Monday, January 16, 2006

Greetings Friends! I have a lot to tell about since I last posted. I won't waste too much time with formalities but will go straight to the telling. This is going to be my longest post yet, so if you read all of it then leave a comment saying so. I’ll be very proud of you.

Most of last week was rather uneventful. Tuesday and Thursday, I had detentions for tardies to school, but I'm working on that. I just need to make sure I don't hit the snooze button quite so many times in the morning.

Thursday as soon as I got home things really got jumping. The instant I got home I ran down to my room to pack. Unable to find the suitcase I usually use, I had to settle for a significantly smaller one. Within 10 minutes, I had stuffed my suitcase and backpack and was ready to go. I discovered later that I had forgotten my Bible and catechism, two things very useful for a weekend youth retreat, but only leaving those was pretty good for me. My mother, one brother, and I drove four hours from our mid-PA home to our English friends now living in Pittsburgh. We handled the basic formalities and then went to bed (or so I thought). Later I discovered that the others had stayed up to watch some of Napoleon Dynamite, but I had needed my sleep.

Friday morning was self-serve. Dorothy, the daughter a little younger than me, got up early to go to school for a half day. There was also a half day at my school, but I skipped legally. Rev. and Mrs. Naumann got up a little later to go to their jobs at the nearest LCMS church. My family, David, and Nigel got up and had breakfast at various times through the morning. My mom picked Dorothy up from school at 11:00 while I made soup for lunch. After lunch, we loaded everything into our car and went to the church to join the rest of the group going to the Higher Things conference. We left the church at about 2:00. The group went in two vehicles. Two leaders, my brother Nathan, and I were in Mr. Toft’s car. The other two adults and the four girls went in the gas SUV, which I later found out had a built in TV and DVD player. The seven hour trip actually went by fairly quickly even without a TV. We had substantial conversations about politics, evolution, movies, etc. We stopped at Panera Bread restaurant for supper.

At 9:00, we finally arrived in Indianapolis. After sight-seeing in a few local parking lots, we found the entrance to our hotel and unloaded our bags. We knew we would miss many of the events Friday evening, and we had. We missed dinner, the conference opening, evening service, and the first catechesis session; but we made in time for the movie, the last event of the evening. Chronicles of Narnia: the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is a very good movie. After the movie, a couple friends I made at Dare to be Lutheran spotted me and we talked for a little. We stuck together for most of the rest of the weekend. My brother and I roomed with Dan, a guy from one of the Indiana youth groups.

Saturday, the main day of conference events, started with a nice breakfast in Advent Lutheran’s fellowship hall. Thank you to Advent Lutheran for all the stuff you contributed to the conference . We then had a service following the order of Matins in the LCMS hymnal that will be coming out soon. I love those pure liturgical worship services! We had the second of Rev. Klemet Preus’ catechesis sessions on arguing (the whole weekend conference was based on arguing for Jesus), a presentation on arguing in spite of race and religious differences by Rev. Bullard, and wonderful lecture on the validity of the bible by a pastor whose name I don’t remember. I took a whole bunch of notes on all of it. We then had lunch, another bit of catechizing, and some free time during which I went to the local high school gym with a group going over to play dodge ball. The final “break away session” was on arguing with teachers and in classes. It focused more on college than high school, but was still good. Vespers followed this session. Dinner was wonderful fare of salad, lasagna, green beans, and cake served in a nice dimmed setting with candles on all the tables. The fourth catechesis was “Arguing about Jesus among Ourselves”. It was a panel presenting unified worship (standardized liturgy, traditional hymns, and such) versus diversified worship (more varied and contemporary Gr.. ;0) ). After timed-limited opening positions and responses there was time for people to ask questions of the two pastors. We then had a social mixer hosted by Advent’s youth group. There were tables set up all over with different games on them, a couple video game system set ups, a table with blank T-shirts and fabric markers, and people walking around trying to find people to play game they themselves had brought. I managed to find three other people to play Euchre, my favorite card game. In the last couple of minutes before we went to Evening Prayer, I scrawled “Higher Things: 2006 Winter Retreat” on a T-shirt, and had a couple of my friends write messages on it and sign it. By 11 o’clock, we were all scheduled to be in our rooms with the lights off, but in actuality there were parties held in several rooms until just after midnight.

Sunday morning we had time to eat the nice bagged breakfast we had picked up the night before. I didn’t though. The alarm I’d set for 7:00 never went off. I woke up at 7:35, woke Nathan, showered, got dressed, and ran down to meet up with the rest of our group. I wore my mostly purple with pink, maroon, indigo, and teal organically patterned custom tailored Thai silk shirt from Thailand, silk black slacks, and nice stiff dress shoes (I had to mention the shoes in case Jay is reading this). We had a liturgical high-church type service following the second setting for Divine Service in Lutheran Worship. We then had the last Catechesis session, packed a bag lunch from provisions provided for all by Advent, and hit the road for the long trip back to Pittsburgh. We got back and were picked up from the church by Mrs. Naumann and my mom. We had chili supper and soon thereafter went to bed like the good children we aren’t.

My mother had told Mrs. Naumann about the unspeakable outcome of my Nicol family pancake challenge, so I was drafted to make pancakes Monday morning. I got up early and made the pancakes (from a mix this time). Everyone seemed to like them, but I thought the mix was a bit flavorless. I think I’ve made just as many meal at the Naumanns as I’ve eaten meals made by them. After breakfast we gathered up our stuff and drove the four hours back home accompanied by a bag of snacks we’d been given because their family didn’t like them. I don’t mind though. I eat just about anything. We got home, I played a game of basketball and a few round of knockout my a big group of teens in my neighborhood, and wrote this.

I’ll finish this here. I think I have a bit of a cold, but hopefully it won’t become any worse.

valete amici! manete bene!


Heidi said...

I read it all. Are you proud of me? :P Sounds like a lot of fun. Sounds like a typical HT retreat! :D I can't wait til Colorado!!! Let me know when you know whether or not you're going.

Favorite Apron said...

Sounds like a great time Aaron.
I can't believe you drove right by Galion OH and didn't stop for a potty break and a hug. : (