Thursday, July 31, 2008

Chronicles of a World Changer part 4

Our first work day was Monday the 14th. We left the school at 7am and arrived at our work site around 7:35am, because we got lost again. (I have to say that on our way there we passed the shop where Elvis bought his first guitar!) Mrs H had obtained two gallons of bleach and a few scrubbing brushes. But we still needed a sprayer. The first one we were given didn't work. So the crew chief from next door (there was a crew working on a house just next door to us and a crew at the house across the street.) lent us his. It needed two people to work it, though, because there was a pinch in the hose. "Mischief, you work the sprayer," said Mrs. H. "and I'll get someone to work with you." "You," he said to me. "You can help me out." Why is he telling me what to do? I have seniority here! But I obeyed anyway. Anything was better than standing around.
So I pinched the hose and carried the tank as he sprayed the bleach solution on the house. As soon as we were off he struck up a conversation. "So," he said. "everyone is obviously segregated. And you and I are the outsiders." That went straight to the point. "Yeah, I've noticed." "The girls keep to themselves and the guys keep to themselves," he said. "And I don't think they like me." "They do like you," I said. "It'll just take a while for us all to get used to each other." That's just what I had to keep telling myself.
So we bleached and scrubbed the house and the shed. But we still didn't have any ladders. So we couldn't reach the high places. All this time we were getting attacked by wasps. We had gotten rid of all the visible nests already, but they just kept coming. Mischief would walk around with the wasp spray and shoot at any wasp that flew by.
We had a late lunch the first day. The people from the church also got lost on their way there. But it was very good! We offered some to Mr. Percy, but he had already eaten. I welcomed the break! It was much cooler in the shade under the carport. After a quick devotion by Montana, we got back to work.
Before lunch a construction coordinator couple had come over to help us begin the ceiling tile. The chief and Mischief went inside to work on that, while the rest of us continued outside. But after lunch the chief began calling us in by groups of two so that everyone could learn how to tile the ceiling. Blue Steel and I went in first. Mischief was the one teaching us. And this is how he did it: He held up a ceiling tile. "Male, female," he said pointing to the edges. "Do you see that?" We nodded. Then he fitted them together. "Do you see how that works?" We nodded. "Ok, go ahead and get started." We nod.....what!?? At least let us see you put up one or two before that! But he was serious. Blue Steel looked at me. "Okay," I said as I bravely stepped onto the stool. The row had already been started. All I had to do was follow the pattern. Easy, I thought. I've known how to do puzzles since before pre-school! And I found that it was as simple as that! Thank you, Lord! But I only had time to put up a few before Mrs. H came in to tell me that Nails had fallen off the ladder and hit her head. Mrs. Encourager had already given her a pack of ice and some pain killer. But I had to fill out the accident report. In all the years that I've been to World Changers no one on my crew has ever had to fill out an accident report. There is a first time for everything, I guess.
As if one accident report wasn't enough, Mischief had to burn his hand twice, get stung by wasps, and get bit by a dog. So he had a very lengthy accident report. I even searched the surrounding area with him to find the owner of the dog. I also got to know the first aid nurse when I turned in the medic kit and reports. It was a very busy first day!

Yep. And he's very proud of it.

The next morning, Tuesday, as we were sitting down at breakfast we talked about our projects. Yavanna was on the same crew as Steps and Eärendil was on the same crew as Outdoorsman. We were talking when a guy came by and sat at our table. Dad greeted him so I figured he was from Dad's crew. Somehow, the topic switched to Summer staffing at World Changers. Oh! He's the worship leader, the one Dad had talked to the first day. How did I not recognize him? Oh, crap! Its Tuesday and I still hadn't gone out to find him. I had completely forgotten. And Dad told him to expect me. Dad looked over at me and gestured with his head. I can't ask him now. So I sat through the rest of breakfast without saying much. I'll definitely go talk to him after we get back from the work site today!
We got a lot more work done that day. However, we were bleaching and priming at the same time, which is not a good idea. This happened because we couldn't bleach the high areas yesterday. But today we had two ladders. So we were priming the lower areas of the shed and bleaching the higher areas of the shed and under the carport. Then the bleach would drip and ruin the primer. So we'd reapply the primer. It was doing the same job twice! This is madness! I was so frustrated! How hard is it to wait for the bleach to dry before you start priming? I brought this up to Mrs. H. But she was feeling the time pressure, especially since the next day, Wednesday, was only a half-day of work. I explained to her that it would take just as long because we were going over the same area twice. The problem was not time, it was that we might run out of primer. We still hadn't primed under the carport yet. Guess it didn't work.

