04 April, 2007

Whirlwind NE American tour, part II

Well! Last weekend I went to Harrisburg with my brother and two great friends. This was one of the best road trips I've had in a while. There were a few disappointments which were due to physical injuries, but I got over that. On Thursday I fenced epee with my baby epeeists and got hammered pretty well, and ended up with multiple bruises and two cuts. My pants somehow survived, but someone lunged against me with such force that it broke skin and my whole quadricep was swollen. On Friday my friends asked if I was running the 10K race that weekend, and I said no and referenced the holes in my leg. "Holes in your leg? Ha!" They made a lot of jokes about holes after that. They still are.

Kayte, Mike, John, and I were destined for Kayte's familial abode (of Debra Bell fame). At the beginning of the trip, John got a call from a number he didn't recognize. Someone offered him a job. How sweet! Nice touch on the weekend, God! On the way there we laughed for most of the trip. John invented a song for Kristen's (Kayte's sister) birthday. It was nice having a real guitar plucking around instead of a stereo. It was much easier to listen to people's voices. John also brought his "torpedo pen" that folded out. He occasionally snapped it at my ear, alternately scaring, surprising, and annoying me. Kayte started to keep a score between John and I to decide who could annoy the other most.

The first night we were there, the boys went for a jog. Kayte and I threw a blanket on the ground outside to lay on and watched the sky and talked. We went to bed and talked while the guys talked in the family room. The next morning Mr. Bell made breakfast for Kayte and me before we headed to a meeting on the gift of prohecy.

I am pretty sure I don't have the Spiritual gift of prophecy. Once every few years I'll think of a verse that may bless the congregation I'm with, but it's not consistent enough for me to consider it a "gift." However, at the prophecy meeting, I had Isaiah 40:28-31 for a woman who was receiving a prophetic word. I knew she had a disease, but found that it was osteoporosis and knew God wanted to reach her through that. I asked Mr. Prater if he thought the verses were appropriate, but couldn't read them from my tiny pocket-sized Bible. I read them to him. My voice was shaking, so I'm not sure if people got what I was saying, but God can do cool things with such failures on my part, so I'm happy!

At the prophecy meeting I was praying for a friend named Erin when Frank walked up to me. Frank was on the prophecy team that was visiting from Philly. He said he didn't have a word for me, but wanted to pray for me anyway. I'm so glad he did. In his prayer, he mentioned a lot of things but I remember mostly that he prayed that I would be a blessing to my father, since we share such a special relationship. I loved that, and hope I will take his words into consideration when I'm dealing with my father.

They prayed corporately for people who felt weary in their service to God. Yeah, that's me. I know the Holy Spirit has gifted me with a servant's heart, but sometimes it is really hard to use that gift. Saturday evenings get bittersweet when I remember I need to wake up at 6:45, but it's 2 AM and we're still having a lot of fun. Regardless of when I actually go to sleep, it is hard to discipline myself to wake early enough to get sufficiently ready for a church service when I'm the only church member I know who gets up at that time on a Sunday morning. The actual service, i.e. spending time setting up the sound system or BS stuff isn't bad, even if it's only my Dad and I. So I was prayed for in that area as well. John later encouraged me to foster a more grateful attitude toward serving, with a lack of pride and cynicism. I'll be praying that God gives me grace for waking up early, and that I will serve in secret joyfully. I need to be grateful for my alarm clock, and view my Sunday AM routine as service to the church. I also need to trust that God will provide for sufficient sleep and healthy sleep patterns during the rest of the week.

My brother also was prophesied over, though I didn't get to hear most of it. It seemed he was encouraged, though, so I am glad he was able to come. I did a lot of silent prayer from my seat. As I was praying, I was considering what actually was happening. Mostly encouragement and prayer. Why don't I do that more often with friends? I can see growth in their life that they may not see--can't I purposefully pray and encourage them to their faces, instead of only praying in private? That was cool. It was also cool to see total strangers describing situations in other peoples' lives, based solely on a word from God. It's another way to show that he really does know us intimately, and cares for us.

After lunch we went for a hike with Kayte's father, sister, John, and Erin. Mike went for an interview. The hike was very fun. I love trailblazing, and we frequently lost the trail and did whatever we felt like doing. I got a lot of scratches from thornbushes and John got a tick, but I think that was the worst experience. John got a lot of ManPoints on that hike. Mr. Bell was generally in the lead, so whenever we reached a particularly wide stream or got tangled in thorns, John was there to offer a hand or bushwhack us out. We talked a lot, too, despite the occasionally loud, crunchy leaves. Kayte's full of good questions and interesting experiences!

Dinner was Lebanese (not LEE-ban-ease, but LEB-an-ease, apparently) food. Good stuff. We debated over watching a movie or playing ping-pong, and ended up playing ping-pong. Kayte tried really hard to beat John, and John kinda tried to shut her out. Neither happened, but it was fun to watch! Later, John got that Songwriting Look on his face (he was also playing the guitar, which was another sign). Kayte and I headed upstairs soon after that.

Sunday morning was weird, because I didn't wake up while it was dark :-P Church was great. I'm glad I didn't think to focus too much on the sound system, otherwise I probably would have been distracted from the songs. Mr. Prater preached on I Thessalonians 2:1-8. More evangelism! Great! I love that stuff. I took quite a few notes. From conversation afterward, I gathered that the phrase "Don't invent, look to include" had a big impact on how people viewed evangelism. I thought of quite a few people whom I could evangelize more, and some people who I don't know if I could evangelize. I'm still trying to figure out what to do with those relationships.

