Thursday, October 17, 2013

Car Crash - October 14, 2013

The Lord takes care of his missionaries.

This last Tuesday, we went out to Njeru to do splits with the Elders in that area. In Njeru there are four Elders—Elder Smoot, Mukengashi, Dimingu, and Bawuti. I split with Elder Smoot & Mukengashi while my companion worked with Elder Dimingu & Bawuti. It was a very normal day. We ended the day about 9:30 p.m.

The next day, Wednesday, October 9 was Independence Day for Uganda. After finishing our daily missionary routine, my companion and I packed our bags. We loaded the truck and were ready to leave. As we were getting ready to leave, my companion said, “OH I forgot my pen!” He hopped out, ran inside and grabbed his pen. He then returned and we were on our way back to our area.

As we entered onto the main "highway" which is basically a local street that hundreds of people are walking on and the center of it is used for vehicles. As we were driving along on this highway (which is about as wide as a normal neighborhood street), I looked in my side mirror and at the top of the hill (about 600 yards away) I saw a white Corolla flying down the road. I immediately moved to the edge of the road so that he would have plenty of space to pass me. He was obviously in a hurry.

After moving the car over to the edge of the road, I continued driving at about 40kmh. Seconds later, I then looked in my mirror again. I could not believe what I was seeing! This little Corolla was at our bumper!!! He then realized he was going too fast and he tried to pass me. BUT it was too late to change lanes. He then made sharp turn trying to get around us. At this point, I was no longer watching him in my side mirror but I was watching him through my open window.

As he swerved to miss our rear bumper, he lost control of his car and it began to slide sideways. As it was sliding, he continued to pass us. Since he was sliding sideway and I was driving forward, I could literally see his face. At this point his front bumper was now facing the side of our truck. An instant later, the tires of his car grabbed traction and the car drove straight into the side of the truck. It was as if he had T-Boned us through a red light.

All of these events were happening as if in slow motion. He hit the front right corner of the truck and then his car began to turn with the tires lifting off the ground! Then his car began tumbling and flying through the air. It then hit the ground and began to bounce and roll as if it were a basketball that was pumped up too much.

I immediately pulled over. His car had come to a stop upside down. This entire story transpired in about 6 seconds I would guess. Adrenaline was running through my body and I realized that the guy driving the car might be dead! I looked at my companion and said, “You ok?” (I think I was yelling at him.) He said he was fine. So I tried to open my door. It was jammed. Leaning towards the center of the car and hitting the door with all my strength and momentum, the door burst open like party popper. I hopped out of the car and looked at our truck as I was running over to the guy. When I was about to his car, the guy crawled out of the car without a scratch!!!! I couldn’t believe it!

He then began to just yell at me. I think he was trying to put the blame on me. I could not believe the nerve of this guy! The Lord had just saved his life and he was trying to blame someone else. I took the guy by the arm showing him the skid marks, the direction of impact and the lines of where his over-turned car hit the road. I then told him how lucky he was that he had not hit or killed someone that was walking on the road. I then shared with him how lucky he is to be able to go home and see his family because a crash like that should have killed him. After I related all these things to him, he recognized the reality of the situation. It was his fault. AND beside all of this, we had about 70 million eye witnesses that told the police what happened as well.

After talking to him, I realized that he had a good sized cut on his arm. I told him that he should get that stitched up. Before he left, I called the mission office and told them everything. They told me to get his information while reassuring him that we would not sue. His only responsibility would be to fix the truck.

We then took the vehicle down to the mission office after gathering all of his information to get an estimate and start the repairs on the truck. There is a video of the damage on my camera. I will have my parents post it on the blog after I send the memory card home.

Reflecting on the story my companion pointed out that if he hadn’t forgotten his pen, we would not have been in that exact spot so the accident might not have happened. We decided it was the pen’s fault.  My companion and I had a good chuckle after everything had cooled down.

The next day when I woke up my shoulder was killing me, I was pretty confused. I really couldn't think of any reason why I should have such soreness in my shoulder. Then it hit me—I had used my shoulder as a ramming bar. No wonder it hurt! That was four days ago and now it is good again. :)

As I recall the whole experience, it seems somewhat surreal. It was a movie crash but real. This was the first time in my life that I had ever seen a crash like what we experienced which was not on TV. I was so thankful that no one was seriously hurt.

Now I want to talk a little bit about the work :)

This week my companion and I found a great new place to tract. This was super exciting because we had pretty much exhausted the areas we had been tracting. In this area, we found some awesome new people that we are really looking forward to teaching. They are the most consistent new investigators I have had since coming to Jinja. We have worked hard this week because transfers are coming and we wanted to set up the area for the next transfer. Neither of us knows if we are staying or going, we will find out tomorrow. Either way, whoever is here will have a lot of good people to teach.

We have also been helping Salome and Geoffrey understand the importance of being baptized. After talking to some other missionaries about their situation, they told us to help them understand the blessings and protection of being baptized. This made perfect sense. If we really help them understand the magnitude of baptism and how it can bless their lives in this life and the next, then they will understand and be able to make better choices.

When we visited Salome and Geoffrey, we went with one of our members named Richard. When we arrived, we found only Salome at home. We were a little confused why Geoffrey was not there. She told us that he had gone to their village to visit her parents. He wanted to try and work things out so that they could move forward. This was a big break through! I didn’t think he would ever do that. It took a lot of courage for him to talk to Salome’s parents.

The most exciting thing in my opinion is that he went and talked to her parents without us telling him to do it. This shows us and the Lord his true desire to be baptized. He is willing to do whatever it takes to have it happen. I was in a great mood! I know that at some point or another they will be baptized.

I know that I spent most of my time writing about the accident. But I wanted to show how the Lord protects his missionaries. If the driver of the Corolla had been killed, we would of have been in a lot of trouble with Ugandan police. Or we could have been hurt and the work would have really slowed down for us. OR our car could have spun out of control when he hit us. The variables are immense. I know the Lord was watching out for us. He protected all of us.

Thanks for all you all do and I appreciate you all a lot!

Love ya all,

Elder Bitter

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