Len & Kit's Missionary Adventures in California

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

All Sorts of Gifts

Someone in our church ward brought bags of lemon-oranges or orange-lemons last week.  Apparently two trees joined in his yard, and while there are some yellow lemons on the tree, there is also fruit that looks more like a large lemon, but is orange. In the photo you can see an orange beside the dish.  The rind is a smoother texture than the ones in the dish which also have an end like a lemon.   I guess the fruit tastes like a sweet lemon.  I look forward to making a lemon pie soon.

Tis the season for packages!  Sister Bradshaw is the chief mail person, but right now she needs help.  Mondays are the worst and the USPO mail lady hopefully asked me last Friday if we would be open Saturday.  I knew she was dreading the weekend pile-up because she really knows the office is closed for the weekends.  We have to list each package by recipient, sender and area where the missionary serves.  Then we sort all mail to the designated shelves and the Zone leaders for each of eight mission zones pick it all up weekly, signing for each package, and deliver it.  Right now there are extra packages accruing in the less used offices where they can be locked up when we aren’t there.  The arrangement is still more efficient than having mail sent to the apartment addresses since the missionaries are reassigned to various places during their missions. Forwarding all the mail would be truly crazy.

Last Sunday I was the first speaker and my first priority was to make sure I stayed under time because there were four speakers plus special music.  Like Len, my topic had to do with peace. I ended with the following account from an experience I had long ago:

It was October of my last year in college and I was doing my practice teaching at a small school 100 miles away.  I didn’t have my own car but was able to get a ride home for the weekend with a young teacher at my school and her brother. I wanted to visit my family and was working on wedding plans since Elder Gunderson and I were planning to be married during Christmas break. 

As we were returning from our weekend activities, it was a beautiful autumn afternoon. There was a fourth passenger who was pitching in to pay for gas in exchange for a ride part way.  Our route wound over a lovely mountain pass.  LeAnn was a careful driver and followed the lowered speed limit on the mountainside road as we reached the top.  As we came around a curve at that altitude, we unexpectedly hit a patch of black ice and the car went out of control.

We slid across the two-lane road toward open space. We knew it was a long way down.  Fortunately there was no other traffic at the moment. The other two girls were screaming.  I felt confident and thought, “Of course we will not go down.  I have been given blessings that have not been fulfilled.”  The car stopped as its side hit one of the wooden safety posts that edged the road at 15 or 20-foot intervals in lieu of a full railing, and leaned on it heavily.  We could feel the wood gradually giving way. Then I thought, ”It’s possible I cannot qualify to claim the promised blessings because it really looks like we are going over.”  My mind was working at high speed and I considered a plan of hunkering on the floor with my arms grasping the seat in front of me. But I wasn’t actually moving as we balanced precariously and I knew the plan could not succeed, even though I still felt calm and more like an observer than a participant.  LeAnn’s brother was in the passenger seat.  Suddenly, he reached across and grabbed the top of the steering wheel giving it a hard pull.  The motor was still running of course, and in slow motion, the front of the car swung around ninety degrees and we were propelled toward the now very inviting stone mountainside that rose up on the opposite side of the road.

Though it seemed we were going slowly, on impact LeAnn hit the steering wheel, breaking off her front teeth.  Her brother was knocked out and had lacerations from breaking the windshield with his head.  I had never been confident that I would be of any use in a crisis, but the peacefulness lasted and I was able to help with some clumsy efforts at first aid. Cars quickly arrived and various people soon took the other passengers to the nearest emergency room while I remained and waited for the highway patrol. Before leaving the site, I walked over and took a last look at the leaning post, the tire tracks which were clearly below the level of the road, and the rocky mountainside dropping steeply for a long way.  As I healed from a couple of sprained ribs, I rejoiced in Heavenly Father’s great blessings and gift of peace to me in time of need.