Sunday, February 17, 2013

Patty Wagon

Some of you may recognize the name Sandi Patty.  You might be more likely to recognize it if you were born circa 1956 or if you were raised by someone who was. That was me. I grew up listening to this woman.  Although I had no clue when I was little, apparently she’s an amazing singer who’s won a grammy and a bazillion Dove Awards. 

A month or so I got wind that she was coming to Sierra Leone. And not only coming to Sierra Leone, but coming to hang out with WMT. What!?!?  A celebrity? Here?  For me????  Normally I would have totally missed out on this, being that I live so many hours away from the rest of my team, but since I was going to be down with the rest of the WMTers preparing for my incoming teams, I was going to be right in the thick of things!!

Now, almost as soon as the hoopla began, I was called out. One of my team members (who had no idea who she was) said, “Emily. You are not really that big a fan. Name one of her songs.”  I’ll admit it. I couldn’t name one.  I knew if I heard one I’d know it…but maybe the super fan, I was not.  But I decided to play it up anyway.  Once I found out what one of her songs was, I started singing it all the time. I’d make comments like “When Sandi comes to dinner, I’M sitting by her!! I’m going to keep her napkin when she’s done with it.”  “Would it be too much to have her song ‘Love In Any Language’ playing on our ipod when she comes in the door?” “We should decorate the cars you’re picking her up in with signs and balloons. We can call give the car she’s riding in a code name like ‘The Patty Wagon.’ You know….like Air Force One.”  I was being ridiculous.  But I loved it! Mostly because several people on my team had no idea who she was and kept telling me how ridiculous I was.

The big day of her arrival came.  My friend Kaysie and I were making comments to each other like “What are you going to wear!?!?!?”  “Are you going to wear make-up? (Which is a rarely attempted feat here because you sweat it all off in 2.5 seconds.)  All of the sudden though, I started getting nervous. I’d been making a LOT of jokes. REALLY talking it up.  And some of the people (Ok, ONE person….John you are CALLED OUT!!) doesn’t have the best social filter.  I told Kaysie that I couldn’t dress up, I couldn’t wear make-up, I couldn't do any of it because I was afraid one of the guys was going to call me out.  After weeks of being ridiculous, in crunch time I decided to try and fly under the radar. Nice try.

Sandi and her family were coming with some guys from an organization called Water4 who is one of our biggest partners in well drilling over here.  And the whole team was coming to our house for dinner!  Feeding 34 people…a new record for the team!

Now by this time, John had been spending quite a bit of time with them and it turns out that the whole family is incredibly musical (go figure).  Every. Single. One.  So. Imagine my horror when, after all the introductions had been made and we were getting ready to pray before dinner, John says, “Well everybody, before we start, Emily has a song that she wants to share with you.”  Say what?!!?  “Come on Emily! You’ve been talking about this for weeks!!!” Oh. My. Gosh.  I tried to kill him with my death glare….but he just kept talking!!!  Then everyone started chirping in “Come on Emily! We’ll join you! Come one, come on, blah blah blah!!”  34 people. Staring at me. Waiting for me to start singing.  I know that the death penalty is controversial….but this one seems like a no brainer. 

Alas, I didn’t give in and they mercifully prayed and we started eating.  It’s been about a week now, 
and I’m still trying to think about how I can get him back!  What could I possibly to do humiliate in such a way. I’m definitely open for suggestions!!

Ironically enough, the next day I got a second chance.  The team came over for a few minutes and we were chatting. Sandi found out how much Mari likes "Hakuna Matata" so she started singing it. I was trying to get Mari to sing along so I started singing too. So.....basically I sang with a grammy award winner.  Which will be how I tell the story to my grandchildren. 

Beach Day with the Team.  I said "Oh, let's get a picture with Mari (aka Kadi) and Auntie Sand!"  Then one of my awesome friends said "Ok you get in there." Score! :)
We ended up spending quite a bit of time with the “Patty Team” and they were awesome. Such servants hearts and so eager to help the people over here.  And seriously so musical. It was incredible!  My final gift from her was a pair of her shoes. And when I say “gift from her” what I mean is that the whole team left a bunch of clothes and my feet were the closest fit to one of her pairs of shoes.  So….basically a gift.  It was a fun week! Oh, and also I’m not kidding about ideas about how to retaliate against my teammate.  Send them my way!! John….get ready buddy. It’s not going to be pretty!


  1. Hahaha, I Love, Love, Love it! You, miss Emily, are awesome and awesomely blessed by an even Awesomer God! Thanks for blogging! We are praying continued blessings and favor upon all you do to care for the dear folks there, and thankful, too for the wonderful servant-heart-ed Jesus followers willing to take the heat in Sierra Leone, like you and the Patty Wagoneers! And,blessings, too,on you and Kadi!

  2. Ha, super fun, I totally remember hearing Sandi Patty when I was a kid:)

  3. Emily, may I please republish your previous piece on forgiveness, on the World Voices blog (

    Yours, "Sackerson"

  4. Sackerson--um, sure no problem

  5. Emily, thank you so much.

    Coincidentally we say Les Mis recently (live in London) and it's interesting that a story with such a strong religious theme should prosper so well in an age and country that is supposedly cynical and secular.

    Do please visit the site!