Wow! I don’t even know where to start. So many thoughts running through the very limited space in my head and I’m afraid I’ll leave something out. So I’m going to start at the beginning and hope I remember it all.
Thirty-four teenage girls and seven women met at the church Friday afternoon, bringing sleeping bags, pillows, overnight bags, snacks and a ton of energy. Matt, the youth minister, had arranged the transportation. A big, yellow school bus. The driver was amazing! He handled the thing like it was a red Ferrari! The road between the church and the freeway is hilly and twisty and the speed limit is 25. He was going 45! Then we hit big city traffic. The bus driver was still in two-seater sportscar mode, whipping in and out between less savvy drivers. We finally made it off the Autobahn and into one of the rougher sections of Philadelphia. The one that’s on the 11:00 news just about every night. But we made it to the event without incident.
The Friday night portion was fun. Singers sang, speakers spoke, dramatists dramatized – the focus was on having a good time. Then it was back to the church.
Where do these girls get their energy?? By 11:30 or so I was ready to call it quits for the night. I realize I’m old and boring now, but just the mere thought of having to get up before 6:00 the next morning made me tired. Lights out was at 1:00 and a good portion of the girls pushed it right to the last minute. The funniest thing, though, was one of the women’s husband and his friends dressed in black with Scream masks and terrorized the girls by running around the building in front of the windows. Okay. “Terrorized” is the wrong word. The girls knew who it was. And yet said knowledge wasn’t enough to keep them from screaming like, well, little girls and then giggling over and over and over, ad infinitum.
Somehow all 41 of us females managed to wake up early, get ready, eat breakfast AND clean the church up before getting back on the bus at 7:15. One of the moms who did not go brought us donuts, bagels, cream cheese, grapes, juice, water and, luckily for all those girls, blessed coffee.
The Saturday portion was incredible. You know how there are times when the presence of God is actually tangible? This was one of those times. Of course, that always makes me cry. Why did I bother with mascara?? Listening to 10,000 females, most of who were under the age of 18, singing these songs was so moving. And the looks on their faces… indescribable. I went as an adult presence for these girls, but I think I was as moved, if not moreso, than they were.
Then we heard from the following:
Contemporary Christian singer Natalie Grant – She talked about her struggle with bulemia in college.
Contemporary artist Tammy Trent – Oh my gosh. She made everybody in there blubber with her story. Thankfully, I already knew it and was prepared. But it still was so emotional. She and her husband were going to do some mission work in Jamaica in September of 2001. They decided to go down early and have a little vacation time. He went free diving and never came up. She was in Jamaica all alone and her family was grounded in the U.S. because of 9/11. Thankfully her father-in-law had gotten out of the U.S. before the plane crashes. It was an incredible testimony, though, how she relied on God — she didn’t have a choice. There was no one else there for her. But what was truly amazing was that while she was telling us about the most horrendous, painful time in her life, she still managed to injerject humor.
Chrissy of Zoe Girl – She’s an area girl so we all loved her. She talked about her wild teen, early adult years. As an aside, she started out in a three girl group with Pink.
Author and speaker Chad Eastham – This guy was a hottie!! lol The girls lurved him! Have you ever been in a basketball arena with nearly 10,000 screaming girls? I had to keep reaching up to make sure my ears weren’t bleeding. It was painful. Not only was he cute, he was a great speaker and talked about the differences between guys and girls. Ya know, that’s something teenaged girls don’t think about if the way half of them dress is any indication. So while he was very humorous and fun to listen to, he said some really important things.
2004 Olympic diver Kimiko Soldati – She was so cute! She basically gave her testimony.
Christian rapper KJ-52 – His thing is making Rap/Hip Hop a positive thing instead of making it about sex, drugs, violence, and degrading to women. I’m not really into rap AT ALL but he was pretty fun.
Then it was over and we all came back to the church, totally exhausted. I took a jacuzzi bubble bath that night and Katie and I fell asleep on the couch about 8:15 or so.
OH! And you ladies will love this!! When we got home all the laundry was done. Not just done, but put away! Even the beds had been stripped and re-made. How lucky am I???