The ‘Memory Lane Series’ follows some of the more unusual experiences I had on my mission over 30 years ago. These stories are meant more as a light hearted view of one missionaries life, but I am sure that there are some important principles locked away in one or two of them somewhere…
7. Never let your new companion (fresh out from the USA) ride the streets of Australia ahead of you.
Here’s another companion/bike story. This one will forever be etched in my mind as a true miracle.
I was blessed on my mission to train one of the most amazing missionaries I have ever known. When she was passed into my care, I often mussed that I should be in her care more than she in mine. Her preparedness as a missionary was outstanding. She literally hit the floor running and had such an enthusiasm for the work that I was often fed and motivated by her.
For the uneducated, in Australia we drive on the ‘other’ side of the road. I am tempted to say the right side of the road, but that would confuse even more as we actually drive on the left side of the road. But for me that is the right side of the road.
So when new missionaries arrive on our shores down under, it is often a challenge for them to adjust to this new order of things.
I remember on several occasions explaining to my greenie companion the importance of taking care as we rode the streets of our area. I suggested that, when riding our bikes, it would be best if she remained behind me for the first little while – at least till she got used to it.
For the most part she took care to do this. But for some reason on this particular day there was a real enthusiasm on her part. As I laboured to pedal up a fairly steep main road I noticed that my companion clearly had a bit more oomph than I did and she very quickly pedaled past me. I wasn’t too concerned as I knew that we were headed for a right hand turn up ahead, and she would have to stop to wait for oncoming traffic before proceeding across it. I knew I would catch her up before then.
I have heard that when someone is close to sudden death that their life flashes before them in lightening speed. But in this case, as an onlooker, it was quite the opposite. It was like everything was being played out in slow motion, and I was watching it all unravel before me.
I watched as my companion made no effort to stop before making the right hand turn. She maintained her momentum up the hill and swung out across the road. She clearly didn’t see the wall of cars that was heading down the hill towards her at considerable speed.
There was absolutely nothing I could do. By all calculations that wall of cars was going to hit her head on. The distance between the center of the road and the road she was turning into was only slightly less than the distance between her and the oncoming cars. If she had been driving a car, then I think she could have made it. But on a bike, her speed was much slower, and therefore logic stated she had no chance.
Stunned and paralysed, I braced for the worst possible outcome.
Words cannot convey my astonishment as I realised that she had somehow, miraculously reached the other side without connecting with any of the oncoming cars. By all reasonable calculations there was no way that those cars could have missed her.
I still can’t explain why, but I don’t need to. I know that the Lord was truly looking out for His missionary that day and that a miracle had just occurred. It was also at that stage I knew she had a great future before her – both as a missionary and a future mother in Zion.