Monday-Tuesday, July 13-14th, 2015. ELCA National Youth Gathering
Good evening! This is the first blog of our trip to the ELCA National Youth Gathering in Detroit, MI. I write this on the end of our first full day here in Detroit.
We got off to a bit of a rocky start as one of our group, Luke Knudtson, became very ill Monday morning. He was sick enough that he was not able to join us on the bus. Hopefully, he will be better and be able to fly in on Wednesday afternoon to join us. We pray for his health and hope that God will help him feel better and be well.
We got started in the rain at 7:45 pm at the BP in Boyceville. The kids took their places in the back of the bus and we headed out, picking up groups from Elk Mound, Bateman, and then Medford. The Elk Mound group brought movies and we watched (and some sang) The Lion King and Tangled. We stopped in Tomah to switch drivers. Along the way, the kids slept (especially Kayla Nelson, who can sleep anywhere), cuddled, laughed, talked, and sang (still). We made it through Chicago and stopped just short of the Indiana border at an Oasis I call the Quarry, which is a place my family would stop on the our way to Michigan to see relatives. It was about 5 am when we stopped and we all had some McDonald’s breakfast.
Most of us fell back asleep again on the way towards Detroit, even with the sun rising and a new day starting. We did have one close call on the drive as a semi-truck tried to beat us in a construction zone as we went from two lanes to one. Luckily, we didn’t get hit and everything was fine.
About an hour outside of Detroit we stopped at a Meijer, which is like a Wal-Mart store but much bigger. We got snacks as well as supplies that people forgot. After an hour, we got back on the bus and arrived at our hotel, the Country Inn and Suites Dearborn. We got checked in and the kids went to their rooms for a needed shower while Wendy and I picked up our wristbands, Bibles, and information for the Gathering. After a shower, we went to a Big Boy restaurant next door for a much needed real meal. We sang, “We Thank You Kindly” for grace.
After our meal, we went back to the hotel for some nap time or TV time. At 5 pm, Pastor Brad’s sister Amy and his brother-in-law Will picked us up for an evening at their house. We also dropped off all our diapers that we brought to help the people of Detroit. Joining us was PB’s niece’s church group from Hope Lutheran as well as another group from Iowa. Though the weather looked dicey and we had fun playing the pool, playing badminton and basketball, playing with the dog, swinging on the swing set, talking, and enjoying some food. The kids also enjoyed quizzing Amy and Will about PB and seeing pictures of him when he was young. It was a truly awesome experience to see kids from three different states share and play together.
We got back to the hotel, hopeful for ice cream at Baskin Robbins but it was closed. Some kids got some ice cream from the hotel lobby. We gathered in PB’s room to recap the day, talk about the next day, set our t-shirt schedule, and pray for a good week, for Luke’s health, and for good rest tonight.
Tomorrow we will be visiting Greenfield Village and then heading to Ford Field for the first Mass Gathering. You can join us online at www.elca.org/gathering at 7 pm.
Please keep us in your prayers and may God bless you!
My niece Kaelyn and I.