Friday evening, Kevin and I prepared our MAF presentation. We were to speak at an end of the year breakfast celebration for a Boy’s Club in Lennoxville, QC (where they speak English). We were told that we needed to take up 20 minutes including our videos. We worked late into the evening fine tuning our presentation down to the second, perfecting it specifically for the younger audience.
Saturday morning was met head-on. We woke up early, got dressed quickly, and were able to leave on time (a miracle in itself!). Once we arrived at the church, we were met by many eager faces as we tried to get everything ready. Unfortunately, nothing seemed to go accordingly. Kevin was setting up the table and all of our prayer letters had managed to become very well shuffled and required separation. (He was also very distracted by all the remote control airplanes set up everywhere.) I worked with the audio visual tech guy to try to see why our video was not playing. Adah began crawling everywhere, dirtying herself. But we were encouraged by all the friendly banter and smiling faces. Breakfast was soon ready and I quickly found a high chair to use for Adah so that we could eat our breakfast with the kids. This was going to be fun!
Unfortunately, my normally hungry baby decided to be picky with her food. She began throwing her strawberries onto the floor (which were cut up into tiny pieces, so they stuck to the floor). Then the minister stood up to do the prayer. A man followed him up there. As the minister began to bless our food, the man translated. Hmmm. We were not told anything about a translator and he was certainly not translating into French. It was Nepalese. Well, maybe the translator was just there for the prayer? I didn't have too much time to think about this as I was busy cleaning up the floor. Finally, we were able to distract Adah with some of the food from our plates so we could eat what was left.
Then, someone stood up to give a quick intro for a summer youth camp. As I listened, my face turned to one of panic as I realized the translator was translating everything that was being said. “Well,” I thought, “maybe this was just for this guy”.
At this point, Adah had been sitting in one place long enough; she was ready to let out some energy. I slipped “quietly” into the nursery so she could play.
The first presenter stood up to talk about his RC airplanes and how God had used those planes in his life. This was going to be interesting! Unfortunately, Adah decided mama was not playing with her enough and required most of my attention. But in between these distractions, I noticed again, the translator was assisting the second speaker.
As I watched Adah
in the nursery, I began to have a moment of panic. We were told to speak for 20
minutes with videos. If we needed a translator, our perfectly timed 20 minute
speech will have to be cut into 1/3 at least (give or take some time for two
people to be translated, plus mistakes and awkward pauses.) Fortunately, we
have had experience with the flow of speaking and translating, but I still
decided that I needed to converse with Kevin over what we were going to cut
(even though we had placed our speech on the podium that was currently occupied).
I walked out the nursery and sat back down next to Kevin to go over our game plan. Our lovely daughter, however, decided that playtime was not over. While Kevin and I began to whisper about what to do, Adah attempted to play with an overly shy child at the table behind us. His sudden outburst of screams only added to our stress.
Our turn came and we stood up in front of the crowd. As we started, we realized some of our wording was not matching up to the language, so a lot of things had to be modified quickly. We also began to realize 1/3 of our speech was still going to be too much. Since we were not following the script, the tech guy was not able to keep up with us in the presentation. As Kevin spoke his part, I pointed and nodded to the tech guy to turn the page, and Adah decided she had eaten too much food and promptly spit up….in front of God and everybody.
When our first video came up, Kevin helped me clean her off. After our video, our PowerPoint was supposed to advance the slides without prompting. Unfortunately, our PowerPoint (2010) that was saved with the 2003-2007 version was not being read correctly on their system. The slides were not advancing and the tech guy kept trying to get my attention on what to do…while I was speaking. We must have looked funny with Adah trying to grab the microphone, all the spit up, the PowerPoint not working, our modified speech, and a translator who kept asking what some of the words we were saying meant.
I decided enough was enough! I said a silent prayer asking God for help and I walked away…during the speech. Kevin kept going like nothing was wrong while I walked into the kitchen and found a sweet lady to hold Adah. I walked back up to the mic right on cue and continued my very highly modified speech. I can't remember what I said, but I saw many solemn nods as I spoke. I could tell they were listening and understanding what we were saying. At the end of the speech, Kevin told everyone that what we needed the most right now was prayers. I went to grab Adah and walked up in time for their leaders to lay hands on us.
What an encouragement! Just because nothing in your day goes as planned doesn't mean God won't still use what you are saying to get the attention of the people around you. And right on cue, after the prayer had ended, Adah cooed into the microphone! Everyone laughed at her version of “Amen” and she won over the crowd.