The other day I ran across a list of things in a notebook. I'm not sure what the list was supposed to be, but I'm assuming it was a list of my life dreams, because there were some things that were crazy unbelievable and others that were already achieved. The second to last item on the list was "HeartSong/traveling team." I'm pretty sure I made this list before I decided to try out for HeartSong, and I was amazed to find that even before I thought to try out God had laid this desire in my heart. This moment was one of the many amazing things that happened to me this weekend on Fall Break Tour. Thankfully, half of it is already written down in my last blog entry, because I'm already starting to forget. I hope to share the things that God has done in the past two days tonight before bed so I won't forget any more. I'll pick up where I left off.
Saturday morning we slept in (reasonably) before heading to the church to rehearse some more. That day was more of a preparation day for Sunday morning's hour-long program. Before we started, though, we all really wanted to go through "You Hold Me Now" again because we were so excited about it! After that, we ran through the program a couple of times, adding in the transitions, member introductions, and prayer. Rehearsal was less intense; we took longer breaks and had some down time to relax. We had lunch at Chick-fil-A (which made me miss my sister), Graeter's Ice Cream for an afternoon snack courtesy of Rachel's mom, and Chipotle for dinner before heading over to our host home for a youth group event that they were hosting. We got a chance to hang out with members of the youth group, played Wii and had Q&A time with HeartSong. That was weird; up until now I had always been the one asking the questions, not answering them. But it was a lot of fun.
Sunday was a very full day! We started the long day with our first church service. After going through a couple of songs before the service, I was getting really nervous for our team; our warm-up time did not go very well from my perspective. The elders of the church prayed with us before we started, but I needed a little more prayer time, so I grabbed Rachel and we found a spot to pray together. We both prayed that as we worshipped, we would not be important in light of who God is and what He has done, and that the congregation wouldn't see us, but would see God moving through us. The service went okay ("Great!" from Dane's perspective, which is the important one, I guess), but how the service went is insignificant in light of what happened afterwards; during the pastor's final remarks, he said, "We just want to thank you [HeartSong] once again, and I don't know about the rest of the congregation, but from the very first song, I could tell that it wasn't about you; it was about the God you serve, and it was so great to see Him move through you this morning." I was floored! I have no doubt that God answers prayers; I believe that He does with all my heart. But to pray something like that, and then to hear it immediately confirmed... Having a prayer like that answered so clearly has never happened to me before! I am speechless. God is truly amazing.
After that, another amazing thing happened! Crazy, right? Well, during the days leading up to Sunday, during the course of conversation with the church's youth pastor, Jake, I found out that Jake's wife had read a book called I Kissed Dating Goodbye by Joshua Harris, which is a book that I've been trying to read this semester in my non-existant free time. Lately I have been struggling to understand what it means to pursue God in my singleness, and how I will know when it's time to stop being single and pursue marriage. So I knew I wanted to talk to her. As people were leaving the sanctuary, after a bit of mingling and hugs from my host family, I tracked her down. I wondered for a minute what the best way to go about this was, and then I decided to just come out with it. I think I said something like, "Hi, I'm Deanna, and your husband told me you read I Kissed Dating Goodbye, and I just wanted to know how that worked out for you!" Okay, it was a little more detailed and polite-sounding than that, but I'm sure what I said was just as forward. Jackie was super nice, though, and was so excited to talk to me about her life and how the book changed her view of dating. She told me that she didn't start dating her husband until she was sure that they would eventually get married, and that two days after they started dating, he began putting aside money for a ring. And then somehow the conversation got around to my blue scarf and the many ways to wear it. We were instant friends. Talking to her was so encouraging, and now that we're Facebook friends, I'm looking forward to getting to know her even more.
After pizza for lunch and a prayer for Jake and Jackie, we left for Dayton and our final event of the day, coincidentally at Dexter's youth group. We got there, set up, and ran a couple of songs for our 20-minute program. After that, we had a cook-out with the youth group, and it was so fun to see Dexter get really excited talking to all of his best friends and introducing all of them to us. Once dinner was over, we headed in and started the service. Fittingly, Dexter was in charge of the prize give-aways and talking about Cedarville, and it was so funny to see him and Joellyn work together doing it! When it was time to start playing music after that, we told everyone to stand up. But the kids didn't just stand; they came out from their seats and gathered around the stage like a mosh pit. WHAT?!?!? Number 2!!! First I'm signing autographs, now kids are forming a mosh pit? I didn't sign up to be in a rock band! But as we worshipped, I knew that in that group of kids, it couldn't have been done any other way. They were very responsive to our music and to their pastor's message. Afterwards, I got a chance to meet Dexter's family and talk to some kids in the youth group about Cedarville and HeartSong before we stared cleaning up.
I had a blast the entire break, all the way up to the car ride home, which consisted of Dexter and Will arguing, Joellyn and Grant making fun of each other, and hearing Will's backseat-driver comments about Tommy's driving (P.S. Tommy, Will is driving the van and trailer from now on!). Even when we came into campus, we were having fun! Since we don't have a roll-in song yet, we were listening to the radio on our way in, and it was between songs and the DJ's were talking. Grant, Dexter, and eventually the rest of us pretended what they were saying was a song and made up our own tune to whatever words we heard them say. It all ended with Dexter rolling down the window and singing "I PLEDGE ALLEGIANCE TO THE FLAG!!!!!" in the loudest, absolute highest voice possible before the van stopped and he got out to spot for Tommy.
Though this whole weekend I saw God moving in the lives of the people we ministered to, and through our own lives as well. God gave me blessing after blessing all four days of this trip, and all together, however small they were, they brought me all the way through to the end. Right now, I am so tired but so content. God put me here, to do what I love, and to bless me as I do it. What a crazy amazing opportunity! I hope to never take it for granted. Soli Deo Gloria!