Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Extension

"Extension" was a ministry opportunity for students at Bob Jones. Somehow (and I don't remember how - maybe it was Diana's influence?) I got involved with an extension that went to Greenville Memorial Hospital and passed out water, juice, snacks, or fruit to patients as they were allowed to have them or wanted them. One went every night of the week and our night was Tuesday.

Other extensions went to nursing homes to have Sunday services for the residents, or to a church to help with Sunday School or Awana, or street witnessing, or stuff like that. For awhile while my grandmother was in a nursing home, I went to that extension so I could see her. But the one I did for (I think) all 4 years was the hospital one.

First of all, you should know that "Greenville" is pronounced "green-vull" and "extension" is "exSTINshin." And that NPO means they can't have anything to eat or drink so don't offer. You had to check with the nurses or the chart or something to know if the patient was NPO.

On most floors, we just emptied and refilled the water pitchers and gave them basic snacks. On the materninty floor, we had cookies and juice and all kinds of other things. It was the best floor to do because you could snack there.

We'd go early and eat at the hospital cafeteria. This seems really strange to me now, but I guess compared to the Dining Common, that was fantastic food. Then we'd split up and go to our floors, pass out the snacks, then head back to campus.

After a few semesters of doing this, I became the extension leader. This meant I was in charge. Extension was the one time boys and girls could ride in a car together without chaperones. One or our drivers had a red BMW convertible. We'd try to leave a little early to swing by Fuddruckers for a chocolate shake (oh.my.word. just now, going to their site for the link, I see they have a dark chocolate shake. I can't wait to try it . . next week we're heading to PA and there's one not far from my parents' house. Also. It seems the one on Main St. in Greenville is gone (?) - that's the one we used to hit up. On occasion). Oh. the leaving early was necessary because our permission required us to check in by a specific time.

Yes. You read that right. We would check out and check in with a permission form when we wanted to leave campus. It was stricter for the girls than for the boys. The form said where we were going, with whom, when we were leaving, and when we'd be back. I can't remember the details but there were times it had to be signed by the Dean of Women and times it could be just a hall leader (maybe. It's fuzzy now).

The point of extension was not to snack on cookies or risk being shipped for a shake; it was to share the Gospel. At the hospital, we weren't supposed to actually say anything related to religion, but if someone talked to us, we could answer their questions. I think I can say that I did not have one conversation with one person about Christ the entire time I was involved with this. For awhile it felt like just a group of "cool" people fulfilling their extension duty in the easiest way possible to try to move up the pecking order of meeting external standards to appear holy. "Going on extension" was worth big bucks in the BJU economy of appearances.

1 comment:

  1. Uh...yeah, eventually you somehow dragged me into that extension also. I don't think I went often though. I just remember going a few times and mainly giving drinks to women on the maternity ward. I don't remember having a conversation about Christ with anyone either, but I looked at the experience (and all experiences where testifying via spoken word doesn't happen) as one of those times where we were sharing the Gospel through action. Kind of reminds me of the quote by Francis of Assisi, "Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words."

    Now extension to Camp Spearhead was a different story. LOVED going to Camp Spearhead!

    I love the phrase "economy of appearances." That sums it up very nicely.

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