So... here's what happened. We had just picked up two other sisters (one of them is like my new bff, sister salisbury, she was sis organistas comp just before me) to go to a zone conference sat morning with Elder Porter from the 70. we were literally five minutes from their apartment when out of no where, the truck coming from the opposite direction just did a U in the middle of the road right into us. It was a huge four door ford truck, F150. I was in the passenger side. Sister Organista was driving and there was nothing she could do, she slammed the brakes and swerved but it SMASHED into us. Pushed us up onto the sidewalk and then we hit a light post in the middle of our front. I just screamed and screamed because I saw it coming and like the only thought I had was "If I just keep screaming everything will be ok" so I just kept screaming. Our airbags all went off and I think I hit my head pretty hard because all of the sudden there were stars everywhere, my vision was not good. We smelled burning and saw smoke and Sister Jorgenson (Sis Salisburys comp) yelled that we had to get out so I just tried really hard to clear my head and the stars, but I was pretty dazed. Sis O's door had been demolished from where the truck hit, so she's panicking and I'm panicking and can't see and I'm fighting through all the airbags and the metal had warped back from where we'd been hit in the front so I had to push really hard to open the door.... so. scary. So we all got out and Sis S and Sis J were in front of me and they could barely walk. I was shaking so bad, my knees were buckling, I thought I was going to throw up and pass out in the grass.... so scary. Luckily I had my phone in hand from when we'd called them to pick them up so I immediately called 911. We were in the middle of the town, so people came rushing to help us, at least 6 people called 911. We had been hit right outside a waffel house and they pulled us in there so we could sit and not freeze (freeze being relative from MN... CA has been in the 30s lately though, coldest in years) and within 10 minutes the police and paramedics were there. The guy in the truck just took off in his truck.. I was the only one who saw him leave, I saw it through the airbags by Sis O. They found his truck a few blocks away, he'd abandoned it. But they had all his info. Funnily enough, his front license plate had fallen off from the impact so they had that too.... jerk. Pretty sure he was drunk. A couple came and talked to us right after and stayed with us for like 20 min... they said he'd just run 2 lights before that and had almost hit them so they were watching him and saw him hit us.... so scary. And another man came after the police had got there and he had seen him right after he hit us, truck all smashed in the front, so he'd jumped in HIS truck and chased after him, then realized he wasn't the police so he called 911 too.... we still don't know for sure if they caught him. So the paramedics took my blood pressure, which was text book perfect and then asked me some quick concussion check questions (my favorite "how old were you when you were 10?") which I passed. Sister O was bleeding in her mouth so that really scared us at first, but it turned out she'd just bit her tongue really good. Sis J did too and had a huge welt on her shin. Sis S had been hit right on the brow bone with Sis S's head, so she had a welt that turned black.... we were all just sore every where, and a few hours later it really started to hurt and tense up once the adrenaline wore off.
Well after all the hulabalu..... car was totaled, did I mention that?.... we got a ride in a sweet little Meixcan sisters car from the Madera ward. Her car was a tin can. Man it was hard to drive in. No side airbags, I only had a lap belt... without our seat belts and airbags we woulda died. So I just closed my eyes. We all cried a bit, it was terrifying. But we knew we were protected by angels and we were glad we were the ones who were hit because other people aren't as protected as God's missionaries. And we were all ok. So we went to the zone conference and were met immediately by our district leader, zone leaders, assistants to the president, the coordinating sisters and Pres and Sister Gelwix. They pulled us into a room to get blessings which helped a lot. Then we got to meet Elder and Sister Porter! Which was a big deal because Elder Porter has a weak immune system and can't meet large amounts of people so we weren't expecting to get to meet him at all! Sadly we were all in such distress that I couldn't take it in for what it was worth.... well the conference was really good. But about half way through things really started to hurt. My hip where the seat belt had been was really hurting, and my back and my neck.... and all I could do was play the accident over and over and over again in my head.... rough. Well after the conference, Pres Gelwix got up and said "I need the following missionaries over here for a minute: Sister Zollinger.... " and then like 6 elders. So what?! I went out into the hall and Pres said that Elder Porter was going to have a personal interview with each of us! So I was the only sister in my zone who got to have a one on one interview with a member of the 70! Again, my body was gone so I was shaking the whole time and super tired and emotional, but it was a neat experience. He just asked about how the mission was doing, how my family was, how I liked the mission, how was my testimony, etc. I was with him for about 7 minutes. He said he thought I'd be a pretty good missionary haha. It was cool!