The chief and Mischief needed a break from being inside So they came out to prime for a bit. Here is Mischief holding the ladder for the chief with his ever handy can of wasp spray. And look, he's doing the captain Morgan pose.

Here (from right to left) we have Nails and Twin priming on one side while Blue Steel and Montana bleach.

If you look closely you will be able to see why I gave her the pseudonym "Nails." She had gotten them the week before and they lasted until Thursday. I was impressed, because she was one of the hard workers. Now working hard and maintaining your nails is skill!

The police came by today to follow up on his dog bite. They had to make sure the dog had it's shots and everything. So he rode over to the owners house in the police car.

The World Changers audio/visual Staffer came by after he had left. The A/V technician is the one who makes the movie of all the projects for the week and takes the pictures. So he walked around getting footage of us working. The worship leader followed him around with the still camera taking pictures. They had to wait for Mischief to get back for the group photo.

And here we are! Your friendly neighborhood Tool Timers with our homeowner and his son behind the chair. We found out that Mr. Percy is 86 years old. He still drives and he teaches Sunday school! Everyone in the surrounding area knows him, is related to him, or goes to his church. He is a personification of what we've been learning this week: walk in the light, Christ should show through your lifestyle, reach out to those who need God's light.

Okay, this first picture was a normal one. This was the goofy one. I just sat there. Sorry. I know I'm no fun.

For this one we were supposed to do some kind of pose.

Yay, a picture of me! There aren't many pics of me because I took a lot of them with my camera. Mason took a lot of pictures, but we were usually working separately.

One down side of painting is the long cleanup. With roofing all you have to do is find a good stopping point, gather all your tools, and leave. With paining we've got to rinse the brushes and the paint pans. And we only had one hose with very low pressure. So it took a while.

Poor thing! He was so tired he slept both to and from the work site pretty much everyday. I think it was partly due to the fact that his air mattress permanently deflated Monday night. So I told him to get some of the beanbags from Mr. Bill. There was enough for the two of them. I don't think he did, though.

On our way back to the school Mrs. Encourager and Mrs. H decided to stop by Baskin' Robbins for their one dollar ice cream deal. So we all got down. But the workers there informed us that the deal began at 6pm, and it was only 5pm. So no one dollar ice cream. I didn't mind much. I just wanted to get back to the school and relax anyways. But the others were a bit sore about it. No other World Changer went down to the Baskin' Robbins that week. I guess the story got around.
We got back to the school with just enough time to shower before dinner. I also managed to write some *encouragrams. After worship I went to the staff's office to ask about the Summer Staffing. I really only had one question about the application. But they were very helpful. And one lady offered to be one of my references. I can't wait for next Summer! I hope I get accepted.

*encouragram: a note of encouragement from one World Changer to another.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Chronicles of a World Changer part 3

Okay, so the first night we didn't go straight to sleep. Lights out was at 11pm. So I just stayed in my bed and took some pictures.

This is Ilmarë from my bed while I was lying down (was too lazy to get up).

Ilmarë again. She's texting airmanG, again.

And here we have Yavanna talking to Mom. Cell phones were only allowed in the rooms. And even then, they were only to call the family, not to chat with friends. That bookshelf behind her turned into our pantry. We gathered a lot of goodies throughout the week!

This is Sport with the other girls we were rooming with. Those girls were so funny!

