Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Truth Is Stranger Than Fiction #2

That's Kendall in front, squatting in the blue shirt-
but not at Myrtle Beach!
When you work in the field of student ministry, there are many glorious moments.  You get to see teenagers and occasionally entire families come to know Jesus.  You get to experience programs that actually teach; games the youth actually enjoy; and be part of events and trips that help your students understand what it means to truly be a part of the family of God.  These are moments that make the effort and sacrifice all worthwhile.  But there are other times...MANY other times...when you are left scratching your head and wondering why it was God chose you to work with teenagers!  Today, I give you the curious case of Kendall Crotty...

The Betsy B
Sometime in the late 1990's I took a group from the First United Methodist Church of Kissimmee on one of our fabled trips to North Myrtle Beach and the fabulous Betsy B! We were there for week and had our usual fabulous time of sun, fun, food and fellowship.  With us on this particular trips was a middle school student named Kendall Crotty. Kendall had been with us for a couple of years, following in the footsteps of legendary older brother Wayne.  Their grandparents were legendary church members and great supporters of the student ministry, and the sewage treatment kings of Kissimmee. Kendall had established himself as a force to be reckoned with a few years earlier on our mystery trip to Myrtle Beach when his mom (who wasn't supposed to) told him where we were going and he told everyone else, successfully ending the mystery before we ever left the church parking lot.  This particular trip was fairly uneventful for Kendall with one exception.  He wore the same t-shirt every day.  Now it is not unusual on such trips for students to wear the same shirt around the house or out to the beach, but our hero wore it every where- out to dinner, downtown to the Pavilion and anyplace else we went.  Our NUMEROUS suggestions that he he try a new shirt were to no avail.  And so we all suffered with the shirt.

Saturday morning came and we began the always sad task of cleaning the Betsy B and preparing to head home.  Kendall, much to our surprise (and joy!), was wearing a clean shirt for the van ride home.  As we gathered the scattered swim suits, towels and flip-flops and tried to determine who they belonged to, someone discovered on one of the oceanfront porches the shirt Kendall had worn everyday that week.  They brought it to him and tried to give it to him, but he refused it.  He said it wasn't his.  The entire group reminded him he had worn it everyday that week, but he told us we were mistaken.  He was adamant that it was not his shirt. We began to remind him of how many times we had ragged on him trying to get him to change OUT of the shirt, but he held fast.  He simply refused to admit it was his.  One of the guys wound up hanging the shirt from the front balcony as a flag, reminding the world of our week together.  As we pulled out and headed home, Kendall was STILL denying ever having seen that shirt.  It was just totally beyond belief.

Youth ministry is like that.  Even in the midst of an amazing trip, there was this totally irrational, completely ridiculous behavior by one of our fine young men.  I was at a total loss to explain it.  It really didn't matter, yet he denied it to the end.  Working with teenagers is never simple, it is never cut and dried, and it is never normal. But it is always memorable and it is always special.  And that, my friends, is why I loved it for nearly 30 years.  Kendall, wherever you are- that shirt was yours!  Claim it!!!!

Because of Jesus,

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous3/07/2012

    That is just weird. So very weird. ~KJH


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