Hello all! Mike here.
Wow! What a journey! Since we have left on Thursday...it was Thursday...right??, it has been absolutely non-stop action and things to do. From getting checked in our hotel, the servant event, registering for the gathering (with ,000's of others), and the countless miles and hours participating, it has challenged every single one of us, but in a very good way.
Over the last several days, I have had the joy and honor to work with Chris and Elise, who have been my tireless lieutenants, going way above and beyond the call of this wonderful duty. Without them, I never would have been able to get the kids to all the events, meals, beddy-bye time, etc, etc, etc, ad exhaustion =) When you see them, be sure to give them ALL the credit for the success of this trip!
I cannot fully describe what has happened to my/your kids (who I have nicknamed "my llamas from another mamma!" You will have to ask them about that). I have seen unbelievable growth, not only at a spiritual level, but in character as well. They have melded into this mobile church family of which Christ is the head, pulled together and loved and taken care of each other. From my perspective, these young people, who ready or not are the Church of NOW, have been indelibly changed by the word and grace of God, and a collective energetic love Christ of 25,000+. Although all the kids have had profound things to say about the gathering, I think that AJ nailed what happened here by saying (during our late night/early morning family group devotions) "...for the first time, I saw God with the eyes of my heart." God has opened the eyes of our heart, and I know that this will be the way that we see Jesus going forward.
I could not be more proud and blessed that God chose me to be with these beautiful kids. Thank you parents for letting me have this time with them. And thank you congregation for supporting our youth ministry.
ATTENTION PARENTS! UPDATED FLIGHT INFORMATION:
Due to a mix-up at Continental, we are flying back on different flights.
Leave New Orleans on flight 129 @ 4:51, arriving in Houston @ 6:01
Leave Houston on flight 417 @ 8:05, arriving in San Diego at 9:14
If you have any questions, feel free to call me or Jim.