Thursday, August 14, 2008

Prankfest Vol. II: Bear, Boar & Spear or How To End A Mission Trip

In the summer of 1990 I was a sight to behold. I had a curly perm, a marked up Bible and white Keds with red socks that matched my scrunchie. And, oh yes, I was a Christian. But this time I had a slight edge on salvation because I took a mission trip.

It was a week long stint in inner city Indianapolis. Though only 20 minutes from most of our homes, culturally, it was a world away. We started the week as a shabby, sarcastic, know-it-all group of teens, and ended the week with a resolve to save the world. We decided we loved each other above all else; no matter what, we were family. There were times of sharing, tears, confessions, horrific body odor, and laughter. And we even managed to end the trip without anyone hooking up. Or singing "Friends", which is a miracle in itself.

At the end of the week we went to some one's house who was from our home church. We came over to debrief our trip and swim. This family's home was a stark contrast from the poverty-stricken homes we had been staying in. These folks just happened to be loaded.

Upon arriving we all went to various parts of the house to change into swimsuits. I was assigned to the basement bedroom. The basement doors led out to the pool deck. Everyone going to swim would head down to the basement eventually.

In going through the basement you couldn't help but notice that there were roughly 37 deer, elk, and moose heads mounted on the wall. There were hunting guns proudly displayed. There was a tribal shield and a spear from another country. Certainly not a PETA-friendly room.

The focal point was a massive bear rug. I'm not a bear rug connoisseur, but I think this one was probably exceptional. This had come from a huge animal. The rug had the full head of the bear, eyes open, and teeth bared in a ferocious snarl. It was scary, intimidating and impressive. It was also a source of inspiration.

I turned all the lights off in the basement so it was very dark. But there was one spot light, at the end of the stairs that stayed on all the time. I am certain that light was placed there just for this moment.

I grabbed the bear rug and draped it over my back and head, and looked in the mirror. Spectacular. Really, it was as if heaven opened up and Jesus himself whispered, "Go forth!" So who was I to ignore God?

I crouched beside the stairs, frocked in bear, and waited. Slowly, they approached. Victims one and two, the "cool guys" from the trip.

When they came down the stairs I let out a blood-curdling scream and literally flung myself right into them.

I have never seen such terror on any one's face.

After they regrouped themselves and changed their pants, you could see light bulbs going off in their minds. They looked around the room and decided. We were going to do the same thing, but worse, to every person who came down those stairs. GAME ON!

One guy took a snarling boar's head off the wall and discovered it would fit perfectly over his face. Because of its mounting it would stick out a good 2 feet. Excellent. The next guy took down the shield and spear. The air was heavy with angst and cunning. (And gas. Kevan liked him some bean dip.) I re-bear-ed and took my position. The wild boar was on the other side of the stairs and spear dude was in the shadows.

We were the Three Musketeers of Terror. Jumping out of the shadows like absolute freaks of nature. Oh, we were immature and hateful, wicked people. Which was fantastic. At 15 years old I had never been this proud of myself. What an accomplishment. As groups came down the stairs we scared the living crap out of all the other kids on the trip. The best was the shy girl in our group. She almost cried. I'm not saying this is good, I'm just saying...

But then we heard it... The adults were approaching! Hide! Hide! Hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiide!

This had to be perfect. The entire group hid. It was our last scare and everyone was counting on us. We quickly amassed what we had learned from pranking everyone else and receded back to our dark lairs, giddy with sweat and anticipation...



We were up on them like gang bangers in an alley! A freakish display of bear, boar, and spear! It all happened so fast, but in my mind, it was all slow motion. Especially the part when someone screamed:

"O h S#%@!"

Instantly the room fell deftly silent: our leader's wife dropped the S-bomb!!! That, my friends, was not a mission trip words.

As the boar mask came down and the bear slipped to the floor we all exchanged knowing glances: This. Was. THE part of the week we would carry with us to our grave. At this point, who cared about poverty and drunken homeless people? If you can get an adult - any adult - to drop the s-bomb on a mission trip you go down in infamy. (...or you end up being blog fodder 17 years later, when everyone else has moved on and you are still immature....Duh.)