Well after that we were told that whenever we were ready to drive again we would take the elders car and they would bike... we were told not to proselite for a few days which was really hard to take at first (I'm on the Lord's time here!) but turned out to be a really good idea. We got a ride back to Madera in the same tin can.... but I called Sister Nehring and she picked us up from there. I was NOT going to ride for longer than I had to in that car. Sister Nehring has been so amazing... she's super busy but cancels everything for us and works around us. We got to her house around 3 probably and Sis O had to do a report for the church... which meant I did it and she read. She was worse off than me because the truck had actually hit her (I was the safest one in the car, farthest from impact and I didn't have anyone else's body to bounce off of) and she was struggling with english a bit since impact (we all said a prayer after we were hit and I asked who wanted to and sis S said "not me, I'll sob through it" and sis O said "don't make me, I can't speak english right now" hahaha.... so I said it. wasn't funny at the time. but it is now. we went between tears and laughs all day.... so crazy. so scary) and then some other members brought us pizza... we just wanted to sleep so we went home around 5.... and neither of us could sleep. it was awful. bodys aching, replaying the accident over and over again, we knew we had appointments that we were missing.... just felt awful. Well after an hour the bishop and his wife showed up! They're really young, mid 30's or so, and it was their date night and they decided to spend it with us! So in our pjs we just sat in their van and talked! And they bought us icecream. We were them for like 2 hours. Exactly what we needed. Then we went home and Sis O passed out... I took a shower and read Haylie and Grandpa Steves letters I had just got and slipped back into a low point... thinking about the accident again. So what happens? My zone leader called me! And he said "sister, I can't do a lot for you but I can at least try to take your mind off of it for a bit" so he just talked to me about my family, school, and sports and stuff for like half an hour. Exactly what I needed. And then the District leader called just to check on us. So great. went to sleep at 10:30.... both of us were awake around 230. We checked on eachother, and then I didn't fall back asleep until probably close to 4.... both of us spoke in sacrament the next day, sis o in spanish and me in english. Such a great experience. I talked about how members and missionaries need to work together, and it was just so great... so many people came up and told me they couldn't believe I'd only been in the field for a month. We got so much love from them.
Well we went home, slept for two hours and what do you know? Woke up feeling horrible. My sternum was like a knife in my chest. Hurt so bad. So guess what? God sent two more sisters at exactly that time. People have been showing up at our doorstep nonstop. These two sisters were so great. One had been prompted on Black Friday to randomly buy two sets of warm, snow flake pattern sheets and so she brought those to us and they remade our beds! They were so comfy. Just that gesture was so comforting. And they gave us some medicine. So great. They brought us to our dinner appointment with an amazing family to watch the Devo and eat.... they had SNAKES. A big boa and a python.... I have pictures, I'll show you later. I want a ball python so bad now, they are LEGIT. It psyched me out a little at first but so cool. They also had a chinchilla and three big dogs and like three breeds of snakes.... so cool. They made us feel like family, it was so great.
After that we went home and went to bed, another sister stopped and brought us food this morning, Sister Nehring has been doing everything for us. We are going to a physical therapist this week sometime, he is a member and sees missionaries for free. Such a blessing. I'm going to be driving now, we're getting the elders car tonight.... I'm still a bit traumatized though. Today Sister Nehring was backing up and couldn't see and asked us to check from where we were seated in her van. A big red SUV came speeding by and it took me several minutes to calm down because I could just see it crashing into us again. But we are ok and things are definitely going upwards. Just hard still.
Favorite proselyting story of the week!!!!:
High light of my week investigator wise was a little old Catholic woman we met named C. She's 80 years old and lives by herself. She as a referral from a member, they are neighbors. C answered the door and was in the middle of painting her own walls while struggling with arthritis. She's about a foot shorter than me. We asked her if we could please please help her paint and she said we were an answer to her prayers, her arthritis was really starting to hurt. She also informed us that "she knew all about our cult" which I laughed a bit at and immediately corrected a few of her ideas about who we were. We explained a bit about our beliefs on the Godhead that were different from what she had heard and also the sacrament. We didn't think we'd get far with her, so we just painted for her and got the job done fast and well. She was very pleased. We actually ran home to change first and she said "I mean it, just walk in. My door is always unlocked to my friends." That was about 5 minutes after she met us, and she is one independent and sassy old woman. It really touched my heart. So we painted everything and then she asked us some questions and we immediately sat down and started with Lesson 1. We only got so far as prophets and apostasy because she knew the Bible very well and had questions. But we read part of Amos about apostasy (she wasn't thrilled about the idea at first) and she lit up and said she'd never noticed those verses and accepted apostasy. We also left her with the Lesson 2 pamphlet. She loves to study. We were supposed to go back yesterday but with the accident we haven't been able to. We will probably see her tomorrow. I knew from Ammon how important service is to missionary work, but that really solidified every thing for me. We were able to bless her, even if she doesn't accept the gospel. I was honestly shocked she accepted those pamphlets, I thought there was no way. It was great! Especially because I've been trying to mean it more when I pray to find those prepared people. Before it was just saying words, but the day or so before we met her I tried to really mean it and have faith and boom, there she was!
Well I'm glad to hear every one is good at home! I love hearing about all the missionary work you are doing! It really is imparative to have members involved! I'll send you a copy of my talk later.... but I promised my members that as they involve the Lord in their missionary work, it would never be a burden to them. That promise is true!!!! Thank you for doing it!!!!
I love you all so much. Sorry for all the accident details... it was so crazy! I am so grateful to be alive, to know God is watching out for me, and to know of all the people who pray for me everyday. THANK YOU.