Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Back to the Beginning

And no, I don't mean Genesis or dinosaurs.

A few weeks ago I set off with the wonderful youth of PHPC as a sponsor for their annual trip to Montreat, North Carolina, for the senior high youth conference. We all piled into the charter bus to begin the two day trek east. Some may think a two day bus trip with 30 other people is not the best way to spend a Saturday evening, but I found it very much fun. There's really nothing else you can do when on a bus for so long but hang out, relax, put your feet up and literally enjoy the ride. We stopped overnight in Memphis, Tennesee (Now's the perfect place to insert my favorite pick-up line ever--> "are you from Memphis, because you're the only ten-I-see!"), enjoyed some DELICIOUS Corkey's barbeque to the near point of food coma, had some devotionals, and napped on the gym floor before taking off for another day of enjoying the ride. After a much anticipated journey, and a few stops and hang-ups along the way, we arrived safely to one of the most beautiful places in the world- Montreat, NC.

So here's where the title, "Back to the Beginning" comes into play. Throughout highschool and college, I toyed with the idea of longer term mission work, but pretty much just left it as a thought in the back of my mind. Maybe later, I'd tell myself. I'd develop some reason why right now didn't work. My favorite- "Let Oprah do it." (Check out the Maybe Later Campaign at www.youtube.com/watch?v-aYQy-0bz7tI for other awesome reasons to wait 'til later.) But last year, while sponsoring those wonderful youth I mentioned earlier at Montreat, I heard John Fife preach about his work in border ministry. It was sitting in Anderson Auditorium, surrounded by 1200 lost and found youth, that I felt like this preacher was speaking just to me. My trip this year to Montreat really re-grounded me in the push I felt to be a part of something bigger than me. A year has passed since I heard John speak about his work, and time has faded my memories of his specific stories and encounters. The one thing I do remember is his passion about his work. To me, he served as a model of how to love unconditionally, and to really love one's neighbor as oneself.
This year the theme of the conference was "In These Waters." Like the year prior, it was a fantastic conference. The keynoters, worship leaders, and leadership team all were amazing, and I felt like they really had a nack for connecting with their audience. There were metaphors for each day- flowing waters, troubled waters, water of life, calm waters; but for me in my too many years of attending, sponsoring, and small group leading at conferences, it has never been so much about the words said, but the actions they promote, the relationships that are formed, and the overall sense of purpose that is reconfirmed in all of the people attending the conference. That is why I continue to return as an adult sponsor, even if the conference isn't for me.


  1. Montreat's a great place. Nice entry!

  2. Great entry! Thanks for the link to the "Maybe Later" video. I'm totally going to use that at my church :-)