Guzzling my cappuccino – two espresso shots; two tea-spoon-sized-bags of brown sugar; extra paper cup to ensure that my hands are not subject to the steamed milk’s scorching temperature; extra paper cup of ice-cold H20 in the event that my two-cup-method falls short – in a foreign-possessed coffee shop in a part of the majority world (i.e. developing world) that recently emerged from a decades-long violent conflict, three (one male; two females) happy-sun-sodden white low-/mid-twenties march in, introduce themselves to a comparable group-archetype as members of the “Squad-Led-By-God of 11 Called to 11 Counties in 11 Months” and proceed to chart out their mission statement and enthusiasm re current context:
- “We’re here to help and learn and undertake the Lord’s message and work – ya know”;
- “The opportunities in this country to deliver God’s work are awesome, it was so much harder in Turkey and Israel – Muslims make it all so difficult – they have all their own opinions on whatever – I don’t know what their problem is – ya know”;
- “The spiritual is so much more important than the physical – angels and demons are fighting it out y’all – it’s so weird, but so real – I don’t know why everyone goes on about development and money and roads and stuff – people need God – ya know”;
- “Life is great – I’m so excited – ya know.”
Enter a “local.” He appears to be associated with the Squad-Led-By-God of 11. Later I discover that he is a pastor at the squad’s local partnering church. He asks: “Have you all eaten?” Squad-Led-By-God of 11 indicate that they have. He says: “I haven’t.” They express sentiments as follows: “Sorry my friend – ya know”; “It’s past lunch – ya know”; “You should have eaten – ya know”; “You must eat soon – ya know”; “You better get pumped up for tonight’s activities – ya know”; “You better have a full stomach so you can hear our mighty Lord speak – ya know.” Squad fails to tune into pastor’s efforts to extract capital for lunch. He probably has the money; just wants them to pay. Female Squad Member One progresses to describe her calling: “I want to travel around the planet for the rest of my life on behalf of God and help people and increase God’s great and glorious army – ya know.” Male Squad Member interrupts and explains that they must all go round the table and compliment one another. He expresses this with gravity and authority and desperation. It’s startling sudden. They take immediate action. The squad members really need these expressions of appreciation – you can tell – particularly Male Squad Member. Pastor’s stomach grumbles. Seriously. It actually grumbles. Compliments are mostly light and directed towards friendship and love and care – it’s really nice. Pastor is thanked for utilizing his van to drive squad members to a village in a neighbouring district last week – “otherwise we wouldn’t have been able to reach those village people, and they wouldn’t have heard about the Bible, and I’m scared to know what would have happened to them after they left their physical bodies and this world and had to face God’s final judgment – ya know.” All squad members confirm that they have salvaged a number of “village people” from eternal damnation. Enter more squad members – approximately between five-six. One male wears an Israeli Defence Forces’ t-shirt; one male wears a tank-top; all males wear Bermuda shorts and fluorescent flip-flops. Female Squad Member One takes Tank-Top-Male outside and asks: “Would you rather punch your mum in the face or eat a lightbulb?” Tank-Top-Male says he’d rather eat a lightbulb. Male Squad Member is clearly upset. He plugs in his iPod. Pastor shifts attention to Israel-Defence-Forces-T-Shirt-Male situated at another table. He asks: “Have you eaten lunch.” Female Squad Member One interjects: “We’ve all eaten!” Shifting concentration, she states: “I’d rather punch my mum.” I tune out.