Monday, September 12, 2011

Baghdad, Taylor Swift, glow sticks and baby's laughter

We met early Saturday morning to begin the long trip to Baghdad.

Baghdad, Kentucky. All of the Young Life leaders from Indiana and Kentucky gather together for a weekend Summit. The Carmel area brought 18 Young Life and Wyld Life leaders. I got to drive the Senior girls and we sang the whole way. Hannah played DJ in the front seat and Abby, Heather, and Jenna were a potholder headband sweatshop in the backseat.

Once we got to camp we screamed out the window to everyone we passed, so excited to finally be there.

Club 1 Highs: Singing the Cave by Mummford and Sons, the show tune iPod shuffle game, "any lasting contribution you make in your ministry will come out of who you are, not out of what you do".

Speed Session Rounds Big Thoughts:
1- What is the best thing about my life? You naturally communicate what you're passionate about.

2- We all (kid and leader) have an innate urge to create. When we silence the critic we give ourselves the freedom to worker in a broader and deeper way. "Everyone wants to be extraordinary, outstanding and make a unique contribution." -Dallas Willard

3- A lot of our fear comes out of pride. Follow after the kids that scare you the most.

4- Serve: Ask the right questions instead of knowing the right answers. It's not about me, the other person is far more important. Ask the hard question only if you have the right to ask the hard question.

5- God isn't one of a bunch of rocks, God is the rock that everything else stands on. Jesus didn't compartmentalize his time.  Ask- Is this what you want for me today? Then step out into obedience and do it.

6- Basing our faith on emotional and circumstantial things isn't effective. Truth needs to define our reality so we will seek and cling to the Lord no matter how we feel.

Our team really likes hanging out together. These are really entertaining people. We played two rounds of Family, one of my favorite games, and maybe got really competitive with each other as our families grew and we scrambled to remember people like John Deer, Sigmund, and Stacy McGuire.

Dommer and Allison used to be my Young Life girls my first year in Indy. Now Young Life leaders in Bloomington, they came with their own Young Life teams.

It was so fun getting to see them for two days, hear about what is going on in their lives, dance with them all night like we used to, and just getting to be around their unique greatness. These girls are irreplaceable.

Club 2 Highs: "We're here so you can get to gno-me" gnomes Marlin and Matt, singing worship songs together, "If seeking those who are marginalized isn't your priority you can question if you're following Jesus"

Our first surprise after dinner was Graters ice-cream in the parking lot, including Black Raspberry Chip. Then the gnomes ran out and showered the crowd with about 200 glow stick headbands. They announced that, "the youth always love a good dance party," and led us up the hill to one of the greatest dance parties I have ever had the honor to be a part of.

We started with a crowd of a couple hundred leaders pulsing to the techno music. As people drifted away, too tired to keep up with the intense level of dance, we continued on strong into the second quarter. Two-step, stanky leg, bernie, the Wilderness guide hopping dance, interpretive ballet, crumping, old boy band moves and glow stick dancing were all seen as our shirts began to show our sweat.

The third quarter we started to get creative- campfire glow stick dancing, paddling canoes, crazy kicking in the Cupid Shuffle, belting out Kesha, somersaults, feet dancing along the wall, jump roping, a tennis match, and follow the leader pushed us to our limits. We started to slip out for a quick second to get a gulp of water so we wouldn't pass out from heat. Our clothes now looked like we had jumped into a lake we were so soaked in our own sweat.

We battled on into the fourth quarter. By now it was only Carmel leaders and four other girls that kept the dance party going. As the notes of Sandstorm began we knew we would be tested but we would not quit. I have never been a part of a Sandstorm so dramatic and intense.  Until the end we raged with a collective energy that would be hard to ever match again.

And even the dance was over the boys continued to say, "Dude, we went hard during that dance party."

Sunday morning after breakfast we had time to just hang out and be together to talk about our future weddings and other really interesting topics. It reminded me of the time before clinics at camp, everyone is so content to just be together, there is nowhere else you need to be and no one is thinking of the next thing to check off their to-do list.

I wish we could have moments exactly like this with these people every day.

Club 3 Highs: Singing "For the glory of it all", "Our daughter Roslyn, she's 4, speaks in an accent... we don't know why," we have 1 life to be about what we want to be about, "For after the darkness comes the dawn. There is a better tomorrow. Go forth with me. Go forth."- this is a message of substance and purpose, we're called on a mission to play our little part in something big, we are Christ's ambassadors

This weekend was about a group of people who love God and love kids coming together.

I'm so thankful that this a group I get to work with, have community with, create with, live life with.

I'm so thankful that we have this excitement that leads us to scream when we pull into camp, to attack old friends with hugs, to write things down so we won't forget, to share what's on our hearts, to sing from the depths of our hearts, to pray together to commit to spending our time, our one life to follow this calling.

This calling in the words of Jake, "sicky."

And on the road trip home? Dance parties at gas stations, singing every single Taylor Swift song until our iPods died, Arby's chocolate turnovers, "Well, I don't think you can go wrong with a loaded, mashed anything," and lots of Diet Coke.

Once home I got to go to the first weekly Sunday night family dinner at the girls' house. Such a precious porch dinner with spaghetti and strawberry shortcake. It used to be that I saw these friends only once or twice a semester.

I think this weekly routine is going to be a really great thing.

When I got home Colleen was complaining that Emel went to Huddles for the first time without her the night before. "Well let's go," I told her. She got really excited, "when?!" "Like right now, this is how I do things- I just go." Colleen jumped out of her chair and did her Huddles touchdown dance. She had to wait for Molly to arrive and then we all went to Huddles.

Inside, Colleen did her Huddles dance again, we all talked about our selections (they have thin mint and root beer float right now!), and discussed the general public's knowledge of Wyatt Erp, Eli Whitney, and the Vice-President.

And just when I though my day was over I got to Skype with two of my favorite people. Still no substitute for actually being together, but way better than texting, I got to talk to Mags and Annie. I really love these girls a whole lot.

Look what Carolyn made this weekend...

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