Yesterday was Day 3 of VBS and I thought things were going to settle into a nice and easy rhythm for the remainder. That, however, was not in the cards. Right off the bat, before things even got started, we had injuries. Nothing major, it turned out; but, it was a little stressful until we determined that. That was on top of having to move the sing and play portion to another room and set up our own sound system. Fortunately, Andrew was on hand to keep things under control and Wes was more than capable of taking care of the sound issue. After all the drama, things went off without a hitch. One of our hellions was still a hellion, but Shani stepped up and handled that. While we adults were running around putting out fires, our kids took over and ran vacation bible school like the pros they are. Just when I think I can’t be more proud of them, they prove me wrong.
Yesterday was also our first block party. Set up to bring people in and build awareness of the churches we’re working with, these parties consist of music, games for the kids and tons of food. Mark Fischer, Andrew’s dad, has been our personal chef and we’ve had some amazing meals this week: spaghetti almost as good as my mom’s (nobody will ever top her’s), tacos and some kicking white chili and last night, stuffed pork roast, green beans, mashed potatoes and gravy and rolls. Saying we’ve been eating good just doesn’t cut it. Tonight, we had Frogmore Stew and chicken bog, two South Carolina specialties and they were just amazing as anything else the good Mr. Fischer has put on the table. The BUMS (Bethel United Methodist Students) Praise Band provided the evening’s music and they were fantastic. These young people are amazing; they’re talented, fun and on fire for God. They way they’ve taken our kids into their fold is incredible and both groups are the better for it. As much fun as the party was, it wasn’t the highlight of the day. That honor goes to Senior night.
Senior night is a BUMS tradition were all the outgoing Seniors on their final youth mission trip are honored by their friends and family. Each person in the group gets a chance to stand up and say what’s on their heart to each Senior. It was extra special for our guys because we had a Senior of our own in the mix: the inimitable Kyle Crist.
Before the festivities, however, it was devotional time from the leadership team and it was Kyle’s turn. Based on the poem A Paradox of Our Time in History (written by Dr. Bob Moorehead, a Seattle pastor), our boy took what could be considered a rather bleak outlook and used to talk about love. He told us that, while this week has been filled with the work of God, it isn’t the real world. The real world is filled with darkness and in desperate need of the kind of work we’ve spent the last week doing. He exhorted us all to continue this work when we get home and ended with this statement, “Get them back to God, get them back to love; because that’s what everything’s about”. I love that guy.
It was time to begin the cryfest. Yeah, there were tears aplenty last night; the unofficial name of Senior night is Cry night. I had my trusty computer out and, while I’m not a good enough typist to get it all down word for word, I did catch the salient points. Izzy Wheeler said she loved his dancing because he looked like a giraffe fighting something. Maggie reminded us of an early nickname: Fuzzy Bunny. Sam Mathis (B UMS) remarked on Kyle’s sense of humor, calling it “so random” (it is). Spud said Kyle had a “very sexy voice” with a “James Earl Jones quality”. Wes said that Andrew kept telling them Kyle was a genius and said that he should speak more often. To which Chad replied “That’s what makes him a genius; he doesn’t speak as much as we do. I couldn’t hear much of what Courtney had to say. She was facing away from me and crying for most of it. I did pick up something about “You listen to me babble at 2 AM on the phone.” Derek said Kyle was his best friend and “someone I can geek out with”. Andrew called him “an old soul” and “a really cool dude”. I’ll finish this entry with a parent-friendly version of what I had to say,
“Kyle and I joined the youth group at the same time; he as a youth, me as a leader. Back in those days, he was skinny, goofy kid with a weird haircut. And, oh God, was he a nerd. But there was something even then that marked him as special. He’s still skinny and goofy, his haircut is only slightly less weird and he’s still a major nerd. But, he’s not a kid anymore. I’ve had the privilege of watching him grow into a fine, young man; one I’m proud to call my friend.”