Sorry it’s been sooooooo very long everyone, like my last update stated, VBS is a very busy time. It’s hard to find time to write a blog, as well as make things sound as interesting as the daily activities in Papua New Guinea. So I’ll try to be brief and interesting, while I have the time…
VBS season kicked off with our biggest group of kids every. With nearly 200 kids, North Aurora started our summer off with a very busy, organized, and fun Vacation Bible School. We spent a week in this Chicago suburb, and had an amazing time with amazing people. The church attempted to interview all of us for a youth director position, but we were not really looking for that sort of thing yet, so no future plans for most of us yet. (Tara is the only one with an actual plan for the upcoming year: finish school. She’s even registered!) From North Aurora we traveled south to Port Byron, Illinois. We had stopped there for a couple nights in December as part of our fall tour, so we were familiar with the church. It was our first week with the PNG-themed VBS curriculum and it seemed to go fairly well. I had to skip out on the last couple days of the week there to go home for a funeral, but for I was there for, it was pretty cool. After my trip home, I met up with the team in Valparaiso, Indiana. I got to stay with a Chinese family, and my host brother had more of a job outlook than Bill Gates. He was an absolute whiz. How many preteens do you know who use words like “psuedo” and enjoy reading the Windows XP manual? I was humbled as soon as I walked through the door! Nevertheless, the VBS in Valpo went very well. We met wonderful people and had lots of fun, and got to do a concert for them too. From Valparaiso we went to Canada. After driving about nine hours, we ended up in Tara’s hometown of St. Catharines, Ontario. St. Catharines is located near Niagara Falls, so we naturally got to see them. At Tara’s church we did a semi-VBS with the church because they run a year-long program for adults with disabilities. So it was a very unique and very fun experience. We met some really cool people with some amazing hearts. One person in particular, Tyler, quickly became a favorite of mine. We sang a lot together, and he taught me a new dance, which you can view in my videos section. We were in Canada over the 4th of July, and also Canadian Independence Day(July 1st). Since we were so close to the border at a very popular geographic landmark, we got to see lots of fireworks as both countries, probably trying to out-do each-other, blew up hundreds of dollars in pyrotechnics into the air above Niagara Falls. We also got to ride the Maid of the Mist, and get really close to the massive walls of water. It was really cool. Canada is neat.
After leaving Canada, we drove a down through New York and into New Jersey to a town called Summit, which is a very beautiful suburb of New York city. It is currently rated one of the most affluent regions of the United States because many CEOs and CFOs and UFOs and ABCs live there. We got to hang out with some really cool kids all week, and go into New York City on our day off last Saturday. It was most of New Dawn’s first NYC experience, so it was a bit overwhelming. As soon as we emerged from the subway station into Time’s Square, I was immediately over stimulated by advertising, odd food smells, and yellow cars. We wandered about the city, just kind of taking it all in, briefly stopping to check out different places like Rockefeller Center and Central Park. I also ate the most expensive meal at McDonalds ever (they don’t even have a dollar menu, a true crime against unhealthy eating!) We also went to the World Trade Center site, which was kind of surreal. It was also a bit unnerving to see a group of people gathered to promote a truly sickening cause. “9-11 was an inside job!” was all they chanted. They were met with angry opposition, and a few supporters, which just made us walk away; true damage has been done. From there went walked down to Battery Park, and got on the Staten Island ferry so we could get a better view of the Statue of Liberty. As we were getting on the boat, a lady came up to us and, with a familiar accent, said “Oh, nice Papua New Guinea bilums!” We all had our bilum bags from PNG slung over our shoulders and the woman, who was from Port Moresby, obviously noticed and continued to ask about them. Josh and I got to practive our very rusty Pidgin as we conversed with her and her family aboard the ferry. As it turned out, they had moved to the United States about ten years ago for her husbands job, and they now lived on Long Island. It’s a small world after all! After the ride to Staten Island, we turned around and came back to Manhattan for dinner. We found our way to the Hard Rock café in Times Square for some beverages and appetizers before taking a train back to New Jersey. After being in New Jersey, we definitely learned why they call it the Garden State. It’s so green and expensive! From New Jersey, we traveled through Delaware to Virginia. After a very cool drive over the Chesapeake Bay, we arrived eventually in Newport News. This was also a return stop for us from fall tour. We have been helping out with the VBS here, doing the PNG theme which was actually written for the Virginia churches because of their partnership with a Lutheran district in PNG. I didn’t realize it until we were in PNG, but the Michigan synod also has a partnership with the Capitol District in PNG, so I might look into that a little more. But anyway, we’re here until Sunday afternoon, doing VBS, Sunday services, and Busch Gardens Williamsburg! We’re kinda stoked. From here we’ll travel to Hampton, wich is the next town over, and have a similar week of VBS there as well.
After that week, we make our way back to the Twin Cities for our final week as members of Youth Encounter. We’re excited, anxious, nervous, and bummed to have this all end. It will probably be a little bit like how we feel about Papua New Guinea. It’s weird to think that it’s all over. We miss PNG a lot, at least certain things about it. Nobody really understands the experience we have because we’re the only ones who had it. And part of us wishes we could go back and do it again to make sure we get the most out of it. However, much of life is about moving on, but that doesn’t mean we can’t look back.
Until next time, whenever it may be (hopefully this is part of a new routine of being informative).
Life is good, God is great!