Sunday, July 29, 2007

i shouldn't have invested all that $ into my bathroom...

Just finished loading up all my things into my dad's truck (minus about four boxes, a bike, and some patio furniture that wouldn't fit). Turns out it's significantly cheaper to rent a storage unit in Bakersfield than it is to rent one in South Gate. So that's the plan. All that's left in my room are a couple suitcases and a backpack full of stuff that I'll be keeping with me wherever I am for the next year. And my bed. I'll be moving my bed over to my Aunt, Debbie's house sometime in the next couple days. The plan is to do the store-opening at Morongo August 1st-19th, then go hang out at mom and dad's for a couple days, and then move in with my Aunt until the end of September...and after that, I will find a new place to stop on my nomadic adventure.

The weirdest feeling is knowing that there is a big truck and a big trailer full of stuff that I have determined that I will not need for the next year. It makes me wonder why I'm keeping all that stuff at all. I mean, I realize that when I do end up living in one place that's my own place, I will most likely want to have dishes and a microwave and a dresser and things like that. It just feels weird to know that there's a whole big load of things that I know I don't need...I just have them.

So Edward, my boss, called me today to let me know what The Plan is. The Plan as of right now is to meet at the Ruby's at the Casino Morongo at 9:00am Wednesday, August 1. The other part of The Plan is that it's T-Shirt I can wear something comfortable. And the last part of The Plan is that I will receive all the rest of the information that I will need when I show up to that meeting. So...based on the extensive detail of The Plan and considering that all of this begins in a few days, I can already see that this job will require a lot of flexibility, a lot of "going with the flow", and a lot of just being prepared to do whatever gets thrown at me. good times. I'm looking forward to all this. it will be a totally new experience, but it will involve me doing all the things i'm already good at doing, using procedures that i'm already good at using. does that make sense?

I hope that whatever hotel they put me up at has got The Wireless. If not, I will have to find a starbucks in the area or somewhere I can go to keep you all updated on what I'm doing at the casino (winning big).

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Jason Parks...That's your carro!!!!!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

It pays to play...i guess.

Well, maybe a couple months ago I applied for a training position within Ruby's. I applied for a spot on the National Training Team which is a group of certified trainers that opens new stores all over the place. The next store opening is happening in August at the casino Morongo. And I thought to myself...what could be better than the Palm Springs area in August??? So, I threw my name in there and interviewed and everything...and it turns out, I'm pretty awesome at my job, so they want me on the team. I leave August 1st for Morongo. They'll put me up in a hotel for three weeks and pay me to train a whole bunch of new Ruby's employees. So I think it will be pretty fun. I think it will be challenging. It will be different, at least.

here's what else i did not tell you...while in Ecuador a few weeks ago, Marcelo (the missionary there) invited me to come back next summer with the group and when the group goes home, to stay for six months, working with their church, specifically in the music ministry area. i am thrilled. i really could not be more excited about anything. i am gonna do it. and who knows, it could turn into something more long-term than just six months. anyway, i am beginning to save up money and beginning to think about all the things i need to do to prepare for this. big changes coming up. i'm excited!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

In the morning...

"These were just a few members of my family in Ecuador that I miss dearly."

man, paddy sure got it exactly right when he said "family". the greatest feeling was walking through the airport doors, seeing all those familiar faces there waiting for us, and feeling like i was coming home after being away for a long time. and that feeling set the tone for the entire trip for me.

this year's trip was much different than years past. this year we did not do any street evangelism at all like we did the first two years that we went. we did, however do a ton of work on the church building! we tore down cinder-block walls, re-built cinder-block walls, cut holes in the concrete floor to lay pipes for "cut" holes....pounded holes in the concrete floor with a couple large, rusted pieces of old rebar. we mixed cement for three days, dug trenches, laid a concrete footing for a fence, and literally mowed the lawn using shovels, pick-axes, and machetes. it was intense. praise God it was generally overcast in the mornings while we were working, except for a couple chunks of time here and there when the sun came out.

the morning work times were some of my favorite. even though it was hard work, there's just something about working hard and getting dirty with a common goal in sight that transcends language. for me the language wasn't a problem this year, but it was so neat to see Paddy and Ismael, for example, who couldn't talk to each other, become friends just by competing to see who could push the heavier wheelbarrow or implying that the other was girly or couldn't handle all the hard work very well. you definitely don't need language to laugh with each other. and that was awesome. there was a ton of laughter during all the work which made it a really joyful place to be in the mornings. and friendships were really built on that labor. and besides being beneficial to the church in that we were working to improve the property and buildings, i think it was also beneficial to the church in that it helped build the foundation for some lasting friendships.

so...that's what we did every morning. i'm pretty tired :-)