We had a unique bus stop on the way down when we were able to see a shoplifter getting arrested! (See Emily's blog for more details.) And we also had a unique experience on the way back driving through lots of rain and lightning and a tornado watch area! And let me just say that Rebecca is The Woman.
We were able to see the Liedtkes again in Columbus, GA They moved there last year to work in a church and school. Mrs. Liedtke's sister is the senior pastor's wife, and I was able to get to stay in their house (with Emily and Courtney). We got to see Sam again. We sang in their church Wednesday night and at their Christian school for chapel on Thursday morning. Our program consists of testimonies, singing, playing instruments, and usually a memorized speech by Sylvia (this info. is for people who don't get to see us--like my mom and siblings). We also got a tour of Fort Benning in Columbus, GA by a missionary to the military there (HOO-ah!). We didn't have much time, but we got to visit the infantry museum and see some parachuters training! Fort Benning is also where "We Were Soldiers" was filmed. Friday night we saw a drama class's play at Shiloh Hills Christian School (in Kennesaw, just north of Atlanta) before being split up to stay in various homes. (We had a little extra time to hang out when we got there so Joey made the most of it and earned $2 by eating a worm. And Luke rolled down the hill.) It is part of tour to get to fellowship and hopefully be a good testimony in the homes of people from the churches and schools we visit. Then Friday morning their chapel was our last performance before the long ride home.
I agree with what Justin said in chapel this morning, that it is often easy to get caught up in the "fun" aspects of tour and forget about the reason we are going out: to minister to others and hopefully give them a better view of our GOD, not necessarily of us or our school. I was guilty of that this trip, I know. It's easy for me to get caught up in taking pictures, making sure I have documented everything so I can make a good movie at the end of the trip, and it's easy to make that my focus instead of the service. So I hope I didn't let that get in the way of my ministry opportunities on this trip. I know since I've been back my focus hasn't been on thankfulness to God for what He allowed us to do, but on "will I be able to get the pictures together for the movie?" or "that was such a fun trip." My focus the last day or so has not been on God and thanking Him for His strength and provision and safety, it's been on "will people like the movie I put together?" and "will I get the right pictures together?". Then it's also easy to get discouraged when things don't turn out exactly right (or when you don't have any pictures of Robbie and Al wall-climbing...sorry, guys). So I need to get my FOCUS UP!
"Draw Me Nearer" is probably my favorite song from tour, and it is so powerful when I have the right heart attitude in it, it almost makes me cry. That's how I need to be every day...drawn to God, doing nothing apart from Him. One comment I heard from a girl at Sam's school while eating lunch with her was that she almost cried during that song. It encouraged me to know that the message was going across.
Another neat thing was Mammoth Cave in Kentucky, where we stopped on the way home. Unfortunately my focus there was also taking pictures instead of focusing on God's marvelous creation. Especially being able to sing "Almighty and Everlasting God" in the cave. How cool! Especially if you are able to focus on the words. Actually, our tour guide saw me taking pictures and asked if I would send him one or two so he could put it up on their bulletin board (I think), so I am looking forward to doing that and maybe sending him some information about our school and such. He seemed to be impressed with our group. You never know how God could use even this to be a witness for Him.
So, FMT "kids" who read my blog (and apparently you're the only ones who do because I had absolutely no comments from anyone else over the break), thanks for a great tour this year. I was sorry to have to come home; I wish we could have been away longer. But my challenge for you would be what it is for myself, to keep going with that servant's attitude and looking for ways to be good testimonies and living examples of God's love, even here in our own backyards.
Getting "chased" by a tank at Fort Benning, GA:
Outside the Liedtke's church (Grace Baptist) in Columbus, GA
Mammoth Cave, Kentucky:
FMT outside Mammoth Cave: