Saturday, December 01, 2007

A Diary of Dundee, Part III

Monday was one of the few days that had been planned. We were to spend a great part of the day setting up for The Attic at the Mark Henderson Center in Hilltown. Bruce’s calling for the time being is to run The Attic, which is a weekly high-energy church meeting (of sorts) for the kids of Dundee, with a good portion of them from Hilltown, Kirkton, and Lochee, which are somewhat scandalous sectors as neighborhoods go. This is rather ironic to me, as Bruce is one of the most soft-spoken men I know. But, last March, I saw him don a white-man afro wig and some Billy Joel sunglasses and proceed to play like he was one of the Rockers from Grease. It’s always the quiet ones.

I’m not quite sure when this ministry started, but they do have staff now that started out as kids coming to The Attic every Monday night. The Attic seems to be the main reason that we blessed and obtrusive American teams cross an ocean, braving Eustachian-tube-popping airplane cabin pressure and 2-star Chicken Marsala, compliments of Continental. And yet, this would be the second time that I did not go to The Attic. Last March, I had grabbed my guitar and run pell-mell through City Centre to get to Central Baptist and play a mini concert with Lindsay Reed for the ministry they had organized for college-age kids there. This time, a lady named Sarah gave me a lift (by way of Johnny and Katya’s house, where I was fed, again) to The Hub, a ministry in Lochee run by Johnny and Katya for teenagers. This time, I had borrowed one of Bruce’s guitars and was again playing an unplugged set in a place which I had never before seen. Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be broken.

The first thing to catch my attention was a central ping-pong table, waiting for me and challengers. I would call it table tennis, as they do in Scotland, but ping-pong sounds much better with a Southern accent. I faced off against a girl named Jade for a while until the concert, and then found that she paid better attention than most of the kids. Huzzah for ping-pong! They were, as Johnny had said, “a rowdy bunch,” but they were quite timid compare to the kids outside, who were running around in packs, literally. The kids in packs were not allowed in because of their behavior the previous week. So, they decided it would be good to return the favor by throwing firecrackers at the building and jumping up and down on the roof, which they did with much enthusiasm during the last song I played (bless them for waiting until the end to test the group’s ADD).

It was then time for a Q & A session, in which I answered that, No, I did not know any Oasis songs well enough to play and sing them, and would they like to play and sing while I listened. I can’t remember what question Jade asked, but it was a good one, and she paid attention to how I answered it. I went for another round of ping-pong afterwards against a Portuguese fellow named Tana who gave me a good run for my money and ended up beating me (by a small margin). To be honest, I was more excited to hear him pray in his native tongue, and to know that God speaks Portuguese.

To cap off Monday, the men from our group went to meet an amazing Irish fellow named Andy to again take part in the Nightclub Outreach, in which we stand out on the street between the hours of eleven and one in the morning, talking to people on their way from the pubs to the clubs, and praying for a chance at bald-faced evangelism, which is not my great gifting by the way. The last time I attempted this, I ended up loaning my hat to a couple of inebriated party girls so they could take cell phone pictures in it, and I listened to a drunken diatribe about how great I was from a fellow who had stumbled out of a pub that had to rival Jabba’s Palace from Star Wars in its dinginess. I wasn’t certain that he remembered it the next morning, though I may never know. This time though, I had prayed for the boldness to overcome my absolute fear of rejection, and furthermore, the wisdom to keep from being an overzealously boorish street preacher. And thus, I met Michael.

Michael walked by with all intentions of going to the ATM on the way to Fat Sam’s, only to be stopped by a bearded American handing out lollipops and asking if people wanted a leaflet. Michael was apparently used to Andy’s crew being out and about, because he recited his retort about being an avowed atheist and made to walk on by. So I asked him why he was an atheist. I never really got a straight answer to this question, but I did find out that Michael works at the Overgate, selling cell phones for a living. He seemed to have a great deal of respect that we had foolishly paid money to be out in the cold and wet to talk to people because we had faith. He is someone I should like to have a coffee with sometime. I wish I had found him at the mall the next day, but I did not. There was certainly sufficient cause for conversation among him and his two friends on the way to the club, and for that I am thankful. I was also thankful for Andy’s wisdom in reminding us to pray that, seeing as grace and providence are not ours to command, we would not be subject to the temptation to feel that we had failed. I hope to continue to be a part of this ministry when I get the chance. Eric seemed to take to it with great success as well, as I watched him be congregation to a beer-soaked sermon from a fellow who I think was named Adam. It must be remembered that Eric was Eeyore at Disneyworld for some time. We did not cease to remind him of this at every turn. I know for a fact that his Eeyorist skills were utilized often during the week. Thank you, dear Walt Disney, for your Jedi training.

Part I
Part II


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