So here I am, in California, on the fourth of July…and then I got sick. The day after the fourth. What a way to go, eh? Done in by a cold in one of the nation’s tropical climates. Ironic. Sadistic. Hilarious. Dumb. Call it what you will. I call it malicious and uncalled-for. Just kidding. Well, not really, I guess, but kind of.
I’m just digging myself a hole here, aren’t I?
So today we ran into this guy at the Pacific Northwest Conference who called himself “Choo Choo Charlie.” He is probably one of the coolest, most hilarious older men ever. He kept walking up to us, making this awesome ‘choo choo’ sound, and then walking away. So funny. He tried to teach Kelly, Skyler and I how to do it…we’re practicing, but it’s harder than it seems. We do have a lot of car-time to practice train sounds, though. Heh.
We also met a group of people from South Korea. They are some of the coolest guys. One of them, named Seong [pronounced Song], grew up in South Korea, then went to Paris, France for college, then came to the United States for a bit for more schooling, then went to Czech, then came back to the States and is now a pastor here at a South Korean church. How cool is that? He speaks about four languages, from what I understand. Mind-blowing.
His friends, Paul and James, were pretty hilarious guys. They all made fun of each other and were laughing almost the entire meal [we met them while eating lunch at the conference]. James told us to call him Bruce, as in Bruce Lee. Ask me why in person sometime. Trust me, it’s worth finding out. He had Kelly in stitches and tears at one point. Funny, funny guy. We wanted so badly to take a picture with them, but they left the conference a little early, and we didn’t manage it. Sad day. They were pretty great, though, and they entertained us thoroughly!
We had such a great response at this conference. So many people were ready and willing to hear what we had to say and to do something about it. We had a lot of people buy t-shirts and wristbands and even sold a mug–the first of eight that we brought! We got a lot of really great questions, and we’re interested to see what this region does about this problem. The people were so receptive, it just made me happy to watch and hear and answer questions. We got a couple helping hands tearing down, and made some really great connections that I, personally, think will last a while. Pray for everyone in that region–pastors, youth, and everyone else! They’re definitely excited about what we’re doing. It was very encouraging.
Oh yeah. We counted votes again. This one was a little different–instead of paring off like we did in South Dakota, we went by ourselves, took a stack of papers, and tallied our own. It was just as efficient, although quieter for sure. I think by the end of the summer, I will be a pro vote-counter. Seriously. I’ll have a hundred ballots done in five seconds.
Well, maybe not that short an amount of time…
I’ve also been getting a lot of reading done. Since we’re kind of following Jo Ann Lyon, the main speaker, around the country, we’re hearing the same speech over and again. It’s a great speech, but this would have been the third time we’ve heard it. Therefore, all three of us are getting a lot of reading done. I’ve finished four books since we left two weeks ago. One of them is called The Mountain Between Us, by Charles Martin. This book is great. It made me cry–but not because it was bad; because it was so good, and gripping, and the characters were so real, the story raw…it was just a great book all around. Seriously, if you haven’t read any Charles Martin stories, I would encourage you to pick up one by him. He also wrote When Crickets Cry, my favorite so far, and Chasing Fireflies. There are a lot more that he wrote, but those two/three are great to start from. If you don’t like those–or if you don’t like sad books–then you might not want to even try the others. Seriously, those three books are so sad and happy and amazing and have the best, most satisfying endings, even though they really don’t seem like they can end well while you’re reading them.
Man, I love how productive, uplifting, and fun this summer is right now.
Besides the whole sickness part, of course.