Is this thing on?
On Wednesday, I went and did a division with one of the other areas in our district. It was a beautiful, hard-working day. We were basically with our shoes on the street from 1 p.m. until 9 p.m. The area doesn’t have a whole lot of active, progressing investigators, so we had to spend much of our time knocking doors, making street contacts, and dressing up in chicken costumes to attract new investigators. Okay, we didn’t try the third. But it may or may not have come to mind. Around 6:00 pm, we had our first scheduled (and confirmed) meeting with an investigator. I was starting to feel sick – feverish, with some interesting movement in the stomach, and generally dizzy and light-headed. But we had built up some momentum and we both felt that we should try just one more house. We knocked on the door, a dog barked, a man behind the door asked, “Who is it?” “We are missionaries of Jesus Christ”. There was a pause. Everything was leading normally up to the expected, “I don’t have time,” response. But then the man said, “Come on in.” My temporary companion and I looked at each other incredulously but gladly accepted the invitation. It turns out the man had a brother who was a bishop and he had been wanting to find “a religion” in his life. Not just one to visit, he said, but one to commit to and serve in. So we began talking. It turns out this guy has one day off per month, and we just happened to catch him in between errands on that day. He called his son in and started explaining to his son why the son should listen to the missionaries and join the church. We taught about baptism and the restoration, but really what happened is we started on the topics and the father (correctly) completed our sentences. We mentioned Joseph Smith, and the father said, “I have a question – who is Joseph Smith, how did this church come about, and what proof do we have that he really was a prophet of God?” Logically, cheering and smiling inside, we taught about the Apostasy, the Restoration, and the Book of Mormon. We left the house on Cloud 9. The father and son are currently on the path towards baptism and a lifetime full of blessings from a gospel-centered lifestyle.
That night, I really didn’t feel very well at all. I drank water and orange juice and pretty much just conked out on the bed. The next day, we ended our division and I went back to our area. We went to lunch at noon, but I was not feeling very well at all. I propped my head up on the well in the member’s house and her friend who was helping prepare the daughter for school said, “Silzete (the member), I think this missionary is sick”. The friend came to take my temperature. She was going to pull up my sleeve to stick the thermometer in my armpit and take my temperature, but stopped. She didn’t know if she was allowed to touch missionaries like that. So the member came and helped her out. It was one of those cute, awkward, mutually respectful moments that happens so many times on the mission. I had a fever of around 101.7. So that afternoon I went back to the house and that night we went out to teach. That was Thursday.
Friday morning I just turned off my alarm clock and slept as much as I could. At around 8:30 pm, my companion woke me up, saying, “Elder Fleming, you’re gonna want to come see this”. I grumpily got out of my bed and walked to the hallway where there was ankle-level water filling our house. It had started raining hard at around 4:30 in the morning and hadn’t stopped for a good 4 hours. The street was completely filled with water, and, best yet, our cistern was filled with the flood-waters. I thought “flood, well that’s just water”. But then we came to find out that the sewers had backed up and so all of the little creature waste (humans, animals, less-than-animals) had also creeped its way under our front door. I went back to bed. That afternoon/night, we went to teach a fun lesson on “Why Is the Old Testament so Violent?” / the Ten Commandments / the Law of Chastity / the Word of Wisdom. We used an incredible article on the Old Testament that I encourage all to read. Then I went back to sleep.
Saturday passed relatively tranquilly. I was getting better, though still not 100%. We went to one of our investigators who was planning to get baptized this Sunday. His house had filled with water up to the waist-level. So we helped him take out hs furniture and sweep water out of the house until noon. Afterwards, we taught and did what we could to make up for lost time.Saturday night, Elder McCall and I had to travel by bus to two different areas in our zone to interview their baptismal candidates. I started to feel a stiffness in my neck and the bumps in the road didn’t exactly help. Though I was ecstatic and excited to see the progress of the other missionaries and their investigators. On the way back, I played “Stand Up, Sit Down” to alleviate the spin smashing speed bumps (both ‘natural’ and man-made).
Sunday morning, we went to look for our investigators to bring them to church. Many of them had jumped ship, given that their houses had more or less been submerged. The whole place looked like a ghost town. We came to the chapel down-trodden and empty-handed. When we arrived in the chapel, I was asked to play the piano, which I happily accepted. But then I realized that 3 out of the 4 hymns we were playing I had never seen before. I must have sounded like a 2nd grade marching band. what with all the wrong rhythms and notes that I hit. Our conductor looked at me like I had just laid an egg on the piano bench. And then I started to feel as though I really would lay an egg on the piano bench. The light-headedness of the flu that I got came back with intense shoulder pain that spread to my chest and limited my breathing. I started to panic a little bit as I could feel everything in my chest area start to constrict. I breathed deeply through the last prayer and more or less just lost it when the congregation said “Amen”. The bishopric and my companion jumped into action and we made our way to the hospital.
In the hospital everything normalized and I started to feel a lot better – if a little bit dumb and ashamed for causing such a hubbub over what seemed to be nothing. They drew my blood and found that my CPK (a chemical in the blood indicating muscle breakdown and possible infection) was at about 240. Given that I had come into contact with the flood water helping our investigator take water out of his house, etc., the doctor got worried and ordered me to stay in the hospital for an observation period of at least 24 hours. My companion also stayed.
Got to go…
More to follow…