I have been debating whether or not to include stories and experiences from my LDS mission here on the blog. About a year ago I went through my mission journals and compiled all my experiences and made them into a book and scanned in all my pictures. This is my official Mission Journal and I am quite proud of this accomplishment.
But I have been going back and forth on if I should publish some of those stories here on the blog. On one hand, I have so many of them that I could easily fill the remaining 154 days with mission stories. On the other hand, am I being fair? I have already written my mission journal and isn't this cheating in a way? But then some of you readers may not have heard these stories and more than likely wouldn't have a chance (or would want to) read about my mission.
After a couple of weeks to think about it, I have decided to only share a few stories from my mission. If you are interested in reading my full 2-year account send me an e-mail and I will hook you up with it.
The experience that I am going to share is probably my most requested story to tell. It was the time that I mugged in Jamaica, Queens. Now I am going to warn you about my mission writings. I tell it like it is. If my companion is acting like an idiot, I say so in my journal. I wrote down exactly what I was thinking and feeling at the time. This is right out of my journal. To give you some background, I was serving in Jamaica, Queens. I was going on my second month with Elder Hardy and my fifth month in this area. Elder Hardy was a Canadian like myself and very humble too. He would not hurt a fly and was always concerned about how I was doing.
APRIL 4th 1994
I will always remember this day. The day started out all innocently enough. That morning we taught a discussion to this guy who called us prophets. Then we visited Judy and she still wants to be baptized, she just feels like this is moving quickly. We resolved any concerns she had and she is still as strong as she was before. That was the good part of the day, the rest of it quickly went downhill.
Elder Hardy and I during our best times.
Elder Hardy and I were heading home on our bikes and and there was a group of teenagers (about 10-12 of them) crossing the street. They were yelling at us to stop but we passed right by. Elder Hardy passed by first and I came up behind. One of the boys ran up to me and shoved me off my bike while I was riding. I crashed on the road and rolled a few times. They were all laughing at me and I turned to them and said “It isn’t funny picking on a church boy.” I put my bike upright and tried to get on but the bike seemed heavy. I looked down and saw another guy holding onto my back tire preventing me from taking off. He yelled “Gimme your bike!” and I yelled back “NO!” He said it once again louder, “GIMME YOUR BIKE!” and I screamed like a frightened old lady “NO!” I finally yanked it out of his grasp and as I was getting on, I saw something on my right. I turned my head and a big black teen came over and punched me right in the face! My head flew back all bloody and I let go of the bike and they all took off laughing.
I got up and watched them run off. By this time, Elder Hardy finally realized and watched what had happened (he was about 1-2 blocks away at the time) and he speedily rushed to my side. Only he didn’t stop. He muttered “Wait here a second” and flew off to the guys. There were only 2 guys, one on my bike and one running with the guy on my bike, the others scattered like cockroaches. Elder Hardy was a tall guy and his legs were pumping and he was also on a small decline. The kid running with the bike saw that he was coming and thought that he would be an easy target as well. He walked cockily over to Hardy and Hardy just ran him over!
Seriously. HE RAN HIM OVER!
All I saw was that poor guy’s legs fly straight up in the air! Hardy then almost lost control of his bike because of the collision and the kid on my bike jumped off and ran after Hardy. Hardy escaped and right when I was about to go get my bike, some other guy came and picked it up and ran with it. One of the neighborhood ladies saw what had happened and she came and asked if I was okay. I wasn’t hurt, I was just angry. She cleaned me up and said something like “I cannot believe Rodney would do that”. I asked what his name was and she didn’t want to tell me anything. I don’t blame her, she has to live in this neighborhood and I wouldn’t want to become involved if I was her either. I found out where one of the kids lived and that was good enough for me.
I bought a Mongoose Alta bike. We wrapped it with electricians tape so it looked more junky and unappealing to thieves. Guess that didn't work as well as I thought it would.
Elder Hardy still had not returned so I thought it would be best to start walking home on Jamaica Avenue. Jamaica Avenue is a busy road so I thought it would be the safest place. I thanked the lady and I started to walk over when Elder Hardy finally caught up with me. His bike was a mess. Both of his tires had large dents in them (probably from the kid's head) and his handle bars were bent forward from where he hit that kid in the waist. I asked him what in the world he was thinking when he took off after the gang. He said he was so angry and all he could think of was getting my bike back. He said he closed his eyes and kept going when he saw that one kid coming up. When he hit him he said it felt like running over a speed bump. This made me laugh, Elder Hardy didn’t think it was so funny. He felt so bad about hitting another person and I think it made him feel worse when I applauded him for doing it.
We walked home, I was angry and Hardy was shaken. We called President Child and he was glad that we were okay. He said to call the police and also recommended that we don’t share this with our parents. I called the police and they sent a car over.
Elder Williams and Geisting (another missionary companionship we lived with) laughed and laughed when I told them what happened. Hardy truly felt bad about it all and it was too easy and fun to make him feel even worse by saying stuff like, “Hey Hardy! I bet that kid will never pick on a tall white guy again! He is probably still at the hospital moaning!” Deep down, I hoped he was. What really burns me is not only did I lose my bike, I basically lost almost $400 which I paid for at the beginning of my mission.
It was not the last time that I was mugged but it was the last time that I was assaulted on my mission. It took me a long time to finally forgive those kids. In looking back, I can say that at least I have quite a story to share with people. And I never told my family until I came home from my mission.