Today was a new and different day. We were able to sleep a bit later this morning, not heading out until 10 am. Thank the Lord! Unfortunately, something has happened to my trusty old NIKON camera that I’ve loved and used for quite a few years. Thanks to all the chaperones who have shared pictures with me for the blog!
We toured an Amish homestead and typical one-room school. Our kids are so attached to their phones and technology, that they have a hard time putting them away, even for a few moments. So some of them were intrigued at the thought of how life would be without constant access to technology. I told them that many of us who are older had actually survived quite a few years before the invention of cell phones.
The multi-media presentation of “Jacob’s Choice” gave us a look into the choice teens in the Amish community have around the ages of 16 to early 20’s. They are given freedom to experience life as “the English” (anyone non-Amish). They then decide for themselves whether to be baptized into the Amish faith or to remain living the life of “the English.” Most young people do choose to remain Amish.
The highlight of today was the production of Jesus at the Sight and Sound Theater. The show was sold out (thankfully PJ had bought our tickets months ago), and the facility itself is amazing. It’s a Christian organization that presents only Christian/Biblical musicals. Jesus is their newest production. It is a 2 hour, action-packed, Broadway-quality musical that stirred the sold-crowd and presented Jesus as God who came to rescue people, both as individuals and collectively. The technical production is unmatched. Live animals featured prominently: doves flying overhead, pigs, goats, sheep and camels and Roman soldiers riding horses down the aisles and onto the main stage. I don’t have words to describe the beauty and impact of this work of art. At our end-of-day meeting, there was much discussion about the beautiful thing they had experienced today, and how the life and message of Jesus seemed more real now.
We were able to have a bit more free time this evening, getting back to this beautiful resort a little after 6. We had a cook-out near the pool for dinner. Rick and Charles grilled hot dogs and we had mac and cheese prepared by several of the chaperones. Yum! The kids were able to unwind with basketball, ping-pong, fellowship, the pool, and just hanging out together in this beautiful resort.
PJ’s devotion this evening before bed was about the innate value of each one of us. She had a real $100 bill in a Ziploc bag. She asked how much the contents of that bag were worth. The answer was an obvious $100. Then she poured syrup into the bag and onto the bill, representing the “sticky” episodes of life that catch us off guard. She poured in soy sauce representing those really dark things that happen to us. Then came ketchup to represent the areas of life in which we feel we are lagging and need to “catch up” with others, parts of our lives in which we just don’t feel as if we measure up. Then came water–the things in our life that drown us and seem to overtake us. But then she asked how much the contents of that bag were worth now. Some said, “nothing, you’ve ruined it.” But the answer was “still $100!”
A little wash and dry, and that $100 bill is still worth $100. The negative things that happen to us in our lives might make us FEEL worthless, but they do NOT decrease our innate worth to God, who created us.
Please continue to pray for us as we continue our mission. This is such an amazing group of young people who don’t always realize their own worth. Pray that they might ALL realize their true worth to God, to their families, and to their church(es). Pray that they might conduct themselves in ways that reflect the knowledge of who and whose they are.