Hooray! I feel so much better today! (That list I told you about yesterday……we rocked it!) Christine and I got the girls up at 6:45 (like normal) and then shooed them out to get breakfast. We stayed back because it is Jen’s 18th birthday and we wanted to decorate the cabin. We put balloons on the rafters, hung a huge banner outside on the porch, and hung streamers from the top of her bunk bed. (Christine bought Jen her very own trim paint brush for her birthday. These are a hot commodity on the worksite. Ha!)
Most of the teens dressed in TeamEffort ‘work shirts’ today for Work Shirt Wednesday. They are a silly mechanic/factory looking uniform that says TeamEffort on the back and a random name on the front. They were contemplating calling each other by their shirt name….so all day you saw them looking down at their shirt to see if someone was calling their name. (Names like Pierre, Hollywood, Hitesh, Mohammed, Hawa etc.) Very silly fun!
After our breakfast (same as yesterday) and morning commute (where the seniors surprised me and switched vans so I could spend some time with them also), we opened our day with prayer. Chuck started, Eli did the devotional, and John did the memorarae. We offered up praise to God whether it rained or shined…but we were definitely hoping for the shine! We had so much to get done. We sang Happy Birthday to Jen and presented her with a funny headband that says, “It’s my 18th birthday”. She wore it all day! (I think she just did it to make us happy.)
Last night at group time we laid out who was doing what. Eli started to tell the group what needed to be done and the teens immediately told him that they had their jobs down and got to it. (It cracked me up.) Within minutes an assembly line was started to unload John’s truck, the roofers hopped up the ladder, the outside painting crew started the primer, the tools for the screen door installers were set out, and the weed whackers were roaring. The teens worked non-stop until 12:30 when the roof was finally finished. (We made the executive decision that we weren’t going to eat lunch until it was done…so thank our good God for the Endres family who sent tons of snacks and chips for us to munch on while working. They were devoured!)
At lunch (sandwiches, chips, and snacks!), we sat down and discussed our plan of attack for the afternoon. The outside painters noticed that the soffits were rotting and that there were wasp nests underneath the overhang boards. We decided to change out the soffits and found a squirrel’s nest up there as well. I made the teens get out from under the attached carport until I could take care of the nests. (There ended up being 12 of them! Ugh…so scary!) After the walls were scraped (by Elise, Lauren, Jake, and Lydia) we started to get extra people on it. (John and Chuck finished installing the new screen door. ‘Big’ John, Sara, Laura, & Ryan finished the roof. Erich, Emily, Caitlin, & Sam finished all of the landscape.) Meanwhile, Jen, McKenzie, Casey, Christine, and Megan were inside painting. Joe was running around making sure everything was running smoothly and doing all of the little behind the scenes jobs that need to be done and no one else wants to do.
It did drizzle just a little bit, but that didn’t stop any of us from getting our jobs done. (We only work a half day tomorrow, but think we can get the house painted, the gutters hung, and the inside living room done. Wish us luck!) God really did bless us with a productive day! (Eli told me at the end of the day that we did two weeks’ worth of work in our week….I corrected him (jokingly) and said that we did two weeks’ worth of work in three days!) I really am so proud of these teens! They represent our parish very well!
When we got back to camp, we took showers and had a little down time before dinner. We walked to the mess hall and made Jen drink out of a Happy Birthday Glass (Thanks Laurie!) and after dinner we ‘surprised’ her with a cake and candles. We sang (really loud) to her and then everyone started clapping for her. (Emily wouldn’t let her take the headband off, so everyone knew it was her big day. I’m not so sure she was happy about this, but she was a really good sport.) Today was the first day I didn’t have to go to a store to get anything after dinner, so Christine and I went back to the cabin to rest. (Yeah!)
Our group was the first to get in line for Chapel again, and loved having the front row. (If I can get the video to load, you can watch them ‘dancing in’ the worship team. It is so fun to see them screaming and jumping around excited to be worshiping God. After the dancing and stretching, the real praise began. We sang songs projected onto the large screen and then heard Oscar’s witness talk. He discussed how we need to know that God is on our side in hard times and that no matter how bad things get, He will take care of us. We need to persevere through them, not try to circumvent them because it will make us stronger. That endurance leads to character….character leads to hope….and hope is in the power of God. He did a great job. He made each person look around at their own youth group and said that, “These are the people you are going home with. This is your spiritual support. Be that support for each other; especially in times of need.” You could see some tears in our teen’s eyes when they realized that they truly were loved by each person here. (Ok, so there were tears in my eyes too.) Have I mentioned what a great group of teens we have?!
Our small group time came and once again was filled with laughter and sharing. I really love this time of the day most. I get to hear all of the work site stories that I miss because I run around all day from group to group. We share our “best part of the day” and do Hey Gods, Yeah Gods, & Mad Props. Tonight we ended with ‘glow bracelets’ in honor of Jen’s birthday and then were told that they had to hook up with someone who had the same color bracelet that they did (either tonight before bed or tomorrow morning) and find out what their partner needs help with in their spiritual life. We made a pledge to pray for them and we will be reminded to do just that throughout the day (and weeks) to come.
It was a great day. We got a lot accomplished….but even better, we saw the Holy Spirit in everything we did and everyone we met. Please continue to pray for us….as we pray for you nightly.
(P.S. Hope everyone weathered the storms back home ok. My phone kept going off with weather alerts!)