So, if you have to end a mission trip dropping the s-bomb is a good way to go out on a high note. Yes, there are other words that people like to use to end trips, like, "Amen" or "I love you" or "Good trip, dude". For me, I just happen to like the irony of profanity. But that's just how I roll.

What are your favorite mission trip words? How do you roll? (Don't say something like, "Down a hill. Ha. I roll down a hill. Get it?" Really people. I do have standards.)

p.s. No. I did not know Stuff Christians Like was featuring a mission trip post before I wrote this. I've got nothin' but love for SCL - I'm not a blog spoofer. I'm a stalker, but not a spoofer.


Shaybplus3 said...

I wish with all of my heart I could have been there (what an awesome well everything) S-Bomb Leaders wife.... hahahahaha

You don't know me but I heart her (in a total girl to girl admiration mom to mom sort of thing)


p said...

I was on a mission trip with a group complied of 3 youth groups. Mom made me modest tank dresses with the same pattern but different and very chic materials. Darn straight I had matching scrunchies too.

Two complications:
1. We drove from Ohio to Mexio in school busses that were gutted and formed into camperesque things. We had to take turns with the toilet which was just a 5 gallon bucket and a toilet seat. There were two beds, a bathroom (all built with plywood and housed at the back of the bus) and a hotplate - you know those pesky regulatory requirements to classify as an RV for licensing purposes *note to any DOT folks reading, concentrate a little more on the plumbing and less on the hot plate

2. I liked a boy from another youth group and he liked me. This upset everyone. Everyone. The chaperone from my youth group that only believed in courtship (i was allowed to date and went to gasp* public school). The girls in his youth group. The boys in my youth group who were afraid that my friends and I would ditch them for the rest of the trip.

By the time we hit Arkansas I had reprented and gone to our section of the bus to practice puppet ministry and mime.

p said...

clarification: we had to take turns dumping the toilet not using. i did not use that thing.
i hovered at the rest stops like a human being.

also i was smart and volunteered to dump it on the way there and was exempt from the return trip. after a week of freewheeling poo situations and that guy that drinks the water (see SCL) it was a nuclear waste site back in that plywood jobjohnny.

Dog snob said...

Drunk, we one time ended the missions trip laughing our heads off and barely able to speak clearly. I will never forget it. We were in Mexico, not far from the American boarder and we stopped to do some shopping. They had a nice little drink stand that served both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks so we thought we'd check it out. Well several of us ordered virgin daiquiris, (something fruity sounded good), and, well, I guess the whole "virgin" term doesn't apply there, (we did notice they tasted funny but...). It was an interesting drive home.... :)

Anonymous said...

I just have to tell you, I LOVE YOUR BLOG! I have been very sick for many years and spent a lot of my life in a hospital and I am only 24. I must say laughter is what keeps me going and between you and Jon (with SCL) I always have my daily dose of laughter. I cannot tell you thank you enough!!!

Stacy from Louisville said...

Take care of yourself. God bless you and your health. Saying a prayer right now.


daphne said...

I have never been on a mission trip but I cuss all the time!
You're welcome.
I did blog recently about WANTING to go on a missions trip. So all this counts, right?!?

In fact, my blog post on wanting to go on a missions trip is worth it simply for the picture with said post. Again, you're welcome. Grace & Peace, daphne

mj said...

Love your blog, Stacy...

More years ago than I care to recall, my husband and I were part of an entourage of @35, mostly teens, who went on a missions trip to Hungary. After nearly two weeks of endless service projects, street ministry and outreaches, we finished up in Budapest for a day of fun. I remember being more exhausted than I had ever been before (although now that I've had kids, including #2 who kept me desperately sleep deprived for more than 4 years, I realize I had no idea then what exhausted REALLY feels like!). We actually have video footage of all of us going through the tourist attractions of Budapest, barely able to put one foot in front of the other but trying our darndest to make the most of the opportunity. The funniest part was at the end of the day when most of our group fell asleep on benches and curbs in a courtyard (looking very bedraggled and homeless) while we waited for the bus back to the hotel. The 'responsible adults' including our worship leader, my husband and the drama director, sat on the curb 'begging' the characters of Eddie Murphy, Buckwheat and Stevie Wonder. It was so stinkin funny...although at the time I think I was too tired to laugh!