Thursday, July 14, 2005

My time in Gilbert, AZ

Quick short post about AZ, much of it already posted... but wanted to lay it out organized and neat. ha.
I flew in on Sunday from Savannah/Hilton Head after being on vacation. Flew into Atlanta right in the midst of Hurricane Dennis. Threw up on that flight. Didn't want to get on another plane. Especially to visit someone I had never really met. Landed in Phoenix at 1.30am PST, 4.30am EST.

Overall Picture
A combination of community outreach utilizing the Drop In Center (a ministry including homework tutoring, food and free skateboarding held every week during the school year at Gilbert Vineyard) and a kids VBS.
M and T were used to prime for W, TH and F - passing out flyers in the community and serving skaters at a local skatepark by handing out water, inviting them to W, TH, and F.
The team included students and leaders (some of the ones I met included Obie, Susie, Bill, Keith, Patty, Allyson, Courtney, Cela) from Gilbert Vineyard, three guys from Northern Ireland, a pastor/church planter from India, the Sportreach Extreme team and myself.
(PM and Gilbert Vineyard have made long term relationships with people in both Northern Ireland and India, which is how these guys came over for this.)

Monday and Tuesday
Team time in the am - praise and worship, devotions, hanging out, etc. I gave a few short talks here and there during M and T. Afternoon spent about an hour or so splitting into groups and passing out flyers around the community to invite them to the events later in the week. It was about 110 degrees F. Also prepped coolers, ice and water bottles for the skate park. Dinner was provided every night for us and anyone wanting to come to VBS, so we did odd jobs to assist for that. Evenings the team was split between helping out at VBS and outreach at the local skate park - about 10 minutes away from the church. Skate park outreach consisted of giving out free water, hanging out and making relationships and demos from the Sportreach Extreme team. M night I went to the skate park. Very wild. Talk about a subculture. T night I helped with VBS. They gave the adults free iced coffee. The first night had 150 kids show up - Gilbert Vineyard is a church of about 500-600.
I flew out on W right after lunch...The agenda W, TH and F included skate, BMX, and climbing wall demos at 3pm and 6pm, slip and slides, a free BBQ dinner, as well as skate time for kids that showed up.

The SportReach team
A cool bunch of guys and girls, mostly college aged and younger, that drove around the US with commitments to help out churches by doing an extreme sport clinic, show, type of thing. These guys and gals worked extremely hard, and were loads of fun to be around. Best story about them was 'The Blessed Burb (a GMC Suburban).' Talk about God providing... Two engines replaced for free, breaking down next to a wallet and being able to return it when they were towed to the town it was from...

A great sense of humor, easy-going, great family, the right kinds of priorities, he loves students, passionate about students reaching the community. He's built students that care about God and the world because thats the kind of person he is. A great community that he is a part of, he 'speaks life.'
That's him in the orange shirt. A few minutes before this picture was taken, he grabbed a set of new skateboard wheels he had in the church van, got a bunch of skaters together and did some funny competition to give away the wheels. It was so cool to watch him connect with these skaters. They are playing a game of 'skate.' (I have very little idea.)
For me, taking the risk of:
- flying to AZ
- puking my guts out on one of the flights
- sacrificing some time with the fam
was totally worth it to work, minister and hang out with him. God has tied our hearts together somehow.

So What?
- skate culture is a cool youth subculture. does it exist in MD? if not, is there another unique subculture?
- drop in center
reminds me of the concept of proxmity places in TSOTTC - very very cool idea
- long term partnerships
PM is totally into long term partnerships. They have been back and forth to N Ireland and India a few times. I have this feeling we are going to do things in partnership in the future - its a totally fun feeling...

Oh. and the first time this has ever happended to me - Susie said her knee was hurting, about an 8 on a scale of 1-10, 10 being the worst. PM, Obie and I prayed over it. And she said right away, it went to a 0. And stayed there.

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