Weekend Catch-Up

I want to thank you for praying for Avery's wife Joy and for his family.  I sincerely appreciate the comments you left for me and the many prayers that were offered on their behalf.  We have been communicating back and forth with our friends in Florida, but it's so hard to be here when we want to be there.  However, after the weekend we had planned, we knew it just wasn't meant to be.  But, the Lord knows our hearts and hears our prayers and we are resting in the peace and joy of knowing we'll see Avery again.  My heart still aches for Joy, knowing the hardest days are looming in the future as she tries to reconcile her "new" life without her darling husband.  This weekend I just kept dwelling on those words we all speak in our wedding vows,  "..till death do us part..."  They are words we never believe are going to be relevant, at least not for 50 or 60 years, but in just an instant they can be all too real.  Just. Like. That.  And yet, because Avery and joy put their hope and faith in Jesus, this is not the end!  Their hope is not empty and it is not wishful thinking.  Instead, it is grounded in the words of Christ and in the promise of salvation.  In death they've just parted, but in eternity they will meet again...the pain erased, the bodies made whole, the joy complete.

I know Joy's prayer is that she can walk through this new season, well.  Not just surviving, but honoring the Lord in her grief, trusting Him with her future.  It won't be easy, but she's got the creator of the universe whispering in her ear and holding out His hand for her to grasp.  He will get her out of bed in the morning and tend to her wounds; He will send the encouragement she needs and speak the healing words she'll cling to in His word.  Nothing will ever be the same for her, you don't "get over" losing your spouse; but I know Joy and I know she will take her broken heart to the only one who can make it whole again...

Shifting gears dramatically, we had a very, very busy weekend with a big student ministries event.  We had the 2nd annual "Gracies" a student film festival and awards ceremony.  It's so funny to see what drives teenagers in certain parts of the country.  In other churches we've been at, this event would NEVER have gone down well :) But, at Grace, our students just eat it up!  Seriously, it amazes me to see how talented and funny they are!  The synopsis of the weekend is that each small group spends Friday night together, writing, shooting, directing and editing a 5 min. film, following a theme they are given. Most groups are up literally all night (Travis got about 1 hour of sleep in his group) making a movie and then they have to drop it off Saturday morning to be judged.  We spend all day Saturday, judging the films and decorating the Church for the awards ceremony that night.  It's such a fun event and the kids really seem to enjoy it.  We love the films they make, but honestly, the whole point of the event is to promote unity in their groups, to give them a purposeful way to bond and include everyone and to help them gel as a group, so that real spiritual growth can take place throughout the year :) It's a blast, but it's also a ton of work!  Not just for the youth staff, but for every volunteer who leads a group.  Thankfully, we have wonderful volunteers and great parents who hosted all the groups at a variety of homes.  We are so grateful for the support we have at Grace.  It's such a blessing.  Here are some funny photos from the night!

Getting the food ready!

Don't those look great?  They were.

The candy jars on the tables turned out to be really fun.

A photo spot on the red carpet with our "gracie" award guy :)

The view upon entering the red carpet.

This is before most of the parents had arrived to be our paparazzi!  It was so fun, the kids loved it and lots of pictures were taken.  There were even some little kids asking for autographs!  Can anyone spot the cutest baby on the red carpet???

We had all the kids arrive at one entrance and then we shuttled them over in their small groups, aboard the "party shuttle!"  It was hilarious :) Travis and I spent Saturday morning getting this ready!

The driver :)

Getting their "movie star" attitudes ready for the big walk on the carpet!

This group cracked me up...for many reasons!

LOVED their style choices!

Some cute 8th grade girls :)

Of course Ava came too!

And uncle George was there to hold her!

Can you tell what a monkey she was that night??  She would not stop squirming, no matter who held her!  She spent lots of her time on the floor, playing with her toys and army crawling all over the place :)

Horrible picture, but proof that I was there too!

And now for some relative pictures :)
Katie and her friends.

Megan and Emily

Annie and her friends.

Hayley and George


Waiting for the night to start...

Announcing some winners!!
Everybody was a winner of some kind...although the awards had to get really creative to make that happen!  It was a fun night and we had a great turn-out.  We are wiped out and still playing catch up even tonight.  If you're interested, you can view the High School videos here and the Junior High videos here.  Enjoy  :) 


Rebecca Jo said...

I totally have to go check out those videos... what a fun night that looks like!! I was totally cracking up at the guys on the bus - they are definitely stylin'!!!!

petrii said...

How fun!!! These kids look like a great bunch!! And that Ava Page is seriously the cutest, squirmmy thing =)

Have a Bleassed day,

Faith said...

Y'all do the neatest things with your youth really do!

Thank you so much for your prayers and sweet words of encouragement. They mean so much to me! Love you, Faith