It's all over the news. If you've been watching or reading or listening to any news source, you probably know the story. Ten Americans (eight of them from Idaho) were arrested while trying to leave Haiti with 33 children in their custody without any any documentation for the kids. They face up to 24 years in prison according to one article.
I'm not going to debate the intentions of the group. There's been enough discussion about this in the media there isn't much I could add. I don't know if their motivations were benign or malevolent. I don't really care if this a genuine legal issue or a big misunderstanding.
My favorite part of this story is the source... Central Valley Baptist.
Half of the imprisoned group (including the group's leader/organizer) are members of Central Valley Baptist in Meridian Idaho.
All this talk and news about this church in southern Idaho reminds me of my one and only interaction with them. Please allow me to rehash one of my fondest memories.
The guys that I hung out with when I lived in Boise were all musicians. One night, we went downtown during a cruise night to walk around and hang out. We ate some Pita Pit, walked around the crowded sidewalks, and waved at honking cars. We had brought a couple of acoustic guitars and ended up holding an impromptu jam session by the fountains on the corner of Capital and Idaho. It was in this plaza near Boise's City Hall that we were approached by a group of teens from Central Valley.
That was eight(ish) years ago, so I don't remember who in our group did the speaking. And I can't recall the CV youth's words verbatim. But the gist of the dialog is still very vivid in my mind.
It went a lot like this:
Them: Hi. We're from Central Valley Baptist, we'd like to share the gospel with you. (attempts to hand us tracts)
Us: No need. We've got it covered.
Them: But if you don't accept Jesus as your personal savior, you'll go to hell.
Us: Yeah, we've all ready done that. You can go preach to someone else who needs God more than us.
Them: But you need Jesus. You must repent of your sins.
Us: Did that. It's OK, we're Christians. We go to a church a few blocks from here.
Them: But Christians don't hang out downtown during the cruise. You are living in sin.
Us: You're down here during the cruise.
Them: But we're trying to save sinners!
Us: And we're trying to sing and play some music.
Them: If you don't believe in God's word…
Us: Dudes, we go to First Baptist. You don't need to preach to us.
Them: But you have to accept Jesus! (attempts to hand us tracts, again)
Us: We love Jesus… seriously… you can go harass someone else now.
Them: Fine! If you don't want to hear our message of love an hope, you can all go to Hell!
After that they stomped off. Good times folks. Good times.