Kari leapt off the ground, looking around like a startled gazelle as Bobby chuckled. He relaxed, leaning deeper into the hammock, while polishing a red apple with his shirt. The youth group couldn’t afford to go on an overseas mission trip, so, Pastor Derrick—in his infinite wisdom decided to simulate one for the group.
They had shown up at the church, dressed in their hiking clothes, complete with a survivalist backpack. The students were surprised to find out they had to hike ten miles through the woods surrounding the church until they found a makeshift village in a small clearing. The directions that Pastor Derrick had left with the sponsor were simple.
They had to set up camp outside of the village and await further instructions. That was six hours ago.
“What was that?” Kari asked. Bobby shrugged.
He studied the apple that he was eating on before idly stating, “Might have been a disgruntled native or maybe a constipated ape.”
A snort came from across the camp which was followed by Chuck yelling, “We’re supposed to be on the African Savannah somewhere, not the jungle.”
Bobby rolled his eyes as Chuck continued. “The only type of ape in Africa is the silver back gorillas and they, are found in the jungle. Now, if I had to guess, I’d say it was a slightly irritated water buffalo.”
Kari pinched the bridge of her nose and fired back, “But what about the baboons? They live on the savannah...I think.”
Chuck shook his head, joining the huddle. “No, baboons are monkeys because they have a tail while apes do not.”
Kari perked up, grinning. “Oh yeah, I remember that song!” With that, she sang a little bit of the monkey song from Silly Songs with Larry.
Unfortunately, Bobby had taken that moment to take a bite from his apple. He coughed violently, causing the hammock to flip, tossing him to the ground.
Kari started again, this time letting out a little squeak as the other girls nervously glanced around the camp site as well.
“Okay, seriously, what is that?” One of the girls asked.
Mystified, everyone shrugged, only then noticing that the adults had vanished from the campsite. Quietly, whispers began to filter through the group.
“Should we go and find them?”
“Is it safe?”
“What is making that awful sound?”
The sound of drums filled the air combined with the voices of chanters. “Zuni, gottagetitout!”
Tree branches swayed and then parted as a group of oddly dressed adults surrounded the teenagers. The chanting grew louder and the circle grew tighter, trapping the teenagers in the middle, back to back.
“Chuck! What are they saying?” Kari screamed over the noise.
It wasn’t Chuck who answered. Susan tilted her head to the side and started to madly giggle. “I know this...” She said.
Then, all was silent, except for Susan’s giggles. Finally, she pulled herself together long enough to manage, “Zuni, gotta get it out! Zuni, gotta get it out! Deep in the heart of the African jungle hear the cries of the constipated ape!”
Pastor Derrick took a step forward, dressed in clothing similar to the other adults, smiling widely. “Welcome! I’m glad that you guys found the Zuni’s village! I’ve been working hard, trying to minister to the people here, but I need help.”
That was all it took; the teenagers knew what they needed to do. The silliness ceased as they exchanged looks. They had practiced dramas and memorized scriptures for this. Their testimonies were ready. So, with a nod to each other, they began to work; preparing themselves for their practice mission trip to the African Savannah.
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