Friday, April 29, 2005


Pressing on Towards the Goal to Win the Prize

We're in Fremont, CA. As near as I can tell without actually consulting a map we're somewhere near Sacramento -- within two hours. Tomorrow we'll be in Exeter, which is between Fresno and Bakersfield. Then Sacramento, Los Altos, Walnut Creek and Watsonville. And then we'll be done. Six shows left.

I haven't coined a term for week two. Last week was Nostalgia Week. This week is spent looking ahead to the finish line. We're down to single digits. One more food order. Tasha is making a list of roommates so that everyone gets to stay with everyone at least once, except for the guys.

It looks like I have a job for the next year. I put my requests on the table and prayed. I learned my lesson about planning, and told God I'd do whatever, but here were some things I'd kind of like. And he answered all of them. I've decided that God will answer any request you bring as long as you aren't too picky about how he brings it about. For example: one time I prayed that sometime I'd get to live above a shop downtown in a city. I didn't specify which city. And now I get to. In downtown Yakima.

I spent last night and this morning patching my jeans again. I think they'll hold it together for another 13 days...

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Pismo Beach

We've got three days off..

We had a four day run, ending with a difficult show. Out stage left blue light went out, which is the only lighting for the scenes with the Ichaw bird. So all of the possession scenes were done in the dark. One actor forgot to put his mic on, and as a result of a backstage consultation about changing blocking to the lit side of the stage, entrances were missed. It was a very responsive audience. They laughed at things no other audience has laughed at. Even the crash scene...When Jo realizes that she prayed for it. And speaking of which, it was an especially bloody crash this time. I found fake blood clots on the back of my neck after the show. And I got blood all over two other people. Since I'm on the floor, they really can't see it on me, so if I get it on other people, maybe they'll notice...

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Arroyo Grande

Arroyo Grande

Today we drive to Arroyo Grande to do a show. We'll be back to Paso tomorrow for a second show. I'm still chopping copious amounts of raw chicken. My best guess puts us with nearly enough chicken for the rest of tour. And the food order came yesterday and left the food without my signing the invoice. And they substituted liquid creamer bubbles for powdered creamer packets. Which I now have to return. And the mugs they sent us are twice as big as will fit in our tupperware bins. What I wouldn't give for a -- well at this rate -- an abnormal order. Since normal means something gone awry.

Last night the *real* Doming came to the show. He is currently translating the Old Testament into Balangao. He stood up and gave a speech in Balangao -- of which I understood at least one word, and maybe two -- about how much it meant to his people to have a Bible in there language, and to keep praying because there are other tribal groups that need to be released from darkness. It's strange performing here. A lot of my lines are letters that Jo writes to her home church, which in this case, is truly our audience. And Tasha changed her speech from "when Joann's church began to pray" to "when you all began to pray." Neat stuff. And when I address "Jo's church" with "The victories we've had here thanks to your prayers..." It's really and truly them out there.

And my time is nearly up on this computer.

It's finally happened

It's Finally Happened

My dad used to tell me stories of being in the pit playing for musicals. The orchestra was so accustomed to the show, they would balance their checkbooks, bring things to do, and somehow never miss a cue.

Last night I did my weekly spending report at the makeup cart.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Paso Robles

Paso Robles

I'm in Paso. We drove up yesterday. I got to co-pilot for Austen for a change, and he seemed to want some quiet time on the drive, so I quilted and sang a little to amuse myself. Softly.

Today we begin a four show run. And our food order is coming in. It was supposed to show up yesterday, but got sent to Bakersfield. We haven't had a routine order in quite some time.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Copeland in Concert

House of Blues

Yesterday we drove to Anaheim to see four bands in concert at the House of Blues in Downtown Disney. Lovedrug and Copeland were playing with Acceptance and Eager Seas. Eager Seas opened. They're new. They stood up at the end of their set and said, "Our stuff is out there with the rest of them. We're new. We're poor."