Sunday morning breakfast was at 7am. I didn't feel tired at all by now! This was because we were in another time zone. And I usually wake up at 6am. So it felt like I got an extra hour of sleep (because I kinda did).
After breakfast we all gathered outside for a group photo of all the World Changers together. Then we all went back into the cafeteria to meet with our crews. I was on the Tool Timers. "Hmmm, it sounds like a roofing crew to me!" I thought. Every time I've been to World Changers I've been on a roofing crew. So I was hopeful. When I got to the Tool Timers' table I saw one guy sitting there already, Mason. A few minutes after I sat down two more guys came over, Blue Steel and Twin. They all greeted each other and started talking about stuff that was going on. "Do they know each other?" I thought. Now usually in World Changers they split up church groups so that people can meet new people. They usually put one guy and one girl from the same church together on a crew so that they know at least one other person. Why was that not the case this time?
I still didn't see Mischief (guy from my church), he was supposed to be on my crew. Anyways, our crew chief, crew encourager, and Mrs. H (lady chaperone from our church) came and sat down. We introduced our selves, etc. Then three girls came over and sat down at our table. They were all from the same church as well. Two of them turned out to be BFFs. Oh great! How will I deal with this all week long?! Mischief came in late, but I was glad to see him. He knew Mason because they were rooming together. (Our guys were sharing a room with another church as well.) I looked around the table. Everyone looked to be in highschool. I was glad. "Maybe they will be hard workers," I thought. "They look like good responsible people." But this also meant that I was the oldest non-chaperone on my crew. Yes! I have seniority! Maybe I'll get first go at the power tools! No one would believe that I had completed my second year in college. They said I looked too young. But I'm used to hearing that.
Then our crew chief made an announcement: He was not our real crew chief. Our first crew chief had to leave the night before because his wife was sick. So he left and took all his tools with him. So our new crew chief was chosen the night before. And he had no clue as to what he was doing! "Uh, that's okay," I thought. "No problem! I've done roofs before. I know the process."
He then proceeded to inform us that our project was to paint a Mr. Percy's carport and adjoining shed and put up ceiling tile in his house. He even said right then that we may not get it all finished by the end of the week. What! Since when does World Changers paint sheds? Now I can understand ceiling tile, but his shed? We are supposed to help people in need! I was confused and a little bummed to be stuck on a painting crew. But I tried to stay positive. Then I remembered that the Chief said he didn't know what he was doing. What kind of man is this? He doesn't know how to paint? And he doesn't think we'll finish in time? We haven't even looked over the place yet! How can he say we won't be able to do it? He doesn't even know! God are you trying to kill me? I didn't pray for patience!
"I know all about painting," said Mrs. H. "Okay, good," said the chief. "I'll put you and Encourager in charge with that and Mischief and I will do the ceiling tile inside." Mischief had done ceiling tile before, so he knew how. Thank you Lord! Things are coming together! Way to go Mrs. H!
Then we assigned crew positions. I volunteered for medic, Blue Steel and Twin were the break masters, Montana was the devotions leader, and Em was the Evangelism recorder.

Then we went to our host church's service. A man from the church, Mr. R, drove over to show us the way there. It was a fairly new church, just 18 months old. Yet they had sponsored a World Changers crew last year also! The church was in a plaza between a scrapbooking store and another store. The people there were very nice! And the service went right along with our World Changers theme this year: 1 John 1:5-7. That was pretty cool!
After the service the gave us lunch: Spaghetti, salad, and chocolate cake. The tables were small (sat 2 to 3 people). So the three girls sat at one table and the guys sat at two tables (I guess they like their space). So I sat at another table and Mrs. H joined me. Mr. chief and Mrs. Encourager sat at another table. They invited Mrs. H over. "I would but I don't want to leave her all by herself," she replied. I just wanted to leave at this point. I felt like I was in 7th grade all over again. I should be through with this! I'm in college now! Besides, I eat by myself all the time! I don't really care anymore!
Right then I just wanted it all to be over. That great sermon, those nice girls we were rooming with, that 19 hour drive, none of that seemed to be worth it then. I just wanted to get the heck away from these people and their stupid immaturity. Lord help me! I prayed through most of our drive over to our work site. Mr. R lived in that area so he said he'd drive us over. But he got lost. We found it eventually, though.
We met Mr. Percy and his granddaughter and gave them some spaghetti and the rest of the cake. He declined the cake, though. We looked around the house and checked on the tools given to us. All we had were the ceiling tiles, drop cloths, primer, paint, paint pans, and two rollers. No brushes, no sprayers, no bleach, no ladders, no staple gun. In other words we would not be able to work tomorrow until we acquired these things. So Mrs. H and I made a list.
Normally we'd go door to door in the neighborhood and let the neighbors know that we were World Changers and we'd be there early in the mornings working on the house making noise, etc. However, Mr. Percy didn't really live in a neighborhood. There were only a few houses and then there were fields of cattle. So we hopped on the bus and drove back to the school.
We arrived just in time for evangelism training. But it was done differently this year. In fact, it wasn't done at all. Then we went to crew position training. Surfer and Veggie (two guys from my church) were the medics for their crews. I wonder how that happened? They would be the ones to get hurt, I'd think. I found that to be intersting.
Anyway, I was feeling a little better about things by now. I knew that it was all just a matter of time and God would make everything work out okay. I just had to keep telling myself this over and over. I would start out the day right tomorrow. It was all going to be fine right? Right?

