An old friend (we'll call him "Joe") from Two Rivers, Wisconsin recently showed up in my ward. He was a ward missionary in my second area (Manitowoc). Joe helped us out a lot, especially with Spanish contacts. He was serving in Chile until he had to come home for surgery due to a basketball-related injury. Once he'd recovered, and after going on plenty of exchanges with me and Elder Taylor (the first of four Elders Taylor I served with), he was reassigned to Oakland. I think he had surgery there, too.
He moved to Logan 3 weeks ago to attend fire-fighting training. Two weeks ago, a van hit him and his bike; he broke several bones and dislocated others. No word on the condition of his bike. He has since switched to EMT training. It might be better for him to be near an ambulance at all times.
Last night, we invited him to play pool with us. Several current and former Butterknife Estates roommates play pool every Tuesday evening. Even though he had one arm in a sling, he won the first two games of cutthroat handily. It was entertaining to watch the cue wildly waving around, but he was eerily accurate with it.
He had good news for me, too. Having neglected my duties to my old baptizees in Manitowoc, I asked if they were still strong in the ward. Jill is (this I knew), Rick is, Jason is (this I was unsure of), and he was unsure about Matt. He said the stake had split and the ward had split and there were many more converts in the fold, even people he knew from high school. I'd like to think part of the growth was a harvest of the seeds I helped plant there five years ago. [Insert pat-self-on-back emoticon here].
Talking to Joe about Wisconsin has reawakened a long-forgotten misty dream. Since his arrival, mission memories resurface constantly. I'm sure he's sick of my questioning and reminiscing (since it wasn't really his mission), but I just can't get enough.