Monday, July 27, 2009

It has been too long since my last entry...

Well, let's see... last weekend, July 16-20 I was in New Orleans for the National Lutheran Youth Workers Conference. It was an absolute blast!! I learned a lot, networked, dressed professionally, it was sweet!! I had the opportunity to meet a number of seasoned youth workers who have been doing this for tens of years! I was able to sit down with them and really enjoy their stories and advise about ministry. I also met a number of youth workers from Michigan, so that was cool. I went to a number of sessions by varying speakers... but I think my favorite was Transforming Confirmation (I'm not really sure... but my mother seems to believe, and she has convinced me for now :), that I'm not supposed to use names... so I won't tell you exactly who the speaker was for now). It was very inspiring to listen to this speaker; his passion and knowledge was incredible... some type of goal to shoot for I suppose.

I did go down Bourbon street with a number of other DCEs and youth workers, and let's just say we will not be going there next year with the Youth of Grace Coopersville. However, one of my companions and I did stop at a place called Cafe Beignet, where we got to hear a wonderful little trio called "Steamboat Willie." They were spectacular!

Well, basically right after New Orleans, I moved almost everything I own up to Coopersville, MI. I have now been on the job for four days, I'm kinda tired and do not have anything of a personal life right now. But, I think it's just because I'm getting started and haven't gotten into a routine yet. Plus we have a big ole fundraiser coming up that needs to get planned. I've been working a lot for this reason, but like I always say, I'd rather be busy than bored.

Gave a children's sermon this morning... I was quite nervous, but otherwise it went really well. I'm very happy with how it went.

I've also had the opportunity to start meeting some of the Youth, Jr. Youth, and Elementary age kids of the congregation... they all seem pretty super. I'm excited to see how we can grow the Youth and children ministry at Grace. I am reminded lately (mostly through the book "Simple Church" by Thom S. Rainer and Eric Geiger... good book, I'd recommend it, at least so far) of keeping the focus the focus. Keeping the mission/focus of the church at the center of what we do. It's not about the individual "programs" we do or should I say that we're doing them, its about the end result of all the programs. That we are making more and better disciples by sharing Jesus' love (Grace Coopersville mission).

I guess that's about it for now. Hopefully I'll have good news to write about the fundraiser here coming in a couple weeks.

Hey Lord,
Its been a pretty exciting few weeks! I'm glad to be here, but at times kinda nervous. Please keep my eyes always focused on you as my rock and my strength. Give me your words and guide my steps that I can be a reflection of your light.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Camp Wedding and Camp Visit

So, it's been almost three weeks since posting and I figure I should get an update goin...

I'm still in Springfield; but in two weeks from yesterday I head to New Orleans for the National Lutheran Youth Workers Conference as the beginning of my internship. I'm SUPER excited and honestly cannot focus on pretty much anything else.

Anywho, a couple weekends ago I had the great opportunity to attend a camp wedding in Palmyra, MO. It was the wedding of Pharaoh and Cleo, and it was beautiful. They are both so awesome and pray the best for their new life together. Another reason this wedding was so great to be at was being able to see SOOO many people from camp there. I have not seen many of them for a year (and the rest since staff reunion in December) and I missed them so much. I love all those guys and I can't believe that it crossed my mind not to visit camp at all this summer.

That evening at the wedding, I got to talking to a couple of my current counselor friends and realized that if I was going to visit camp this summer at all, it would have to be that next weekend. So, I made up my mind to do it... I'm not usually very impulsive but after seeing them all at the wedding I knew I had to go visit.

That next Thursday evening, after LuHi summer day camp, I made my way down to Wartburg. I joined in on the evening all camp game (Bibles to China), walked out to tree house for the camp fire, and joined Wacky Water Week for a night swim. Friday morning I got up early and took a walk around camp just to get stopped by one of the full time camp staff telling me some of the cooks didn't show up to make breakfast. So, Flash (that's me, for those that don't know) got to make and serve breakfast for the whole camp Friday morning. For the rest of the morning I got to help with the climbing wall, belaying with Presto for a 4-H group and his one MO Quest camper. It was AWESOME!! I couldn't have asked for a better morning... the afternoon was spent doing luggage runs, equipment runs, and cleaning. It was SOOOOOOOOOO HOT!!!!! So, had I not done all this with one of my best friends from camp and a new friend at camp, it would have been as good as torture. In any case, we had a pretty good time, and I finished the day after dinner and Friday Night Festival with more cleaning. Other people may think that that does not sound like much of a day, but it was so nice to be at camp and be able to help out.