Lovedrug was second. I really liked them. A lot. They looked smart -- all in jeans, brown dress shirts and ties. Even their movements were coordinated (but not choreographed), and the lead singer switched back from guitar to keyboard. They played a lot of songs I knew from listening to CD's while co-piloting -- even my two favorites.

Acceptance was good too. I'd like to get their CD. And find out if they are a Christian band or not. Aaron thinks that all four might have been, but only one was definite. But with a name like Acceptance, and lyrics like "you took the fall" it kind of sounded like it. Adam asked, "Was he singing about God or a girl." The question I ask about a LOT of praise and worship music. But that's another rant for another time. One audience member tried to crowd surf, but the bouncers got him right away. A guy from the band who appeared to have no purpose but sit with a laptop also surfed. He made it a little farther into the audience.

And finally Copeland. They were good. I thought I knew their songs better than that, but I didn't. They played the "fireflies in a jar" song, which I sang the line I knew with them. The crowd sang along the whole concert. I could see other people like me taking videos and pictures with their cameraphones. They didn't move as much as the other three bands, but I enjoyed watching it. Lovedrug was my favorite all night.

Six Flags Magic Mountain

Yelling my head off on the X

Monday morning the whole crew minus two got up at the crack of dawn and drove to Six Flags Magic Mountain to spend the day. (We got a discount)

The second ride we went on was one that dangled your feet, took you up a tower and dropped you into a loop, then you repeated it all backwards. Deja Vu. So we did the first half of the ride, raced back to the top, prepared for the big drop, and started inching slowly back down. A voice over the intercom told those waiting in line that we were experiencing "technical difficulties" and those wishing to leave the line now could exit. Those of us on the ride wanted to know why we weren't being given that option. We hung there for a few minutes. Tasha began offering salvation to the masses. A few rows back Jonathan was preaching "If any of you don't know Jesus, now would be a good time!"

The ride started up again, and instead of backing us back to the loading area, it took us up to the top and dropped us into the ride. I could have done without being the guinea pig. From the next ride we saw them run it empty a few times with the maintenance man looking worried.

But after that we rode every coaster. We went on the Riddler -- my favorite ride that morning -- and the Batman ride, which was much better than the one in Dallas. Mainly because I didn't have to wait in line for three hours to get on it.

For lunch we went back to the vehicles. Two guys in front of us didn't want to spend oodles of money on food either, so had gone to Burger King and spread the feast on the trunk of their car. About halfway through lunch he dropped some fries. We noticed, and began taking bets on whether or not he would eat them off the ground. That's when we saw it. A seagull had noticed, and was moving in to check things out. And he brought friends. Lots of them. They began inching closer, taking over neighboring cars. The ones flying overhead began circling closer. Soon they were within inches of his head. The guys finally noticed and threw their shirts over their heads and ran.

So, the married couple were by themselves in the truck, and someone got the bright idea to run over, sprinkle a bran muffin on the hood, and watch the seagulls swarm. Aaron was the brave one who ran through the flock with the muffin. And the whole truck was covered. From underneath we heard the horn honk. Then we decided that such a great photo opportunity shouldn't be passed up, so we put one on our own hood. And Jonathan threw out half a sandwich. One grabbed the whole thing and flew off with others in pursuit. "Mine!"

So really, the best entertainment that day was free.

After lunch I rode the Goliath twice in a row. And we went up the hill to the Superman ride -- overrated except that if you hold a penny in your hand at the top it hovers. And then we hit The X. Suspended in the air on a track that throws you around as you loop and twist. The people behind you are suddenly in front. And you go backwards over the first drop. I went on it twice.

We rode a few more rides before the park closed. Then Austen and I got in the front car on Goliath. That was a great way to end the day.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Thinkgs to blog about

I have several things to blog about, none of which I'll have time to do today. But to give you a little taste:

1. Stuff. How to use it. And how much to have.
2. Going to Six Flags Magic Mountain.
3.Tomorrow's Lovedrug/Copeland Concert.
4.After Tour.
5.And other various musings.

