If I were asked to describe CIY: Believe in just one word...that word would be "awesome".
We left Eastview on Friday morning shortly after 10am. The girls rode with Kathy (one of our middle school youth leaders) in our van, and the boys rode in Big Purple (our church van) with Steve (one of our middle school youth leaders) and myself. The drive was as you'd expect, loud! We stopped for lunch at the Denny's in the bustling city of Wayland, Missouri. We had a run-in with the local sheriff's deputies there, they told us the difference between a "shiv" and a "shank", which fascinated the boys.
After, we finished our drive to Family Arena, in St Charles Missouri. We registered, and picked up another one of our female youth leaders, my daughter Katie. Went to the hotel and got checked in and had quick dinner before going back to the Family Arena for the night. We picked out our group's t-shirts, and then enjoyed a night filled with worship, comedy and a great speaker, talking about the life of Esther, in the Old Testament.
We woke up at a reasonable time, had breakfast at the hotel, and then to the Family Arena for the morning, more worship, an illusionist and a speaker, taking us deeper into the life of Esther. Lunch was sandwiches at the hotel, and then back to Family Arena for a few more sessions. The event was over about 4pm, and then we went to the Incredible Pizza Company for dinner and video games. IT was a great night of food and hanging out as a group. After around 3 hours, we returned to the hotel for a debrief of the weekend and more time with our group. Lights out was around 11:30.
After waking up and having breakfast, we went to Harvester Christian Church for their morning service and left St Charles by 10:45. We stopped at Hardees for lunch in Hannibal and were in the parking lot a little after 4pm.
Here's what happened on a deeper level:
The kids were exposed to a lot of LOUD music that honored Jesus.
By the end of the weekend, they actually liked "Christian" music.
They were in an environment of more that 3000 others, so for those that love Jesus, they are not alone.
The kids laughed at the jokes and thought the illusionist was cool.
The speaker told the story of a girl who lived for God regardless of the fact that her parents were not involved in her life. In fact, they were dead.
The kids made some great relationships with one another.
The kids built great relationships with the adult youth leaders.
Thanks to CIY: Believe for putting on an awesome event!