It's almost Friday; another weekend is almost here. Yes, I will finally admit that I'm getting behind in my blog. It was bound to happen, I suppose. But here I am now, ready to talk about last weekend, when our team went to Indianapolis.
As I said last time, Rachel was sick and couldn't come with us, so Candy from Orange Team came along. First thing I found out about Candy: she's a van sleeper. We left around noon on Friday, and she was asleep before we got to the highway! And not long after that, most of the rest of our team was asleep as well. I was riding shotgun with Will driving, which gave us some time to talk. I was happy to get to know him a little better; we talked about life, music, church, God, and some other things. It was good to just share our opinions with each other and listen to each other.
We got to our first church in Lafayette, IN for a youth group event and got ready to unload...when we saw THE STAIRS! A HeartSong team's worst fear; we had to pick up everything on wheels and lift it up about 8 stairs, which took a lot of teamwork. All of a sudden in the middle of it all I turn around and see all the guys lifting Oscar (our nickname for our largest equipment crate), going right up stairs like it was nothing. I was thoroughly impressed, until I saw the smaller crate of cords sitting on the floor that they had taken out before lifting it. I was less impressed but more proud of my boys for their intelligence. ;)
After we set up and ran sound check, we started to go through a few songs. But with everything we did, we were going soooo slooooooow! Maybe we were tired, maybe we had gotten used to the click track in the studio, I don't know. I was so frustrated, but after awhile I had to just stop talking and let it be what it was. I prayed that I would still be able to worship, even if it was hard to listen to. I couldn't blame anyone for it; we were all doing it. I just wanted to focus on my ministry and my God. It was difficult to listen to our tempo getting slower and slower and not say anything, but I kept praying that God would give me a heart for worship and that I would focus my heart on Him.
We had some pizza and mingled with the kids and families before we played. The concert went really well, even though there were still some slow spots. One thing I noticed was that Grant is getting more and more comfortable as our worship leader. I'm sure it must be hard for him to lead our team musically as a freshman, but he has improved a ton since the beginning! After the concert, I got to talk with some of the girls in the youth group about Cedarville before we tore down. Dane and I had a bonding moment trying to fit everything into Oscar; it's like playing Tetris sometimes with that thing. Anyway, after that we all went to B-Dubs (first time for me, apparently I needed to be initiated) before heading to our host home with a recent Cedarville grad, who had the cutest apartment in the whole world. The four of us talked for like an hour about Cedarville and HeartSong. It was so fun to hear stories from Candy about her experience on HeartSong, and it got me really excited for the summer! We all got ready for bed before settling in to fall asleep to a movie.
The next day we all slept in like we planned, and when we woke up we heard that the guys had already loaded up the trailer and it was time to go to the youth pastor's house for brunch. After a great meal and fellowship with the youth pastor and his family, we were off to the next church and got there about a half hour later. Our contact at this church was DJ, former HeartSong team leader who had worked with our team at the Brownsburg retreat. Set-up went a little differently because we didn't need to set up speakers; we plugged in to the church's system. We rehearsed for most of the afternoon with Jim (and now our team has a new inside joke about me that I will NOT include in this blog!), but most of rehearsal was directed toward Dane. Plugging into a church's system creates a whole new set of issues for a sound man; Ed, the church's tech guy, had a lot of experience and was very helpful. Despite the frustration that Dane must have felt and how hard it must have been to listen to Jim, he took criticism with grace and learned so much from that rehearsal. He's another person on our team who has improved so much and is getting more comfortable with his job, and I am so excited for him.
After rehearsal, we went to a restaurant in Crawfordsville, IN called Little Mexico. Will's birthday had been the day before, but most of us didn't remember it until it was over. So Tommy and DJ set it up with the waiter to celebrate his birthday that night. Once we finished eating, the waiter came out and plopped a sombrero on Will's head and held out a bowl of fried ice cream with a ton of whipped cream and a cherry on top. He told Will to grab the cherry with his teeth, and when Will went for it, the waiter shoved the ice cream into his face, and he got whipped cream all over himself!! Tommy had "borrowed" Will's phone and was taking pictures, and this one's worth a thousand words, for sure: http://plixi.com/p/75113300.
The boys dropped us off at our host home, a HUGE house with a guest suite in the basement where we stayed. We talked with our hostess for a while about our families, and she told us about herself, her family, and her husband, who was in Israel with the other church pastors. After awhile we decided to all put on our pajamas and watch a movie. I'm tempted to say "deja vu" from the night before, but the place where we were staying was SO different that I can hardly say it (plus we all stayed awake for the whole thing this time).
The next morning our hostess fixed us some delicious pancakes before we left for the church. We led worship for the two morning services and got to hear DJ preach "his first real sermon." We got a huge response! During the second service, when DJ introduced us, he asked the congregation to do the hand motions with us, which we had left out for the first service. There were people in their 40s waving their hands in the air during "Rise and Sing," and after both services, we sold so many CDs and T-shirts and even some Cedarville Silly-Bandz! It was so cool to share with people about our music and Cedarville and see them respond.
After we tore down and Dane and I played another game of Tetris with Oscar, we had pizza before hitting the road. On the ride back, Candy pulled out her Christian Worldview Integration homework (a class that's part of the Bible minor), which was a list of difficult questions about things like divorce, gay marriage, animal rights, abortion, nudity in art, you name it. I found out that the class is basically discussion based on these questions. With Tommy driving and Will in the seat behind him, the two of them started going at it! They would find a place where they disagreed and pull out Bible verses and quotes from professors and Greek words and cultural references and whatever else they could think of to prove their point! Who needs the Super Bowl when you've got two Bible majors trapped in a van with a list of controversial questions for entertainment!! Finally we pulled into a gas station, and before getting out Tommy said, "I love you, man," and Will said, "Love you, too." Yes, there's a lot of love on our team, even when we have to sit and listen to each other argue. When we got back (to no roll-in song because we had no CD player), we unloaded super fast, and by the time I got back to my dorm I was anticipating our next weekend out.
If I had to choose a theme for this weekend, it would probably be patience. From songs that are too slow to unfamiliar sound systems to heated discussions, there were a lot of times over the weekend that the 8 of us just had to take a deep breath and listen to each other. Being a servant of others can mean just letting them talk or letting them take on their own responsibilities without trying to correct them or get a word in edgewise. Even though sometimes things are hard to hear and hard to bear, we should still listen to each other and learn from each other, cultivating patience with each other and with our situations. I think this weekend we all discovered how important it is for us as a team to have patience and take time to listen to each other, to take criticism with grace and to see things from each others' perspectives. On any kind of team, and as the body of Christ, we can become more united if we make a commitment to listening when it's hard to hear.