Friday, April 28, 2006

5 Signs...

You know your brain is too full when....

1. Your housemate leaves you note saying that she found your missing set of keys at the bottom of the 5 gallon container on the floor of the kitchen, underneath all of the bags of sugar.

2. You stay up past bedtime watching a one-hour drama about a runaway figure skater because you know that if you lay in bed, you won't fall asleep.

3. You're on the phone with a friend who's mapping out the details for her Missions Trip in October and you realize you only know what you haven't thought any further ahead than the next ten minutes.

4. You forget to meet your friend for coffee, even though you have been meeting for coffee every Friday for three months.

5. You have had to call your cell phone from your home phone two mornings in a row just to figure out where it is on your bed.

Between the accident and work and rafting, my brain is on overload. I think I have a free day scheduled on Memorial Day. Until then, everything seems full and busy. This doesn't seem like a great way to plan one's life...and yet, I have done it.

The Indianapolis Star is doing a really great job at good reporting. You can read a more detailed article about the accident here. It really encapsulates well the environment and atmosphere of Taylor.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Grief. Immense Grief.

I don't really quite know what to do with this. Four Taylor students and one Taylor employee killed in what must have been a terrible, horrific accident. You can read about it in the Indianapolis Star here.

Last night, I was laying in bed, thinking about everything and nothing wondering what the atmosphere on campus is today...I'm remembering how we all felt in 2000 when Ashley was killed in a car crash, how we all felt when Kim died in the hiking accident in Ireland, how we dealt with the loss of Shawn and Katrina and LaVerne and David and so many others. I'm remembering how scary it was when the van-full of Admissions kids rolled on the way to Hartford City. I'm thinking about how small and intimate everything always is when you're on a campus in Upland, Indiana with 1900 people you love and share community with.

This morning, even, as I'm talking with friends, it's like, the time and space between us and Upland is irrelevant, because we are there...we are with them...because they are part of us. Their grief is our grief because we are all affects us all.

I'm praying for campus, I'm praying for my friends and Professors who are still there. I'm praying for students who are trying to understand. I'm praying for the semi driver who crossed the median. I'm praying for the van full of students and staff who arrived at the scene moments after the crash. I'm praying for a campus that I love so much--that is hurting in a way that I can't even imagine.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Please Pray...

...two things I found out this evening. Please be in prayer over them.

1. A student skater kid from my youth group was injured in a skateboarding accident this week and is in a coma. Please pray for Matt.

2. A fatal accident happened this evening when a van full of Taylor University students collided with a semi. At this time, I have heard that five students are dead and four are hospitalized along with the semi driver. This news is catastrophic for a campus of 1800 people...and I have no idea at this point if anyone I know from Taylor was in the crash, although it affects the entire extended Taylor community.

Monday, April 24, 2006

A Weekend in Review: Wenatchee Raft Guide Training

This is how an abridged interpretation of how a typical weekend of Raft Guide Training goes...

1. Pack up belongings mid-afternoon on Friday.

2. Lose keys.

3. Unpack all belongings looking for keys.

4. Not find keys.

5. Call AAA to get car unlocked in case they are in car.

6. Call carpool to let them know I will be late.

7. Get car unlocked by AAA and discover keys are not in car.

8. Use spare key in glove box (placed strategically for such an occasion) and drive to carpool.

9. Drive with 4 other rafting guides with gear and no legroom to Stonewater Ranch (two hours over mountain pass) while finishing up afternoon work on laptop and riding backseat-middle.

10. Arrive at Stonewater Ranch. Greet friends. Prepare for three trips down the river on Saturday/Sunday. Stay up too late catching up.

11. Wake up at 0'Dark-Thirty. Dress self in neoprene wetsuit and various layers of wool and acrylic clothing that smells like stagnant river water.

12. Cram 12 guides into 1978 Bright Orange van on its 11th of 9 lives and drive to the River Put-In to meet guest paddlers who will be acting as live bait during today's training session.

