A Long Day

Well, yesterday was the big day.  At 5:30 in the morning, I arrived at Knightdale UMC expecting to find a bunch of sleepy-eyed teenagers unhappy about having to get up so early.  We were facing about a 9-10 hour drive to Bethesda, Ohio and needed that early start.  Imagine my surprise when I arrived to find 18 relatively bright-eyed and bushy-tailed youth, excited to embark on this…, okay, I cannot, in good conscience, write that kind of dreck.  Suffice it to say the kids were doing a heckuva lot better than I was.  I mean, it was 5:30 and I’d only two cups of coffee.  Things didn’t get any better when Andrew told me he’d already gassed up the van and we wouldn’t be stopping until Statesville.  Good Lord, 2 1/2 hours until I got some relief?!?  What does he think I am, a machine?  Fortunately, I was driving my truck that far to carry the luggage and wasn’t subjected to that many teens that early in the morning.  It got better shortly after we got to Statesville; breakfast awaited and, for me at least, a large cup of coffee.  It probably wasn’t fair trade, but at that point, I was past caring.

After breakfast, we hit the road and, while I-77 is great highway, it ain’t exactly the Blue Ridge Parkway.  Every now and then, however, you’d be treated to a scene like this:

The further north we went, the rougher the country got.  You might think it was always beautiful.  For the most part it was, but we also got reminders we were in coal country:

We pulled into the Epworth Center in Bethesda around 6:30 and it’s great.  We’re in the middle of town, but you’d never know it.  A rather bucolic setting, the center backs up to a city park and is far enough off the main drag that it’s very peaceful and quiet.  Okay, let me rephrase that, it’s as peaceful and quiet as any place with 84 teenagers can be.  After everyone got settled, Chad (the Bethel youth leader) laid out the plans for the week, gave everyone a run down on the rules and we finished up with a devotion provided by Parker, a member of the leadership team from Bethel; which are all youth, by the way.  In fact, the youth are running everything this week, us old farts are only here for window dressing and to facilitate.  Which is a fancy way of saying, keep them from killing each other. 

This morning, everyone turned out for breakfast, the group heading over Woodfield (one of the churches we’re working with) packed up all their stuff and are heading out as I write this.  Today, we’ll worship at Woodsfield First UMC and Real Life UMC, set up for VBS and head out into the neighborhoods to let everyone know what’s happening.  Tomorrow, the real work starts.  With a little luck, I’ll have a rundown of the day up this evening.  Also, all the pictures I’m taking will be on my Facebook page, so check there to see more of the fun.  If we’re not FB friends, send me a request and I’ll add you as soon as I can.  For now, know that your kids are doing well and having a blast.  That’s all for now.