Thursday, May 19, 2005

I'm Not Good At Cursing!

This summer (2005), I have taken an extra job to pay off a few bills before our first child is born in August. Monday through Thursday, I mow and clean up the softball fields. It's fun! I get to ride around on a tractor to drag the fields, and I get to chalk them.
One of the umpires is my "boss" for this job. He knows I am a youth minister, plus he sees the church van in the parking lot when I'm working.
The other day, Bob and I were cleaning up the restrooms. Ladies, can I just say something? You are more disgusting than men! I couldn't believe that I was picking up WADDED UP (and USED) toilet tissue from the floor! Bob had to pick up a feminine product from the floor! I know this is a blanket statement, and that most women are cleaner than antibacterial soap, but help your gender look better! Teach your sisters how to pick up after themselves!
Anyways, as Bob and I were picking up, our boss approached outside. As I picked up a pair of underwear I yelled, "SICK!!!"
When we emerged, the boss was standing right there. He said, "Yeah, women are gross, man!" Then he went on to say, "I thought Christians don't curse!" Apparently he thought I had said a different "S" word!
I didn't think anything about it until a few minutes later...after he was gone! I wanted to defend myself! I wanted to let him know that he was right...Christians don't curse! I was afraid that HE was a Christian, and that I had let him down!
Yesterday, he came back and we installed a new home plate. He surprised me when he said that several ball players were b**ching (complaining) about the condition of the fields. Did he just curse right in front of me?! Perhaps the other day he was not pointing the finger...perhaps he was wanting to hear me say I was not perfect! (Even though I didn't curse!) Maybe he wanted to hear that even Christians sometimes struggle with stuff!
Here's the best part of all: This job has helped me get out from behind church walls! I NEED to get "back into the world!" As a youth minister, I NEED to be where my teens are! I NEED to hear that stuff! Isn't that where Jesus would be? If any other youth ministers read this, go and do likewise! We NEED to be out there, not locked up in our offices!
I may not be good at cursing, but the cool thing is...our boss talked MORE to us after that incident than he ever had before! Who knows? Maybe soon we can talk about Jesus...and maybe NOW he will listen...because he knows we are real, and that we struggle, too.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Jamaica Me Crazy!

Next weekend, I will once again conduct a Graduation Ceremony at our church. This year, we are losing two of our VERY best young men... Phillip Chapman and Dallas Ketchum.
I was reminiscing the other day, trying to recall some memories to share with the congregation. Following is an hilarious story involving BOTH of them!
About two summers ago, 26 members of our congregation embarked on a mission trip to Jamaica. I was privileged to stay in a room with Dallas and Phil.
We worked extremely hard for about a week. We logged about four hours of travel time (by bus) EVERY day to reach our neighborhood worksite. We managed the chaos called Vacation Bible School in the mornings, which grew from 30 to like 130 over a few days. We also did repairs on the old building and painted their classroom building...bright LIME green!
On our final night, we told everyone (especially the teenagers) that we needed to be awake and packed by 4:00 A.M. Most everybody was tired enough that they went to bed early on their own!
My sweet wife had not seen me for a week, so she called Jamaica to hear my voice (ahhhhhhhhh...I told you she was sweet!) I left the boys watching TV and told them I would be right back.
Thirty or forty-five minutes later, I returned to the room to find the door locked. I knocked on the door, knowing that Dallas' bed was not more than three feet from it!
After a few minutes, I started to get worried. It dawned on me that the boys may have gone to visit friends in another room. My visit to those rooms, however, yielded no results. In fact, everyone was already fast asleep! I told one of our male sponsors what was going on, so he returned with me to search for the boys.
We pounded on the door for several minutes, causing other sponsors to poke their sleepy-heads out of their rooms and ask what was going on.
By this time, I was getting very upset! If they were playing a joke, it was NOT funny! If they had left the room without permission, I was going to wring their necks!
We started our search down at the swimming pool. It was Friday night, so they had an open bar and many guests. No luck. We checked around outside...not there. We went to another area where you could buy soft drinks...again, no Phil or Dallas. We searched that WHOLE stinking hotel with NO evidence of the boys!
Suddenly, I had a horrible vision of the boys back in the room, murdered. I started to freak out, so we WOKE UP the hotel manager to get an extra key.
Hurrying up to the room, we unlocked the door and threw it open to find...Phil and Dallas fast asleep in their beds! I was extremely upset, but it was hilarious to see these tough teen boys asleep like babies in their beds! I still scolded them the next morning for locking me out and not waiting for my return (and they apologized to the sponsor since he had to wake up and help me search), but we laugh about it now. What a great memory! I will miss you guys!

Monday, May 02, 2005

Float Trip Funnies

I apologize for not writing in so long. I should probably apologize in advance for the lack of posts during the upcoming (busy) youth ministry season...summer! Here is our most recent goofiness...enjoy!

We just returned from our annual float trip down the Illinois River. There always seems to be something that happens on these trips! Well, this year (2005) was no different!
The first comical thing happened upon arrival. One of our older teens was driving along with our caravan. When we arrived, he said, "I'll be right back" and left.
When I asked where he was going, some other teens told me, "He thinks he hit a dog, so he's gonna go back and make sure it's dead!"
Fortunately, we found out later that he had NOT hit a dog...unfortunately, he HAD hit and killed a CAT!

The next day (Saturday) one of our adult sponsors (Chuck) said he was gonna run into town for a few supplies.
As he entered Tahlequah, he noticed a large amount of traffic. Thinking there was an accident, he turned in behind all the vehicles and began the slow creep towards Wal-Mart.
It slowly began to dawn on him that the traffic was NOT because of an accident, it was because he had entered the middle of a PARADE!!! So, he stuck his hand out the window and started waving!
Forty-five minutes later (normally a ten-minute ride) he turned out of the parade into the Wal-Mart parking lot. But guess what? When he was done, he almost turned into the parade AGAIN! He ended up being BEHIND it this time, so he didn't have to wave!
Chuck, I know you have always wanted to be the Homecoming King, but that's just ridiculous! :)