She came in at 4:45am.
She said calmly but firmly, "Ok, it's time to wake up."
Then she held up an alarm clock that began playing a very pleasant (but loud) wake-up song.
I lifted my head from my sweatshirt pillow and smiled.
Scattered amongst the pews and all over the floor of Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church in Long Beach, California, roughly 40 InterVarsity Christian Fellowship staff workers began to stir.
And I remember clearly thinking to myself, this is hilarious!
Cue the Lost flashback woosh.
I had flown to Long Beach with a few other staff from the northwest to do a Bible Study "dig-in" through the first four chapters of The Gospel of John at Campus By The Sea on Catalina Island. We were getting prepared for our big student missions conference, Urbana, coming up this winter. Oh, this is an important detail: It was raining.
In order to get to Catalina, you have to take a boat. I would say ferry, but then you might be tempted to picture a large boat filled with cars, like in Seattle. This was a boat. It was much closer to the type of thing that takes you from Pier 39 to Alcatraz than the thing that takes you from Seattle to Bainbridge Island. Although, come to think of it, those are called ferries too. how about a picture. Yes? Our boat was supposed to leave around noon.
We showed up at 11am and waited. Gradually, more and more staff trickled in. I can always spot InterVarsity staff at a terminal. Yes, this time I was specifcally waiting for them, but it reminded me of all the times I have been at airports and seen people I KNEW were IV staff. There is just something about us. I don't know if I can put my finger on it.
The weather had not changed but I did not expect that to be a problem because I was used to the Seattle ferries and they had never seemed to rocky. But we soon received an announcement that our boat had been canceled. I heard something about "gale-force winds." I am no sailor, but that sounds bad. We waited around for a little while and ate lunch. I led some of my friends through "The Cube" and talked politics. Aren't stimulus packages fun? That's what she said. Moving on!
The next ferry was supposed to leave at 2. aaaaaaaaaand it got canceled. So our leader, Bruce, said we would be moving to a church where we would be for the rest of the day. We had work to do and couldn't let something petty like gale-force winds stop us. IV4Life! So we packed up and migrated to the church. Along the way I learned the difference between GPS and triangulating your position. That is a nice way of saying we got a little lost and the iPhone was not much help, but it was still so cool!
After a few hours of digging in to John, and taking a wonderful little cheap shot at the staff from USC (Go BEAVS!!!) it was time to turn in for the night . . . BUT we had to get on the first ferry out and that sucker was leaving at 6:15 in the a.m. And the really fun thing was that the only place for all of us to sleep was on the floor in the sanctuary. So that was where we slept.
So why was this hilarious?
Come on! How many companies can expect something like that from their employees and receive virtually NO complaining? How many could do that and have everyone feel like it was a normal thing to happen? I can't really think of any. And that is why InterVarsity Staff are awesome.
What's even better is that was just the beginning. I learned a little something about "residual swells" on that boat ride. Apparently when the gale-force winds stop, the waves think it is fun to still be huge and make you want to throw up. Then we went to this crazy island that had wild bison running around. Yes, BISON. We stayed in cabins with no electricity. The camp looked like New Otherton (for all those Lost fans out there). There was even a patch of ground that looked like a hatch had blown up in it. Oh, and my friend got eaten by a monster made of black smoke. Ok, that last one isn't true but wouldn't that have been SO COOL!!??!?!
And then we studied the Bible for two days. Who does that?
That is why I have a hilarious life. And I love it.
We have to go back Kate!!! We have to go BACK!!!!