12. Grandmother Ship
Our next day in Boise once again started with coffee and meat for breakfast, with the company of our two friends and the dog. I guess that makes three friends.
Then we ventured on out to Grandmother ship. You may or may not know that we are a church plant and that we are planted out of a Kiwi and a Scottish church. Well Grandmother ship, as I like to call it, is the church that sent out the couple who planted our Scottish church.
My friend says that church planting is really easy, you just need to dig a big hole and remember that when you put in the little church that the steeple goes to the top. But for real, the definition of church planting is ‘starting a new church’. It is a stinkin’ huge amount of work that no sane person should ever consider. Which means to do it, you either need to be called by God or totally off your rocker. Most of the time I fit both categories.
So here we are in Boise, Idaho, USA and we are visiting Grandmother ship. Grandmother ship fits my definition of ‘mega church’, so it is not naturally the kind of church that I would go to. But like Bethel, this was a ‘mega church’ that was doing so many things right.
Naturally enough our tour started with a sprint to the art gallery. This church not only encourages the arts but provides a place for their artists to exhibit their work. Way cool, but it didn’t stop there. The church also gives them space, like a genuine four-sided, windowed and ceilinged room for them to create in. They call themselves an artists’ collaborative and this was one of their spaces to create. I knew for sure I was on the hallowed turf of artists when no-one seemed to know where the key to the room was and then when we were presented with a rather large ring of keys, no-one could work out which one actually opened the door. However all was solved with a careful bit of non-artistic detective work on my behalf. I think that that is part of my gift of dyslexia, being able to use both my left and right hands as well as my left and right brains. Seeing this mega church set-up only served to exasperate my longing for a group of people to create with.
I once was part of a writer’s club. We wrote together in a bookshop in Glasgow, Scotland. It was way cool. I still remember the first time that I visited the group, I was asked to introduce myself. I said ‘Hello my name is Kel, K,E,L,L’. My goodness I had been in the door five minutes and was so nervous that whilst introducing myself, I spelt my name wrong. For the rest of my time in that club my name had two Ls in it.
Anyhow back at church, we also received a detailed tour of their mercy ministry wing. They had suites offering free doctors, dentist and counselling. They also had a large food and, I think, clothes bank and outside was a large garden where, with the help of the poorer people they served, the church grew vegetables to give away. It is great to see churches taking this stuff seriously.
Interestingly and predictably enough upon walking through the front doors we were confronted with the second trinity of the mega church, or in layman’s terms, the cafe, toilets and a bookstore. Whilst mozzying around the bookstore, we bumped into a staff member who we had met in Glasgow. As naturally as the supernatural can be, after chatting for a while about nothing in particular, right there in front of the bookstore he laid hands on us and prophesied. I am not sure if God realises or not that we are listening, but the message was pretty much a different version of what he said to us in Bethel.
This was only my second time to our Grandmother ship so naturally enough I walked the car park afterwards in an effort to get the perfect photo so that we could show our people back home.
From Grandmother ship, we poured ourselves into the little red car and drove out of town. We were heading to a place called Williamson Orchard. It wasn’t called Williamson’s Orchard, it couldn’t have belonged to him, no indeed it was Williamson Orchard. It sounds rather like the name was supposed to be used for a Star Trek solar system or something like that. Never mind, because we were soon to have an alien encounter.
Yep it is true, we were just driving down the road, heading towards the Williamson Orchard solar system, minding our own business. And suddenly we happened upon a deserted alien breeding ground. At first I was flitting with moments of terror and screamed at our driver to pull over and stop. My camera was out of its case before the car screeched to a halt. I was excited, my face was going to be all over CNN(49) as the iReporter who first snapped the alien eggs. Then they would have to telephone me, because they knew if they didn’t then the Beeb(50) would steal their scoop. They would interview me, and I would feel real important and pretend to be some kind of super high-powered journalist. I would spit out my version of intellectual dribble on the tele and get an over-inflated view of myself. In the meantime, thousands of viewers would be thinking ‘Who is this twat?’ Whilst frantically fumbling through rolls of fat for their right remote controls in search of something more realistic, such as the aforementioned Star Trek, but not finding it, thus being forced to settle with the totally alien concept sit-com of ‘Friends’.
Well, can’t win them all I guess. But I am serious, in front of me was a paddock, in fact miles of paddock. There was not a living thing on it, the truth be told there was a lot of death on it, the aliens clearly had used some outer-space form of weed killer, and killed the previous crop. The only thing left on the paddock was mile after mile of big bright orange alien eggs. I was stunned, shocked and flabbergasted, I had never seen anything as weird and as outer-space or perhaps out of place as these big bright orange alien eggs.
I turned my horrified glance to our American friends. Ahh stinkin’ Americans why must you always smile at times like this? Alien eggs on earth are serious things. For some strange reason our giggling American friends were not phased by this phenomena at all. In fact, weird of all weirdness, they had seen them before. This seemed to be an annual event. Apparently little aliens and spooks hatch in this nation every year. Our friends call these eggs ‘pumpkins’. But I know that they were wrong, more on that later. But as best as I can work out, these bright orange eggs hatch around the end of October every year and an army of little aliens, spooks and miscellaneous snot-gobblers(51) attack American neighbourhoods, steal their candy and simply implode in a fit of hyperactivity, never to be seen again that is, until the following year. It seems that the best way to try stop them from robbing your candy is by stealing their eggs, cutting them open so that they look hatched, and placing them at your front door. This is done in an attempt to deceive the little aliens into thinking that this place was their breeding ground because apparently they never attack their breeding ground. But I never saw this working.
Back to the pumpkin theory. I asked my friends the dreaded ‘why’ question. You know, like the obvious, ‘Why is there a dead field full of huge bright orange pumpkins?’ Their answer was something like ‘I guess no one wanted to buy them for Halloween, so they will just leave them there to rot’. I was in shock, the alien egg theory was much more plausible. My reply was ‘But can’t you eat ’em?’ And their reply, ‘No they are not really worth it’. And that answer just cemented my alien egg conclusion. A few days later I was carving one of these so-called pumpkins and there was heaps of edible flesh inside them. Gosh my mum would go nuts, you know, pumpkin soup, pumpkin scones, pumpkin pie, roast pumpkin, mashed pumpkin, etc etc. No nation in its right mind would leave this much food rotting in its paddocks. I have never seen food wasted as much as I did in my month in America, but this was totally ridiculous. Either the information that I was given was wrong or these really were huge bright orange alien eggs about to hatch an army of aliens and spooks. My money would be on the eggs, except CNN never called and if I called them they probably wouldn’t be interested in the wasted food theory either, not unless somehow I could weave Iran into the story. Oh well, onwards and upwards to the orchard.
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Ta (Kiwi for thank you)