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I wish someone would have told the missionaries in my mission to SLOW DOWN on the bikes!

I remember bike riding with my "hyper-effective" zone leaders while I was on exchanges in Nagasaki.

We went right down the busiest city streets in the valley at top speed. We'd cut off taxis, dodge pedestrians, slip between stopping buses and the curb with only a six-inch margin of error, praying that no bus passengers suddenly got off the bus.

While I found it exhilarating, it was also rather hair-raising. But I had to keep up, because the ZLs were absolutely NOT looking behind to make sure I was keeping up, and I didn't know the city and could have easily gotten lost.

One missionary in particular was always cutting his appointments too close, necessitating him to acheive Mach-ridiculous to every single appointment. The one time I had to tag along as a junior missionary (once again, this was a ZL), we also picked up one of the brand-new Japanese sister missionariess. We were supposed to take her out and show her what proselyting was about.

Speedy Gonzales, of course shot off into the city and I did my best to keep up (again, I was on exchanges in an unfamiliar city). He didn't once look back to make sure we were still with him. It was pure hell for the poor sister though, since she was only driving a rusty spare 3-speed bike that was lying around the mission home. At one point she ran into an elderly Japanese lady and was completely humiliated. I did my best to keep close to her while keeping my companion in sight.

I'm sure in both cases the locals thought we were all butt-heads. And crazy, of course.

But hey, at least the ZLs usually managed to keep their proselyting numbers up ...

I served in the California-- Los Angeles Mission from 1992-93 and during that time I was mugged twice and nearly taken hostage by a group of thugs (thankfully my Dominican companion convinced them that I was no prize nor threat). Outside of "don't carry any money" the male members of the mission were given very little guidance. We were told to stay in apartments on New Year and Holloween but that was just to that we wouldn't get accidentally shot (think alcohol and guns). The sisters, on the other hand, had all sorts of rules regarding when and where they could teach or prospect. Honestly, I did not spend a lot of time thinking about my safety even after the first mugging even though I served in some of the rougher neighborhoods (Watts, Compton, Huntington Park, East Hollywood).

The biggest problem with Deserted News is that it is owned by the LDS Church. The line between news and PR is understandably blurred.

I'm not certain if any GA's are still on the board, but the ownership issue makes it difficult for reporters to do honest stories about the Church. If I were a reporter at DN, I would be concerned about how I covered the Church. Not an easy beat to cover in SLC!

Just a slight tangent. The bit about fatalism is so true. What is it about missionaries that they seem to think nearly everything is the will of God? That kind of bugged me on my mission. Is it some subconscious reaction to the relative lack of freedom on a mission? Is it a way of simply coping with the stress? It's very weird.

Clark, I agree with your idea that missionary fatalism is a way of coping with the lack of freedom that missionaries experience.

On the safety topic, during my missionary service in a rather, ahem, boisterous third-world country, the only safety advice we were given was to stay indoors during hurricanes and riots. Elders and sisters were both assigned to extremely dangerous areas (I served in an area that a recent U.S. news article described as "so dangerous that only gang members and their friends are allowed to enter.") In places like that, it really doesn't matter where you walk or how. The one thing that might have helped would have been a bit of self-defense training--but we didn't get that, either.

One thing we did learn by experience was how to manage when the police doused our entire neighborhood with tear gas, which happened from time to time.

The SL Tribune will always serve as the hypervigilant watchdog counterbalance to more than make up for any lack of objectivity in the DN, graciously digging dirt, stirring muck, sensationalizing the mundane, and generally criticising to fill any column space they might scrunch in. Oh, and they occasionally cover the hard news stories too. :)

Everything is the will of God is the heritage of Calvinism in the Church. And not only Calvinism but some amazing and sometimes rather paradoxical proto-Calvinism in the Old Testament. Definitely a bit of a mystery about the way some prophecies work, notably the one where God leverages some person's bad character to accomplish his purposes.

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