Time to say good-bye.
It's 4:42 pm and I'm in my dining room after meeting with our planning team to share stories, sip some wine and RELAX! : )
I can honestly say I'm pooped.... : )
A good type of exhausted....so bear with me if the sentences today don't quite string together. : )
Our mentors and participants are home, or journeying home at the moment.
They are tired, but they all have lots of great memories from SERVE and we were honoured to have gotten to know them.
So let's begin our last day together.
Let's start with my office, which has been quite unorganized as of late. : ) I just throw things where they need to be. Tomorrow I'll clean it up....maybe. : )
Our other Pastor's office is actually empty at the moment.
I will soon be occupied by Pastor Craig, but he's not arriving till August 23'd, so rather than sleep in my office and make it messier, I used his office.
Our warm fuzzy area has gotten LOTS of use this week. It will be sad to see it gone soon. : (
Alex is framing Daniel.
Get it......I know... I need more sleep.
We had our last breakfast devotions with Pastor Kaleb this morning. He's done an AWESOME job this week.
Thanks for all your work in many different areas.
You were so versatile. : )
I've also enjoyed your wife's blog comments too.
Jonathan....hmmmm, what are you doing. Someone's going to have to explain this one.
Hey, Lisa.....you got my better side. : )
Time to decide who eats first.
I love that power. : )
Food line once again.
You've seen a lot of this this year.
Caralynn, are you hungry?
After breakfast it was time to begin the clean up.
Sad for many of our participants, and mentors too.
Boy, these rooms sure are a mess.
Lisa, you seem like you are all done.
Jessica packing joyously.
She had a great time at SERVE.
Philippe about to pack his sleeping bag.
hmmmm, maybe Philippe doesn't want to leave......
Zach, is it all going to fit in that suitcase?
Slowly the rooms become more spacious again. : )
Alex and his mattress, and Joy pulling the vampire move behind him.
Shawn having a moment with Megan.
At 10 a.m. we had our final small group time.
We invite parents/guardians, or whoever is picking up the participant to join us for this final small group time.
Part of what they were doing today.
Painting the words
not necessarily in that order.
Sponge painting by Jessica.
John's mom looking on.
Two very artsy people.
The finished product.
Looks nice Steven.
Jordana is having fun, as usual.
Maybe she was reacting to Kyle....hmmm
Lisa quietly and patiently working away.
Ryan (I got it RIGHT this time) and Samantha working away.
Once again Bea and Grace have outdone themselves.
I am amazed year after year what they come up with.
The quality of small group and crafts are top notch.
Parents are always amazed at what they take home, and so am I.
I want to participate in small group and craft time. : )
Stephanie and Heather sharing a final small group time.
Anne (who heads up our Friendship group) with her son Philippe working together.
Francine and Kaitlyn have had a great week together.
Joey had an AWESOME time at SERVE as well.
Nice to be able to get to know you Joey.
One of the things they also took home was a picture of their mentor/participant pairings.
With the ability to have it signed.
Like a mini yearbook.
We spent the rest of the morning signing.... : )
At 11 a.m. it was time for our final worship time.
As you can see the stage area is getting VERY crowded, so I decided to let them all stay on the stage and I made my opening remarks and prayer from the pew. : )
Action songs : )
Becca and Lisa and Christie making music.
DeShawn enjoying worship time.
We forgot to get John his drum this year, but he diversified this week. Way to go John.
Shawn loves his guitar. : )
A nice shot from Peter's perspective.
He doesn't get to see very much. : )
More action songs.
Must have been a funny moment between Joy and Megan.
Joy, what's going on with your hair?
Our group from above.
Tyler thanking Mark for all his work this year.
Sarah and Olivia were night hawks last night (read their blog comments from yesterday to figure that out).
That means they stayed up all night, and then they still did video for us.
GREAT work you two.
Thanks Olivia for taking all that video.
A tradition we have at SERVE is that we give each first time participant a quilt, lovingly made by our church's quilting group.
This is Joey's
And a group shot showing all the quilts including
Ben C., Ben, and Christina.
A lovely gift.
After I did some thank you's and we gave out the quilts, it was time for Marky Mark to finish with his last talk.
He asked participants what their highlight of the week was.
FOOD was first. And rightly so. : )
you can read the others.
Marky reviewing the list.
This was the last time Marky Mark and Ronny Boy would be together.
Since I was wearing my Larry shirt, I mixed Mark up when he called me Ronny boy, by referring to me actually being Larry Boy.
Then Mark called me Larry Boy, and I corrected him, in that I'm actually Ronny Boy.