So that's what I'm thinking. Only time is lacking.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Moving Back

Moving Back

Does moving back to one's hometown constitute moving home? Because it looks like that may be what I'm doing. There seems to be a job in the works with housing, my cats welcome, and a place to park my car. The job itself involves decorating, setting up displays, and working the till. And as a side job, they might want me to start an eBay selling site, which I used to do in college. So we'll see what happens with this one, but it seems like the best plan.

How Can a Cow be holy Except in India?

How Can a Cow be Holy Except in India?

Important thing learned this week: NEVER say 'holy cow' to someone from India.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

What to do, what to do.

I'm in Solvang for now, but will be in Santa Maria for the next two days before coming back.

The end of tour is approaching. Everyone is trying to figure out on the fly what to do next. I have four or five possibilities, and am waiting to see which one pans out. Right now, working in Yakima for a while looks probable, but there's still half a chance of Tucson, Solvang, or Seattle. And Portland would be lovely sometime. Eergh. Hopefully this sill all sort itself out in due time. Until them, I'm still living out of a suitcase and dreaming of my featherbed. And loveseat.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

St. Augustine is kicking my butt

St. Augustine is kicking my butt

And, for the record, is it supposed to be 'ah-gus-teen' or 'uh-gus-tin.'

I read one page a day if I'm lucky, mouthing along the words, repeating everything at least twice, and running my finger along every line.

Quite a change from my four-books-in-a-day summers. It's driving me up the wall. My favorite sentences aren't those that are the most profound, just those I understand on first reading.

Eating like Kings

Eating Like Kings

Yesterday I ate lunch at Pasguccis Italian on State Street. For dinner I had Galanga Thai. And this morning for breakfast our homestay took us to the Brown Pelican on the coast. It was perfectly sunny, with waves lapping on the beach, and a little breeze.

Friday, April 08, 2005

A few days off and fresh orange juice

My homestay was so awesome. A former Wycliffe missionary. She served with her husband. And she has an orange tree in her front yard. So this morning she let us pick oranges and take fresh juice with us to the show. So Vicky and I squeezed a half-gallon ourselves. It was so good. I hate pulp. But in fresh juice it isn't a problem. It was yummy.

I can tell I'm tired. I'm typing about juice.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

If you've seen the need

"If you've seen the need, you've heard the call."

A friend told me that once, and I wrote it in my quotebook. My general wonderment for the day is: Is that always true. Is seeing a need enough divine mandate to start working on a project?

Tuesday, April 05, 2005


I'm in Chino today

Tonight we're speaking for a youth group. This time, we aren't all involved, just supporting the two guys on the team who are giving their testimonies.

And I'm trying to get a handle on our food order. It turns out that our regular supplier can't handle us this far south, so I'm trying to set up an account with the L.A. office, by way of the Wycliffe office, by way of the person in charge who is in the hospital, so that I can get in an order today for a pickup tomorrow or Thursday. Yesterday the food company was supposed to call me to get the number to fax the credit form to the Wycliffe office. And I was on the road all afternoon and couldn't hound them. To top it off, I left the folder with all my order information in the truck. I'm waiting for the people who have the truck to drop it by...

And it's Jessica's Birthday! Happy Birthday Jess!

Monday, April 04, 2005

Revolution in World Missions

Revolution in World Missions: K.P. Yohannan

At Acquire the Fire I picked up a free copy of a book at the booth next to me. Dr. Yohannan is founder and international director of Gospel for Asia. He was born in India, and later moved to the States with his wife, Gisela.

I was challenged by what he had to say. Most of it was not entirely new information, but it solidified a lot of conclusions I'd drawn that had been floating around in my head.

This book says that the time for Western missionaries going into Asia to preach the gospel is over. There are many reasons for this:
1. Most countries in the 10/40 window are closed. Western missionaries cannot go into the country and preach the gospel freely. Some go in under the banner of charitable aid, but hundreds of years of colonization in Asia and India show that there is little long term yield.

"History already has taught us that this gospel-without the blood of Christ, conversion and the cross-is a total failure. In China and India we have had seven generations of this teaching, brought to us by the British missionaries in a slightly different form in the middle of the 19th-century. My people have watched the English hospitals and schools come and go without any noticeable effect on either our churches or society...The trouble with the social gospel, even when it is clothes in religious garb and operating within Christian institutions, is that is seeks to fight what is basically a spiritual warfare with weapons of the flesh."

2. Indigenous peoples are the best to reach their own countrymen. They know the language and the culture. They do not try to 'westernize' their converts. And it takes only around $1,000 a year to support an Indigenous missionary, where a Western Missionary takes anywhere from $20,000 to $100,000.

The biggest criticism in his book is on the American Church. He states that God has blessed our nation with more abundance and freedom of influence than any country in the history of the world. Instead of using our blessings in turn to bless others, we hoard our treasures, pouring our monies into building projects, social reform, classes, groups, and programs.

"A friend in Dallas recently pointed out a new church building that cost $74 million. While this thought was still exploding in my mind, he pointed out another $7 million church building going up less than a minute away. These extravagant buildings are insanity from a Two-Thirds World perspective. The $74 million spent on one new building in the United States could build more than $7,000 average-sized churches in India. The same $74 million would be enough to guarantee the evangelization of a whole state-or even some of the smaller countries of Asia..."
"Religion, I discovered, is a multi-billion dollar business in the United States. Entering churches, I was astonished at the carpeting, furnishings, air conditioning and ornamentation. Many churches have gymnasiums and fellowships that cater to a busy schedule of activities having little or nothing to do with Christ. The orchestras, choirs, "special" music-and sometimes even the preaching-seems to me more like entertainment that worship. Many North American Christians live isolated from reality-not only from the needs of the poor overseas, but even from the poor in their own cities. Amidst all the affluence live millions of terribly poor people left behind as Christians have moved into the suburbs. I found that believers are ready to get involved in almost any activity that looks spiritual but allows them to escape their responsibility to the Gospel."

I found this book very challenging. The call to live simply and give "even beyond our means" has been on my heart for a long time. I was also thrilled to learn that in a book based on the premise that missions money would be better spent sending money to native leaders than sending ourselves, the three ministries he commended were Wycliffe Bible Translators, Youth With a Mission, and Operation Mobilization.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Acquire the Fire

Boldly Going...

Yesterday our entire team woke up at 3am and left at 4 for San Diego to volunteer at the Acquire the Fire conference. I'll admit we were in a bad mood on the way down, on account of lack of sleep. (I slept for a few minutes in the truck while they went to Starbucks, and became irrationally angry upon being woken up) But upon arriving and being given our official volunteer t-shirts, we perked up. And they gave us coffee. And donuts.

Three of us had signed up for working merchandise (which is odd, because normally I get on a bandbox about all the stuff that makes Christianity a billion dollar business - but the merchandising wasn't out of hand, and there were other booths like Gospel for Asia and ATF's academy, so I'll abstain). Aaron went to the conference's praise and worship band's booth, and Julie and I worked for Thousand Foot Krutch. The rest of the team worked as ushers and security inside the event.

It was a great day. I didn't see much of the conference, only one skit and the first song TFK sang (from their latest album Phenomenon). But I got to sit in the sun with Jules and Jared (who ran the TFK booth) and Aaron, who made his way to ours when his wasn't busy. The only bad part of the conference for us was two other volunteers asking us to "watch theirs for them." Well, they were gone for a long time, and some ATF staff told us we needed to watch the merchandise while they tracked them down. Then, the seminar let out and we were left trying to tell people that no, we couldn't take their money and please try the next booth over. And it turned out that Aaron had been diverting his customers to me. That was stressful. But ATF staff took over, and I went back to my own booth and sold temporary tattoos, CD's and t-shirts.