That night I went into St Louis to the house of a couple more of my very good friends from camp and spent the night there. It was great to be able to kick back and spend some quality time with a few of my old colleagues. I got to spend some more time with a few of them next day while we played board games until about 6:30 pm... it was sweet!!

After church and sticking around for their staff meeting the next day (Sunday obviously), I returned to Springfield.

Between the wedding and visiting camp, I am reminded why I love camp so much. It is so nice to feel like you belong somewhere and you're apart of something even if you're not there anymore.

Hey Lord,
Thank you so much for the past two weekends! It is been so refreshing to see some of my dear friends from camp and spend some time with them. Lord, today I pray for the continued and growing ministry of Camp Wartburg and all the other NLOMA camps, as well as other "church camps." Lord, I pray for my counselor friends, both new and old; please be with them and bless them, both at camp and beyond. Thank you for allowing them to be a part of my life.

Monday, June 15, 2009


So, interesting note... my first post, the one right above this one was actually published this morning (June 15) at about 7:05 am. I guess I started one last weekend and didn't post it, but editted it and continued this weekend and this morning, but it put the date I started it down. Anyone that knows anything about blogs that wants to tell me if I should do something differently... please feel free to.

I guess it's not really a big deal though :)

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Howdy! First post! How exciting... not really, anyway...

This weekend has been quite eventful. Starting with a wedding in Peoria Saturday and then Family time with most of the whole Esselman clan Sunday. It was pretty much AWESOME!!

Saturday at 2pm a couple dear friends of mine committed to spend the rest of their lives together. Mr. David Best and Miss Rebekah Kret... pardon me... Mrs. Rebekah Best were wed at Christ Lutheran Church in Peoria June 13. It was a beautiful wedding and it was really, really nice to be able to be there and be a witness of their very special day. I'll be honest; I got a little teary eyed a couple times... thinking about the two of them and college and all of us growing up... oh gosh! Here it comes again! Just Kidding

The reception was super nice over in the Bradley University Student Union... oh yeah, and by the way to those of you who were scoring their student union against ours, I finished adding up the score and they won by a lot... but let's be honest, who didn't see that coming? Anyway, reception... so much FUN!! It was so awesome to see everyone and get to catch up a bit. I had the simply wonderful opportunity to sit at a table with some very incredible people I am happy to call my friends... oh yeah, and my ex-roommates (just kidding guys). It was a lot of fun reminiscing on old times and admiring how much bigger our present was then everyone else's on the gift table. The night was filled with much laughter, dancing, karaoke, and just good ole times.

That night, after the festivities, I left for Quincy and found that Illinois Rt. 24 is EXTREMELY DARK in the middle of the night! I could not see AT ALL! I did however see a dear staring at me from the side of the road as I drove past and several raccoons running across the road right in front of me, all of which scared me to death!! In any case, by the grace of God I arrived safely to Quincy a little after midnight. Thank you, Lord. The next morning my sister and I went over to the Esselman's house for Mass and brunch with almost the whole Esselman clan. It was really nice to see everyone and find out what everyone is up to these days... not to mention, being floored by how much some of the little ones have grown... IT'S CRAZY!! THEY'RE SO BIG!!! Most of them will probably be taller than me soon... not that that's saying much, but anyway... Grandma makes the best breakfast casserole ever, I'm going to have to try making it sometime on internship. Even though it makes a lot, the nice thing about casseroles is that they reheat so well... I think there's a metaphor for our Christian lives in there somewhere, but it's been a long weekend and I'm not really sure, I guess I'll have to get back to you.

In any case, this has been a great weekend and I truly have to count my blessings! I had the opportunity, about 2 and a half weeks ago, to visit Coopersville, MI and my soon to be new home and church... I know, I know; this is an internship blog and he's finally getting to it... get over it! Since visiting I having been thinking about and praying for my new youth group to be a lot. During this past weekend I was reminded of how blessed I have been with my family and my group of friends... God has really used them to shape me into the man I am today and I can't imagine what I would be like, where I'd be, who I'd be... without even one of them. Today, I pray that the members of my new youth group are blessed by our Lord with friends and family that nurture them as they grow physically, mentally, emotionally, and especially spiritually... not necessarily in the same way that I was, but in the way that God sees best for each of them.

Hey Lord,
Internship is fast approaching and it is an exciting time for everyone involved! I pray today that even as a new chapter of my life is beginning that you always remind me of where I have come from and who I am because of the people you have used to touch my life. Lord, I pray for my new youth group, that you would bless them similarly with solid role models and peers that could be used by you to shape them into Christian adults desiring to make more, and better disciples by sharing Jesus' love. Thank you Father.