We got around on bicycles. It was cheap and effective. Every mission is different, but on my mission to Colorado, bikes were the most common method of transportation. Zone Leaders had cars because they had to be able to get around and check up on the six or seven companionships in the zone. But the rest of us were on bikes.

We all rode mountain bikes. It didn’t occur to anyone other than Tennessee Smith (In a mission of about two hundred, there were three Elder Smiths) that riding a street bike might actually be a bit easier. There was a company called Liahona that sold bikes to missionaries, and apparently it hadn’t occurred to them that we might like anything other than bulky mountain bikes.

I was hit by a car while riding my mountain bike. In a letter home, I told my mom about whom I was teaching and how I was getting along with Elder K, and oh, that I got hit by a car. I gave maybe two sentences on it. She was appalled that the mission hadn’t informed her. In my letter back, I told her it wasn’t the mission’s fault, because I hadn’t informed the mission.

It was a nice sunny afternoon, and I was riding in front of Elder K. I had almost come to a complete stop at a busy residential intersection when a white sedan driving left to right in front of me hit just the very front of my bike. I threw my hands up and off the handle bars, relinquishing control.  My wheel was immediately perpendicular to the frame. When she hit me, her car was going maybe 10 MPH. She slammed on the brakes. I saw blonde hair.

I stood there with the frame still between my legs, surveying the damage my front wheel had done to her car. My bike was now up against her car’s rear panel. My wheel and tire were destroyed, but that was it. I could probably replace it with a spare from another missionary for $20, or a member would just give me one.

With her seatbelt on, she strained to lean between the two front seats and toward the rear window. “OH MY GOD ARE YOU OK!?”  she yelled. She was wearing a tank top, looked about 30 years old, wore sunglasses, and had just a ton of blonde, curly hair. “ARE YOU SURE-” She was looking at my name tag. Her eyes were strained and I saw her lips move as she read Church-Of-Jesus-Chri…she took a breath “sure you’re ok?” Elder K was standing at her open window at this point.

Due to the transient nature of the mission, Elder Ka’Onohi quit trying to teach howlies how to pronounce his last name.


1.verb. To be moved from one area to another, resulting in a new companionship: Elder Litchfield was transferred from his greenie (first) area in Kansas with Cowboy Smith to the Colorado Springs 6th Ward with Elder Langston.

2.noun. Meeting wherein missionaries gather to hear where their next assignment will be: At transfers, it was announced from the pulpit that Litchfield would be serving with Elder Ka’onohi. After hearing the news, the (contextually) young Litchfield elbowed the (contextually) older Langston who was next to him in the pew. Litchfield opened up his hands and raised his eyebrows hoping to get some info on Elder Ka’ O-something. The normally euphemistic and cheery Langston kept his gaze forward and lifted his left hand in front of him, shaking it side to side. Finally Langston leaned over, took a breath and whispered to Litchfield, “You’ll get into some doors.”

3.noun. Time period between transfer meetings. Normally six weeks, unless there is a mission split or some other event significant enough to break up the six-week time period: Elder Litchfield was distraught when he was informed after six harrowing weeks that he had to do another transfer with Elder K.

I was totally fine. I was better than fine. My wrecked bike meant that Elder K and I would be walking for an indefinite amount of time, and that was preferred. Elder K had been trying to sell me on walking since we were paired together. I’d argued that we should stay on bikes because we could get to places quicker and talk to more people, basically echoing mission leadership. But now I’d been hit by a freaking car. This ended my struggle for at least little while. The cheap, ill-fitting suits and nametags were enough. Cheap, ill-fitting suits on mountain bikes (with helmet) was just cartoonish.

Elder K was still at her window “Miss, Miss, have you ever been baptized?” She shot him a quick puzzled look then turned back at me, as she unbuckled her seatbelt. She opened her door, ignoring Elder K’s attenuated discussion and ran around to me. She put her hand on my shoulder and looked into my eyes for lucidity, then back at Elder K, and again at my name tag, Latter-Day-Saints. She was wearing that tank top and some short shorts.

Missionary Goggles

1.-noun. Slang. Think Beer Goggles. Litchfield’s been on the mish a year now so you know he’s got the goggles on. Or That girl was gorgeous, Edler- A 10, WITHOUT missionary goggles.

Author: Aaron

Aaron lives in Texas right now.

2 thoughts on “Glossary”

  1. I was never hit by a car as a missionary, but being in Florida, I witnessed some of the weirdest people on earth go throughout their day. This is an awesome account.

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