I forgot to update you all on my New Year's Resolution from last year! Some of you may remember that last year I set a goal to not drink soda for the entire year of 2016, and for the first time in my life I actually completed a New Year's Resolution! Still going strong too. Eating with Hispanics for almost every meal makes it a little hard because they love to drink soda with everything, but I have withstood all temptation. Last night I had a dream that I drank a Mountain Dew Pitch Black and I woke up feeling all guilty. Weird how things like that work. I wonder if any of you actually read this part of the email? I feel like my emails are like sausage. Nobody actually knows what's in them and you can cut them off anywhere.I'm sure most just look at the pictures, but I can't blame them. Who wouldn't want to look at this face? *wink*
Anyways. Last P-Day was crazy. Since we've been getting so much snow recently, our district decided we'd go to this famous sledding hill in Yakima and go sledding. We borrowed some sleds from some members and hit the slopes. Being a southern Texas boy, I've never been sledding on a hill so big. It was a blast. It was actually really good that we were there because a ton of people crashed and ate it hard. One of the sisters took a gnarly fall off her sled, but thankfully she wasn't hurt. Towards the very end, right as we were about to leave, we had just finished our last ride down the hill when we saw a young girl walking away when somebody came flying down the hill and nailed her right in her legs, causing her to flip up into the air and land on her back/head. I ran over immediately and my somebody else was already there trying to talk to her but she wasn't responding.
My lifeguard instincts kicked in immediately, and I actually got down and tapped her on the shoulder and said, "Hey hey, are you okay?" for a real life situation. She looked over at me in extreme pain. Her leg was kicking around and she was trying not to move at all but the pain hurt so bad. I started asking some questions to try and figure out what had happened and she told me that she had hear a crack when she landed. The more I talked with her, the more I realized how serious this actually was. I got behind her head and put my hands under her head and neck to support and stabilize her spine to make sure that didn't get injured any more and I started barking commands for people to call her parents and an ambulance and to help lift her up so we could get her off of the snow and onto a sled to use as a temporary backboard. Once we got her onto the sled I started pulling the sled as slowly and carefully as I could away from the sledding hill and towards the fence. I asked her some questions to help keep her calm and prevent her from going into shock. She told me that her name was Natalie and that she was on the swim team and did drama. I told her the story about when my sister got punched in the face once during a play. She laughed, and then cringed with pain, so I told her I'd stop saying funny things.
We got her over to the fence and I took off my jackets and put them over her to try and keep her warm and while doing so her eyes closed and she passed out. I tried getting her attention, but no response. I tilted her head back and put my hand on her neck to check for a pulse and breathing. I could see her chest lifting up and down and could feel the breath upon my cold face, but my hands were so frozen that I couldn't feel a pulse. I grabbed somebody's hand warmer and warmed them up us much as I could but still couldn't feel a pulse. I wasn't sure if the frozen state of my hands was what made it so I couldn't feel a pulse or the fact that her heart had actually stopped. I rubbed my hands together and one more time put the side of my face over her nose and mouth and my fingers on her neck and said the quickest prayer to ever be said and she gasped for air and woke up again.
She looked very alarmed and confused as to what just happened, but I tried to calm her down and just started talking to her about life again and sneakily asking questions about her medical history. After a while the father and an ambulance showed up and I told the EMTs everything that happened and helped them get the sled onto a real backboard and get her into the back of the ambulance.
I'm not sure how this whole experience translates over email, but it was pretty intense when it all went down. Right after it all happened, all us missionaries were pretty frozen and shocked at what had just happened, so we all went to my favorite hot chocolate place in Yakima to warm up a bit.
As always, I must share the insight I take away from this experience. We never know how we may be prepared to help somebody else out. Thanks to my work experience as a lifeguard, I had been prepared to help out in a small way in Natalie's life. We all have experiences and gifts and talents that we are blessed with, so we can bless others. I think about one of my first weeks here in Yakima. A family had just been baptized, and during my baptismal interview with the mother of the family I asked her how the whole experience with meeting with the missionaries was. Her response touched me. She looked me right in the eyes and said, "You missionaries, you missionaries were the angels I was praying for." Sometimes we're the ones that are praying for angels, sometimes we're being prepared to be angels. No matter what we're going through, we're being blessed so that someday we can bless others.
Con Mucho Amor,