Friday, June 22, 2012

Stories from My Mission: My Companion Gets a Black Eye

Almost a year into my mission I was in my second area of my mission in the city of Presidencia Roque Saenz Peña (or Saenz Peña for short). My companion, Elder Palazuelos, was the District Leader, which meant that he was in charge of 3 companionship (6 missionaries). As the district leader he would also be in charge of interviewing people who wanted to get baptized. This meant that every time another companionship had someone that wanted to get baptized we would have to travel to their area so that he could do the interview.

One of the companionships in our district was located in the city of Las Breñas which was about 90 km southwest of Saenz Peña. There was a bus that ran between Saenz Peña and Las Breñas but it ran very infrequently. When no bus was running it was possible to hire a remís (kind of like a taxi, but with private cars and no government regulation) to take us from Saenz Peña to Las Breñas and back.

After one particular trip to Las Breñas where we stayed the night with the missionaries stationed there, we hired a remís to take us back to Saenz Peña. I was riding shotgun with my companion, Elder Palazuelos, in the backseat. It was very early in the morning and Elder Palazuelos was still half asleep. I had rolled my window down about two or three inches in order to get some air. We were traveling along at a good clip of 60-70 km/hr. As we were driving along I suddenly heard a cry from the backseat when Elder Palazuelos gave a very loud, "OUCH!". I turned to find out what had happened and found him rubbing his face just below his right eye.

He said that something very hard had just hit him in the face. He looked down and found a large, black scarab beetle sitting in his lap. Apparently the beetle had been flying over the road when we drove by and had been sucked in through the window. The hard shell of the beetle collided with Elder Palazuelos's face at about 70 km/hr (45 mph). The driver and I had a brief chuckle and then asked if he was OK. He grunted something and threw the beetle out the window.

By the time we got back to Saenz Peña Elder Palazuelos had developed a nice black eye on his right side. He was incredibly embarrassed and said that if anyone asked he would say that I hit him, just so he would not have to explain how a common beetle had given him a black eye. I pointed out that if he told people that I had hit him no one would believe him (and no one did) and in the end he had to explain to all the members who asked how he had gotten a black eye from a beetle. Everyone enjoyed a good laugh at his expense.

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