Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Ben Hayden-Smith sends -

I had the privilege of being missionary companions with Doogie three times!
We first met and were comps in the MTC for 2 months, then in Himeji, Japan for about 2 or so weeks when his trainer went back to the US ill and the third time was for about 2 and a half months in Ikeda/Mino, on the outskirts of Osaka. By the time I'd been out a year on my mission, the Doog and I had been comps for about 4 and a half months.
I've got so many great experiences with him it's hard to know what to say in this blog. He always kept things entertaining.
We had to teach a Japanese person in the MTC doing a practice lesson about the gospel discussions. It was supposed to be all in Japanese and a chance for us to practice our very poor Japanese skills. Anyway, Doogie and I were both waaaaaaaaaay out of our depth and he goes to ask this girl (early 20s BYU student) "Have you ever felt the Holy Ghost before?" The girl just starts laughing out loud, giggling out of control. We had no idea what was going on so we asked her in English what was so funny. Anyway, Doogie had asked her "Have you ever felt your period before?" His face went bright red when she told him what he said and he was genuinely embarrassed. We all then started laughing so hard. The Japanese word for Holy Ghost is seirei, for period it's seiri. So very similar sounding and I think he was paranoid about making the same mistake again after that.
He looked hilarious riding his bike. It was more common to see him riding his bike arms folded with an amused look on his face than it was to see him with his hands on the handlebars. I think he liked to see the surprised look on Japanese faces with this tall foreigner riding full speed past them all relaxed and arms folded!
When I transferred up north in the middle of winter and we said our goodbyes, he gave me some of his own warm clothing that I didn't have but desperately needed. I still have it and it says GH in permanent marker on the tag.
I remember the first and only time I saw him after my mission (I live in Australia) he was so glad to see me he gave me a big bear hug and picked me up. It really touched me.
Every now and then I'd get a call out of the blue and he'd say "Hey SMITH how's it going?" There was never any mistaking who it was. We last spoke about a year ago when he was planning his trip to take Val to Japan. I'd lived there from 00-03 and he wanted my advice on a few places to go. We emailed a few times afterwards about the trip and then he dropped out of Facebook. I meant to email and find out why. We are on each others XBox Live friends lists but the time difference always cheated us. I'll always regret not having another catch up call, email or even Halo game.
He was a true friend who will always be missed.
My deepest condolences to Valerie, the kids and all of their family. May the Comforter be with you during this difficult time and that you remember that Families are Forever.
Love,Ben Hayden-Smith

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