It was fun....for me at least. : )
We talked about all the tools we discovered this week, and how we now needed to go into the world to use them.
We put the door by the exit, so people would pass through it as they left into the world.
We ended our time with
"My friends, may you grow in grace"
A touching and fitting song.
Everyone holding hands.
Singing the chorus.
I like this picture because it says a lot.
By the end of the week, I can honestly say that I think we are all one body of Christ.
Mentor/Participant lines get blurry because we have come to see we are all equal in God's eyes, just uniquely made.
A fitting picture indeed.
hmmmmm, I think that was Larry Boy in this picture, not Ronny Boy.
Running on adrenaline at the moment. : )
They all look to TIRED!!! : )
Pizza.....you both look so TIRED!!! : )
Lisa said she was going to get LOTS of food shots today.
Sorry about that....I'm losing control over her. : )
Hmmmm, I don't remember that one.
That's a scary one. : )
A pensive shot.
Strange are you, Lisa.
After lunch it was time to say our goodbyes.
Not an easy thing for some of our participants.
Some touching moments.
Then it was time to CLEAN UP the church.
Took about 1 hour, but with 27 Mentors things go FAST.
No pictures of it though, as Lisa was getting pictures ready for me to do this final blog entry.
Sacrifices have to be made.
After the church clean up was finished, we said our goodbyes as mentors and then the planning team came to my house to relax, reminisce and unwine....no I mean unwind...whew. : )
I can't thank this group enough for the work they have done.
But I will.....
Mark for his great job as speaker again this year. I always enjoy hamming it up with you. I NEVER know what the next time will bring. : ) Your gifts of love and laughter and seeking out the good in others is infectious......blessings in your chaplaincy endeavours.
Christine for your organization of the praise team.
Thanks too Thomas for your assistance with Video.
Ann, Annet, Ruth and Kitty and the countless kitchen volunteers who helped serve us great food this week. Others noticed. : )
Annette for your work with the giving of gifts via the warm fuzzy table, and the organization of all of that. For organizing the prayer partner stuff and offering to do anything that was needed.
Bea and Grace for the GREAT work on small group and Crafts. AMAZING as always.
Janine and Harold for organizing work sites and Harold for his constant reworking of the driving schedule. : )
Joanna for your great work in handling our participants once again. A valuable asset to our planning team for sure.
Evert for getting the BBQ's and helping out in other ways.
Lisa for taking over 5800 pictures (not counting the many she deleted). AMAZING memories for us in the years to come.
Olivia for your videography.
And the countless volunteers that helped make this event happen. I will hand out over 100 thank you CARDS soon. : ) Amazing.
So this brings us to the end of our Youth Unlimited sponsored SERVE week for our Special Needs Youth.
Before I leave you and take some vacation time soon, I just wanted to leave you with a couple of observations:
1. I am in awe of how this group of 27 mentors came together and shone this week. AMAZING are you all. THANK YOU for giving of yourself this week. You grew, were challenged, and came to love and appreciate your participants in ways you never imagined. Keep wondering and thinking about how God has created ALL of us uniquely gifted.
2. I marvel at the gift we have in receiving 20 participants and getting to know them, to see them using their gifts in God's kingdom, and how they live in the moment. We could learn a few things about that. : ) Thank you parents for entrusting your beautiful children to our care for a week.
3. I am humbled as I heard Pastor Kaleb, who has special needs children of his own, break down as he tried to express his thanks to all of us (during last nights final mentor meeting time) for what we are doing for families who struggle day in and day out with their special needs children. He reminded us that we get to go home, but these families get to live daily with the struggles that arise. One of the many spin off reasons I so much enjoy and value our SERVE experiences.
4. I am amazed at how many volunteers it takes to make SERVE successful and how each year people step up to make this week happen. After each year I think our planning team thinks this will be our last year, because a week like this does come at a cost to all of us...but when I hear stories about participants who have grown so much because they have not received the simple love of God through other people, my heart yearns for this to continue for years to come.....and we will see if that happens in the months to come. No guarantees. For now we remember this past week, and our past SERVES (you can look at them on my blog if you want) and we celebrate what God has accomplished that we see, and that we may never see.
So thank you all once again for being part of SERVE in the reading of this blog. If you want to email me any of your thoughts or thanks that I can pass on to our mentors and planning team, please do so at email@example.com
If you wanted to write a snail mail thank you note (who doesn't love thank you notes??? )
c/o Calvin Christian Reformed Church
1475 Merivale Road
I'd love to hear from you.
Time for some R & R. I hope to sleep for 12 hours straight...... : )
Safe travels to all those still on the roads.