Wednesday was too busy to get to the internet to post about Tuesday…it was basically the same as Monday, full of conference, new friends (we went over and had lunch with the group from Covenant Presbyterian Church in Staunton Virginia, which was very fun and gave us a new appreciation for our cottage, which is nicely located a flat walk from the auditorium, whereas the Covenant group is staying up the mountain a way!)…
Why was Wednesday so busy, you ask? Well…because it was Hannah’s 16th birthday! And because it’s the free afternoon at the conference, which means it was an afternoon spent in mission in Asheville, so we had to hurry to eat lunch and get to our mission site.
The day began with the leaders waking up early to decorate the living room with streamers and Sweet 16 decorations, continued with leaders singing happy birthday at the top of their lungs outside the bedrooms…then it was a morning at the conference before heading out to the Firestorm Café and Bookstore, where we helped the BeLoved house host the very first open mic coffeehouse for the homeless community in Asheville. We met people, invited them to let their voice be heard and share their art, made friends, made art, offered snacks, and generally practiced hospitality. “MC gingy-gin” was in the house—Chris was the MC for the afternoon (yes, that’s what he named himself!). The performances shared by the people were inspiring—everything from banjo playing to singing to Christian rap to a cross between rhythmic gymnastics and hula hooping. We even got to hear a new indie “band” (two teenagers) called Freedom Herd. More than a dozen people shared, were heard and seen (whereas the homeless and poor are often invisible and ignored), cheered for who they are and the gifts they shared. It was a wonderful afternoon, and we stayed an extra hour past our allotted time so we could hear everyone!
We grilled for dinner, and then went to worship, where Chris was one of the worship leaders! He was part of the procession, he read scripture and led another reading, and he prayed a prayer he wrote himself. He said it was a scary thing, to pray his own words on behalf of 1300 people. He did an amazing job and has been having a great time in his leadership-oriented small group.
After worship there was a tiny bit of sneakiness on the part of the leaders, so that we could throw Hannah a surprise party! We had brownie sundaes and each gave her a very fun present. She received a strobe-light squishy T-Rex, a bubble wand, goldfish crackers, a “moo-spoon” (an ice cream spoon with a cow for a handle!), light-up rings for her fingers, a car (every 16 year old needs a car….a matchbox car!), and some blue nail polish that smells like cotton candy. Hence today’s quote of the day: it turns out that the nail polish smells good only when it dries, so if you just smell the open bottle, it smells like a strange combination of sugar and grossly alcohol-y nail polish….which is “a different type of cotton candy”—ha!
All in all it was a great day—one of our best mission experiences, a great evening of worship, and a day-long sweet16 birthday party!
Excitements of the day: The song Ashe Ashe, which has great rhythm and helps us think about the Spirit of God in every thing. Birthday balloons, presents, and sundaes! Hearing people share songs and poems they have written, some singing in front of people for the first time ever. Chris looking across the birthday dessert table and saying “I will Redi-Whip you!”
Things we learned today: If you make two boxes of brownies and use a 15×10 pan, it takes the same amount of time as one box in a 13×9. weird, right?