So, I am preping for national gathering and I am trying to think about the positives that come from all the stress and I remembered this post. So I wanted to share with you all again.
I have learned a number of lessons bother planning, enroute, during and on the way home from National Youth Gatherings and New Orleans was no exception.
1. New Orleans is hot and humid. You will sweat, you will get dehydrated and at some point everyone will mention the heat. All that said, the people of New Orleans could not be nicer through it all. Driving, walking, in shops, everywhere...They are just NICE!
2. I will get sore and blistered, but the additudes of the youth make the pain definetly bearable. to hear teens talk about the fun they are having and all the kindness they see in people is a huge help.
3. Alligators may have at one time been endangered, but apparently they are no longer. Their heads, jerky, sausage, bones, teeth and all other parts are sold everywhere.
4. If a hot sauce comes in a dripper to dispense...DO NOT EAT MORE THAN ONE DROP!
5. Boys will get bored, girls will meet boys, Boys then are no longer bored.
6. No matter how little or much I take photos, someone will complain it is too many.
7. There is no such thing as TOO MANY Lost and Found concerts.
8. When you think you see the coolest tee shirt design, the nxt one is even cooler.
9. Budgets are only guidelines. Everything will cost more than anticipated, like 6 AM cab rides.
10. An hour hanging in the pool with your group is worth anything you may miss anywhere else at the gathering.
11. Flying to a gathering may cause some additional cost and logistics problems, but from what I heard it beats 24 hours by bus.
12. It is HOT AND HUMID!
13. The music is always amazing and hearing 30,000+ people sing to the Lord is one of the greatest things you can do. It is as awesome as being in Saint Peter's Square on Sunday in Rome.
14. Bishop Hanson is HILARIOUS and one of the most down to earth and youth geared leaders I have met. Plus, who else would arrive to his first appearance in a remote controled BATHTUB, in a BATH ROBE, and just embrace the teens?
15. Cost of things is only a concern when a teens 4th meal (PIZZA) Budget is impacted.
16. If you find a Dominos Pizza guy selling on the street, Teens become entrepreneurs when the wait is 2 hours back at the hotel. If Brad Hering ever starts a company, this is someoen I will invest in!
17. Every youth will get something out of this event and no matter what a church, pastor, parent, or leader wants them to see God encounters them constantly. One of the greatest things to see is young people laughing when it is 95 degrees and 80% humidity. Smiling because of the joy of the work and the people yelling THANK YOU at them as they driving by.
18. No matter what you are given information wise before you go, this will change 12 times upon arrival. If you can not fly by the seat of your pants you may end up bald by the end of the trip.
19. Some people should only take a half of a dramamine, unless you plan on a 4 hour nap.
20. Someone has to be the bad guy and for this reason, I always keep a black hat packed in my bags.
No you can not go to Bourbon Street instead of Community Life.
He/she may be very nice and their leader is probably very trustworthy but your saftey is my immediate concern, not your happiness.
Yes, that leader seems much cooler than I am, but I don't want to be "cool" I stopped that in High School.
When I give you a time to meet it is not a guideline to be evaluated and if I have to find someone, it does not make me late also, it makes me a bit annoyed and requires coffee
21. Coffee itself will not make it better, but the caffine will help...A LOT!
22. If at first you don't succeed please do not do it again, most likely you will look very foolish on the inflatable slide and someone may see you!
23. While the view from the top of the Superdome may be "AWESOME" the sensation of almost falling everytime I stand up is NOT!
24. Bruce Shaffer is awesome and his seeing my kids made their day.
25. Yes I do know a lot of people. Yes, I do stop to say hi to a lot of them. Yes I give hugs to them...this does not change my hug policy...I just use multiple days quotas in this 3 day period.
26. If it looks like I am hot and sweaty...I AM. Hugs at said time are not recommended.
27. Teens inspire me with their willingness to meet new people all the time.