Sunday, February 3, 2013

James Bond Status! An inside look at Elder Staheli's epic car accident!

I was driving on the highway, with the other three Elders in the car. We were headed from Williston, ND, to Newton for a Zone meeting. The windy roads were slick and it was snowing and blowing bad when I took a turn at 55 miles per hour. The car flew off the road, fell along the ravine, went through a fence, then slid downhill for 150 feet before coming to a stop. What could have been a bad accident had turned into a glorified sled ride!

A lot of other cars did the same thing at the same time. None of us were hurt. It was like we were shipwrecked, and I wanted to see the other dead cars down there with us. It was cool to come out of the crashed car wearing nothing but our suits. I felt like James Bond!

People came running from their cars, and calling out, “Holy ***” (A colorful explicative from the people of Williston.) “You guys are clear down there!” The people who had stopped wanted to help us, but none of their cars could touch us so we had to have a towing company. The towing truck guys said God was riding with us!

They blocked the roads, and I was sitting with a police officer for an hour in his car, filling out reports. He told me that semi-trucks and school busses full of kids had ended up in that field before under the same type of snowy conditions in previous years, and it takes all day to take care of getting those vehicles out of the ravine.

The car can still be driven, but not by me. I got a black dot, which means I lost my driving privilege. I don’t mind. You know I hate to drive anyway, so I’m happy just sitting back and letting someone else do the driving. It also means I got a new companion, an Elder I really like, who doesn’t have a black dot.

Now we’re just waiting on a repair report to be faxed to our car mission guy then the church insurance can kick in. We can drive while the parts to the “bomber” come. The paint got scratched up and the bumper cracked, but other than that it’s fine.

If we had canyons here, it'd be a different story. I guess we went off North Dakota version of a cliff. Ha ha! 

Thanks for the cake, Dad and Mom! Surprise! I had a “Happy birthday, Harry” too. I actually had Hagrid give me a cake. There was a guy I’d never seen before came to the door and gave me a cake. I was like, “You know my dad?” He’s like, I’m the pastry chef at Economart.” Oh, Ha Ha! Guess you wouldn’t have to know my dad then I said, "It’s my birthday" like what Bruce Wayne said to Rachel .

A Frosty Winter

Elder Chan Staheli ran into an old friend while serving in Williston this month. He calls him “Elder Christmas.” Actually, this jolly old elf was part of the decorations at a home for the elderly where Chan and his companion go on Friday and Saturday evenings to serve ice cream to the residents. He says, “No matter what kind of a week we’ve had going there is the highlight.” The place is set up like a 1950s soda parlor, and with Chan’s love of acting, he gets in spirit of things there. Anything to get out of the cold! The temps have been ranging 15 to 30 below!

As a result, the elders are not able to get out every day to tract, although they have been teaching several investigators and part member families. It looks like Elder Staheli and his companion have two people getting ready for baptism though. Even though it’s been cold, he’s keeping his sense of humor warm by sharing Christmas cheer. “Whenever I see someone looking depressed during the holidays I say, ‘Cheer up, dude. It’s Christmas!’ in my Grinch voice! I have so much stuff to talk to you about from the mission when I get home, the good and bad, and the downright ugly!” Of course, this comes from the missionary who has to have won the contest for “longest Skype call home to his family ever,” but at least he got to talk with EVERYONE.  Responding to the photos we sent him from the Spanish Fork Festival of Lights, Chan said, “We have a light show, too, in Williston, but it is lame. Ours in Spanish Fork is better. Ha Ha!”