He admitted later that I irritated him from the first moment we met. The first problem was my overbearing grandma who arrived at The Lord’s Boot Camp with me, but since grandma had registered for college with me and we were to share an Algebra class in the fall (she was only 75 after all) I didn’t find it awkward or unusual to have her accompany me to the first day of Boot Camp. What I had found awkward was rubbing sunscreen on my grandma’s back each of the three prior mornings as we prepared for yet another day at Disney World’s water park. I Iove my grandma but…
I had just graduated from high school and was scheduled to spend my summer in Port Velho, Brazil helping to dig (by hand) fish-raising ponds for a local Bible school. Grandma decided that since the two weeks of training (known as the Lord’s Boot Camp) was to take place in Florida, she would take me to Disney World as a graduation gift. She booked a three-day vacation in a Disney World hotel with tickets to the theme parks. We spent all three days at the water park, partially because I love swimming and partially because my grandma couldn’t get enough of the water slides. On the fourth day she drove me to Boot Camp where I met my future husband within minutes of our arrival.
The second thing that irritated Chuck was my attitude (imagine that). He apparently didn’t appreciate my sense of humor. Writing “Junior Assistant Leader” on my official Teen Missions name tag (Chuck was a rather reluctant assistant leader) didn’t impress him. Nor did the fact that another team member and I referred to ourselves as Buff Alaskan Women. On second thought, I’m pretty sure he liked that part.
Chuck thought I was much younger than my very mature and wisdom-filled eighteen years. At twenty-two he was a Grown Man and knew a thing or two.
I don’t remember our first meeting at all. That day I was filled with a mixture of anticipation and dread. I had signed up for another summer with Teen Missions International, but had to make it through two weeks of 5:30 am wake-up calls, mass-produced cafeteria style-food, a daily obstacle course and training before we would embark on our journey to the jungles of the Amazon rainforest. The previous summer had been spent in Tanzania, East Africa where we filmed an educational AIDS video (in two languages) to be shared in the villages. The fact that one of our leaders was a hot, soft-spoken Canadian with a cute accent hadn’t even registered in my mind.
To be continued…Part II