The first time I saw the LDS missionaries was through the scope of my sniper rifle—their white shirts strikingly visible against the intense green of the jungle. Who would dare be so visible in the middle of a war?
You have to understand there are three rules in the jungle. One, you have to blend. If you don’t blend, you’re going to become somebody’s lunch real fast. The other rule is to move slowly. If you’re moving too fast, you can’t hear anything, such as something coming up on you. The last thing that is really important is that you have to be aware of the environment—you don’t make yourself known.
One time we were waiting for an equipment drop on a hillside in the jungle. Suddenly, something came out of the bushes and started coming down the hill—and whatever it was, it was ignoring all three of the jungle rules.
I looked closer and it was two kids—jumping around, happy, talking, and not paying attention to anything. They’re lunatics! I thought to myself. They’re gonna get themselves killed. They were wearing white shirts and ties in the jungle, skipping and jumping animatedly down the hill. I could see one laughing. “Who are these people?” I said out loud.
“Oh, they’re missionaries,” said one of my comrades.
To me, my grandmother’s student, this was fascinating, but my companion didn’t seem to care. Who in their right mind would come into this godforsaken place, in the middle of a civil war, to talk about God? The missionaries had safely gone about their business, but the memory of those white-shirted boys lingered for days.