Monday, April 30, 2007

Disciple Now 2007


I'm posting on Husband's laptop tonight because our computer insists that we have irreconcilable differences. I hate to cheat on it like this, but hey, I have my needs, ya know what I mean?

Besides, I promised you a DNow update.

After the dog was "launched" by the doorbell ringing repeatedly, kids came dragging in their weekend supplies, sleeping bags and snacks. I began to worry when I noticed a glut of what we have always called, "drug pop" accumulating in the kitchen. "Drug pop" is caffeinated soda. Only now, of course, there's not just regular drug pop, there's hopped up caffeine pop such as "Mountain Dew X-treme Steroid Synaptic Blast."

Of course, each kid was smitten with Zoe right off the bat, and she returned their love by rolling on her back and submissively peeing a little stream of welcome for them. Impressive.

We had a formal session at church, and then everyone headed back to their host homes. Almost immediately, two girls informed me that they were extremely prone to homesickness. Husband and I looked at each other silently communicating, "Great. We're going to be up all night comforting these two and then calling their parents at 2:00 am."

Besides the dog, the main fascination at our house was the elliptical machine, which each kid tried and then the next tried to out-do the last, and when that didn't work, they swigged drug pop and stepped a lot faster. Once I saw two on it at one time, and one girl got it going so fast it got off its tracks. Yikes.

Next, one little girl was tapping me on the shoulder rapidly. I looked to see her distressed because her wrists had begun itching. Both wrists were blood red. I tried to remain cool and ask lots of questions about allergies, hives, etc. but she was clueless. I put a little cortisone cream on her wrists. We repeated this throughout the weekend (but I followed directions--don't worry).

That night they had a late-night small group session and then went to bed.

HA! NOT! They remained awake, girls in one room with their college girl leader, boys in another with their leader. One boy had a "leak" in his feather pillow, and you can imagine what I cleaned up all weekend long, even after they left. Perhaps this is why the itchy girl itched.

During that last session before splitting up for bedtime, Husband and I were in our own room watching TV, and we could hear a low rumble which did not concern us. But then we heard a gasp and similar sounds of heightened energy, and we ran out to find the kids scared out of their wits because while they were having their session, one student looked up to see a fat raccoon staring back at her through the window. They all went ballistic.

During the night, one boy let the air out of the college leader's air mattress, and some of the kids snuck outside and toilet papered the leaders' cars. Now that's a little scary because we didn't know that happened until the next day, but no harm was done.

Saturday we spent a lot of time at church in a competition between groups in tons of small games. That afternoon, we went to a lovely home in the country, had food, more games, bonfire, worship, testimonies and a message. This was when my favorite moment occurred:

An autistic middle school boy in another group stood by himself during that open air worship time and began his usual routine of worshiping, which includes his whole body, sort of dancing around, sort of acting out the song.

Although it's awkward, it's also sweet because he appears to be doing what we teach little children to do during songs, like hand motions to "Deep and Wide." Only Ryan, as I'll call him, moves his whole body, gets down on hands and knees and spins circles, etc. If you are a kid who's not used to Ryan, it looks odd or funny. Kids tend to back away when Ryan worships.

Ryan stood there worshiping alone, and I wondered if I should go stand beside him. At that exact moment, I noticed a group of pretty little middle school girls looking at Ryan and talking amongst themselves. I dreaded that they would laugh at him, but what they actually did was decide to go stand right beside Ryan on both sides, flanking him with themselves so that he was not alone. It was so sweet. I choked up.

The next morning before church, we learned that one girl and boy had found a love match in each other, just in the nick of time as DNow was ending and we were all headed to church to sit together.

When I came home from lunch and began cleaning up the messes, I found a hidden stash of 2 litre drug pop and a giant bag of candy in our bedroom behind a chair. At first I was confused, but then I realized: Husband had hidden them there Sat. afternoon so that the kids would not get wired before bed! My hero!

It's impossible to relate how blessed we were to have these kids in our home this weekend, and to watch the 108 others worship the Lord and find acceptance with each other. And even though there's ink on the leather sofa, makeup on the other sofa, the scent of dirty socks and plumeria body spray still heavy in our house, it was worth everything to see some of this generation go deeper in their walks with Christ.

14 comments:

Susanne said...

