I have been shamefully neglecting of my responsibility to post on this blog... I don't even want to admit the last time I blogged. BUt I am alive, my team didn't kill me off, or leave me Duluth somewhere :) . Don't worry Mom!
Life is going amazing! I am just sitting here in my host home, in Raleigh, NC and just wondering what it is that I should highlight on these past few weeks...
We have just come out of a wonderful time in Florida! We spent about two weeks there and have been loving the change from our cold-weather homes to the warm, breezy, and wonderfully sunny Southern states! I think we are all perfectly content to "slave-away" in these conditions. :)
We set foot first in Florida and before we had time to get excited, we arrived Pensacola, Florida. We got to spend some quality time with Jolene and Christian McArthur (CTI Alums) for a couple days. Really awesome, they treated us really well! Even treated us to haircuts! I don't know if that is cause Jolene is a sweetheart, or because she was sick of looking at our shaggy musician dos...
Pretty soon afterwards, we were in Navarre, Florida, where we spent time 5 days working in and around the Hurlburt Airfield. We meet up with Greg Copeland "Cope" and his wife Susan and all their adopted kids at the youth group there at the chapel on base. Seriously, one of our favorite stops; hands down. These people have such a testimony and such an amazing journey that they have had to face the past year. In August, Cope's son, Jarren was hit by a drunk driver and died instantly. The previous CTI Team in 2006/2007 had a chance to meet him & found out what a passionate guy he was for his family, Christ, and life.
To be taken away at such a young age was a huge blow to his parents, his sister, family, and his friends in the youth group and church community. We had a chance to work with them during those five days, and believe me, we learned more than we realized. Taught us more about the beauty of life and the beauty of God's love in such concrete terms in just those couple days. The youth just rallied around Cope and his family, it's overwhelming and very touching; blew me away with the love they show and how at the end of the day, they are still able to admit that God is faithful. We had a chance to play in the church, for the youth group, for a outreach night, and at a detention center. It was emotionally draining, but really a blessing.
Cope was pretty sure that the detention center was the reason we were brought to Navarre, to the Airbase. We got a chance to play a concert and present the gospel for some of the young guys there...all of which were around 13-19 about. We were touched and burdened when they came up to us after the concert and just wanted to talk about their lives, asked prayer requests, and just wanted advice...It was really cool.
we learned a lot that week...I can't speak for the whole team, but we all had our own stories to tell after that...
Picture 1 :(trying on the airbase parachute outfits)
Picture 2: (hanging out at the beach)
Picture 3: (with the youth group at Hurlburt )
We then headed out to St. Petersburg for the week/weekend and played a couple school chapels and church concerts/youth concerts. We had a chance to go canoeing in the area, which was a
mazing! Woo hoo....And with pictures to prove our fun, we were content :) After a 3 hour long trip we rush to our concert, filled with sand and salt water, but feeling very happy with ourselves...
We headed to Titusville and meet up with Amanda Beesley (Summer teamer 07' ) and then headed out to Palm Beach to spend more time with Alums - Nick and Kristen Castiglione (Fulltime members 04-05) . Palm Beach had lovely weather and lovelier people, we played for school chapels mostly. School kids are so high on life, especially the middle schoolers...I'm surprised they are conscious at 6 am.
Then it was goodbye Florida and hello South Carolina! I think Jessie and I had the real luxury, cause we got to go to Swan Lake and spend a God-filled morning just getting to do nothing but take in the beauty of the place. Seriously, thinking of the place, makes me feel poetic...
Now we end up in North Carolina! Where I am right now! I love , love it here...seriously...great place to stop, beautiful place. Lovely people, except for the bitter rivalry between Duke and UNC...but thats for them to work out... :) but i like it here.
We just played at Hillsong Church in Chapel Hill, NC this morning arrived in Raleigh this afternoon. It's great, cause this is where our president and program director of CTI grew up, so you can guess all the stories that we will glean from their past life embarrassments . It is very enlightening :)
Such kind hearts and amazing accents...i love the south :) too much , they are too much :)
Anyways, i think we are having to much fun. Tomorrow is a day off and after doing the emails to the office and other "work" related items, we are going to find a mini golf and grasp this warm weather the life of it, and enjoy it for maybe the last time.
Things to pray for:
- team unity
- renewed focus (we are halfway through tour!)
- our families and situations back home that distract us...
- that we don't take life for granted
- Cope and Susan and the community at Hurlburt Airfield
- blessings on the host families that have offered to open up their hearts and homes to us...