Posts Tagged ‘Florida’

April 24-28 I was in Jacksonville, Florida for Awana’s Journey 24-7 (High School) national Bible Quiz and Games. They call it Summit – a rather non-original name. Anyway, it was a group of 19 from our church, 13 kids and six leaders.

The short story is: At Bible Quiz we had two teams of six, who were quizzing out of the Awana study book on the entire book of Romans. They knew about 24 verses and lots of lists and facts and definitions, plus summaries of about ¼ the books in the Bible. One team made it to the forth round of Quiz (40 minutes: 20 speed like team jeopardy and 20 team multiple choice each round), and ended up between 11 and 15 in the nation (about 130 teams). The other team earned their way to the 5th round, Platinum, and ended up 8th in the nation.

Our Games team had great fun, finishing the day doing the chicken dance. We won some exciting games, including three-way tug of war, and played three rounds. No special prizes, because we’re not the tallest or fastest group ever. It was a fun team day, and afterwards the kids ran through fountains – the good thing about being in Florida.

Three girls earned their Citation Awards, representing 10 years of Bible memory.

We went to the beach twice, had many wonderful late-night meals, and joined in hundreds of teenagers at the main sessions. The airport and airplanes offered their adventures. People made friends, learned things, saw God’s grace at work, worshiped, prayed, and took thousands of pictures.

So I’m back, finally sick after putting off the cold for weeks before Summit. Since I got hardly any sleep while there, I’m just recovering. But I miss people. After five days spent entirely in the company of friends, sitting alone at work, even with a good book, is unsatisfying.

When I was in grade school, I saw high school Leaders-in-Training come home from nationals with bronze medals for Bible Quiz, and I started saving money to go myself. Nothing would stop me, not ropes or money or the fact that none of my good friends went my freshman year, or the flu. Not that I ever had the flu. This year came close. Lack of sleep and a rough two plane rides in a row knocked me out and I was in serious pain and seriously ill several days. So I got to test that.

Even after I graduated, nothing could keep me home. I immediately started coaching. I’m born to be a coach. In years past that’s been my main role, that and schedule enforcer, keeper of alarm clock, you know. This year was the first year that my role really shifted to a welcomed mentor role. I got to talk with the students on our team and build relationships with them, help them remember how God fits into their lives while hopefully communicating that whatever they think of the person I am now, I went through a lot of the same experiences and feelings they are having now.

What did I love? Getting to talk to and share life with our group. I feel like this year I really built relationships with people, and got to be a friend.

What did I learn? Jacksonville sits on a tidal river, which means it flows in different directions depending on the time of day. Surely God’s goodness and mercy will follow me… Little things chanted of His goodness.

What did I like? The ocean. It was fun. Not beautiful to the sight, but to the touch.

Where was I challenged? In being an authority and what to do when rules are broken. Also in not feeling up to par for most of the trip. I was challenged to be kind and grateful and emotional and relational. It’s so easy to hide when you’re not feeling well.

What now? I miss the constant community. At Summit I’m a different person, and it’s because I’m around those people. Things are changing. I’m starting to look at how to transition relationships from authority to purely friendship. And delighted to think that life doesn’t just end after high school; we can still hang out and be friends.

Special thanks:
That we made our connection in Memphis.
That our group got to experience Romans 12 (with a few rough patches).
That our Bible Quiz teams were blessed.
That we all felt sufficiently well to compete.
That when our van got lost we still got out of the hotel basically on time.
For finding three parking spots next to each other.
For brown t-shirts with white writing.
To God be all glory,

Lisa of Longbourn


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One comes in, stretches as high as it can reach along the sand, and then recedes in the thinnest rippling layer to meet the next waves, two foamy waves coming at angles from the sea, colliding so that there is a crash and two perpendicular waves too small to be capped with white go rolling away, and then another wave comes in bigger and faster and eats up the first set. Looking past this action you see the bigger waves, the parents of those making it to shore, crashing and breaking, rolling high and folding over themselves.

On the sand if you stand, the ground erodes beneath your feet. When you dig in the sand, the water held between the grains pools into your hole. Some places when you tap your foot the whole layer of sand goes up and down not like a footprint, but one whole sheet. It doesn’t hurt to run across shells because the sand accepts them into its heart just like it cushions your feet when you walk. Only the deeper, dryer sand higher up grabs at your feet and makes running a slippery, energetic action. You can try to jump over little waves as they come in, but you’ll be dryer to just stand and let the ever-varying water level lap around your legs. Deeper in as the waves come, you jump or dive or run. The waves push and pull and all you want to do is surrender, to have some way of floating on the waves so that you can go where they will.

No one ever described to me what the ocean feels like. It was more variety than power, but I was only on shore, and south where the waters are tame and ride up on beaches. In the north where they meet stone coasts, or in the middle of the ocean in a storm I think they would be different.

I tried to wash shells in the waves, but not only did water rush in and then quickly retreat, but sand also was pushed in by the water, simultaneously dropping the water level and raising the floor, so that when I dropped some shells, they were lost for good.

I screamed every time a big wave came and I jumped. There wasn’t fear, but delight and energy. The salt water and wind made my skin and hair happy. Life on the beach was almost perfect. A few hours felt like all day. We went two days. I was so glad.

To God be all glory,
Lisa of Longbourn

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My Awana high school team is going (with me) to Jacksonville, Florida this weekend for the national Bible Quiz, Fine Arts, and AwanaGames competition. I’ll be back Tuesday, probably with lots to say. Until then, you could read some old posts, comment (but they won’t appear until I get back to moderate), read a classic book, watch a classic movie, write your own blog, or pray for us.

To God be all glory,
Lisa of Longbourn

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