.

Capt Jack said...

What an idiot. Why not just stuff the shirt in the bidet? You guys had one, assume, unless you found the one place in Argentina without one.

We had one elder who was a zonie and a nitwit. Right after I got there he started to tell me about the neat sink they had to wash your face in.

m said...

here's a link to the story that oscar was referring to.

GOCJ, why don't you tell us some stories about gay elders, slutty sisters, argentinean hospitals, or whatever. just be sure to change the names to protect the innocent.

i'd share some mission stories, but mine are all lame compared to capt. jack's.

Capt Jack said...


Different audience my man. I'm not sure they'd find it as funny as the others do. :)

NFlanders said...

Now, don't make me separate you two.

gj said...

Since N Miller got started on the potty humor here is another.

I'm a new trainer and my greenie decides to go on a juice fast for a couple days (more for health benefits than spiritual modivations). I opt to stick with my normal pathetic missionary diet. My companion begins consuming large amounts of juice and water to begin his "cleanse". Next morning we hop on our bikes and get a mile away from our apartment when I hear, "Elder, I need to find a bathroom fast." Quick look around and no public restrooms could be found. We locate a secluded alley but alas it is too late. Relief came too soon.

Scott said...

Speaking of peeing- I had a quart of orange juice one morning prior to tranfers, and I was in the van on the way to Phoenix from the indian reservation, and just couldn't take it anymore, so I begged the driver to pull over so I could pee. But, there is nary a tree or bush on the reservation, so despite all my efforts, I just couldn't let go. I had to get back into the van still in pain, until they passed a building, where I ran behind to releive myself. True story.

gj said...

What are the odds. My companion and I were in east Phoenix... Well it's Arizona there is A LOT of liquid consumption going on.

NFlanders said...

Speaking of bathroom stories, I had a companion who swore that every missionary would "have an accident" at least once in his mission. Fortunately, I escaped the mission unscathed.

I do have a pretty horrendous food poisoning story. I was living in a one-bedroom apartment. The ZL and his comp got the bedroom so my comp and I slept in the hallway on a bunk bed. I didn't feel very good going to bed that night, so I laid on my stomach in case I threw up in my sleep. Sure enough, at about 2 in the morning, I woke up when I started to throw up. As I was on the top bunk, I didn't have any choice but to lean over the side of the bed and let it fall on the floor.

I jumped down to run to the bathroom when I started to have a rather sudden urge at the other end strike me. I threw up again on the way to the bathroom and I finally made it to the toilet, which by now, I needed for my other problem. I then threw up for a third time on the bathroom floor.

As I was trying to recover from all of this sudden weight loss, I heard my companion cleaning up my vomit in the hall. I have to say that that was one of the nicest things anyone has ever done for me.

m said...

okay, here's one for you guys.

i served in korea. the first part of my mission my sister and BIL were in korea at camp casey (you guessed it, he was in the army doing his time after ROTC) which was in my mission. my old prez was cool and would let me visit them from time to time, but my new one was korean and a bit more strict and probably wouldn't have let me go, so i didn't ask (i was a pretty strong believer in the "it's easier to ask for forgiveness than permission" philosophy).

we had a p-day once a month called a "shopping p-day" where we could go anywhere in the mission w/o specific permission to go shopping for stuff. this was a holdover from the old president and was soon done away with (i think i was part of its demise). but i digress...

so anyway my comp and i decided to go up to the army base and eat a nice home-cooked meal and get some american groceries. he had less than a month to go and was pretty dead by this time and had no qualms over stretching the rules a bit to go see my sister (since i think i should have technically had to get permission to visit a family member, and i'm pretty sure we also needed permission to go on an army base). a branch member decided that she'd like to meet us there because she wanted to eat some pizza, so we said okay.

we got up to the gate and were waiting for her, and she never showed up. so my comp decides to jump in a cab and go up to the second entrance to the base to see if our friend was up there, while i waited at the main entrance for my sister. i wasn't too strict about the "never leave your companion's side" rule either.

of course right before he pulls back up in the cab to the gate i'm at a group of some of the more anal elders from my mission walk out of the burger king across the street from where i'm at and see me talking quite familiarly w/ a cute american girl (my sister). and then they see my companion pull up in a cab by himself and come over and meet us. i knew i was busted, so i just waived at the elders and went on base and had a great meal.

later that night we got the call from the prez. i think he was relieved to find out that i didn't have an american girlfriend. but nonetheless i got shipped out to the countryside to be a branch president's companion (who by the way was a great guy). i think this incident kind put the mark of cain on me (although i still don't think it was a big deal) and is the main reason that nearly all of my companions after that point (i was only six months out) were totally dead comps nearly ready to go home, and why i never had a greenie or made DL, ZL, or AP. i was only senior comp for a few months at the end of the mish. i think they thought that i was damaged goods and didn't want me to taint any of the new elders. didn't really bother me though, i had a great time for the most part.

Rusty said...

I know this thread is probably dead but I thought I'd add a little Guatemalan vocab into the mix: bu. It stands for Butt Urine. We always said that the only difference between bu and urine is that urine comes out slowly.

NFlanders said...

Oh, Rusty, that is some nasty stuff. I am glad I didn't go to Guat, where you need a word for that.

Susan M said...

I love how this thread turned into a bunch of potty/poop stories.

One of the funniest things I've ever read online was at a web forum where someone asked "When's the last time you pooped your pants?" You wouldn't believe some of the stories grown men were telling...admitting.

But sorry, I never served a mission.

NFlanders said...

I think all threads, if continued indefinitely, will eventually turn into a series of poop stories. Besides, why should FMH get all the fun?