Monday, July 28, 2008

Chronicles of a World Changer part 2

The Church bus had left about an hour and a half before we left our house. Yet an hour or so after we got on our way we caught up with them at a truck stop. It was now 12am. Dad and Ilmarë switched places (now Ilmarë was driving) and Yavanna and Eärendil decided to ride on the bus with the other youth-ians. They're the social butterflies of the siblings. Mr. Bill (the youth pastor) was driving the bus. So I already knew that this was going to be an interesting trip.
But I was not prepared for how slow and cautious he would drive! "Since when does Mr. Bill drive like this?" I thought. "Is this the same Mr. Bill that nearly drove us off the side of a mountain because he was driving too fast?" It was probably because it was so late already and he was tired (he doesn't drink coffee either). A few hours later we pulled into another truck stop to take a short break because Mr. Bill was too tired. He grabbed his pillow and a blanket and curled up on a picnic table under a pavilion by the bus. The other youth-ians stayed on the bus with the other two chaperones.
So we rolled down the windows and tried to sleep. Couldn't sleep! I'd be dozing off when a semi would drive by, then I'd be wide awake. I just couldn't relax!

Hehehe, this was in the men's restroom at the second truck stop. No I didn't take this picture. Dad did.

Anyway, after a while we hit the road again. This time Dad was driving. Not two hours later we had to stop and let Mr. Bill rest again. He was having trouble staying awake. So he slept out on a picnic table again. This time one of the youth-ians joined him because it got hot inside the bus.
We stayed at the rest stop much longer that time. But it was still dark when we got back onto the road. This time we didn't stop until breakfast. McDonald's! We were in the Neverending state by then and there was daylight! We filled up the tanks at a nearby gas station and got on our way. And we only stopped once for bathroom break before our lunch stop.

This was at the stop before lunch. I have never had cracker jacks like that Hunkey Dorey stuff! It was so good I could feel my arteries clogging up!

After a lot of driving Mr. Bill parked the bus in a vacant parking lot and gave the youth-ians their lunch options. Burger King, Taco Bell, or Hardy's which was across the street(I think it was Hardy's, now I'm not so sure).
All the youth decided on BK. Mr. Bill and the other two chaperones went across the street to Hardy's, leaving Dad the only chaperone with the youth. (But technically Ilmarë and I are adults too. Oh, and there was another college student on this trip with us. But I don't think she likes my sister and I. She talks to us like we are younger than her, even though Ilmarë is older than her) After we ate we went out to wait for Mr. Bill by the bus. He had given us an hour and a half for lunch (wayyyyy to long!). But then it started to rain so the youth-ians rushed under the eaves of the warehouse/garage-thing by the bus.

I was amused because they were trying to cram themselves against the wall while still trying to have conversations with each other. Ilmarë and I stood under the back door of Dad's car.

Here Sport (with the glasses) was playing roughly with Between (the other college student) while Yavanna (with the blue shirt) and Eärendil (with the black sneakers) look on.

We still had a lot of time left before Mr. Bill would come back. So the youth-ians decided to cross the road to the Books-A-Million. Two of the guys made across 5 lanes to the median. Eärendil was about to go across also. "Dad," Ilmarë said. "Eärendil is going to cross the road by himself! Tell him to stop!" "He'll be fine," Dad said. We were heading that way anyways. "I'm not watching!" Ilmarë said. It was fine. He was a ways from the intersection and the light was red. Once he got to the two guys in the median they would cross the other side together.
So he went across. The next thing I see is a blue SUV and my brother flying sideways. I couldn't believe it. He got hit by a car! I ran up to the road and was about to go out to him when Dad said to wait, making sure none of us would get hit either. I hadn't even thought about that. We ran between the cars (it was still a red light) to where
Eärendil was. The driver of the SUV was holding him steady on his feet. He was pale and he looked shocked. But he was okay. He had landed on his feet. Dad got to him and lead him off the road back to our car. The two guys at the median came back over. One of them, Eärendil's friend, Outdoorsman, started cracking up once he saw that Eärendil was ok. "Dude," he said. "You just got hit by a car!" They both had seen the whole thing.
The SUV driver came to the parking lot to make sure everything was okay. Another elderly couple had pulled over also. But he was fine. The shock was wearing off and his color was better. Outdoorsman's laughter lightened the mood. Thank God for that. I felt so sick I don't know what I'd have done. God was definitely watching over him. All he had was a bruise on his butt from where the car had hit him. He was back to joking around now.
They waited out the rest of the time for Mr. Bill by the bus. Then we hit the road again.

Yay! Our destination state!

No further incidents occurred until we were about two hours from our destination. Mr. Bill pulled into a WalMart parking lot. He was just so tired. He wanted to rest for at least half an hour. Forty-five minutes later we were one our way again, this time with Dad in the lead.
And we made it! 6:30-ishPM. Mr. Bill and the adults checked us in while the rest of us made a bee-line to the cafeteria for dinner. All the other church groups were there already. A few minutes after my sisters and I sat down Dad joined us. He told me that he had talked to one of the staffers and mentioned that I was interested in becoming a summer staffer for World Changers next year and that I had a few questions (which is only partly true, because I only had one question to ask). Wow, that was fast. We'd only been here like 30 minutes! Now amidst all the busyness of eating, then unloading the bus and getting situated I had to make time to go find this staffer.
So we ate a hurried, yet gratifying, dinner then went back out to the bus (cafeteria food had never been so satisfying as it was then. And it hasn't been since). Mr. Bill gave each chaperone a map and told them where our rooms were. Then we unloaded the bus and took our stuff up. The girls' room was on the second floor.
When we walked into our room we found that we were rooming with girls from another church. They arrived hours before we did and had all their stuff set up. So we staked our claims. We didn't have enough time to blow up our mattresses, though. So we just laid them out on the floor. Then we grabbed our Bibles and rushed to the worship service which started at 7:30.
Wow, we were so tired! After 19 hours on the road, a rushed meal, and unloading and dragging mammoth-sized luggage up a flight of stairs, the nice, cool air-conditioning in the worship auditorium was very welcoming! The guys had still not gotten there yet. It was just us girls. I don't even know where our lady chaperone was. Even though we were just sitting for hours I couldn't wait to sit in those auditorium seats! Oh, they looked comfy. But then, allofasuddensurprise! They slide forward when you lean back in them! The group behind us had been watching and waiting for us to sit. When they saw our reaction they started laughing....a lot. But, right then I didn't care at all.
Eventually the guys made it before the service started. We all weathered through the service trying to keep awake (the darkness was no help). Then, after a brief group meeting we headed back to our rooms. We finished setting up. We went down for showers, which were pretty empty by then (most of the other girls from the other churches had taken theirs earlier). Then we crashed. Well, at least I did. I don't really remember much what happened after dinner.
So passed our first "official" day at World Changers. The next day, Sunday, we would meet our crews and visit our host church. But that is for next time.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Chronicles of a World Changer

