In a Pants Down World. .catchy title. .
That's where we hung out with 24 junior and high school kids Friday through Saturday. We had a TERRIFIC time!! 2 years ago. .that same title being advertised on the radio station got my attention as I drove to the health department in Oklahoma. I heard it several times before I actually checked it out. I found out that it was a Christian based abstinence seminar for teens. 2 years ago, we had nearly 20 kids signed up to go. .and then we had to cancel the afternoon of the retreat, because of the weather. The snow had stopped the day before. .but the temps were so cold that the roads simply were not clearing off. .and very icy and dangerous. Talk about monumental disappointment for me!!
This year I was afraid to get my hopes up until the night before!! And by then. .I was so pumped up that I couldn't sleep! We hit the road with 24 kids and 6 adult sponsors, including me, by early afternoon last Friday. We had NO idea what we were signed up for!!
The kids got started with crazy games Friday night. .like blowing up balloons using their noses!!
. .and watching other kids perform "stupid human tricks." Nic, one of our own. .was able to put his entire fist in his mouth. .R-E-A-L-L-Y!! If you knew him. .you really wouldn't find it that hard to believe :-)
But after the first round of worship music, the nearly 400 person crowd wasn't prepared to witness what was in store for them next!
It started out as a video on the big screen. It was a video about alcohol and accidents. It was a video similar to many others. .the story of a tragic accident secondary to alcohol and the consequences of too much partying. This particular story involved an 18 year old young man that made a recovery nothing short of a miracle. The video guided us through the 3 year recovery process he had after jumping out of a moving vehicle while imitating a stunt from the movie "Jackass" He sustained a very significant head injury. The incredible part of HIS story. .was that, after the video, we watched as he meticulously walked himself up onto center stage using braces and canes. .and proceeded to talk to us, using broken speech, even unintelligible at times. .to tell us about how God has used him to help people!! You certainly could have heard a pin drop in the room. .and I'm sure there was more than one mortified look on someone's face as they watched and listened. .you see. .I think it is one thing to see it on the screen. .and quite another to see it standing in front of you! If you are interested. .you can see his story presented in an 9 minute video on youtube. It's an incredible story. .made more incredible by the fact that Joe was actually standing in front of us, giving us his message about what Jesus had done in his life. .his second chance. .and his insistence that "drinking. .bad. .very bad" and "think. .think. .think!" He's also a native of our great state. .still living in Topeka.
As if that wasn't monumental enough for the kids to consider. .the next speaker. .the key speaker for the rest of the retreat. .was a sweet little southern guy named Jeffery Dean. A captivating speaker. .who was honest, realistic, down to earth, and fun to listen to! The kids seemed to understand what he was saying. .and he started with the basics. .like understanding how to define their belief system. And confirming the fact that each of us was designed with a unique, and individual purpose to our lives. After the sessions Friday night. .we were able to break out into smaller groups to discuss and consider the things that we heard. What a cool experience that was!!
|We didn't actually know the girl to the right signing us the universal peace symbol!! Hence the looks of bewilderment on Sarah and Lindsay's faces!|
After a short night, we found ourselves back in the main chapel for the meat of the retreat. .
After a few games. .including the kids watching as their sponsors figured out how many clothes pins they could clip on their faces in 90 seconds!!
I earned a plastic slinky for getting 17 pins stuck to mine. .Hindsight is 20/20. .cause I think, had I strategized a little different. .I could have rocked it!! The winner had 23!!
I was pretty amazed that this speaker (not a great photo of him, since I stole it from his website) could keep a crowd of rowdy teenagers engaged for over an hour at a time. .but he certainly did. .not once. .but THREE times during the course of the weekend!!
Saturday, we also heard testimonies from a couple of women. The first was the "ideal" woman. .a young woman that had her life together. .knew what she expected from herself from a purity standpoint. .and made that happen. The second woman. .abused as a child, found herself pregnant from the abuse at age 13. .and was forced to have an abortion by her family. She continued living a life of sin and promiscuity. .but finally found Jesus after she was married with children. She also saw her husband come to trust Jesus as his savior. .and her children. .and currently works for the Pregnancy Crisis Center. .counseling pregnant women on their choices.
Much to the relief of the kids. .they didn't spend 2 days beating STD's down their throats. .or telling them NOT to have sex. .they showed them in verses, why they are to save sex until marriage. .but more importantly, they demonstrated through the bible, how Satan tries to trick us by stealing our beautiful, unique qualities, by trying to confuse us and our thought process, and by trying to show us how to rationalize a loophole in our morals. They drove home scripture to show the kids WHO they are in Christ. .and helped them learn how to take ownership of their decisions. A lot of spiritual movement happened within our kids and even within us, as leaders!