Right after church we took off for the 10K race. We got hit in the parking lot of Giant, though we were sitting still and had been for quite some time. That was interesting. I didn't run, but I cheered and took pictures. One of Kayte's friends, Lauren, was there to cheer as well, and I discovered that she fenced epee. That was cool! We talked about that for quite a while. Being at the finish line was the best part. John was first, Mike was after Gabe, and Destiny beat Kayte. The lady pushing a stroller beat everyone but John, which was funny and inspiring at the same time. Kayte and Gabe finished really strong. People seemed pretty elated after the race. As we were leaving, though, Destiny's mom busted a tire. Lots of odd car incidents, er, accidents, there.

The runners all took showers when we got home. I played about an hour of frisbee with some kids who are part of Gabe's Bible study. While they were in the basement, I ate pizza for dinner and chatted with the Bell family, Lauren, and Cameron (Kristen's famous boyfriend). We celebrated Kristen's birthday with a few cakes and presents. John sang the song he wrote for her. Nice wink during the song, John! Mike gave her a box full of packing peanuts and a Chik-fil-A cow, complete with a parachute. Cameron seemed to enjoy that more than Kristen. I wonder why :-P

On Sunday night I was in the mood for massage. So I rubbed Kayte and Mike down, then got hand massages from John. I enjoy doing that so much. I think I irritated Mike's upper Trap muscles, but he didn't complain. I found this sweet muscle that goes from behind the ear to under the clavicle on Kayte, but I have no idea what it's called. I should find out.

Monday morning was pretty relaxed. Kayte and I discussed plans for fabric shopping. John was expecting a call from his potential employers on Monday morning, so when we discovered the soot on the bottom of the chandelier, he promptly used it to draw dark lines under his eyes to prep for the big talk. Some time after that we went to the fabric store. It was pretty funny watching the guys run around, picking out hypothetical Youth Camp team colors and laughing at weird prints. Mike asked if he looked good with bright blue velvet (I think he'd look better in black or brown, personally). Kayte and I took a while to make our selections, then asked for the guys' opinions. They shot down our selections, which turned out to be a good idea because one of the fabrics we chose was $9/yard. Ow.

We got home, ate lunch, and chatted with Mrs. Bell. She's one of those unusual people who share my interest in linguistics. She dissed my writing, though I don't think she's ever read it. After hearing that I like to write everything in one sitting, she said, "Well some day I hope you LEARN HOW to write!" I guess there are a lot of ways to write a paper. Mike was playing with a lighter during our convo, and at one point she turned to him and said, "Mike!" He immediately put down the lighter with a goofy, guilty look on his face. He'd guessed what she wanted...that was funny.

On the way home I discovered some rubber bands in the car. I promptly decided to get back at John for his pen trick, and shot him in the chin. Bands flew back and forth, and John successfully blocked one of my shots with a piece of paper. I think Kayte gave me a few points for the rubber band thing, but John was still ahead.

On the way home we talked about our parents, our futures, and the church. Good topics. We all decided that some day it would be sweet to be part of a church plant somewhere. We took turns talking about what we appreciate in our parents, and what we might do differently than them. The guys talked about their careers, since both had gotten job offers over the weekend. Kayte talked about Philly. I would really like to go visit her when she moves there. Oh, and John got another significant phone call. He got subpoenaed! I'm somewhat jealous...

We played Imogen Heap's music in the car, which I love. John definitely won our contest to annoy each other. There are a lot of tunnels on the turnpike, and we'd been trying to hold our breaths through each of them. I'd been sitting in the front seat, somewhat sideways, with my knees on the armrest. While we were in a tunnel, John (who was sitting behind me) started petting my knee with his foot. AHH! Who could hold their breath after something like that? Kayte gave him way too many points for that...but it was pretty good. Kayte got my brother, too. He took a huge gasp as we entered a tunnel, and after about 30 seconds she reached over and slapped him in the stomach. Not only did Mike let go, but after trying not to laugh at his reaction, I couldn't hold it either. Double-whammy for Kayte.

Appropriately, we ended our trek at Chik-fil-A. While we were leaving, I tried to surprise my brother by jumping on his shoulders. This never works. I don't know why I do it. But this time I ended up with a moderately sprained ankle. Ow. That's the worst pain I'd felt in months! I actually got woozy. When we got home, I found that my epee with a Zivkovic grip had arrived! Sweet! So, while everyone else unpacked Kayte's car, I ripped into the box and started playing with my new weapon. John left to head right back East for a vacation with his family, Kayte went "home," and Mike and I crashed.

End of trip. Good trip. Good times. Good friends. Thank God for them! At times like these, I'm astonished at how God uses my circumstances to bless me and show his love. I wonder how this trip will change my friends and me, for I feel that it has. We did a lot of trivial things, but our relationships were strengthened and I don't think God just wanted us to have a fun weekend together. The future, once again, proves to be fascinating.

1 comment:

"The Websters" said...

I think we all have the gift of prophecy to a degree. At the moment I dont have Bible doctrine in the forefront of my mind to back that thought up, so it may not be expressed correctly. I do think though that when one is saved, the Holy Spirit is dwelling in you and verses/words that come out of your mouth have a definite impact, unseen in a lot of cases.

You met the famous boyfriend! haha

'We're scared of death metal bands, still have fun with rubberbands...'

RE trivial things in regard to relationships 'Great things are a series of small things put together.' -V.V. Gogh