Our Discovery Weekend was this weekend and it was an incredible weekend. My passion is to help others have that intimate relationship with Jesus and a weekend with 200 kids is an amazing place to help do just that! These pictures are terribly out of order but I've decided to just go with them rather than try to rearrange that many.
This is my sweet Discipleship "D" group - We had 21 D groups - some larger than others - we had six 7th graders in ours and a freshman in high school leader and a senior in high school leader . . .and me! This group was incredible. There are many activities throughout the weekend and one is to perform a skit - here was our group practicing their skit -- those are the disciples "in the boat" and that is Jesus sneaking along behind them as he walks on the water . . .right before one of the disciples yelled "Look - it is a ghost."
This was very powerful. The students all wrote a "dear God" letter and confessed a sin (or more than one). They folded the paper and nailed them to a cross.
This is the cross after all those students had nailed their sins. As their hammers pounded, my heart ached. Our sins - our nails - yet we are forgiven by God's AMAZING GRACE!!!
Have you ever been on a walk with 200 people before? We walked from the church to the local middle school for a picnic lunch and about an hour of outside fun. Lunch was delish - Hamburger Heaven Cheeseburgers!! (or hamburgers or hot dogs . . .and three grilled cheese sandwiches for the girls who were vegetarians!) This was actually on the way back . . .it was uphill all the way to the school - some good exercise.
Remember this old game? Doughnut on a string? There were serious times during the weekend . . .and there were funny times. Guess which one this was?
This is in The Haven, our student gathering space. I guess there were 200 of us crammed into this space worshipping together. Actually, at this point, those are sticky hands that you see flying through the air. The students receive "clues" about how much God and their church family loves them throughout the weekend. The sticky hands were a "clue."
Weekends like Discovery are bathed in prayer. Donna spent many hours in the youth prayer chapel this weekend - praying for all of the students by name and praying for each speaker before they talked with the youth.
This was actually at the beginning of the weekend - on Friday night. As the students arrive, they are given a name tag and their luggage is placed in a holding area. The jr. hi students then go play in the gym. They had every inflatable known to man (not really) but they had some pretty amazing ones. That is my niece climbing on one. She is in the 6th grade and had been riding that thing like a horse.
This is a Velcro wall. The students put on a Velcro suit over their clothes and two of our young adult male volunteers would give a big "heave ho" and throw them onto the wall . . .and they were stuck! I understand that one of the adult volunteers paid my daughter (who is not a jr. hi but a young adult) $3 (all he had in his pocket) to do this . . .and I missed it!
Here I am with Julie. Julie is our assistant director of student ministry. I claim her as our "other daughter" since her mom doesn't live in Birmingham. I am proud of her. She is doing a great job for us in our church.
Here I am with my sweet girl (yes, the same one that accepted $3 to be flung onto the Velcro wall). We are at the Championship Basketball game. Our Saturday night activities were a choice of bowling or basketball game. The team that we went to see lost . . . We took about 150 to the basketball game and I guess about 50 to go bowling. We rode on the old timey scout bus (think school bus converted for the boy scouts). There were 72 of us crammed on that bus - I've heard that is the legal limit!!
I've only told you bits and pieces about the weekend. It is a 43 hour spiritual retreat for jr. hi students. The sr. hi students are the leaders with a few adults along to help as needed. It is a three year cycle and this year's theme was Discover the love of God through the scripture. We've been doing Discovery at our church for a long time - I think this year was year 11. Think how many students have been touched in that many years. Wow! God is good, isn't he?