Day 2 – Short Circuit (Part 1)

Readers, I would like to take a brief note to thank you for your patience. You have stuck with me through over 60 incredibly verbose blog posts, missed deadlines, and sometimes me dropping off the face of the blogging earth for months at a time–yet hear you are, your beautiful eyes gracing my eager journalism. You bless me big. Thank you.

Read Day 1 here. Want to know what Power Surge is? Click here!

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After sleeping horribly with terrible dreams, I woke up bright and early at 6 and slunk into the kitchen to prepare a pot of coffee (Emily’s family always has the best coffee) and read my Bible before the morning got busy.

Before long, Mark lumbered into the kitchen as well and started moving around to get his breakfast and lunch ready. We talked about how good God is (an endless topic, to be sure). I got the chance to sozo/shabar Mark a bit, and it was absolutely cool because when he pictured a little boy, he saw a porcelain doll of a little Dutch boy. Holy Spirit saw that I was puzzled at this unusual description, so He whispered to me, “It’s like Pinocchio.”

We asked father God what the little boy needed, and His response was, “He needs to be brought to life…like Pinocchio.”

Talk about confirmation! It was so awesome! I got a little bit further in my Sozo tools, but then Mark left for work and I read some Bible.

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Emily and I went to the church a little bit later to drop off sleeping bags and meet the new interim pastor, Stephen. His 18-year-old daughter, Eryca, was there also. Instantly, I fell in love with both of them. They are as loud as I am, always smiling, and can’t seem to go two minutes without talking about how amazing God is.

Emily and I met with Eryca for about an hour where we shared testimonies. I was impressed and inspired by Eryca’s story and how her parents raised her into her identity. She shines so freely! I shared our testimony of God’s faithfulness coming through for our wedding in September, and it was a golden-apple-timely-word of confirmation for Eryca and her family, that I had no idea they even needed! We had a wonderful time, I got to sing over her, and Holy Spirit was ridiculously heavy on all three of us.

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Best. Game. Ever.

After scrambling to get the rest of everything we needed for the retreat, it was go time. 5 o’ clock rolled around and kids started showing up, one by one. I was anxiously waiting for Levi to get off work and drive down to Vancouver, but in the meantime I ate dinner and played games with the kids, getting a chance to get acquainted with them.

I fell fast in love with all of them, particularly Sammy.
Sammy is thirteen years old. He is one of the most optimistic people I have ever met in my life. He’s affectionate, loves games, and absolutely LOVES praying when it’s time to bless a meal.

But if you saw a picture of him, that probably wouldn’t be the first conclusion you’d jump to. Sammy was diagnosed six months ago with bone cancer when a sports physical to clear him for football season revealed a tumor in his knee. Sammy has gone through 40 weeks of chemotherapy, and now that his hair is gone, he prides himself on bearing a close resemblance to Voldemort.

When we were getting in line for dinner, I was just behind him when he asked loudly, “Who wants to pray for me?”

Very seriously, I looked him in the eye and said, “I would love to pray for you. What would you like prayer for?”

Sammy gave me a hard look and said, “What do you think? I’ve got cancer.”

“I know,” I replied, still being absolutely dead serious. “But I don’t want to think of you as just Sammy with cancer. I want to think of you as my friend Sammy, who has cancer for the time being but probably has a lot of other things he’d like prayer for as well.” I told him that I didn’t want to have our relationship revolve around the temporary fact of his disease. I think that really impacted him, because afterward he didn’t say any more, but sat with me at dinner.

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I left early to prepare songs for worship, and Levi showed up just when I was getting super anxious about when he was going to get there. Sweet relief! The youth group filed in for worship and Levi and I began the first song, with me leading on guitar and Levi singing backup while doing some sweet rhythms on a bongo. We were seated on the steps of the stage, at eye level with the group, who sat in a semicircle of chairs around the stage.

The music was great, I was singing my heart out…

Then I stopped. And started talking to the group. My heart was pounding and my mind was screaming WHAT ARE YOU DOING??? because I was going against every performance inclination I’d rehearsed; but I needed to make something very clear.

“Is this what you need?” I asked, taking the time to look each and every one of them in the eye. “Because if this isn’t what you need, we can do something else. We are here for you. It’s not the other way around. And we don’t want to come up here in front of you and go through the motions for the three days that we have together with you, then go home feeling good about ourselves while leaving you with absolutely nothing.”

It was silent in the sanctuary as they realized I was serious, then one or two of them spoke up and said, “This is what we need.”

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So we continued. And we worshiped our little hearts out. I stopped again after the second song to share a word that Holy Spirit put on my heart about a sacrifice of praise in even the worst circumstances and situations, and then Levi and I taught them “One Thing Remains” by Jesus Culture. It felt like we sang it forever, yet it felt like we didn’t sing long enough.

We moved into the youth room to transition into “lesson time.” I had no idea what to give a “lesson” on, and I wasn’t feeling any promptings from Holy Spirit, so I just started to tell my testimony. Little did I realize, the majority of my audience were 13-to-15-year-olds with attention spans that short-circuited very easily. Not even fifteen minutes into my story, I was losing them.

If you want to find out what happened next, follow and subscribe to the blog, and don’t forget to Like the Facebook page!  See ya next post!

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Day 1 – Behind the Scenes

Thursday morning, I got on a train to head down to Vancouver.

Levi stayed behind to do two more days of money making, and dropped me off at 7:30 on his way to work. He had just driven out of sight when I saw the sign on the door that said the station wasn’t going to be open until 8:30. I had read my ticket wrong! Instead of my train being at 8:10, it was scheduled for 8:50. There was nobody inside the station yet, and nobody in the parking lot.

So I went around to the side of the building and huddled in a ball, turning my laptop on so it could at least keep my legs warm. I was determined to grin and bear it and have a good two hours of cold solitude.

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…Or not. Within 10 minutes of adjusting to my plight, the door swung open to my right and a friendly face peered out. His name was John, and he volunteered as the agent for the Lacey Amtrak station. He smiled broadly and invited me to come inside. Heaving a sigh of relief, I scrambled to get my things together and hurried inside behind him. Oh, to be warm again! Blessed relief!

It turned out, John was considering not coming in early that morning. He was considering waiting until about 8:20 to come and fire up the heat and get everything going. But he had decided to come in early anyway. Hmmm…

Miracle #1, duly noted.

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I had a wonderfully uneventful 2 hour train ride down to Vancouver, which gave me time just to think about how ridiculously good God is and listen to prophetic words from 2010 (which were spectacular, by the way).

Fro-yo...om nom nom.

The rest of the afternoon was pleasant and sleepy. Gail picked me up at the station, got me coffee, and then we went shopping until late afternoon. We picked Emily up at some point and went to get fro-yo…nothing terribly exciting. When we were all together at the house and Emily’s dad, Mark, was getting everything ready for dinner, Holy Spirit nudged me to ask Mark if he had ever been disciplined with a blow to the head.

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I was reluctant to ask straight out, so I asked what his mom was like. This led to him telling me that he and his mom weren’t really involved in each other’s lives during his childhood, that she had been involved in many other relationships and marriages. He had mostly been raised by his grandmother—who I then learned was a very strict Catholic, who wouldn’t hesitate to take a cane to little Mark’s head in the incident of disobedience.

I shared a smile with Holy Spirit, marveling at how He somehow knows everything (like I should be surprised at this point). Then I tucked that information away for future deliverance purposes. I had full intentions of sozoing him at some point that weekend.

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After dinner, we only had about half an hour before Dawn and Jim, the other leaders for the retreat, were going to get there. I seized the opportunity to snag Emily. We went into her room and I shared some frustrations with her that I was having, just with things I was picking up and not knowing how to deal with and give to Holy Spirit. So we prayed, and then I got to do a little bit of sozo on her (it was glorious!! Holy Spirit got a lot done in only 20 minutes). Then it was time to have our staff meeting.

Dawn and Jim are spectacular; that’s all I’m gonna say. At first I had a hard time letting my walls down and just being vulnerable, but once I started asking questions and trying to see their heart for the youth and for that weekend, I just fell in love with them. They are incredible people and have gone through so much. (Keep an eye out for a guest blog from Jim in the future, by the way!) God is so big in them and I can’t wait to tell you all more about them as the testimonies of the weekend go on.

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After the staff meeting, Emily and I rendezvoused in her room again. I started spacing out and pretty much just being a zombie on my laptop browsing Facebook, but a little movement out of the corner of my eye startled me back into reality. Can you imagine what it was?

That’s right, ladies and gentlemen—it was a hobo spider. Those of you who have known me personally for a while know that I had the immense privilege of being bitten by a hobo spider a year ago. It was in my sleep. And it ended up turning black and I couldn’t walk and I was in tremendous pain and all sorts of gory things happened to me. I still have a gnarly scar to prove it.

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So this reunion with my dear friend the hobo spider totally freaked me out. I was paralyzed by fear, and all I could do was call out for someone to come and kill it for me. Mark came to my rescue, but I was still horribly shaken afterward. As I started getting ready for bed, I entered intense warfare against a spirit of fear trying to close around my heart. I prayed and prayed and prayed and declared peace over myself…but it followed me to bed anyway. I had terrible, skewed dreams about how I was afraid camp would turn out, and I didn’t get restful sleep at all.

That's how I felt when the alarm went off...

But Jesus.

And you’ll find out more about that from tomorrow’s post, so stay tuned! Because tomorrow begins the first day of actual youth camp…day 1 of Power Surge. And that was when God started showing up in a BIG way.