I got a lot out of this that we spent down on the bayou in New Orleans with 33,000 of our closest friends. I formed friendships both in and out of our congregation that I will cherish for a lifetime because the people I have met have changed and shaped my life in a huge way.
I went into the week not wanting to expect a whole lot so I would not be disappointed if something I had expected to happen did not. I expected to meet many new people from around the country, be exposed to the culture of New Orleans, and have a little personal growth from the mass gatherings at the Dome. What I did not expect was to grow both spiritually and internally as much as I did this past week with all of the adventures, friendships, and moving speeches that I experienced throughout the week.
I saw God this week mainly from all the youth who participated and how well they embraced the experience and made everyone around them have a great time. However, where I truly saw God came from outside of the gatherings happenings. A couple of locals stopped and talked to us on the trip thanking us for coming down and helping to further repair the city. A simple thank you from a simple stranger in New Orleans was all I needed in order to know that this week meant just as much to me as it did to the people of the city. In general, the gathering gave me an understanding of other people, their cultures, traditions, and just what else is out there past the borders of our own towns. We have so much more to experience and do in our lives than I ever could imagine.