The conference ended at 9:30, and Jared gave the three of us our own TFK t-shirts for helping him out. And we drove home. Exhausted.

The most exciting thing to come out of the conference was Jessica getting the call to go on a mission trip this summer. She'd been struggling with where to go, and housing in Portland had kept falling through. Now she knows why.

Home now

Home now. Very tired.

Friday, April 01, 2005

April Fool

April Fool!

Tasha and I went to a diner this morning for breakfast. As we ordered, the waitress paused to call a fellow employee to tell them they were no longer working Saturdays. Earlier they had called the manager to say the cook hadn't come in and they needed him to come in.

So that set us off. What can we do to get the team. And I thought, "Wouldn't it be great if on the first of our days off we tell the team we've picked up a last minute show." So, half kidding, I told Tasha. And it grew from there into the best April Fool ever.

We asked the diner staff for the smallest church they could think of in the next town over. Our waitress said she had driven past a little turn-of-the-last-century white country church a number of times. So we looked them up in the yellow pages. Community Presbyterian Church. Perfect. We texted all of the team members with cell phones: Wear your Wycliffe shirts!! Then we spent the rest of breakfast concocting the perfect story:

Woody and Jean called us this morning to tell us of a last minute show. 15 minutes from the venue. Instead of going to LA for our days off. Tasha and I got up at the crack of dawn to take the trailer in to be fixed, then drive it to the new venue. Homestays had been arranged. The next morning we'd drive to San Diego for the conference we'd planned on attending.

So in the car on the way to pick up the drama trailer Tasha and I changed into our work clothes. Then we hit a snag. The drama trailer was completely dismantled and wouldn't be done until after we'd need to leave for a normal show day. We unhitched the truck and formated plan B. We'll say we took the drama trailer down early. So we arrived at the church. In come Torrie and Austen. "What's with all the black. Do we have a show or something?" Tasha answered in the affirmative. "Ok." And they unpacked their work clothes and went to change. (Unbeknownst to me, Tasha told Austen what was up at this point so she could give him the actual trailer news.) The rest of the crew showed up. Some very upset about a last minute show. Some mystified about how quickly it had all come off. Two thought at first it was a joke, and came with their regular clothes under their Wycliffe shirts. When it became obvious that everyone was serious, they changed. Two upset about missing the conference. One irate that his parents were coming into town and he was supposed to be meeting them to go to Disneyland. I played my part -- panicking about how to do a show with half the food we'd need, and Grusha not being able to find the address. I got three fresh made chocolate chip cookies out of the deal. We loaded vehicles, climbed in, and headed to Acton.

I had programmed Grusha with the address. 15 minutes of bad attitudes later we pulled up to our 'venue.' It was exactly what we'd hoped it would be. One small white steepled sanctuary, and a little fellowship hall next door with the rectory across the street. Everyone stared. Then, being the flexible people that we are, managers unloaded and began searching for kitchens, bathrooms, exterior outlets, and a place to leave the trailer. And we called the crew to a circle up as Tasha faked a frantic call to Woody and Jean about the coordinator who was nowhere in sight.

With the crew standing around, peeking into windows and strategizing how to make the show work, Tasha made and announcement. "The truth is....We're not doing a show. April Fool!"

And the crew laughed. Jonathan had to look sheepish over his Disneyland trip. Johnny'd started the day determined not to be taken in, but he was anyway. And everyone had to laugh. At how hard we worked to figure out how to make it work.

And the cool part happened after we prayed for our drive to LA, the church we'd just left, and the church that we'd visited briefly for a gag. We said our amens and turned around, and the rector of the church and her husband and granddaughter came to see what was happening in her parking lot. And it turns out when she was a little girl, her family were good friends with Cameron Townsend. The founder of Wycliffe. And she was thrilled to learn that his vision was still being carried out. She offered to pray for us, and we left for Los Angeles.