Random fun moments during missionary training

10-7-10 – In the kitchen in the trailer behind the office @ Big Woods (Esther, LA)

Today’s entry marks a bit of a change of pace. We’re gonna talk all about the fun randomness of missionary training. 🙂 So, this past Saturday we had our Lord’s Day Supper as usual. Afterwards, several people were going to watch a college football game on TV and I was planning on listening to the UL game on the internet radio feed. But, once supper was over and I was headed to Mrs. Genie’s office to listen to the game, I heard a bunch of the kids screamin’ and hootin’ and hollerin’ (nothing unusual about that) so I decided the game could wait and that I was gonna go investigate. As soon as I approach the living room, the kids launch into a screaming ROAR and started to chant my name. Little did I realize that they were having a headstand contest and I had just become the latest contestant. Well, with my mile-long legs and small torso my success was nominal at best. But, I did achieve a headstand and yet another raucous roar of approval.

After observing the insanity for a few more minutes, I go back to the game. Once halftime rolled around I wondered “What the heck am I gonna do for twenty minutes?” THIS time I heard more hootin’ and hollerin’ and some music too. Of course I went back to the living room for round two. Lo and behold it was a dance party with the 4 single missionaries and all 16 missionary kids! All kinds of Disney songs and other songs were played and we danced like a bunch of crazy fools. 🙂 At one point when dancing with 4 year-old Bridget, I received proper instruction on how to do the “twirl and dip” (when the guy wraps the girl in his arms and dips her backwards). I may have even partaken in some free-form ballet as well as some random spaz dancing. Honestly it was the most enjoyable worry-free fun that I’ve had in a long time.

My next adventure involves horses. Apparently, the horses in our pasture here at FMC are very smart, because they found a hole in the fence on Monday at lunchtime. So Mrs. Genie comes honkin’ like crazy in the Suburban saying “the horses are loose! Let’s go round ’em up!” Me and Sarah Carroll hop in the Suburban and drive down Horseshoe Rd (no pun intended) past the horses and get out the vehicle. We (along with Mrs. Genie) spread our arms wide to make ourselves look big and form a human chain to prevent them from going past us. Once we had the other road to Hwy 82 blocked off and Mr. Frank got to where we were, we herded them up the road to FMC and back into the pasture. Should have known that NOT fixing the fence meant they’d get out again. Duh.

So at lunchtime I see Mr. Frank in the truck on the gravel path going back to Joe and Brooke’s house. When I go to investigate (I wanted to use the truck) he tells me “the dang horses got out again.” Luckily where they were was a dead end path. I stood in the path with my arms spread wide and lookin’ big and hoping they didn’t head my way. Mr. Frank drove the truck down the path and herded them back into the pasture through the hole they escaped from. Once again, no patch in the fence = another escape. Sheesh…

So, shortly after our men’s bible study started after supper, I hear another series of loud honks. Good heavens, I hope Mrs. Genie just needs help bringin’ groceries in. Nope. It was escape #3 for the day! Me and Odilio Alvarez open the gate to the pasture and park the Suburban to the side of the entrance with his lights on. We were hopin’ to get them in the direction of the corral so we could keep them there until the fence was mended. (While we were waiting, the other guys blocked off the roaded and herded them down Horseshoe Dr. back into our pasture). Needless to say, the pasture is huge and Me and Odilio could not block them. So, we proceed Wild-West style to chase/herd them back towards the corral. Mark informed us afterwards that it probably wasn’t the best approach, since they could have been spooked and possibly been very hard to get into the corral.

We also almost goofed up because they ended up goin around the lake, which means they could have potentially escaped/wandered off into the swamp. In the end though we succeeded. The other guys (after askin’ us to not herd them with the Suburban anymore) met them on the opposite side of the lake with some grain and led them into the corral. It sure was fun though. The Suburban  had the step-side thing and I initially hopped on the step and held onto Odilio’s seat as we started the chase. After seeing that combining my position with speed and momentum during the chase would equal disaster, I decided to hop in the front seat. Our other technique was simply herding/chasing them in the direction of the corral, all the while slapping the side of the Suburban, yelling “Heah heah!” as well as several varieties of “Yeehaw”, “Giddyup”, and “Get ’em doggy!” 🙂

The last memorable thing to document is that I learned how to mend a barb-wire fence. It basically involved using existing trees and posts and inserting new posts into the ground. On some sections we simply reattached the existing barb-wire and in other sections we’d unroll a portion from the spool and attach it. We had a total of five sections to patch, and so far the horses have  not escaped again, so I think we fixed all of the escape routes. And I do have to admit that even though my role during the fence mending (with Mr. Frank, Mark Eckstine, and Odilio Alvarez) was mainly “helper/observer”, it still made me feel like more of a man. In conclusion, I just wanted to post this to let everyone know that missionary training is NOT all work and no play. God has been bringin’ me lots of happy moments. 🙂  Praise the Lord! Amen, Alleluia, Glory!

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