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.