We served the people of Puerto Rico this week. We have a most amazing group of teenagers. Yesterday, we they kept pulling some of us to go to finish other jobs. We ran around like we were insane, but when we showed up, things started moving and happening. One person - a leader from another church - said to me, "Your students work SO hard! When they get on a job, the job gets done." She wasn't disparaging her other teenagers or putting anyone down, simply saying that she had noticed that PCC's general mentality was a "make it happen" kind of thinking. This great compliment came without any prompting from me, it was almost random. But it was a great blessing to us. I'm so proud of our group and the sacrifice we made.
For me, as a part of Sabbatical, this trip was a fantastic experience. I wanted to travel - check. I wanted to do something different - check. I wanted to reflect on how my ministry began - check. I wanted to tithe my time - check. And I wanted to think about the future...and I did that, too.
For example, I learned about the value of 'encourograms'. These are little messages you get all week long from all kinds of people. You can email them to individual team members from your computer in the States. And there are cards here for people to write to others who are here to encourage them. They have this wall of envelopes that serves as our mailbox.
I also learned about the value of me being with our teenagers and young adults on trips like this. Just to be sure I'm clear, I think Angie Frame is the best Student Pastor around. She IS their pastor. They don't need me to be with them. But there does seem to be something good about me getting to spend time with them in these kinds of settings. I didn't really realize that.
As I reflected on the significant influences of my past (which is part of my Sabbatical experience), I remembered going on a summer trip with a youth group with my buddy Will. Most of the images I remember were of Cecil Seagle, the pastor of the church, who went with us. I revered him. He was so real and so fun. I wanted to be like him. He invested in us. He loved us. And I had forgotten how important it made me feel that he came with us.
I also had the chance to reconnect with my son, Daniel. At 17, there is little time left for him at home. I enjoyed being around him and sharing some meals with him. He even got a couple of perks for me being here, like me buying his meals and a trip to KMart.
I'm coming home today. I've missed the rest of my family terribly. It's time. I'm ready. And the next adventure - the next segment of my SOAL (summer of a lifetime) awaits!
Here are a few more pics: