How Beautiful Are the Feet

This one time on my mission...

October 16, 1998; the Northern part of the Philippines had been ravaged by a typhoon. Streets were littered with debris; rivers and ditches were overflowing; flooding was rampant. In the town Aparri, which sits on the edge of the South China Sea, two elders went back to work after several days of being holed up in their house.
Elder Bennion and Elder Antonio went to visit a man who had shown interest in their message. The neighborhood where the man lived, was nestled between the sea and the Cagayan River. A drainage ditch, filled with black sewage water, had overflowed onto the street. Luckily, the way in was easy; the Elders rode in the side car of a motorcycle, also known as a trike. They passed through the water without incident and arrived comfortable and dry at the man’s home.
Sadly, the man admitted his wife said he could no longer participate in discussions with the Elders. Downhearted, the Elders walked back down the road they had just traveled. Once they reached the black water, they had a decision to make. Elder Bennion had some new shoes his mother had sent him just a few weeks before. He did not want to wade through the mess with those. Elder Antonio led the way by taking off his socks and shoes and carefully wading through the muck. Shoes in hand, Elder Bennion followed suit, trying not to imagine the type of disease or parasite he might catch wading through the stagnant, filthy water.
The day continued on without incident. However, during one of the evening appointments, Elder Bennion discovered a large pond, quite by accident, rendering his efforts to protect his new shoes useless.
Back in their abode, the two missionaries joined the other Elders living with them. Because of the typhoon, the power had been out for days and the house was lit by candles. While Elder Bates cooked dinner and Elder Layton enjoyed a large bottle of Coke at the kitchen table, Elders Bennion and Antonio retired to the main room. Thinking of the nasty water he had waded through earlier in the day, Elder Bennion decided to soak his feet in alcohol to kill anything that might be dwelling there. He grabbed a small stool and sat in the middle of the cement floor. His flipflops cradled his feet and the alcohol spilled over the lip of his sandals as he continually added more liquid to assure a good cleanse. He noticed off to the side, a small puddle of alcohol. Whether from fatigue or stupidity, he reached for a candle to light and burn off this excess liquid. At the precise moment Elder Bennion lit the puddle, a large, raging fire engulfed the middle of the room, including his own, alcohol-soaked feet.
Leaping from his stupor, and from his chair, he screamed “I’m going to die! I’m going to die!” He spun around on the floor, frantically batting his blazing feet.
Hearing the commotion, Elder Bates abandoned his dinner on the stove and ran into the room, spatula in hand. Without regard for his safety, he leapt into the flames in a wild attempt to stomp the fire out. Unfortunately, a vapor fire is not easily stamped out. Also to consider, was the lubricating effect alcohol has on a smooth, cement floor. Amidst his jumping, Elder Bate’s sandal had broke, resulting in his tumbling to the floor. He arose quickly, but hadn’t avoided the mayhem; his now alcohol-soaked backside was aflame.
Elder Antonio, the only sane of the four Elders, grabbed a shirt from the laundry bin with admirable agility and quickly put out Elder Bennion’s feet. Elder Bates continued to beat his body, singing all the hair off his arms and legs, but successfully putting out the fire on his person.
Meanwhile, Elder Layton thought he probably ought to take a look and emerged from the kitchen – Coke bottle in hand. He impassively stomped out a small fire coming from a burning sock, and kicked the still flaming Flip Flop across the room, putting it out. Without comment, he slowly turned and walked back into the kitchen.
Elder Bennion and Elder Bates, still breathing hard, looked at each other in horror, trying to take in their near-death experience. Elder Antonio just shook his head at the silly Americans, wondering how they hadn’t died their first few days in his country.

Epilogue:
Elder Bennion soaked his feet in a bucket of water for an hour that night. He also repented for the “grandpa” swear word that had escaped his lips at the end of his ordeal. His feet still hurt as he went to bed, but in the morning there was no pain, and he and Elder Antonio continued their work the next day. Perhaps the fire was a blessing, because any parasite or disease that had the potential to grow upon Elder Bennion’s feet had been successfully burned to death.

“How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!” Isaiah 52:7

Elder Bennion
Phillipines Ilagan
1997-1999

28 Jan 2013 11:18
Name Karl-Erik Bennion
Mission Philippines Ilagan
Dates Jan 1997- Jan 1999
Story The day was October 16, 1998. The Northern part of the Philippines had been ravaged by a typhoon. Streets were littered with debris. Banks of rivers and ditches were overflowing. Flooding was rampant. In the town Aparri, Philippines, which sits on the edge of the South China Sea, two missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints went back to work after several days of being holed up in the house.