The opportunity to witness that scene with Ryan and the girls in worship would have made the whole thing worth it. How moving!

"Drug pop". That's funny. I cannot imagine how fast that girl had to have been going on the elliptical to make it come off the tracks. She must have had a few swigs of the stash before she got on it. Hubby must have been experienced in the effects of these drinks to have known to hide the stash!

Tammy said...

This was so wonderful to read, Linda. I love that scene you described with Ryan...and then the girls going over to stand by him. What an image to think on...
And I am so glad that God worked in the lives of everyone involved in this incredible weekend. The teen years are SO important...and I know God will bless you for this!

Barbara H. said...

You're a braver woman than I am. :)

The scene with Ryan and the girls was incredibly sweet. It can so easily go the other way at that age -- well, at any age.

~~ Lily ~~ said...

I got teary reading about Ryan and the girls. And drug pop. That is a hoot.

Mommy, the Human Napkin said...

Ah, Disciple Now. I remember those days, as a teenager and later on, as one of the college leaders. One year, our group decided to go to our youth pastor's house and fill his car with candy and balloons and put a big ol' thank you card on his window. Unfortunately, we weren't the only ones who wanted to do something to the poor man's house. We convinced the group of boys that showed up to let us go first and then they could do whatever they had come for. It turned out that what they had come to do was this: Dump a big pile of manure in his yard with a sign over the top that said "(Youth pastor's name) is full of" with an arrow pointing down. Plus, they were kind enough to pop all the balloons we left, tear up our card, eat half the candy and pour the other half on top of the manure pile. Our youth pastor was NONE too happy on Sunday morning, and he had no idea we had been there before the boys did their thing. Talk about one angry group of teenage girls! Good thing we were at church or those boys would have been hurting. There were more of us.

Carol said...

Wow! Ryan, the racoon, the drug pop, TP-ing the car...how fun! I love this post!

Connie Barris said...

Well,,,you survived... you should have some t-shirts made up...

I survived drug pop weekend and racoon love...

seriously.. awesome... I know that you witnessed many blessings....

I remember doing that one year when our daughter was of age.. and our son is about there ... I'll remember this..

Blessings

Deena said...

Sometimes the things that are the hardest to manage are the very things that bless us the most...like teenagers:-)

And as one who used to be prone to homesickness, your comfort would have meant the world to me...

I can smell the plumeria from here;-)

Robin said...

We've been a host home for DNow the past two years, too. Sounds like I have it easier than you--I've had highschool girls both years, I think no more than 12 each time.

Probably the most..."damaging" thing to us was the middle school group of boys, hosted at a home down our street. Around 2 am, the girls saw "lights" flashing in our front yard; they went out to see who/what it was, and discovered the boys TP-ing our front yard :/...and we have a lot of trees. A lot of TALL trees. The girls cleaned up as much as they could, but we continued for the next week or so.

The leaders handled it without waking us (I had a box fan going in our room to drown out the noise); we hadn't heard a thing, lol.

It's true, these weekends are amazing blessings--for the kids and their hosts :). If you have the time or inclination, I wrote about our experience last year here:
http://openconversation.blogspot.com/2006/01/all-american-rejectsand-bonhoeffer.html
and here:
http://openconversation.blogspot.com/2006/01/i-love-it-when-im-wrong.html

Mike said...

Looks like everybody had a great time. And that's quick thinking by you husband. I'd do something similar, except for one thing. I'd drink the pop and eat the candy myself and tell my wife that I just had to do it for her sake.

:)

Mike
http://somethingaboutparenting.typepad.com/


PS. I’ve started a photoblog at http://somethingaboutparenting.typepad.com/mike_leonen
Appreciate a visit and comment.

Heth said...

I loved reading this.

Jen said...

Sounds like the kids had a lot of fun


bless Ryan i bet God smiles as he looks down on him

bless your hubby how thoughful

bless you too for opening up your home

Lynn Donovan said...

Linda, my sister,

Oh how I wish I was there with you. What an awesome night. I love you all the more for being part of these kids lives. Thank you for sharing this with me. I love you.

Susan said...

Wow, Linda, sounds like this was an extremely blessed weekend! I love it and would have loved to have been part of it.

Hugs.

:-) Susan