Thursday, June 18, 2009

Final Thoughts on Caravan 2009

I had every good intention of blogging once we were back to Wichita. Somehow fatigue and the to do lists took priority. Five days after we returned, I am finally getting around to blog about the experience of caravan.

West Heights United Methodist Church has been "doing" caravan for twenty four years. It started with Rev. Sam Muyskens and have continued with various senior and associate pastors and youth directors making sure the tradition continued. The youth plan, write, and implement a worship service they have created and they "take it on the road."

Forty youth and twelve adults traveled for ten days sleeping on church floors, eating WAY too much fast food, visiting a few sites and figuring out how we will share the worship in very different spaces and very different congregations.

Our congregations varied from a Retirement Center with very active seniors, to a Rehab Center where many slept through the service to a on site living facility for displaced teenagers, to an urban core church, suburban church and a rural church. Each facility had it's own challenges as to how we would set up, sound issues and if we could maneuver all the instruments and have no one fall over cords.

We learned to live together. In one church, where we stayed for two nights there was only one shower......for ALL of us. Another church had no showers, but we were ferried by congregants to their homes. The floor space was often cramped and there were limited electrical outlets and mirrors. However, the hospitality we received was gracious and wonderful.

The theme "Back to Basics" was well received wherever we went. What is basic for us? In this day and age, finding out what is important and good and just and right offers a balance to much of the craziness that is offered. I believe in the words to the song, Back to Basics, "We need to get back to the basics of life. A heart that is pure and a love that is blind. A hope that endures for all times. These are the basics of life."

Learning to love without judgment, having hope that lifts me up when all else is lost, having faith in the God who calls and claims us, that is basic as it gets. I am grateful to have spent the time with these fabulous youth and incredible adults. My hat is off to Kris Meckenstock, our youth director for his incredible organization and leadership.

Graced to Serve,

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