This reminded me of a mission experience that is pretty unique. So I'll share... though I must warn you, this one is a little odd. Yeah, I know... shocker!
I had been in the Philippines for about 4 months when I came down with a really bad case of the flu. This was probably one of the worst cases I had ever had and to top it all off, some how the sickness attacked my legs so that I couldn't walk. Weird huh? Needless to say, proselyting was not an option. There I laid on the couch, moaning and griping about how awful I felt all day, while my poor companion was stuck trying to drown out my incessant wailing. Finally, my companion a Filipino with a good heart, but with some odd ideas gave in and decided he would fix my ailments.
"Ok, Elder Cole, I know what to do for you," he said in a thick accent, staring down at me. I must have looked pathetic, lying in my P.J.s, rolling around on the inexpensive wicker furniture.
"Huh?" I sniffled. I remember looking up at the Filipino, his face a portrait of concern.
"I know what to do to make you feel better," he said this as if he were about to reveal an ancient family secret.
"You do? Great!" Anything, I thought, I'll try anything. There are a lot of traditions in the Philippines, some of them pretty weird to what I'm used to, and I had tried several. Walked around with newspaper stuck to my back, rubbed leaves under my eyes, ate aborted baby ducklings (ok that's not a tradition for healing the sick, it's just a delicacy.) If my companion was willing to impart of his knowledge to cure my illness, I was all in.
My companion sighed and nodded his head. "Ok. First, you need to strip naked and then I'm going to give you a full body massage with oil, then you can't bathe for three days."
I think I chuckled. I had never known him to have such a great sense of humor. That was funny, but something in his eye told me that he wasn't reciting a well-practiced limerick. Please say he's joking. I looked up at him bewildered and saw that he was very serious. "Uh, no thanks," I said. Note to self... purchase a taser.
"Elder, I insist," he said adamantly.
"I'd rather die," I responded.
As if it wasn't up for negotiation, my companion left the room to go fetch some oil. I needed to get out of there, but the flu was preventing my legs from working. In a fit of panic, I tumbled to the floor and writhed on the ground like a sun baked worm. My companion returned with a bottle of vegetable oil.
I gasped and in my alarm I shouted. "I swear I'll mess you up, if you come anywhere near me with that oil."
This got his attention. I was clearly bigger than he was and we Americans were all cowboys. Oh, if only he knew how timid I truly was.
"But it will make you feel better," he said, swirling the oil around in the bottle enticingly.
"I assure you, it will not."
Fortunately, after much persuasion, he gave up on the idea of the full body massage. I, of course, did not sleep well that night, keeping one eye on him at all times.
In his defense, I don't think he was trying to be gross, but trying to help in the only way he knew how. I cringe at the thought of all that oil, and the fact that I couldn't bathe for three days after my massage treatment? Yeah right! I would probably scrub myself with Comet bath cleaner had the unthinkable happened.