Saturday, August 13, 2016

Lead the Cause

We have had a nonstop summer - I can't believe, don't want to believe that we start school next week. 

At the beginning of July Terry spoke at kids camp at Table in the Wilderness. Saturday July 9 we drove home from Table, cleaned our house for the next renters, did laundry, and packed up for another trip. This time we left our kiddos (the littles with my folks and the olders with Paul and Jana) and took 14 students and 4 other leaders to Denver for Dare 2 Share's "new" Lead the Cause conference. It's like a week long D2S with additional training and planning. 

I don't know if I was simply exhausted, experiencing spiritual battles or what, but the week started out very difficult for me. We started the conference out on Monday and went late into the night after a full day of traveling. Tuesday all 400 kids at the conference were driven to Columbine High School where the 1999 school shooting occurred. I was a junior at that time and remember it vividly. 

After walking through the school we spent time in the cafeteria where the shooting began. Directly outside the cafeteria we were shown where Rachel Scott had been shot dead for her belief in God. Intense. After walking, praying and singing there, we walked west of the school up a hill to the Columbine memorial. It was incredibly emotional. There are plaques everywhere with quotes from the victim's parents and others who survived. Below is one of thirteen wooden crosses that a man had made for the memorial but the state forced him to remove. He gave one of the crosses to Greg who brought it along. They had us write down what God seemed to be impressing on our hearts.

Looking down from the cross at the memorial below.

I read every single engraved word in the the memorial and this was the one that stuck with me. For me, more than anything else, my heart cried out for justice over this depraved act. This father's quotation from Isaiah was appropriate and very moving for me.

One of the things about this conference that we had most been looking forward to was the opportunity to discuss new ideas, make changes to our ministry, and plan accordingly. The time was difficult to find because they had us over scheduled from dawn to past dusk but we did manage it. We borrowed time from other activities and came up with a plan. On Thursday we talked it over with our LTC rep Laura. 

Eating Chic-fil-A before going to Columbine. 

We were driven by bus to various locations within the Denver area to share the gospel with strangers. On Friday my group talked with three elderly ladies in a coffee shop who were gluing puzzles into sculptures. I took a picture for my kids. 

The week before our group left and during the conference we all took part in a social media fast and deleted apps such as Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat from our phones. LTC split up all the groups and drove us around quite a bit. So, to fill the driving time we would take unflattering pictures of each other and text them to the group and laugh (though I took only 4 or 5 photos and instead saved everyone else's to share). Hilarity ensued. Here's Emma passed out curled in a literal ball next to a sleeping Tim. Aw.

Natasha fell asleep on my shoulder on the drive home. 

The womb-mates (twinsies) Jenna and Jake asleep in the back of the Envoy on the drive home after only minutes in the vehicle. 

On Thursday afternoon we finally had some down time. I went to my room to lay down, rest, and talk with my kids while the students walked to a nearly strip mall. 

Jake, Tim, Silas, and a questioning Emma.

They bought a volleyball while they were out and played every spare minute they could find.

Laura's group was visited by Laura and our group always wanted selfies with her. We had watched a video of her's before we left and all the students  kind of latched on to her at LTC like she was a famous person. 

For lunches we would congregate under this tree on campus. We had a lot of fun times there. Jazmin brought a lot of teasing down on herself after bugging me and others. Silas put her hat high in that tree and she ran around trying to get it back. Long funny story.

Zoe, Katrina, and Natasha with Laura. 

See? Laura fever.

This is the one photo that started our rage texting funny pictures to each other. Steve had taken a panoramic photo of Sarah and Prae during one of the sessions. However, she must have been moving while he panned over her and it left her head and neck enlarged and jagged. We all just about died. 

Um, yeah. Hilarious. I post this with her approval. It looks like she had cornrows in her hair and that she has a body-builder neck.

More sleepers - Katrina, Andrew, Jaz.

Our bus was overcrowded and there weren't enough seats for everyone. David preferred standing in the back. 

Another B. asleep. 

These are my absolute favorite photos from the trip. Jazmin and her siblings Jenna and Jake cannot take a care ride without falling asleep (he's asleep behind her again in these photos below). They pass out immediately. David was taking a selfie with Jazmin during one such bus excursion...

...when she woke up! He caught her at the absolute worst and best moment! Ha! Poor Jazmin. 

And that look she gave Katrina! Gold. I love everything about these three photos.  

Prae feel asleep on Steve's shoulder but what was really funny was Sarah's creeping over the seat :D 

Oh silly Allison.

Jake and Terry "sleeping" on the bus.  

Later that night they were at it again - pretending to sleep, that is. 

Wednesday and Friday were the days we were shipping off to various locations to share the gospel. This photo is from Friday before we walked around downtown Arvada.

Friday was our final night and it was spent in the mountains. First we ate together and then we climbed around the rocks and mountain a bit. Sarah snapped a photo of these students eating and we all thought Silas' hand just did not look real... he added his hand to everyone. Ha! Johanna's "hand" is as big as her head!

Pointing at the sun.

Jenna failing at pinecone baseball.

Braids are all the rage. We tried to gather all the girls together who had braids in their hair for a photo. Pretty!

I love this one: Me, Natasha, Jazmin, Emma, Jenna, Zoe.

We had dinner, took pictures, sang, prayed, and were commissioned to go share the gospel in a real intentional way upon our arrival home. David took a Go-Pro photo of our group and it turned out great! 

The leaders prayed for all the students and then they prayed for us. That was cool.

The following day, Saturday we drove home, texting more photos of each other and laughing continually. What fun. 

Someone sent out this photo of Ben Stiller from Dodgeball saying that he was Steve's twin.

Silas, who has the photoshop app on his phone, added Steve's face to show how similar they really do look:
Half Steve, half Ben Stiller!

Tim did a face swap with Johanna. HAHAHA! It's terrifying and yet I can't stop laughing.

Aw, an actual nice photo for a change - Jordyn and Johanna.

David took Go-Pro pics of the vehicles he was in - the Envoy 

Andrew, Zoe, Natasha. 

A Sarah van selfie.

Andrew didn't want anyone to take a bad picture of him sleeping so he took precautions. 

Another group in the van. Every time we stopped we had to switch seats - Terry had random seat arrangements made beforehand.

Some kind of wrestling going on... 

Final van ride! 

It's been so fun to look back at these pictures a month later. Though it was an extremely exhausting and emotional week, it was good.

Here is a video that Sarah put together. 

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