Saturday, August 8, 2009

ray letter

August 7, 2009

Dear "Pastor Barb", Pastor Gabe & Serah, Pastor Dan & Rachael, Dave & Mindy, Karine, Tammy, Natomi, Kim, Bill, Dan, and all the younger adults that I've had the pleasure of being with the past week, I have truly been blessed to have met and spent time with all of you.

While walking through the break-room at the hotel this morning two of the male workers where talking about a group that was staying here, I stopped, turned around and mentioned I think that’s my group I brought down. They both said you are the best group they have had stay, and while choking up a bit the one gentleman said he would actually miss you when your leave.

Now you can see how the little things you say and do are seen and commented on by others. While I have been with many groups similar to yours, I will say you are head and shoulders above the rest.

Hopefully we can do this again sometime!

Thank you from the guy who sets in the driver seat! May God bless you all and the great country we live in!



Friday started with all of us heading over to the convention center to have youth choir practice to their noon entry! They did great, changed into the choir shirts, and we headed to the choir entry room.

They had a couple of choirs to listen to, and then they were on deck! The choir entered onto the risers and they positioned themselves appropriately. Pastor Marsha ran the sound check with the instruments, and then she counted off... 1, 2, 3 and the choir turned in unison to face the back wall. The crowd in the room loved it! Then the music began, and on the appropriate beat, the sopranos, then altos, then the guys turned to face the audience and they the song rain down!!! They did the best I have ever seen them! They nailed the ending... and the crowd went wild!!

They filed off and we rejoiced in the hallway! Pictures taken, from the balcony of the choir below... and we filed outdoors to take some pictures by the lake.... It was an exhilarating time!

1/2 of the group went with P. Gabe and Serah to see G.I. Joe. The rest of us went back to subway and the hotel to swim! It was a great afternoon.

We loaded the luggage on the bus at 6 pm. and we headed to McDonalds and the convention center for the closing Celebration Service.

Final results for the Youth choir: 9th place out of 45 youth choirs!

Jen Sargent: 11th place out of a ton of choirs!!

It was a great time. We walked back to the hotel, and loaded the rest of the stuff and kids on the bus and we departed from the hotel at 11:30 pm. Ray, the bus driver, slept much of the day in order to be prepared to bring us home!

It was an awesome day!

Friday, August 7, 2009


Wow... What a day!

It started early with a youth choir group picture by the bus with the bus driver, Ray. Then we headed to the convention center.

Jen Sargent had her short sermon 1st callback and she did an excellent job!!! On the first day of her sermon there were upwards of 220 short sermon entrants! At Jen's first callback, she was 1 of 22 entrants!! On her 2nd callback she was 1 of 11 entrants!

We will only know tonight if she advances any further. Pray she does!!!

We spent the better part of the day at the conv center, as the youth choir was practicing, listening to other youth choirs, watching Jen.
Then we went for dinner at Golden Corral and we celebrated with Ben, his 17th birthday, enjoying cake after a short practice at the hotel. Then it was chill time in the pool!! And early light out! (Uh-huh....)

It was an exciting day!!

Thursday, August 6, 2009


Wednesday... several of our group went to the convention center to take in some performances and they had a great time. The rest of us, went over at lunch time. Jen Sargent was to preach at 3:24, Elizabeth at 5:16.

They both did an excellent job! During the evening service I gathered results for their entries as well as Nate Nemetz's pre-judged entries. The results are below.

Elizabeth Erickson: American Sign Language Solo - SUPERIOR

Nate Nemetz: Poetry - SUPERIOR
Nate Nemetz: Short Story - SUPERIOR

Jen Sargent: Short Sermon - SUPERIOR WITH HONORS and a call back invitation for 11:00 on Thursday!

Great job everyone!

Youth choir practiced out side and worked on their choreography making it crisp! They perform tomorrow at noon!

Everyone was pumped after service last night, and the students and some adults walked the streets back to the hotel singing and having a great time!!!

It was a great Day!

We head back to the convention center early on Thursday, for Jen's callback! More youth choir practice, and viewing more entries... especially youth choirs and human videos!

Have a blessed day!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Tuesday! - on Tuesday... we hung out at the hotel, youth choir practiced in the breakfast room of the hotel, pool time.. you know... lots of Fun!!!

It was a very relaxing day. Then we headed to Super Wal-Mart! We needed to restock on food and stuff. We were planning to go to the Women's Mission again, and we wanted to take some school supplies to donate to the mission. So, we took up a collection on the bus, and collected $87.00. We ran feverishly through the school supplies area, throwing random things into the cart, not really keeping track of the $ amount. When we got to the checkout, the total was $86.38 !!! We took 9 bags filled with school supplies!

