Day One, July 22 Wednesday - Gathering

Wednesday saw a legion of Evangelical Lutherans descend upon the Crescent City. There was registration, hotel assignments and the mass gathering in the Super Dome of almost 38,000 youth and leaders. Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson met us first via a video “road trip” as if he had traveled by bus with youth down to New Orleans, complete with mission experiences and recreational activities along the way. By the end of the road trip even the perspiring Bishop was getting a little “smelly” and needed a shower…but when he finally had time for that shower, it was time for him to come on stage in the Dome. So picture our Presiding Bishop, clad in shower cap and terry-cloth robe, DRIVING into the dome in a battery-powered bathtub! The crowd loved it…and as Bishop Mark stepped onto the stage he connected his “shower” with the baptismal grace that calls us all into humble service in God’s world. We experienced Bishop Mark’s wonderful willingness to entertain Gods people and lead them in gospel service in a way that attendees will not soon forget!

Day Two, July 23 Thursday - Interaction "Jesus" Day
Time was spent in the Interaction Center within the Convention Center with is 1 ½ miles long! Numerous activities where arranged. Gals made bracelets, masks, designed a tile and toured Habitat for Humanity video trailer. Guys did some Art and stayed active playing games including Rock Band. Most of us rode the indoor zip line which indeed conquered some of our fears. So much to do …so little time. Could have easily spent 2 creativity filled days in the Center. Evening mass gathering at Dome with great speakers/bands.

Day Three, July 24 Friday - Service Event "Justice" Day

Charter Buses: 48 departed from Super Dome, 37 from Convention Center and 15 from the French Quarter 3 times per morning for 3 days. We were shuttled to a local High school to watch a 1 1/2 hour movie, meet the local director and young man that was in the movie. The movie focused on the corruption within the school system prior to Katrina. Money was going into pockets and most teachers did not have any desire to actually teach students. After Katrina, the Federal Government stepped in and took control. Opening 5 major shcools and branching under them to open other schools as they were bebuilt. Then we assisted with highest priority of need in NOLA which is school supplies. FLC youth helped assemble 4,500 (13,500 total were done in 3 days) school supply kits which will be put in back packs to be placed on the desks of 13,500 students this fall. These are some of the most at-risk children in the U.S. because of poverty and ongoing trauma from the hurricanes. Evening mass gathering at The Dome included great speakers/band.

Day Four, July 25 Saturday - Service Learning "Jazz" Day

Workshop - Called to Make a Difference; This workshop explored our call story in light of God's reconciling activity in the world. Integrators - Labyrinth; A labyrinth is an ancient symbol that relates to wholeness. it combines the imagery of the circle & the spriral into a meandering but purposeful path. The labyrinth represents a journey to our own center and back again out into the world. Labyrinths have long been used as meditation and prayer tools. Learning Center - Art with Edge; We analyzed the artistic techniques used to portray church in Political Cartoons

For evening mass gathering we walked the 1 mile journey with the 36,000 other attendees to the Super Dome holding our FLC sign. The sidewalks down Poydras St were full for over an hour! It was truly an amazing sight. Kids were merging from all direction to congregate at The Dome. Mayor Nagen made a thank you appearance and Bishop Mark read a message of support from President Obama. Skillet was one of the favorite bands. Lots of light and pyrotechnics...hard rock christan music. Imagine 30 some thousand kids "head bangin" and screaming at a Lutheran youth gathering. Some of our older Lutherans would have gone into shock! It was a blast!!

Day Five July 26 Sunday - Closing

All participants were led in Word, song and sacrament by Bishop Mark at the ELCA Youth Gathering's closing worship. "God is not finished with you yet" Hanson told those gathered, "God is c alling you and God is counting on you". Jesus' presence was difinitely felt by all of us and the spiritual impact really sank in as we experience New Orleans' culture, history, stories, and began to see God's graceful hand in it all. We finished the gathering with renewed spirit for servie and plan to arrange our own community service project at home.

Mission Statement: The mission of the 2009 ELCA Youth gathering was to inspire and equip young people to step forward as a public church by following Jesus in the practice of compassionate justice.

 

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WHITE WATER RAFTING

http://vfhrafting.com

Tons of fun was had by all 27 youth and young adults joining in the

Vessels For Honor rafting trip. We were surrounded by one of

God's beautiful creations; Bighorn Sheep Canyon.

We praise the Lord that we once again were able to

participate in another awesome gathering!

Please click on the link to see photos:

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Youth Mission Trip Washington DC 2011

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Youth Mission Trip Boulder CO June 2014