I can truly say this was the best week of my life. It was packed to the brim and overflowing with sessions, worship, small group, amazing friends, inside jokes, and I could go on. But, I'm going to do this in an organized fashion and separate everything into sections.
God blessed me with some amazing people to be with this week. I love them so much. Words cannot even express how much more amazing they made my week. Between the inside jokes, attempts to be TPA, worship, meals, session, and everything else, I can say right now that we will be friends forever. So Lily, Kiefer, Amy, and Miranda, here's to you. I <3 <3 <3 you guys.
Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming, swimming, swimming. My small group's color was coral, thus the water theme in our cheer. Small group was a time where we separated into little groups (no, duh) after morning session and discussed what we had gotten from session, bonjour, or just anything else that was on our minds. I really enjoyed how open everyone was in my group. We all were close even though half the time we forgot each others names. Small group games was sooo much fun. We had awesome team work and were in the top three for all of our games. Even though we didn't win overall, we still had an awesome time.
WOW. Worship was amazing. I loved the songs and loved being surrounded by teens like me on fire for God singing our little hearts out to Him. I think everyone that was at NC will agree with me that Thursday night worship was the best of the week. I'll touch more on that in a later section.
The session were (once again) amazing. I learned something from every speaker. The speakers all had their own way of teaching us and each had a different subject they touched on. I have to say, though, if I had a favorite, it would be Aaron Watson. He manages to lace good, impelling, and drawing speaking with good humor, keeping everyone listening and on the edge of their seats. To everyone who spoke at NC this week, awesome job. I thoroughly enjoyed everyone of you.
What are friends without a boatload of crazy, random inside jokes? The two most prominent in my group were *heart thump* and "is that TPA?". The *heart thump* . . . oh wow. I really don't know where to go with this. Basically it means "be touched". I think I'll just leave it at that. "Is that TPA?" was pretty much the phrase of the week. Whether it was talking about movies or hugs that lasted longer than three seconds, or odd small group games, there seemed to be often a reason to stop and ask, "is that TPA?".
You can't have TeenPact without Ultimate Frisbee. I myself am a TeenPacter that does not play Ultimate, but now that I understand it, I do enjoy watching it. There was an Ultimate tournament this week, where teams from different states got together in the most intense competition next to elections. The championship game on Friday between the Bee's Knees and Red Hot Chili Peppers was absolutely crazy. The Red Hot Chili Peppers won a landslide victory, but not before there were epic moves all around and an intense Interns vs Students game during half-time.
Most of you know that I ran for Representative at NC. Unfortunately, I did not make it out of party elections, but you can bet your homeschooled self that I will be running next year. Elections were the most intense competition of the week. Campaign posters were plastered everywhere, people were wearing t-shirts compelling you to vote for their favorite candidate, and many got up and 5:30 am so that they could be the first to vote on Thursday morning. Several people I knew got elected to Congress, and I thoroughly enjoyed this aspect of the week.
Every morning before morning session, they sent us out to have a "bonjour" time with God. I looked forward to this just me and God time every morning. They had little guides for us and I definitely learned a lot and grew closer to God in this time every morning. I plan on doing a little bonjour time every morning now.
Rendezvous was a little time every evening where everyone would gather in their own individual rooms and talk about the day. We girls were cool and rated our days before discussing them. This was definitely another favorite part of my day, and I really loved getting to know all the girls in my room better. My room leaders (Anna and Amy) were sooo amazing, and one evening during rendezvous, when I began crying because of the overwhelming nature of the day and from the healing I was getting (more on that later), Anna was instantly at my side, hugging me and telling me it was going to be okay, and encouraging me to keep going. Later we stepped out of the room and she prayed for me. Anna and Amy, you were the best room leaders ever, thank you for everything you did this week whether we were laughing or crying.
You can't put 400+ teens together for a week and not have emotions. It is impossible. Whether laughing at some random joke, smiling at an amazing day or at God's amazing love, or crying with joy and conviction every emotion was a joy and such a blessing to me, and I thank God that I can feel emotion.
Coffeehouse was a short time after evening session and before rendezvous and bedtime where everyone had snacks and mingled so as to wind down the day. It was a lot of fun wandering around, making new friends, and enjoying just being around everyone. It also (for me, at least) held a bit of sadness, because it made me realize that another day was almost over, and that was one less day left that I had there.
God did some amazing work in my heart this week. The past several years have been hard for me. I've been trying to heal, rise above it all, and my heart had been piecing back together before this week. But it was this week that God put the last piece of my heart together. I realized I hadn't been letting God be my only passion, and wasn't really letting Him carry my burdens or fully heal me. I also realized that a major part of the healing process was forgiveness. And this leads me to explain Thursday night worship. We started out worship with one song, then separated into prayer groups. Being a former military kid, and having so many friends and family in the military, I chose to go to the group praying for our military. After getting back, I was talking to the girl next to me (Serena<3) about prayer group, and she said, "I went to the one where we pray for our peers. I was wondering if there was anything I could pray with you about right now." I sat back, amazed at how God works, and nodded slowly. I told her a little bit of what I went through and how I was trying to heal, but that I was realizing how hard it was to forgive and that it was something I really needed to do. With tears streaming down both our faces, she took my hands in hers and prayed for me. Instantly, I began feeling the burdens fall away. Then, we started singing again. The worship leader began talking about how often we let idolatry take over our lives and don't let God be our only passion. We need to let God be our only passion. He said if we needed to pray, just fall to our knees and start praying. If we saw someone praying, comfort them, pray for them. Almost instantly, everyone in my group began falling to our knees, shaking and crying. We all put our arms around each other, we gathered together in a lasting embrace, crying and praying in a worship session that lasted over an hour. That night, I forgave. I forgave everyone who has made my life a struggle the past several years. When everyone began standing up again, I felt ten times lighter than when I had knelt down. Praying together with my friends, not knowing what each others burdens were, but knowing we had them was one of the most amazing, God-breathed things I have ever done. It makes me so excited for Heaven. Some people think that when we get to Heaven, we won't remember the people we loved and knew on earth. I don't believe that. I believe that not only are we going to be hugely blessed to be able to do worship God in person, but we are going to be able to do it surrounded by the people we love. Because on Thursday night, God blessed me with being able to do just that. Worship Him with people I love. And it was one of the biggest blessings I have ever gotten.
Thanks for reading! If you would like to see my photos from this amazing week, here's the link: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=64190&id=1346584511&l=0a7718702e (you'll have to copy and paste it into your browser)