533 more miles traveled today. This morning all the boys got up at 6am and drove to get showers at the YMCA in Asheville. The girls chose to get a bit more sleep. We then packed, cleaned, ate breakfast, loaded up and departed at 8:15am. After a 7 hour drive we arrived at The Wright Brothers Memorial in Kill Devil Hills, NC where Wilbur and Orville Wright were the first persons to successfully fly an airplane. Our theme for the day was Vision, we following our visit we had some great discussion during our drive to Moyock, NC where we stopped at Southland for Eastern Carolina BBQ. We then drove over the border into Chesapeake, VA and passed by our old family home, and Natalia and I popped by to say hello to our dear former neighbor Miss Frances who has been having some recent health issues. We then drove to New Life Church in Deep Creek, VA where we are spending the night. New Life is the first church I served at in full-time ministry. After settling in I was so blessed to have two of my former students, Rachel and Jeremy, come by. Rachel shared a greeting, then Jeremy Miller, who is now a pastor at the church, spoke a great word to our team. We are really lookingforward to more sleep tonight than we have had on either of our first two nights, since we don’t have to drive far tomorrow. We are having a great time!
712 more miles traveled today. This morning we were up and at ’em at 6am. After getting ready, we packed, cleaned, ate breakfast, then loaded up aand hit the road at 7:30am. We drove 5 hours to the Ark Encounter in Williamstown, Kentucky. It is a full scale replica of Noah’s ark. It was incredible! Talk about the Scriptures coming to life! The thing was so massive! We spent 2 hours walking around the ark before departing. During rhe ride afterward we had some great discussion about Noah, the ark, and our theme for the day: Faithful Obedience. We stopped for dinner at Cracker Barrel, the first time 6 of our 15 people have eaten there. During our drive after dinner Peter spoke to our team. We arrived at Covenant Community Church in Asheville, NC at 11:40pm. Got settled in, made lunches for tomorrow, and now heading to bed. Early start again tomorrow.
Yesterday I posted the powerful poem called “Two Mothers.” In searching for a picture to go on the post, I found the one you see below. I wanted to share the full story behind the picture. It was from a Ted Talk by two mothers connected through the tragedy of 9/11 who found forgiveness and friendship in the most unlikely way.
Last night I finished reading Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I have read Bonhoeffer’s books, but it was really insightful reading about his life from which those books were born. While I in no way would ever compare myself to the things he faced, I couldn’t help but feel an affinity with Bonhoeffer on many levels. His desire to live as a man of principle and according to the Word of God; His determination to think deeply and theologically; his battles with depression and yet seeking to remain positive, optimistic, and hopeful; his experiences in seeking to follow the Lord upstream against the tide of popularity, trusting all results completely to the Lord; and perhaps most surprisingly, his work with youth and children. I never realized that Bonhoeffer was in fact a youth worker. I was pleasantly surprised to see this side of him! I was so blessed to see his relational approach to ministry. He taught Sunday school. He had young people over to his house for discussions for his Thursday Circle. He took time to talk to them about their real-life issues. He took them on retreats and helped them learn how to spend time with God, in the Word, in contemplation, and enjoying nature together. I loved learning this about him, because they are things that I am passionate about in my own youth work. I am a teacher by gifting, and I love sharing God’s Word and helping them learning through discussion. I also love shared experiences which allow us to think deeply about God. Small groups, retreats, trips. Bonhoeffer was my kind of youth worker. Biblical. Practical. Relational.
When I finished reading the book. I hit my book shelf to find my next book to read. Coincidentally, I found that I recently grabbed a book by Andrew Root during my book shopping at the National Youth Worker Convention entitled Bonhoeffer as Youth Worker, which I am about to read. I am excited to see how he develops this idea of Bonhoeffer’s work with students.
Today, after months and months of prayer and hard work, our daughter Natalia’s dream of starting the first-ever Christian Club at Roslyn Middle School came true! They had 11 students there for their first meeting, and they all left saying they had a good time. We are very thankful to the school administration for their support, to Mrs. Marx for supporting the club as their advisor, and to Emma Rucci and Long Island Youth For Christ for their guidance in walking Natalia through the process of getting the club started. We are SOOOO proud of our daughter who is such a courageous leader. Yeah God! Way to go Natalia! You are making an impact and leaving a legacy!