Friday morning I had planned to sleep in since I was going to Winterfest Friday afternoon. At 9:28am I was delightfully awakened to my house swaying and a loud rumbling. I really thought Jesus was coming back. But after a few minutes of this going on, I realized that I was still on earth and He didn't come back...bummer. So I ran downstairs and my mom and I decided it was an earthquake.
We knew it was an earthquake because we were in the big Hawaii earthquake a few years ago. We were asleep on the fourth floor of our hotel and the first earthquake was at 7am. We couldn't even walk because it was swaying so bad and the power was out. Finally it stopped a little so we ran out of the room and found everyone racing down the stairs. As we left the room, every towel was swaying on the towel rack. It is still so weird to think about. When we got out of the hotel everyone was so worried about a tsunami coming. We called our family and told them that they will be showing the earthquake on the news so not to worry because we were okay. The earthquake was a 6.8. There were lots of aftershocks all day. It was Sunday so once it was "safe" to go back to our room we got ready to go to church. I remember taking a shower in the dark and still watching the towels sway from aftershocks. The hallways were dark and everything was eerie. On our way to church we listened to the radio and heard about the damage. We had church in the dark and everyone was still shook up. On our way back to the hotel we realized that we had no cash and the power was out so there were no ATMs open. It was a very weird and scary feeling knowing that you are on an island in the middle of nowhere and we still weren't sure about the possibility of the tsunami. Thankfully everything was fine and we had a great trip.
Random note...in Hawaii after the earthquake it rained for a few days straight starting right after the earthquake. On Friday here after the earthquake it was SO foggy and rained too. Does that always happen?
So Friday afternoon we left for Dallas. Worship started at 7 followed with a lesson. Now, worship at Winterfest doesn't mean worship like we normally think of. Also, a lesson doesn't mean a normal type of lesson. I can't even explain it but it is amazing and so powerful. There are 5000 teens, parents, elders, and sponsors worshiping together. Wow.
Phil Brookman, one of my youth ministers, was the speaker on Friday. He did such a great job!!
The theme this year was The Veil. We talked about the veil in the Tabernacle. We were separated from God because of our sin. We could not be in the presence of God because He is pure and we are not. No one could enter His presence except the High Priest once a year with sacrifice.
We saw a reenactment of when the veil in the tabernacle was torn when Jesus sacrificed himself on the cross for us. We could then see God. His presence was now open to all. Before we took communion, we were reminded that for the same reason the veil was broken, Jesus' body was broken for us. We were eating the bread, His body, and drinking the wine(or grape juice), His blood. He was the sacrifice for us to see God.
Through out the weekend we were challenged to remove whatever veil we have that is separating us from truly following and knowing God. We need to remove our veil and show the world the real us. We need to stop being fake and we need to be real with people and the world. We talked about that we need to know what we believe so that when we remove our Veil, we can share why.
The weekend was so uplifting. We also had a few Christian comedians come. They explained that they don't make fun of Christians, like their title sounds. But they want to spread laughter and happiness because that is what God blessed them with. One of the best was Bob Smiley. He was great!
Before we left on Sunday, we heard the testimony from Sean from last seasons Biggest Loser. It was amazing!! He is a youth minister in Tulsa and was apart of an acapella singing group. When he came out he got a standing ovation. It was so neat.
Physically it was a very hard weekend. I couldn't have made it without my pain medicine. I had to take it as often as I could(every 6 hours) which means I was very drugged the whole trip. I hate taking it. Hate hate hate. The side effects are annoying and everything seems like a blur. But I guess I'll take the side effects if the pain gets a little better. I got around 3 hours of sleep a night which didn't help anything. We didn't stay up too late, I just couldn't sleep (surprise I know)
Great roommates :)
When we got back to church on Sunday afternoon I was reading the bulletin and this was the first verse on the outline for the lesson Sunday morning.
"But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit." 2 Corinthians 3:16-18
Is it a coincidence that our church was learning about that the same time Winterfest was? I think not.