Friday, August 1, 2008

Samoa Part 19: Saved from Trouble

One day, Uilifoti and I were walking along a dirt road in a remote part of our area. It was the beginning of the rainy season and the road was very muddy, so much so that my shoes and the lower part of my pant legs were caked with mud.

As we walked in the direction of the main road we saw a taxi approaching us. We could very clearly hear a song by either the Cars or the Police blaring from the car radio. As the taxi drew near we could see that it had four passengers, all inebriated. We said hello as we passed and continued walking in the opposite direction. Once about 50 feet separated us we heard someone from behind us.

“Elders!” the voice called out.

We turned around to see one of the men getting out of the car. He was young, perhaps near our ages—between 19 and 21 years. I noticed that he had a large plastic alcohol bottle in the front of his pants; the bottle’s neck protruded above his waistline.

“Hey, come here.” We walked the short distance to see what he wanted to say to us. He told us that he desired to be like us, a common remark from people whose lives needed reordering. Then he asked us for some money.

Uilifoti replied that we didn’t have any money to give to him. The man continued his mumbling about money and asked us a few more questions. Without any forewarning his demeanor suddenly became serious and aggressive.

He looked at me and asked, “What would you do if I shot you through the head right now?” At that very moment a wave of evil feeling coursed through my body. I realized that this guy wasn’t stable and that we needed to leave.

Concerned at the possible consequences of turning my back on the man, I looked him directly in the eyes and replied, “Nothing.” He asked me again and my answer was the same, “Nothing.”

Then he turned his attention and questions to Uilifoti. “What would you do if I punched you? You want me to punch you? Do you want to fight?” Then swearing and cursing, he explained that we were on his stomping grounds, his turf.

Uilifoti looked at him and said, “We’ve got to continue our work.” Then he looked at me and urged, “Let’s go!”

I didn’t notice when they had gotten out of the taxi, but the man’s friends had made their way over to him by this time. At Uilifoti’s “Let’s go!” we slowly started walking away. The man’s friends began apologizing profusely for their friend’s behavior but we replied, “No worries, we just want to leave. We’re going to go.”

Fortunately, the man didn’t pursue his violent course of action—he let us leave in peace. The further away we got from the four drunk men the faster we walked, then jogged, then sprinted to put as much distance between us and our would-be assailant.

The adrenaline from the experience and the sudden burst of exercise set our blood to boiling. Once we were walking again, Uilifoti and I verbally raged between us at the indiscretion and utter rudeness of that man. By the time we made it to the paved main road, we had calmed down enough to feel gratitude to the Lord for having spared us any serious, violent altercation.

That day I witnessed the literal fulfillment of the Lord’s promise to his servants: “I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up” (D&C 84:88).


Katy said...

This is a wonderful story! God truly does protect his servants. What area of Samoa were you serving in, may I ask?

Nate said...

We were on the Vilimaa road south of Alafua, real close to Pesega where the Mormon temple is located.

Katy said...

That is great! My boyfriend is currently serving in Ta'u, Manu'a right now, but he's been to that area as well. Again- wonderful story!