Yes, our annual youth rally called "Akastasia" is over. All of a sudden, we had about 180 guests from Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, and South Dakota.
I love youth rallies.
It always starts off with everyone being a little awkward. They haven't seen each other in a month or more...some since summer camp. As the weekend progresses, you can see people loosen up, and maybe even establish new friendships.
This year was tough. Garrison's hospital stay put me WAY behind schedule on the planning. Several last minute decisions and phone calls had to be made. Our tradition of ice skating on Saturday did not happen this year. Several of our Christian colleges could not afford to support us financially.
But God LOVES showing up when we're worried about the way things will turn out!
A couple at our church offered to help pay for the t-shirts. I told them their offer could not have come at a better time since other financing did not work out. When the bill came in, I emailed them with the total and told them any amount would be appreciated. They paid the whole bill.
I also worried about our entertainment and game times. Soul Concern from York did an awesome job filling in almost last minute. And as far as games, teens would rather just hang out sometimes than be forced to play games.
Robert Cox did a PHENOMENAL job of speaking, as usual. He knows what struggles people are facing, and challenges them to face those struggles with God's help. His church families have such great stories.
And to top it off, one of our teens, Lucas Anderson, was baptized. He accepted God's grace, and committed himself to living a radical life for Jesus Christ. Then, after the teens had gone to their host homes, a lady from Kansas was baptized, too!
Several people sought me out to tell me what a wonderful rally it was. All I could do was shrug my shoulders, smile, and say, "It wasn't me. God was here and made this rally more than I ever planned or hoped for!"