Monday, September 08, 2008

Lamenting A Trailer (No Really)

I've mentioned my awesome rockin' church. But I haven't mentioned that it's a relatively new church. So we're in the process of looking for a permanent space. At the moment, we still meet in an elementary school. This is odd to some people. Not to me. The first church I remember was still meeting in an elementary school while our building was being built. After leaving that one, the next church I attended was in an elementary school. I've attended hugemungus churches that seat hundreds. I've attended tiny ones where everyone is crammed into the few rows of pews. I don't care as long as God is there and the people are preaching Jesus. Can I get an 'Amen'?!


What this means for us is, every Sunday, we have set up and break down. Someone drives to our storage space, picks up the trailer, brings it to the school and we all set up the tables, portable dividers, class supply bins, kids' toys, greeting supplies, etc. It's a well oiled machine.

This past Sunday, I was up on stage, rehearsing with the band. All of the school's chairs were out. We put out rows of chairs but we make a front and back row of square tables. So families can sit together or people can take notes. Everyone has their preference. So the chairs are grouped waiting for those tables. My food service bags are sitting back where the food tables will go. I'm singing. Life is good.

Then I notice our pastor is moving all the grouped chairs into rows. And I'm thinking, do we have no trailer today? Did we get a flat tire? Did someone sleep in? Ah...the blissful thinking of the glass-half-full girl.

Apparently, our trailer was stolen from the storage space. The gates are left open to facilitate that 24-hr access thing. This alone opens a host of questions for me but I can open my own self-storage facility with coded gate access another time. For now, someone got in there, cut the locks from our trailer and took it.

The good thing: The pastor says to us, "We're going to Plan B." There is no Plan B. We made it up on the fly. That's what I love about this church. We just all jumped to it. Sure we were sad and shocked that someone would take our trailer. Sure we made jokes about how appropriate it is that thieves stole a trailer that had a big bin of bibles in it. But we kicked it into gear and church started 30 minutes later - without much of a hitch. It proves that theory that a church isn't about a building or about things or stuff. It's God and the people. That's it, man. It all boils down to God and his people. Boom. Love that.

The sad thing: The police found our trailer today. It's pretty beaten up. All the "stuff" is missing. Yes, we're not all about things or stuff. But oh it kills me the love and work that was just thrown out. We had so many toys for the little ones. Our nursery was awesome. The 3s and 4s class was awesome. They had blocks and cars and twirly things and spinny things and bouncy things and roley things. It was a wonderful way to give parents a break so they could listen to the lesson in stead of shushing kids. Someone had hand made movable dividers so we could have separate classroom space for the different aged kids in the gym. Gone. All of the tables. All of the bibles. All of the class supplies - paper, scissors, glue, tape, crayons, markers, pens, pencils, stickers. There were little portable CD players to play the kids music on. At least 3 of those - if not more. Rugs & mats to sit on for play or story time.

What makes me sad is picturing all of those wonderful tools of ours - just heaped in a pile somewhere. Perfectly good supplies just dumped. I'm a sentimental idiot. I had trouble tossing a pair of boots once because they had been to California, Cape Code, Texas, New Mexico, Jamaica, England with me. They had served me so well. And I was going to just throw them away. It broke my heart. I'm a dork.

I think of that pile of stuff and I give each item a personality in my head. Because, like I said, I'm a dork. I hope the bins of class supplies aren't scared. I hope the tables don't think we don't love them. Then I make up scenarios like, some loving person who really needs that kind of stuff just stumbles across this pile. Like a God send! And they find a way to cart it all to wherever they are setting up their school of love. And our stuff is used and loved and cared for!!!

Did I mention I'm a dork?

Anyway, it's all replaceable. Fortunately, none of our musical equipment was on there. That would be replaceable, yes. But very very costly. We are a hardy lot. We will replace it all and probably more than we started with.

We have prayed for the thieves. Apparently, they used our trailer to try to heist a bunch of copper piping from some water treatment place. I'm hearing more of this copper stealing stuff on the news. So we can be added to that statistic. But we prayed that maybe - just maybe - one of those people opened one of the bins and saw the bibles. And maybe - just maybe - they took a bible home. And maybe - just maybe - they'll read it. I'd like to think that some day, I'll hear some testimony that starts, "Well, a bunch of us stole this trailer and it was full of BIBLES..."

I'm still praying that one or more of those thieves show up at our church. I have no doubt God could make them a great addition to our numbers!


Kristen said...

That is heartbreaking! I'm so sorry. But it's really cool that you prayed for the thieves. It's true - you never know where God can work in all of this.

ellesappelle said...

Best attitude to have, I think. Our church has also recently had problems - it was graffitied all over with offensive stuff one weekend, a few weeks later it was broken into and all the computer equipment was stolen, as well as the wine, from the kitchen :)
My dad is the one who's in charge of maintenance/day-to-day stuff/funds, so I was expecting him to be really angry. But I was surprised to find out that most of the people at the church treated this very philosophically. Sure, a few were angry and wanted the thieves/graffitiers to get their just deserts. But besides updating our security arrangements, most of the church treated what happened as simply one of those trials we are promised in the Bible.

Trish Ryan said...

When they show up, let them set up and tear down all the chairs for a month or so.

That's Biblical, right???

Jane said... to comment here?? my first feeling about the thieves is "fucktards" but I know that's not Godly. Hopefully, at least one of them kept a bible.

It is so frustrating to hear of this. You and the others at your church work hard to provide all the things needed every Sunday.

I do agree that it doesn't matter where or how big/small the space is. God ROCKS. Period.

The great thing in all of this is that your church rocks and continues to come together to support your awesome gatherings. You will all get through this and God will provide abundance.