Community and Creativity

The students woke up at 6:30. We helped them a little (bullhorn, whistles, caped men, "EPIC MONDAAAAAY!!!," banging on doors, singing), and led them up to a tree-filled lawn, where group challenges were set up and breakfast was waiting. After they ate, they divided into their groups and tried to overcome physical challenges that are impossible to overcome unless the whole group works together. Every group has different strengths and weaknesses, different points of annoyance and enthusiasm. These games force them to learn them and work with them. It's incredible to see them learning how to play and think and work together.

Then the relay started, group against group. They raced through new challenges, answered riddles and logic puzzles and math problems, claimed a flag, and competed to place it at the center of campus. They did incredibly well: every group finished earlier than expected, and we found ourselves laughing and talking in the grass, eating lunch, learning more about one another, and playing games.

I introduced the second part of the day with a talk on Community and Creativity, then sent the students to make group flags and group banners, and to invent new games. The afternoon was full of life, because new things were being made, and because the students saw that they had made them. They'll keep on playing the new games and waving the new flags throughout the week.

Some of the games came with us to the beach, where we went to celebrate God's creation together and to wait for the sunset. I wish you could have been with us; the students seemed so free. Some waded out into the waves, some played new games, some pointed out every change of color in the water and the sky. Ten minutes before the sun went down, as fog rolled in, we got into our groups, sat down, and watched in silence. Birds appeared out of the fog and cried above our heads. The waves swept the sand. Toddlers squealed nearby in the surf. Then, when the sun was almost gone, we stood, and sang the Doxology. The students added harmonies. And the beauty went with us home.

I went to bed well before most students. They were singing and debating and playing Uno and laughing in the lobby, and I didn't think it would stop anytime soon. Somehow, a group of people that didn't know one another a day ago had become fast, quick friends. On Tuesday, it'll serve them well, as they enter into hard, honest discussion and and long times of prayer. Pray for us. Here we go!

Gratefully yours,


See the Day

Note: We focused on getting footage today, so there are fewer pictures to share but you can look forward to an awesome compilation video shortly after the conference.

Hear the Day

"We're made for each other. We aren't made to be alone. God calls us into places of loneliness sometimes, but he's never going to leave us there. Even if we have to remain lonely until we die, he's never going to leave us there."

"...wanna see the Rock of Ages. When my body gives out..."

One of three pieces from Philip Glass' "Aguas de Amazonia" that we're listening to this week. They feel ancient, faithful, lasting: great for Stand Firm, Stand Fast.