Saturday, July 30, 2011

Fall is coming....

Are you ready for the fall?

UDLC Youth is getting ready...

Fall Kick Off, Sunday School, Sunday Night at Church, Fall Lock In.

Check in later for the schedule in August.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

ASP 2011

The 2011 ASP Mission Trip has come and gone, but that does not mean the benefits of ASP have also gone. The opposite is actually true. The benefits of the 2011 ASP trip have just started for UDLC. We are seeing a new spark in the youth and adults who went to be involved in other parts of the church and their community. We have seen new friendships blossom and youth looking forward to seeing their new friends each week at church.

Each year, the ASP group starts raising funds for the next trip each winter. We try to mix in some education of the project, experiences of those who went, and fun into these events. We hope that each year when we start our journey as a team that we will be able to keep the congregation involved and allow them to see all the good that comes from it.

The trip itself is what people think is the "Big Experience" and while yes for some that is true, for many others who went this year and who have and will go the real benefit of the trip is having an experience to help them discover things they may never have found out about themselves. Many times the first part of the week is a social experiment in seeing how the group responds and what groups will form, but this year, it seemed that everyone was together almost all week and the groups you least expected to see were those that formed first. The older youth were with all the younger youth and it seemed that it was one big happy family. This is when, as a youth director you just smile, offer up a little prayer of thanks, and in my case TAKE A TON OF PHOTOS!

I asked the youth to share about ASP and I asked them what did the trip mean to you?

"A good time with friends and a great way to help others, as well as experience another culture." - Andrew Grafton

"I was surprised by how everyone was so welcoming towards me; they made me feel really comfortable. Also, I realized that i take advantage of a lot of things that i have in my life that some people don't have at all." - Molly Anderson

"ASP is an experience that I look forward to every year. I always feel proud of the hard work our group accomplishes for a family who needs it." - Alec Fox

"My asp experience was overall one of the best things I have ever done. I made awesome relationships with my crew, the kids at the center and my family I would have never made if I did not go on ASP." - Gabby Jones

"I have gone on ASP for 5 years, and it always warms my heart to help people in need. My family this year was especially needy and I'm glad that we could give them a warmer, safer, and drier house to live in. - Vanessa Fry.

“ASP was a way I got to step out of my own life for a few days and see the world from an entirely different perspective. The bonds Ii made with families and fellow church members allowed me to get closer to God in ways I couldn't imagine. It reminds you that what you’re doing to help the less fortunate is not only transforming their lives, but your own too.” Kendall Couch

“ASP is anamzing thing that the church and its members allow us to do and it helps us just as much as we help make homes warmer safer dryer. The week was amazing and brought us all closer together and i cant wait for next year.” - Marissa Irizarry

“Going to Jonesville was amazing because I got to make connections with so many other people--the family, my fellow volunteers, and people that I didn't really know from UDLC. Being on a double crew really established that sense of community and everyone was always so willing to help out.” - Meghan Evers

There are many other stories and experiences and I invite the congregation to seek out those who went and ask about the project and work done. Our teams (present and past) love to talk about it and share it with everyone and do whenever we are able to. Again, none of this is possible without the help of you the church community and for that we cannot thank you enough.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Video Games

Don't you hate it when people make you think? Someone plants an idea in your head that you just can't get rid of, no matter what. This week, it was a friend with the theory that perhaps life is just a series of video games; each person is a character in the game of life, and there are only a certain number of characters and maps to interact with. It's part of the way he helps rationalize the "small world" feeling we've been seeming to encounter quite frequently the last few weeks. The part that got me thinking first was figuring out who is behind that controller. Now my friend thinks he's in control of his own character on some level of subconscious, able to press a reset button some time in the future to prevent bad things from happening in the present. As I thought about these concepts, like invisible walls at the edge of the map or loading screens that elongate your journey, I thought it was probably God behind my controller. He introduces me to the right characters when I need them most, provides me with an inventory of my own gifts, my friends and family, and their gifts, gives me some hints along the way, and even gives me options to pause, quit, or play as a new character. The one option I doubt I'll find, however, is the "go back", "undo", or "rewind" function. This particular realization reminded me not to leave things unsaid or undone and that the things we do and say cannot be taken back. Thinking about the invisible walls at the edges of older game maps just made me want to explore; I'm excited to go searching for the edges of the map I'm playing now.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Technical Difficulties

Well due to web service issues last week, we were not able to update, but to make up for it, we will post some feedback this week.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Day 1...On the road

Well after a number of years away, I find myself here in Blacksburg Virginia @ Luther Memorial. It is the campus closest to Virginia Tech. After dinner over at Red Robin, we took a ride over to the VT Memorial or the 32 people killed and 27 injured in April 2007.

We ran into the person who works directly with the monument and the survivors and families of those killed. She filled us in on a lot of history. She is a survivor of that day as well. Now she was not shot or injured, but as she explained, everyone was a survivor of that event. It shook the school to the core. In a sign or rising from the depths, all 27 injured students returned to VT and graduated from VT. They never forgot and students built the monument to the victims and in 2009 built a bench for all the survivors.

Many times we enter these trips waiting for the work sites to bring us God moments, but today God gave our youth and group the opportunity to meet someone who can explain all the good that has come from something awful. She was able to tell us how it affected her first hand and was very giving of her time. Also turns out she grew up in West Chester, PA. A Lutheran and her mother a Lutheran Minister

I am also very lucky to have Pastor Dyan with me. A veteran even over my years of service, it is great to have her there to fill those gas I have in some of my work and sharing with the youth.

Well off to bed. Wake up time is 6:30 Am if I am going to have coffee prior to Church at 8:30. Got to get up dressed and packed.

Peace to you all.