13 April 2007

Tuesday, March 27th

We had our first meeting with all the other teams today. There are a bunch of us, ten just from Oregon! There is also a team from Idaho, Denver, Arkansas (which we like to imitate), one team from Manitoba and one from England! During our meeting we heard from one of the directors, Clarence, and three testimonies from the discipleship program, and met the short-term staff. We were divided up into five groups for tours of the Dream Center. We were paired with a group from Oasis church in Bend, my cousin’s church! We covered the main building from ground floor to roof – literally, and all in one trip. I do the stair climber often enough that I thought I was in decent shape but the hike up nine flights of stairs had me panting, but the view was worth it. With the rain yesterday the sky was actually scrubbed clean and was blue and clear giving a great shot of the Hollywood sign.

After the tour we went back to our floor and had some time until lunch, some took naps others journaled or had devotionals. A little before we should leave to go get in line for lunch I got in line with many other gals from my team to use the toilet (one toilet for the whole floor). Now, my team knew I was in line for the toilet, albeit the last one in line, but by the time I got out I couldn’t find any of my team, they were gone. Thankfully I already had my badge to get me into lunch since the door was locked to the bedroom. I walked toward the cafeteria and talked with Frank from the Oasis group thinking my team would eventually show up, we only have a half hour for lunch. Finally my stomach dictated along with the time, to go ahead and get lunch despite not being with my team. After pickup up my tray I went into the dining area only to discover my team was already seated and almost done with their lunches. Several asked, “Where have you been?” What?! Where have I been? You left me in line for the toilet, how was I supposed to know you’d ditch me and come to lunch and be able to get in early? Grr!

Our afternoon assignment was with Metro Kidz but because of the few drops that fell from the sky they cancelled the program; they had the audacity to call it rain! Instead we were to hand out flyers and candy and let the kids know next week would be the big Easter program. But first we had to get there. I got driving duty as most of the other drivers were still feeling a bit skittish about driving around LA. The traffic was going fairly well. I was being a ‘rubber-necker’ looking at what the police officer was doing to the right when we passed an exit and I had the thought, I bet that was the exit we needed but there was only a number – no name, and the instructions we had only had a name listed. Sure enough Dot, my co-pilot, figured out it was the exit we needed. We got off at the next exit and got back on the freeway, getting off at the correct exit and thought we’d just do the opposite of the instructions. But that just got us totally lost in Culver City. There was a lot of construction going on and the exit off of 170 east did not dump us near where the same exit off of 170 west did. Dot got on the phone and finally got someone to help us. We eventually got to where we needed to be, but not after a grand tour of Culver. Once at the project we took some fliers and candy but the Arkansas team that had gotten there first had already canvassed the entire neighborhood. We found a few kids but very few. Corbin, Meg, and I were heading back to the van as we cut through the playground at the community center where we found some kids to play with. They already had candy but we gave them some more, bet their parents loved us! I talked with a father and grandmother of three kids while Meg and Corbin taught them what an underdog is and got dizzy on the tire swing with them. It was neat to hear from the parents how much Metro Kidz means to the kids and to the adults. I was so disappointed that we didn’t get to see the whole program!

Finally the rest of the team came and found us; the Metro Kidz team wanted to get back and was waiting for us. Thankfully they let us follow them and waited on the side of the road when we got separated by a red light; if they hadn’t we would have had another grand tour of Culver City as I would have driven right past the on-ramp.

We had a choice for our evening activity between Discipleship Bible study and Women’s Bible study. Once again I made use of the toilet before we left and when I came back out the team was gone and the bedroom door was locked. Yes, for a second time today, I was ditched by the team while using the toilet. I caught up with the team standing in the parking lot. Even though we had tried to reserve seats at the Discipleship Bible study and were a little early we were too late to get in, the room was filled. The women decided to go to the women’s Bible study then, but since I had been locked out the bedroom I didn’t have my Bible or anything. The Women’s study started later but we went straight there to make sure we could get in (it wasn’t a problem). What was a problem was the smell in the room, an overpowering fruity-flower potpourri stink that made my eyes water and my nose burn. I couldn’t wait to get out of the room. I am not sure who the study is intended to reach; there were several groups of women- a few Japanese who spoke little English, a couple women who were graduates of the discipleship program. I was sitting next to a woman who was a graduate and I was puzzled because I hear the discipleship program is rather Biblically intense yet this woman was looking for the book of John between Genesis and Deuteronomy. The leader of the Bible study talked at a zooming pace and packed in a lot in the hour time frame, yet it smacked of the ‘health, wealth, and prosperity’ movement which turned me off.

Tuesday night we had a team meeting in which we discussed several ‘briefing’ questions that I had posed to the team on Sunday evening such as “what are your hopes or goals for the week?” We had a great discussion. This is where the incident with Chris and the women at Baja the day before came out, and people’s frustration with a ‘slow start’ to ministry was talked about. What resulted was a major attitude shift for all of us that made a huge difference in our team dynamics and individual outlooks. It was pretty amazing to see how God worked in our hearts so quickly and dramatically. God is good! I think the rest of our week would have been drab and petty if not for opening our hearts to God tonight. Tiana had a great perspective she shared of being a blessing to anyone and everyone regardless of the circumstances. That we could be a blessing to all the people who worked at the Dream Center such as those who served us our meals. We could be an example to all the high school students. We have an opportunity to serve and bring glory to God in all that we do whether it is what we were expecting to do or not. Attitudes we should have all the time!

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