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!