Sunday, February 9, 2014

Stories from the Mission... bit 42

When you join the Bible program at the Pacific garden mission, you sign an agreement concerning some ground rules. One of them is giving up your electronics so you will focus on your Bible studies, back to basics kind of thing. They bag and tag everything and put in into storage for you and if you have an emergency, you can get access to it. It's not easy to walk away from that stuff in this day and age, but they don't make you join either. On the third floor where the program men live is a TV room with set hours and rules on what can be watched. There are piles DVDs that Pastor Green has approved, but for live TV, it's pretty much just sports... the guys need an outlet, heh. There are staff that live on the third floor also, so they keep an eye on things. They've been through the program too and know how the temptations can be. I've always thought that some day I would find more sports DVDs to send to the guys, especially Chicago oriented ones (Yep, that is a hint to the readers, lol). They keep us pretty busy, so it's not like there are guys sitting in there all day long doing nothing. They have you memorizing verses, a 4 month and a one year test, plus I've heard that they have even more going on now. Still, it's nice in the evenings to go watch a bit of Basketball with the guys for a spell.
   The TV room is full of sunlight. Open on the north, south and west with rap around windows about 4 feet high, the lower section frosted so you can't see out unless you stand on a chair for some reason. The walls are white and the floor a robins egg blue, at times the colors remind me of an indoor swimming pool room. A low definition big screen TV sits at the south end, getting it's picture from an antenna next to it. Odd thing is, I can look out the windows behind me and see all the tall buildings where they broadcast the signals from about a mile away, yet we get stumbles in the reception... nothing but a mile of clear air in the way, why is that? Do they do it on purpose to encourage people to but cable? Solder filed, where the Chicago Bears play, is just a mile east of us and when watching the games in the afternoons, the clouds will cast shadows over the field on the screen about the same time they hit us making a connection of sorts.
   Other things in the room are some other non working big screens that have been donated, an non working air hockey game, the Foosball table, a Domino's table and a really beat up Chess set. By beat up, I mean at least 7 of the pieces have tape holding them together, chunks are missing off most, one is wooden and the Rook is from a tiny chess set. All during the time I was there you'd sense the pitched battles in idle conversations about the chess games, the trash talking pecking order of who was best. I played when I was younger, but to me it became too much of a not messing up feel, rather than a pass time.
  Heh, it's funny how these guys can go from suited up, sharp and spiffy, get into the dorm and minutes later be in boxers, T-shirts and black socks. I suppose women are the same way, fashion can be such a thin gauze. As I walk through the dorm these days I can see many pieces of my artwork brightening up guys bunks, cool! Oh, I had found a big, seemingly trashed study Bible that Big Tim left behind when he left. The inside was fine, but the outside and binder where worn out nasty. I took one of my red Crosses (#10), some wide clear packing tape and some sheets of typing paper and totally rebuilt it. It feels so good to give it a new life and now I have done a cross I will keep. (As I transcribe this in 2014, I am happy to say that once I got my phone that has an application called 'My sword' and 7 Bible commentaries, I gave that study Bible away to a guy that needed one. The last thing you ever want to do is become greedy with the word of God.
   Made my fourth month on Sunday and took my four month test today and it was stressful. I do my memorization of verses by walking the hallways on the third floor from end to end, carrying a sheet of paper with specific verses. I've found that if I hit just one verse at a time, for about 20 minutes straight while walking, I can get them down, while reviewing them all at the end of the week. Long term... they tend to drift, but I understand the gist and can look them up when needed. The four month test takes place in the classroom off of office C and this time there where just three of us in there, me, Robert and lil Ed. Ugh... the guy can't sit still. I've heard his background story of doing way too much crack, getting beat up and left for dead in a field in Indianan, so we know there is some damage, but man. We get just 45 minutes to finish the test and he starts eating something, smacking his lips and making all kinds of noise behind me. I had to turn around and tell him he sounded like the sound tract to a porno movie before he got quiet, lol. I'm pretty sure I passed the test, I just wish I had more time to fully fill out the essay questions at the end. The first thing I did when walking out of the room, after handing in the test, was to ask for the one year test study sheet.

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