My church does something called SERVE every summer. High school age youth travel to distant places, meet other youth, camp out in a church or school and do service projects in the community. It gives me a lift because the kids who go on these trips are always so positive and likable and happy to help others. Every day there is also some from of worship as well as water fights, pranks, small groups study, more pranks and lots of food.
(That's me on the right side of the photo)
This year we went to upstate Michigan, to a small town called Howard City. Canadians were in the majority; being about two thirds of the population of 55 kids and adults. The church was friendly, with a large staff of volunteers providing food and snacks at all hours of the day. Our American hosts all seemed to be Republicans and there was much said against the 'Obama Health Care Plan' and it was assumed, I found out, that Canadians hate their national health care. Big surprise to us, but even the teens were quick to straighten them out on this.
Two of the SERVE team help a disabled child learn to ride a horse
The days began at 6:30 (for me) and usually lasted until 11:30 or midnight with nary a break in between. Needless to say no writing (or even thinking about writing) got done. Sleep was found in the brief intervals between the snores of one of our volunteers and the noise of the malevolent ice-making machine which the church people didn't want us to unplug. They use their ice a lot, I guess, and unplugging it got its timer all mixed up, but its grinding and crashing of newly hatched ice-cubes continued all day, all night, at 20 minute intervals. Every time the noise ended you would be lulled to sleep by the silence (if somebody wasn't snoring) and then as soon as you got into R.E.M. sleep the sudden cacophony yanked you out of your reverie like a snagged line pulls you out of a speeding motorboat. I needed more pots of coffee every day to make up for it.
The Youth Pastor finds his car Saran-Wrapped
By the last night we drivers slept in the church, which was better. The drive back to Ontario was eventful. Gladys failed me! Well, actually we failed each other... I was lead car in a 5 vehicle caravan and seriously sleep deprived, though I didn't know how bad until I missed a critical exit in Grand Rapids, then the next alternate exit was under construction and couldn't be used. The third led us downtown to a tight corner where the truck & trailer behind me couldn't turn off. If we stopped just anywhere, one of the five car caravan would have been sitting across an intersection... Head spinning, I rejected Gladys's suggestions, which were changing every few seconds, and chose to go ahead. Somewhere. Anywhere! Drive on! my mind screamed. Kids in the car shouted "Turn right!" "Gladys says go right!" Somehow the brain froze and it was all I could do to drive the vehicle. After a few blocks I pulled over and insisted someone else take the lead. Linda, bless her heart, listened to 'Serena', (her GPS) and gradually we got ourselves out of the fix I had created. Nasty end for the male ego! The rest of the drive had fewer delays and mistakes, but it was still a 12 hour drive time before we arrived home.
Safe and sound.