Another short-short Covenant story

by Ken Olson

  Flying through the night on a fourteen-hour Japan Airlines Chicago-to-Narita
flight had me thinking back on my long, soon-ending career as a Covenant
Police officer. Twenty years and now I'll get my military pension. Time had
flown by. I served ten years in Washington protecting Covenant officers
while they were looking for government funding of yet another chapel at
North Park. Most of the remaining years I was undercover, working with a
secret Covenant women's group at filtering some Swedish and Danish websites
from their husbands. I don't make the rules. That's left to the bosses on
Francisco Avenue.

Looking out the window, it was pitch black. We were somewhere over the
International Date Line, nearing Japan's northern islands. There were some
Northern Lights blowing off to the east. This was a quiet time to pray for
peace as the Covenant had its annual surf mission in Bali.

Everything had changed since the Muslim extremists attacked the Western
tourists on Kuta beach. The last time the surf mission met here was in '95.
To think that many of us were dancing the nights away at the Sari Club, the
very same club that was blown up last month. How I remembered the music; all
the Bee Gees, and Abba for the Australians. And then she walked back into my
life. Of all the dance clubs in the world she had to walk into the famous
Sari Club. There we were, old and new friends of the Covenant dancing in
cutoffs and Hawaiian shirts and drinking Fosters, while she was dressed to
kill and getting all the looks from the guys. All the men were watching her.
I couldn't help but let my eyes follow her around the dance floor. She was
stunning. But what we'd had years ago was over. What we had at North Park
was long gone. It's strange, in that you don't remember how love grows but
you remember when it's over.

We had the responsibility of protecting hundreds of Covenant families as
they gathered here on Kuta beach. We came a week early and stationed men on
various cliffs overlooking the beach. The Muslim population from Java had
been overpowering the peaceful Hindu people of Bali.

Every day the families were arriving by boat. The tide was low, so they had
to wade through the water with all their equipment. A lot of the pastors had
cell phones, so the helpers met them and packed the luggage into the Land
Rovers. Soon they would be checking into the beautiful hotel that the
Central Conference had reserved for the two-week event. We suggested that
all of the little blonde kids not wear their N.P. Vikings t-shirts, so that
they wouldn't be targets of Muslim extremists.

The mornings were spent surfing the outer reefs. We had a large group; the
tradewinds were light, and the swells were pumping. The whole ocean seemed
to rise up and engulf us -- the effects were delirious. We were poaching
awesome winter swells. We had to recoup and beach our long boards. I was
talking to a couple of guys who had been surfing the east coast of Japan.
One of them, Tim, had been in a couple of *Surf Companion* magazines. He was
a Widerquist -- a big name in Covenant surf circles. His father was with
Karl Olsson when he first began the surf missions in the sixties. They were
an eclectic bunch of Covies on those first surf sojourns.

Tim said, "In Karl's teachings, we learn that at times we can't see the
ocean for the waves. The surf mission is a journey without an end; the goal
is the surf itself."

That night we had a full-moon Christmas party and blared Covenant techno
music. No Lucia, but we had a palm tree with lights. It's Christmas, and
Covies love to party!