Elder Bennion and Elder Antonio went to visit a man who had shown interest in their message. The neighborhood where the man lived was nestled between the sea and the Cagayan River, which flows North into the sea. A drainage ditch filled with black water (also sewage) had overflowed onto one of the streets making it impossible to cross without entering it. Luckily, the way in was easy. The Elders were riding in a side car of a motorcycle, also known as a trike. They passed through the water without incident and arrived at the home dry.

The man indicated that although he liked the message, his wife had told him he could not participate in any more discussions with the Elders. Downhearted, the Elders walked back down the road they just traveled. Once they reached the black water they had a decision to make. Elder Bennion had some new shoes his mother had sent him just a few weeks before. He did not want to wade through the mess with those. Elder Antonio made the first move by taking off his shoes and socks and carefully wading through the muck. Elder Bennion followed suit. Shoes in hand, Elder Bennion imagined what type of disease or parasite he might catch wading through the stagnant filthy water.

Once across they quickly ran to a friends house to wash off the mud and filth from their feet. Elder Bennion scrubbed furiously.

The day went on with out incident. However, during one of the night appointments – Elder Bennion discovered a large pond, quite by accident – rendering his efforts to protect his new shoes useless.

Back in their abode, the two missionaries joined with the two other Elders living with them. The power had been out for days because of the typhoon and the house was lit only by various candles. While Elder Bates cooked dinner in the kitchen and Elder Layton enjoyed a large bottle of Coke at the kitchen table, Elders Bennion and Antonio sat in the main room. Elder Bennion, thinking of the stinking water he had waded through earlier in the day, decided to soak his feet in alcohol to kill any of the things that might be thinking of dwelling there.

Elder Bennion sat in the middle of the cement floor on a small stool. His flipflops (which cradled his feet) held puddles of alcohol. More alcohol was added to his feet as it would overflow the small ridges of the flipflops.

Either fatigue or stupidity clouded his judgement, when he noticed off to the side, a small puddle of alcohol. He reached for a candle to light this small puddle and watch the alcohol burn off. It is unknown whether the small puddle was part of the larger puddle Elder Bennion was sitting in, or if the vapors caused the flames to leap beyond their bounds. But at this precise moment, a large raging fire engulfed the middle of the room, and sadly the feet of the tired Elder Bennion.

“I’m going to die! I’m going to die!” Elder Bennion yelled as he spun around on the floor trying to put out the blazing feet with his hands.

Elder Bates, hearing the commotion, ran in the room, spatula in hand. Before him was an inferno, with one of it’s casualties spinning wildly away from it, feet ablaze. Without regard for his safety, and the desire to quench the bonfire, Elder Bates leaped into the flames, to stomp the fire out. Unfortunately, a vapor fire is not easily stamped out. Also to consider, was the lubricating effect alcohol has on a smooth cement floor.

One of Elder Bate’s Flip Flop straps snapped as he was jumping, and resulted in his tumbling to the floor amidst the fire. He arose quickly, but noticed that his now alcohol soaked rear parts were now also on fire.

Elder Antonio, the only sane of the four Elders, quickly and calmly grabbed a shirt from the laundry bin and put out Elder Bennion’s feet. Elder Bates continued to beat his body, singing all the hair off of his arms and legs – but successfully putting out the fire on his person.

Elder Layton, who by this time, thought he probably ought to take a look, emerged from the kitchen – Coke bottle in hand. His face impassive, Elder Layton stomped out a small fire which was coming from a burning sock, and kicked a still flaming Flip Flop across the room, also putting that fire out. He turned slowly and walked back into the kitchen.

Elder Bennion and Elder Bates still breathing hard looked at each other, trying to understand what had just happened. Elder Antonio shook his head at these silly Americans, and wondered why they hadn’t died in their first few days in his country.

Epilogue.

Elder Bennion soaked his feet in a bucket of water for an hour that night. He also repented for the “grandpa” swear word that had escaped his lips at the end of his ordeal. His feet still hurt as he went to bed, but in the morning there was no pain, and Elder Antonio and Elder Bennion continued their work the next day. Perhaps the fire was a blessing, because any parasite or disease that had the potential to grow upon Elder Bennion’s feet had been burned away.

“How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!”

Isaiah 52:7

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