Thursday, June 29, 2017

Heading Home

Today we said goodbye to Randolph College but not before we took some final group pictures. Here are just a few.

 Dominick and the seniors
 Great friends
Even the young ones are protected.

We stopped at Chic Fil A on our way home. They were AMAZING with having a bus of about 30 people walk in. The manager asked us to sing after we ate. Here you go.....our final song of the tour...

National Anthem in Chic Fil A

Wednesday Part 2

After such a worshipful morning and time of contemplation, we had a little time of fellowship before our last event of this trip.
 While we were relaxing, our amazing seniors, Tyler and Lauren, went early with Frank and Janel to Park View Mission to get started on the dinner we would be serving to the neighbors.

We were so excited for this performance. We were going back to a place we had already served and met several new friends. In addition to the people we had met from Park View Mission, we had friends from Camp Timothy and Bethany UMC came to see us perform yet again. We seemed to have developed quite the following. While a nutritional class was being taught in the large room we were to perform in, we took the opportunity to explore the sanctuary of the once very active church. Dominick finally found a pipe organ he could play even though a few of the pipes were no longer working.

After our concert, we were able to enjoy the dinner we had prepared for the neighbors.....chicken and waffles. Thank you Frank, Janel, Tyler and Lauren for all of your hard work making this happen.

After clean up and even more fellowship, we went back to the dorms for our last Bible Study of the trip, our last challenge, the revealing of secret pals, our final tribal counsel votes and our annual superlative awards.

I was so touched by the kids' votes. Keep in mind that each vote that a student received gave a point for their family group. They had asked that we do 2 votes tonight since we didn't vote Tuesday night due to the late night. Their first vote was unanimous for Weber. I was so touched by their kind hearts and the love they showed to Weber. For the 2nd vote, I assumed they would do a normal vote. However, their unanimous vote this time around was for Frank. Many were thankful he didn't let us starve. :-) These kids are so amazing. All parents of these kids should be very proud of each and every one of them. Here are some pics of their final night together.

 Their final challenge was to arranged pieces of pool noodles into a scripture verse.

 I thought this was a great verse for them to be reminded of.
 Tyler and Lauren announcing the "Ducky Awards"/superlatives
As an end of tour gift, JNS gave Dominick a blue tooth page turner. He was a little excited.

There were lots of tears shed as memories and God moments were shared from the week. What a great week it has been.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Worshipful Wednesday

The first half of our day has been amazing. We were able to get a slow start this morning which was very welcomed. After a wonderful breakfast of cinnamon rolls and hash brown casseroles, we went down to the prayer labyrinth. Shortly after we arrived, Jennifer, the pastor from Bethany UMC where we performed Sunday joined us. She is also the chaplain at Randolph College. She explained to us about the labyrinth, its meaning, its purpose and its history. She also helped to guide us through our prayer journey on the labyrinth. It was a very special time where we were each able to take a break from the hustle and bustle of tour and focus on God.

Of course it was also a great place for a photo. Can't wait to see what this will look like from the point of view Tracy had when she took the official picture.

After our contemplative time, we walked up the hill to tour the chapel. It is stunning. Simple, yet beautiful. Dominick REALLY wanted to play the pipe organ but the key to it could not be found. We were able to also spend time in the prayer room. And of course, we couldn't pass up the opportunity to sing with such amazing acoustics.     Click here to hear National Anthem from Randolph's Chapel

Tuesday part 2

After our concert, it was then time for fun and fellowship. We headed to Holiday State Park. This was a much needed time for all of us to rest our minds and hearts. The kids enjoyed splashing and playing in the lake while Frank and Janel prepared our cookout dinner. During dinner we had the company of Stephanie that works with our START team on their missions. There was a lot of great conversations and fellowship. There was more swimming before we left. I highly recommend Holliday State Park. It is beautiful and serene.
                                                    Fun time
                                                    Not everyone wanted to get wet
                Frank grilled corn, burgers, brats, chicken and brownies. YUM!

Tuesday part 1

We have just left The Summit retirement community where we performed for a small but enthusiastic group. We have the pleasure of seeing 3 familiar faces in the crowd this afternoon. Thank you Pastor David, youth director Caleb and his wife Linda for driving out to see us.

This concert was once again a blessing to both the singers and the listeners.
                                            Tyler explaining "Light the Fire"
                                                Unloading for set up
                                          Setting up in their dining facility
                                    JNS plus Pastor David, Caleb & Linda

Tuesday, June 27, 2017


Rise and shine at 7:00am! Breakfast upstairs.
Another great breakfast by Chef Priest.

Our first stop of the morning, only an hour away, was to the Virginia Drive Thru Safari. Being so close to nature and the beautiful, wild animals that God created was just awe inspiring. We had the joy of taking a wagon ride through the safari then exploring the rest of the zoo. Here are some snapshots.
                                                      Petting zoo area
                                                   Not all wild animals were in cages. hehe
                                                 Armed with bowls of food, we are off
                                                   llama llama
                                                    The elks were beautiful
                                                    Tracy has her new friend eating our of her hand
                                                   Sam wasn't too sure about petting the snake
                                                    Landon didn't mind TOO much
                                                   This is how you pet a snake without getting too close
                                                   Jensen needed encouragement.....4 times! :-)
                                                    The aviary was really cool too
                                                   The birds loved Hannah
                                                     Jenny found new friends too
                                                   Yes, Sam put her feeding sticks on her head
                                                  While Tracy refused to pet the snake, the birds flocked to her

After this fun filled morning, we headed to Westminster Canterbury Retirement facility. This place is BEYOND amazing! After a dinner of pizza, we entertained almost a room full of lovely residents. These places always touch the children's hearts. I wish you could see how comfortable they are mingling and talking with these older people. A few years ago, most of them were scared to even approach residents. Now, they are laughing and joking and learning with these amazing people. I had the joy of playing a Steinway that had been donated by a resident that used to teach piano. She just recently had to move to the assisted living portion of the facility and could not take the piano with her. She is now 104 years old. The residents praised how there are still youth that are not only Christians but are willing to travel and share God's message. We are truly blessed to have the youth that we do in our church and families. 

Back to the dorms for Bible Study, God moment sharing, Tribal Council voting and the nightly challenge. Tonight, the kids were BEANBOOZLED! For those of you that may not know what bean boozled is, it's a collection of jelly beans that have flavors such as lime or grass clippings, coconut or spoiled milk, and other delicious flavors. The goal was to find the one that could outlast the others in eating the jelly beans. Ethan, Mason and Jenny did not give up. Lindsey didn't quite make it.