Monday, February 7, 2011


Sunday was my 1st day off from volunteering since I started “operation choo choo” (I’ll get to this name in a minute) and with my day of rest many of you will be happy to hear that I used the morning to attend church service at the Assembly of God. With my attendance on Sunday, it also officially ends my streak of only going to church for a “special holiday” service, a streak dating back for almost 9 yrs I think and right up there with Bret Favre’s record for consecutive games started. I’m not saying that this is a streak I’m proud of holding or it’s something someone should try and break, but I’m just simply bringing to your attention the significance of this event.

With respect to the service, it had about everything I’ve been accustomed to back home. A little praise and worship for the introduction, a session for upcoming events as well as tithe and offerings, and of course, the customary “do we have any 1st timers here today” announcement. Given the fact that the service at this Assembly of God was so eerily identical to church back home, I figured I wouldn’t qualify as a “1st timer” and decided to not stand up. Pretty good logic I think. As has always been the case for me, I found the content of the message to have greater interest to me than anything else the service consisted of (just where I’m at spiritually I guess), and the message today presented in a scientific context of how impossible it was for something as special as us to come out of randomness. Despite the minister not hearing an “Amen” out of me while delivering this message, I will say I was in agreement with what he had to say...we truly are special and I thought the Saint Augustine quote shared with us later in the service captured this belief to perfection as he said... “People travel to wonder at the height of the mountains, at the huge waves of the seas, at the long course of the rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motion of the stars, and yet they pass by themselves without wondering.”

Now getting back to “operation choo choo.” Today, I actually received the official guidelines of my new area of volunteering and come to find out, no one is supposed to know that I’m doing what I’m doing. If you don’t know what I’m doing, I guess that’s good and if you do know what I’m doing, I ask of you to act like you don’t know what you know what I’m doing. Technically speaking, I’m not even supposed to be writing about “you know what” according to the guidelines I read, I mean the guidelines I “didn’t read” or “don’t even know about.” In all sincerity, out of respect of the confidentiality policy presented to me, I will do my best to adhere to it from here on out. This isn’t to say I won’t keep you informed as to my experiences, but I will try and do so in a way that still respectfully honors the Sisters’ requests surrounding my area of volunteering.

With that said, allow me to introduce you to yet another key player of our volunteer team by the name of Franco the Italian. Although I’m pretty sure Franco is more of a seasoned veteran with the Sisters, I won’t be able to provide you with his actual years of service since any question you ask him results in a response that is nearly impossible to understand because of his accent. Word of advice to any of you that might find yourself in a conversation with Franco in the future, just do what you’d normally do when someone tells you a joke where they think it’s much funnier than you do or when you don’t get the punchline...just match the facial expression given to you and you’ll be fine. By the way, the only reason I even said Franco’s responses are “nearly” impossible to understand instead of “completely” impossible was because today, I actually understood the words of encouragement he gave me about my future once home in April and he said, “never let what you do for work be of greater importance than who you are.” After a comment like that by Franco, I can only hope my ears and his words become much better friends in the near future.

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