13. Hop up and down like manic bunny rabbit using air pumps to top-off the inflation of nine bright orange whitewater rafts.

14. Use phrases like, "How many Extrasports do we need?" "Has anyone seen the other blower?" "Where's the other lead bag?" and other various jargon that is meaningless outside of current social circle.

15. Greet 60 timid-looking guest paddlers in awkwardly fitting neoprene wetsuits who look simultaneously excited, disoriented, and self-conscious.

16. Grab 8 of the 60 guests and introduce them to my boat, a beautiful orange Sotar.

17. Teach basic paddle commands and review safety procedures.

18. Shove boat into water and hop in.

19. Spent several hours instructing crew in proper maneuvering through whitewater rapids that are growing bigger daily while trying to facilitate community-building, depth in spiritual discussion, and general fun and safety on the river.

20. Carry boat around lowhead dam, explaining to Junior High boys that the dam would actually eat them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, regardless of their own perception that they can swim through it.

21. Repeat Step 19.

22. Arrive at take-out and wave bye to crew and collect their wet, smelly gear.

23. Pack boats onto trailer and drive back to Stonewater Ranch.

24. Eat dinner.

25. Spend time playing Bocci Ball with other raft staff and discovering the power in using analogies on the river to teach kids about Spiritual topics. Rejoice that I was a member of the winning Team Red.

26. Stay up too late talking with friends.

27. Repeat steps 11 through 22 for trip #2 of weekend (amend gear being worn to now be wet from the day before and smellier than the day before.)

28. On the drive back to the put-in, have van break down. Immediately unload gear and unhook trailer full of rafts while eating lunch with 12 other guides on the side of Highway 2. Wave at passersby (good marketing opportunity with bright orange raft billboards on side of highway.)

29. Find alternate van to haul trailer.

30. Cram 12 guides and gear into white, 15-passenger van and finish drive to put-in, where guests are waiting for trip #3 of the weekend.

31. Repeat steps 13-23.

32. Eat dinner at 8pm.

33. Drive two hours home.

34. Amend two hour drive home to include extra stop to Shell Gas Station in Everett because carpool friend's car won't start.

25. Arrive home at 11:00pm.

26. Immediately go to sleep, leaving wet clothes in tied-up, plastic bag and praying they won't smell too bad by the time I get around to washing them tomorrow evening.

27. Wake up and go to work like normal on Monday, eager for Friday, when I get to do it all again.

I'm getting ever-closer to being a true Wenatchee Whitewater Guide...only a few more weekends of reading the river and learning to better control my boat and hit the rapids with 100% accuracy all while facilitating a discussion that helps students learn more about having a relationship with Jesus Christ. It's not too complicated of a task to master, right?

I have thoughts on how amazing the opportunity to be mentored and trained in this skill area is...I'll post more tomorrow.

Monday, April 17, 2006

The Tale of the Returned Projector

At 11:28am PDT, a rap was heard on the door of the Arlington YD Office. Stuart ran to greet the visitor, and upon seeing the glowing figure in uniform, squealed with delight.

"It's here, Bronco!" he cried. Before him in the doorway, emblazoned with the breastplate of righteousness, stood an officer of the Arlington Police Regiment bearing the unmistakable silver box that could only be a Dell 2300 MP Projector. It had been a long, lonely winter as the Arlington team pined for their missing electronic friend, which had been so tragically removed from its ministry role on February 20, 2006. Somehow, the Prodigal Projector, after sustaining itself for months on pig fodder, had made its way home.

Weeping was heard throughout the land as Heather, Stuart, and Bronco all cried out in delight to see the return of their metaphorical "Lost Sheep." Praise God for his goodness and faithfulness.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Oh Susanna...

I was just sitting in the AHS classroom where I volunteer, and one student started singing the American folk song, "Oh Susanna..." He didn't quite have the words right, because he kept saying, "I come from Argentina with a banjo on my knee." The teacher and I cry out, "It's ALABAMA! Not Argentina!" He laughed and smacked his forehead. He immediately started singing again, only this time he sang, "I come from Argentina with a soccer ball on my knee." HA!

