On Thursday, Lydia and I headed to Garden City Chapel, just outside of Myrtle Beach. I had the privilege of speaking at a middle school retreat. 50 middle schoolers, 16 adults, oh, and the ever popular 11 month old. Lydia was passed around like a loaf of bread, kept up until 11:30 each night, flirted with Connor (the 17 year old worship leader) and busted her face. Praying this is my last student retreat with a baby...
What an hilarious weekend. I watched girls manipulate boys to get their hats, then brag to their girlfriends that they were wearing “that boy's” hat. I watched boys load up on Monster (the equivalent of Surge or Jolt in my day) and then run circles... For hours. I watched one girl get ostracized from her group, only to cling to another group, causing an ostracism in that group, etc... I saw boys take down girls in the mud, but NOT because they like them! NO WAY! And then there were the chaperones! The profanity slip on the volleyball court. Hijacked iPhones. Multiple trips to “Kroger,” because “I need a little break.” Crazies! Made me miss student ministry... and grateful to be out of it!
|the CUMC middleschoolers!|
- The Chi-Chi's birthday dinner with Chris Spruill's Sunday School class. Something funny happened, but I don't remember what... this was 7th grade people!
- Amanda and I being late to the bus at Wet-n-Wild (was that what is was called?). We had to run laps around two trees. One lap for each minute late. Mortifying as an eighth grader to step onto a bus of high schoolers after that! (I remember Cherilyn Carruth sitting next to the window that day. Weird what sticks in your mind!)
- Speaking of buses: it was not summer without the brown, FBC church van. No a/c, ceiling falling down, vinyl seats... nice. That's when 15 people could ride in a 15 passenger van.
- There was a trip to Ocean City, MD. Multiple jelly fish stings that day. And a picture, peep hole keychain. Still have it, Mikey! The boys play with them.
- A bazillion trips to Kings Dominion for Youth Evangelism Conferences, day trips or concerts. And a bazillion check-ins at the tower at 1:00. And more picture, peep hole keychains. (Still have those, too.)
- The Youth After Church Fellowships (a.k.a. The YACF. Btw, it was previously known as an “afterglow.” Hope I don't offend anyone, but that was a TERRBILE name!)
- Countless volleyball games.
- Volunteering to help with VBS
- Aahhh, centrifuge. Where we met
boysJesus. Remember all those pictures Roger took of “us,” but was really taking a picture of the boy of the week in the background! (I bet if we put our heads together we could remember all their names.)
- Then the year we changed camps! Horror! (We made it through and loved it. Master's Inn.)
- Eagle Eyrie. Music Camp. (Pure and lovely, girls. I still remember, Mrs. Kang.)
- The Mall, the National Zoo, the metro
Let's get this out of the way: I know we weren't easy. I know it now and I knew it then. (In fact, I am still sometimes reminded of that. We got it. We were mean and ugly and dramatic and people quit because of us. You don't have to say it again.) That is why I am so grateful. Chris, Rhonda, Sheila, Mrs. Applegarth, Mr. Carruth- just a few of the Sunday School Teachers that “stuck it out.” GA's and Acteens- thank you Mrs. Hayes and Mrs. Carruth and Mrs. Chenoweth. Choir, chaperones, parents... I get it now. I've been on this side. I'm not sure a crown in Heaven is enough.
And Roger. (The tears are starting.) I do what I do today, because of what you did back then. You were at everything. You planned, prepared, studied, prayed, fought on our behalf. It wasn't about volleyball. It was about Jesus. And a legacy that is now being carried to another generation. Every time I speak at a conference, teach a lesson, lead a mission trip meeting, I think of you. It is memory verses in the car, teachable moments after tears, and the walk to my kids' worship on Sunday mornings. You sewed into that in a way that nobody else did or has. At the risk of getting all Ray Boltz on you, thank you for all you did, sacrificed and prayed for us. It has not been in vain and it has not gone unnoticed.
And to the adults I ministered with this weekend, this may be your story one day. You invested in a life, that invested in a life, that invested in a life. Don't give up on the hard ones! Please! They did not give up on me. (Shut up. No comments.) Tim, you are their Roger. You are not laboring in vain, you are not unnoticed.
To all of you student ministers, winding down your summers... you made it through another one. Lives were changed. Generations formed.
It's not about volleyball.
"With all this going for us, my dear, dear friends, stand your ground. And don't hold back. Throw yourselves into the work of the Master, confident that nothing you do for him is a waste of time or effort." 1 Corinthians 15:58
|Centrifuge. Carson Newman. Circa 1994. For Girls Only.|
|Graduation Sunday. 1995.|
|My 18th birthday. Key West, Fl. Senior Trip.|
|One of the very few pics of Roger. He was ALWAYS behind the camera. I think he was trying to get out of trust falls.|