Last Friday Ilmarë, Eärendil, my Dad, and I arrived back in Florida. We had been gone for a whole week on a mission trip to Mississippi. My younger sister, Yavanna, also went on the trip with us. I'll explain how she came back home later (this is a long story).
We went through World Changers with our church youth group. We were to check in Saturday the 12th at noon. However, Mississippi is about a 16 hour drive from Here where we live. So we decided to leave the night before (the 11th) and drive through the night. No problem. However, both Eärendil and Tulkas still had their little league all-star tournaments. And they both had games that Friday night. So, here was our plan: pack all your stuff before the game (I had been packed for several days already, no prob.), leave it all in the living room, we'll go to the games, then we'll come back from the games, empty out the back of Dad's car, pack Dad's car with all our stuff, kiss Mom and Tulkas goodbye, then try to catch up with the church bus.
So Mom and Ilmarë went to Eärendil's game while Yavanna, Dad, and I went to Tulkas's game (their District Championship!). Then the Lord opened up the floodgates of the heavens and so rained down upon the earth in such a way that every woman's child quickly dashed under the eaves of the concession stand. And it rained hard! It rained so hard that Eärendil's game was moved to a city nearby Tulkas's game where we were.
After the rain let up we prepared for the game. And what a game it was!! The stands were packed. Everyone had noise-makers, cowbells, wigs, team spirit necklaces (bling!), or pom poms. We were behind for just about the entire game. But being the home-team we had the last at bat. By the fourth inning we were down 6 to 14. Everyone was on the edge of their seats, cheering like mad people, trying to keep the team's spirit up. And we held them. By the sixth inning we only needed a few runs to tie the game. It was our at bat. Top of the batting order. We got some good base hits. But we now had two outs with "ducks on the pond" (players on base)! C^2 and some of the other boys were silently crying in the dugout, there was so much tension and stress and emotion! We can still make the tie, we can still make the tie! We can still win! Then our Catcher comes up to bat (one of our best home-run hitters). "A base hit, now," they were telling him. "Make it yours, now. Nobody better up there, Catcher!" Several pitches later he had two strikes. Both crowds were COMPLETELY SILENT and EVERYONE was standing. GRAND SLAM!!! We went insane! No way! We won the game 18 to 15! Everyone was jumping, hugging, and screaming, Yavanna and even my Dad!
The whole team rushed onto the field to congratulate the runners coming in. After Catcher came in he collapsed onto the grass in disbelief. He was dazed, he really didn't believe it! The rest of the team was crying. It was one of the best little league games that I have ever seen (and I have seen many!). Now they are District Champs!
But we couldn't stick around for long! We had a mission trip to go on! So we decided to swing by Eärendil's game since it was in the neighboring city. His game was already over by the time we got there. They lost. It had turned out to be a frustrating game. But I know that Eärendil played his heart out!
So together we set out for home! Eärendil took a quick shower while we loaded Dad's car (I squeezed in a little time to take a *backpacking shower). True to the plan we got everything into the car (we are master packers, might I say), kissed Mom and Tulkas goodbye, and hit the road. The bus with the rest of our World Changers group had left the church about an hour and a half ahead of us. So we had some major catching up to do! But there was plenty of time for that! Little did we know then, but this 16 hour trip would turn into a 19 hour battle against sleep, traffic, bathroom breaks. And a certain incident would occur that would change our outlook on life forever! Tune in next time to hear about our epic journey to our nation's All-America City.

*backpacking shower-
a quick and easy way to get cleaned and refreshed when time is crunched. In this process one
applies a wet washcloth, sometimes with soap, to the body and face.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Independence Day

For the fourth of July we just hung out at home and relaxed. We have been so busy running around lately because of my brothers little league all-star tournaments. We didn't even go out to watch any fireworks or buy any fireworks to play with at home. (It was raining anyway!).
However, the next day we went over to our friend's house to celebrate. Some of our other friends went as well. So the house was full of people eating, and talking, and having a good time. Later on, after everyone had eaten their fill, we all went outside. The guys began sorting through the fireworks and getting them ready to set off. Of course it was still a little too early to set them off yet, so we waited for it to get dark.
But, lately, it has rained every evening. And it was threatening to do so. When it got dark enough and every one was situated in their folding chairs the show began. And it was quite entertaining. There were numerous, uh, mishaps and somewhat hazardous situations. In short, there were many examples of how not to set off fireworks. But it was fun! I could even feel little pieces of the fireworks falling on my head sometimes. There were sparklers, roman candles and smoke bombs, just to name a few.
But why don't I just show you how much fun we had? Yeah, that sounds like a good idea.