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Bob's Plague

All week, Stuart and I have been battling these nasty colds, which he has termed the "Bob's Plague." Because...we've both been sick in most of the days that have followed Bob's. My particular strand of "Bob's Plague" began as two days of adrenal exhaustion before fading into a sore throat, raspy voice and violent cough.

And now Bob's Plague is catching on everywhere. Stuart infected his entire family (I greeted a coughing wife and toddler running out of the YD Administrative office this morning.) And--I just got off the phone with Pam, my YD compadre in Oak Harbor, and she has a cold too. When I told one of my supervisors, Paul, that I had the "Bob's Plague," he says it's running rampant.

So. Apparently, you can't have 150 people in close proximity for an entire weekend and run them ragged without 125 of them getting simultaneously sick.

There was a rumor that one of the girls had Mono. Turns out it's only Strep Throat. For now, I recommend clearly avoiding anyone who is wearing a beautiful grey Bob's Island Getaway T-Shirt.

Monday, April 10, 2006

First Run of the Season!

Saturday, I took my first run of the season down the Wenatchee River! It felt soooo good to be back! I had a brand-new PFD (Personal Flotation Device), which I was thrilled about...and I had Suzanne in my boat with me (she was visiting from Chicago.)

The river is still in its baby stage for the season (running at 2300 cubic feet per second), but with impending spring and melting snow, there is much more Wenatchee River to be seen this year. As the snow melts, the river is just going to keep getting bigger!!! Hooray! As we were driving back to Arlington on Saturday night, and I saw the Cascades all around me, I looked up and greeted the snowy peaks with an affirming, "Hello, yet-to-be rapids!"

It was fun to introduce Suzanne to YD Adventures, as she braved the Wenatchee and hung out with the guides at Stonewater Ranch. Seeing things from her perspective allowed me to step outside of myself a little and say, "My life is already so much of what I would have wished it to be!"

I mean, in the last 48 hours, I have guided a raft through Class III rapids on the Wenatchee River, enjoyed a visit from one of my best friends, sipped on Seattle's finest latte (a favorite of mine in West Seattle), and woken up in a mountain cabin, where I can spend Monday morning writing, drinking tea, and contemplating the mountains I can see from the living room window. Suddenly, even though I am still very much on my own as a missionary to this place, I can see God gradually handing me the desires of my heart, "For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus" (Phil 1:6).

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Bob's 2006! A Success!

"Bob's Island Getaway 2006" has come and gone. This is the silly name for something that is, quite simply, a Spring Break Retreat on San Juan Island. 96 students from 7 different towns in Washington, and an entire slew of YD staff and volunteers working to make it happen.

From what I can tell, everyone had a blast. It seems like spiritual progress was made with many students. Mostly, it seems like many students discovered community like they never had before. If there are any doubts, you can read a few of their comments on our MySpace Page...

The obvious highlight for me was having Adria, Zach and Tim here all weekend to lead Improv Comedy with me. (Thanks for the photo, Adria.) It was definately a difficult crowd of students to entertain (especially when we gave them permission to boo us!)

Probably the biggest difference for me this weekend was that I had a lot of programmatic roles, but I was not leading a small group. Erin and Esther did an amazing job of managing and leading the Arlington girls...and I rarely saw them all weekend. It felt odd!

At the same time, I was up in front as MC and leading the Improv charge. Somehow, I wasn't really prepared to be up front all weekend, but it seemed to work out well. My coworkers kept telling me I was doing a great job of managing the audience...and I was like, really? My boss has even gone so far as to say I have the potential of being a paid professional which...I just kind of throw my hands up and say, "Okay?!" feeling rather uncertain.

2 days later, I'm still exhausted by it all...and in Arlington, we haven't seen a lot of visible fruit of our labor this year...the encouragement in how students are moving forward is pretty undetectable at times...So...we just pray for our kids and pray for God to give us the confidence that He is moving in the hearts of our students.