Never prank someone before, during, or after a mission trip.
Our friends Marc and Lisa Honorat attend Venue Church when they’re not overseas and are doing our Missions Sunday October 7 (10:30 am at the Bert Church Theatre). They’ve known me forever, maybe they would say too long?
Pastor Marc was a child slave in Haiti and eventually adopted by a Canadian woman before answering the call to go back and help his people. I had been to third world countries before, but the first time driving through Port au Prince to the Haiti Arise property and experiencing the sights and smells, I remember thinking to myself “If I grew up here and ever got my family out, there’s nothing that would make me come back here”
Nothing, that is but a raw belief that you might not be able to help everyone, but you could help someone.
That’s why I’ve always admired the Honorat family.
One of my three trips to their particular corner of the world involved taking a bunch of youth, accompanied by my wife Erin, to show them the world is much bigger than their little Canadian bubble.
I love how hard and fun a trip like that can be. One morning we were walking to the church to do some kids programs and I looked over and Emily was crying. Why? She missed her family. I put my arm around her and said “Well, I’m not great at this sort of thing but here goes…”, which of course got her laughing which is my one and only weapon in a Crying-Girl scenario.
It was a great time helping Canadian kids grow up a little.
Back then Laadan was an, um, interesting teenager. Now he’s the head of my Production Team. I remember him asking me a billion times if I knew where his _____ was? Bible, backpack, socks, shoes, toothbrush?
My response was finally “Laadan, I don’t know where your toothbrush, Bible, socks, or any of your crap is! Do you know where my stuff is? NO. Because I keep track of it:)”
Another memorable moment was when I saw Mrs Abel lugging a gigantic backpack filled with kids supplies to the property while all the teenagers lolly gagged behind her carrying a grand total of their own water bottles.
“Hey guys! Maybe Mrs Abel doesn’t need practice carrying a giant backpack anymore? Why don’t YOU get some practice?:)”
There were many other little moments of magic with our team, but we loved helping people who really needed it when we were there. You can’t put a price tag on perspective, and it’s probably the main reason I hate complaining about first world problems so much.
Travelling overseas can really help us grow up.
Speaking of needing to grow up….
One of the Haitian teenagers was quite harmlessly smitten by one of the girls who came with us. The week we returned my dad’s church received an email that had been sent to her from the boy at Haiti Arise (and had been screened by Pastor Lisa).
Being me, I knew I had an amazing opportunity to do something ridiculously funny. At least, that’s what I thought.
Let me see if I can play this out properly.
We forwarded the email from the Haiti to the girl’s family which quite harmlessly (and in broken English) thanked her for coming and helping etc etc. Then I sent a follow up email (Part 2) as a joke.
Because I’m funny.
In my defence I took his original email way over the top and added things like “I want to marry you” and stuff like that. When I say stuff like that I mean ridiculous things worded in a way that a Haitian teenager would never be able to do.
I waited for their reply.
Then I forgot about it until they showed up in my dad’s church the next Sunday. I whispered off the stage as I was starting the music “Hey! Did you like the email I sent?” With a smirk on my face.
The girl leaned over and said something to her mom who looked shocked, turned her head and said “NO!!!!”
(What an unusual response to a prank? was what I was thinking as I playing through all the worship songs)
After the service I found out what had happened.
The girl’s dad had a nickname at work: Big Red. This meant he got a little worked up from time to time.
When the second email came in, they had opened it as he had walked into the room. He looked over their shoulders, quickly skimmed it (missing all the hilarious nuances and delicious puns such as “I’ve really enjoyed watching you help us here, but not in a scary, stalking sort of way”), freaked out, and fired an indignant email to….
It’s still the funniest (and dumbest) thing I’ve ever done.
She of course knew there was no way the boy could have written that and, in finding out it was me, called me a “Twit”, I believe.
Well, this Sunday at 10:30 am is your big chance to get me back. The stage is all yours:)