It wasn’t even one of those days that you can tell from the moment you wake up, “this is going to be a bad day.” Nope, no warning for this one. The phone alarm goes off, we pray for a bit, then roll out of bed. I’m the first one in the shower, feeling groggy but otherwise fine. Next thing I know, I have a bad crick in my neck. In fact, it’s so sore I can’t turn my head to the right. Great. I try turning my head any direction to get it to loosen up, but no such luck. Guess I’m going to be stiff-necked today. 🙂
“What time did we tell your brother we’re leaving for church?” I call out. “8:50.” “Eight FIFTY? I thought Sunday School started at 9:15, and we need to be there a half hour early to set up, so we need to leave at eight FIFTEEN.” “No, Sunday School starts at 9:45.” “Are you sure? Let me check their website.”
I check the website, it says Sunday School does in fact start at 9:15. Josiah’s not convinced, so he calls the pastor to double-check the time. He says Sunday School starts at 9:45. Okay, so we’re leaving at 8:50. (turns out I had been looking at the wrong church website – woops!)
We make it to church with enough time to set up our display table, and set up the PowerPoint we’re showing in Sunday School. Josiah checks it, it works great. Everyone comes into the sanctuary for Sunday School, the pastor introduces us, and we get up to speak. The PowerPoint doesn’t work. We can switch from slide to slide, but all that shows up is the slide background and title. Nothing else. No pictures, no text, nothing. So Josiah starts sharing his life story while I run out to the car to get our laptop (that we had just taken out there because the sound booth computer was working great), run back inside while turning the laptop on, and hook the computer up to the projector. Where’s the PowerPoint file? Oh, it’s on a flashdrive Josiah has up front in his pocket. Run up there, he hands me the flashdrive, run back to the sound booth, we get the PowerPoint up and running on our laptop. Yay! Now we’re in business.
Josiah tries to switch to the next slide, and nothing happens. Is it the “clicker” battery? Is the distance too far? Why won’t it work? We set the laptop up on the edge of the sound booth. Now it works! Whew. Thank you, Lord! Now we’re rolling.
The rest of Sunday School is pretty uneventful. I (Rachel) get into the morning service late because I’m trying to fix a toilet that won’t flush. After the songs are done, Josiah gets up to preach. He’s preaching on Luke 24:35-49. He’s in the middle of talking about how Jesus opened the disciples’ minds to understand the Scriptures that prophesied about Him. My ears start to pick up on some strange sounds. Scratch, scratch, scratch. Is that chirping I hear? I try to ignore it and focus on the message. The noises get louder. Pretty soon everyone in the congregation is well aware of the scratching, scuffling, squeaking, and chirping going on overhead. People start snickering. Everyone’s distracted. What in the world is going on up there?!? “Don’t worry, those are just my friends,” Josiah assures people. 🙂 Everyone laughs, and now we can all focus more on the sermon than on the family of raccoons taking up residence in the ceiling above the right side of the sanctuary.
After the service and some pizza, we start packing up to leave. Some of our friends at the church ask us to hang around until after the church business meeting so they can say goodbye to us. So, after packing up our display table and loading everything in the car, we sit in the foyer and wait, and wait, and wait….Two hours later, the business meeting is done, so we say our goodbyes and drive back to New Tribes Bible Institute in Jackson, MI (where we’re staying). Josiah’s brother texts us with the details for the church service we’re speaking at that night. We’re going to have an hour and a half between getting back from the church we’d just spoken at that morning and leaving for the church appointment that night. Okay, that’s still enough time to take a quick nap (we’re both exhausted). We lay down, pray for the meeting that night, and start to doze off. The phone buzzes. Two different people start texting us. Then the phone rings. By the time we hang up, we have exactly 4 minutes til our alarm will go off. *sigh* So much for the nap. We pray for a few minutes, then we’re up and off to another church.
Thankfully, the evening service went smoothly. The PowerPoint worked great, there were no raccoons, and we had a great time connecting and sharing with people about God’s heart for the world.
No, this isn’t the missionary version of “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Very Bad Day.” These kinds of days are actually pretty normal for us. Plans often change, electronics quit working, but we know God is always in control and He’s using these challenges to strengthen our dependence on Him, and to prepare us for the road ahead. Whatever happens in a day, no matter how crazy things get, God is working, and we’re thrilled to be a part of what He’s doing.