We went to the mission, and our students played at gym-time with the kiddos from the mission! They ranged from 3 to 16 years! Snake-eyes, kick, ball, basketball, football, were among the activitied there. The kids loved to play with our kids, and they also loved the cameras!!!

It was an awesome time! When we returned to the hotel, Bill was back, with Pastor Gabe, Kim and Caleb. He's doing well.

Monday, August 3, 2009


Well, Monday came with Karine being exhausted from having to change from one hotel room to another at Midnight, and then volunteering to stay home from the beach to leisurely run over and "quickly" register our students for their events!!! 3 1/2 hours later... she was still in line when we returned from the beach!

Natomi's trip down was met with stress and many phone calls and texts back and forth, as she deal with a fairly major snafu in her flight down! But, she arrived safe and sound, and was pleasantly surprised to see Andrew Cameron at the airport ... allowing her to tag along to have traveling companions as she ventured out to International Drive and eventually our hotel!

The trip to the beach was rewarded by our first stop to pick up the t-shirts. The kids will have something to wear when performing! Then we headed to Ron Jon Surf Shop! It's a great place!

Cocoa Beach is a pretty area, and we went to the beach near Oh Shucks & Marlins. We rented a surf board to let the kids try it out... they all had a great time in the water. Lunch at Marlin's was really good!

Our beach time was cut a little short by a storm rolling in. It was cool to watch the rain come rolling in further down the beach, and to see the interesting storm clouds. We were, however, able to arrive safely on the bus before the rain hit us, and we were blessed to limit the amount of sand dragged on board! We all appreciated that, especially since it is our home away from home for much of this trip! Thank you Mindy and Cindy for your diligent efforts in that area!!

Our trip to the beach was overshadowed a bit, by Dan Cooper getting a rather impressive little fish bite, on his arm; and Bill Sargent experiencing some medical issues that warranted a trip to the local E.R. He was kept overnight for observation, but is doing well. Please keep Bill, Darlene (who is home in WI), Kimberly and Jennifer in your prayers, as tests are run and this all gets figured out. We miss you Bill!

Registration handled...the kids back at the hotel to shower and change for service, the group headed over (minus Barb... who needed just a little down time) to the opening service. It was great, and Jeff Deyo performs at the youth services each night this week! The group avoided the crazy mob of people at the end of the service, by chilling a little longer at the convention center, playing a hearty game of Duck Duck Goose!! HA HA!

Performance times are as posted below:
Youth Choir sings at Noon on Friday
Jennifer Sargent preaches her short sermon at 3:24 on Wednesday
Elizabeth Erickson performs her American Sign Language Solo at 5:16 on Wednesday

Tuesday activities will include youth choir practice time with Pastor Marsha, pool time, a shopping trip to Wal-Mart for necessities, and a trip back to the Women's Mission to spend time with the kids there. There are upwards of 70 children there, ranging in age from little babies to 17 years old! As well as the arrival of our last parent chaperone, Tammy Francour! Woohoo!! All will soon be present and accounted for!

It should be a great day. We're all healthy, happy and enjoying our time together in Florida! Praise God for this amazing opportunity!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Ministry Sunday!!!

It was an amazing day of ministry... this morning at the Mens division, Pastor Dan spoke, and the crowd went wild!! Preach it brother, they shouted!! They loved him and his amazing message! We went there to bless them, through ministry, and they ended up blesssing us, as well, with a meal at lunch!! It was awesome. The choir sounded great, and Jen Sargent did a great job filling in as our drummer since Bill wasn't arriving until tonight.

We had some free time this afternoon, and 1/2 the group went to the local mall, and the other 1/2 came back to the hotel to swim. Fun was had by all, even Dave... who loves to spend 3 hours shopping... don't you Dave!?!?

Tonight, we arrived at the Womens division and after a small "where to park the bus" dilemma... we went into the center and several of the kids were able to help serve dinner, pour drinks, and then clean up after dinner.

There were several women and children at the center, and the kids were SOOO cute! The choir sounded amazing in the gymnasium. The women's division was beautiful, built on a small lake.

We ended the evening, with dinner at CiCi's pizza buffet.

Tomorrow, we load up the bus early and head to pick up the youth choir t-shirts, the very ones that the Youth Choir will wear for competition, and then on to Cocoa Beach for some fun in the sun! A stop to Ron Jon Surf shop is also on the ticket for tomorrow! We will not be registering the choir until later in the afternoon,

I will post the performance times when we get them tomorrow. We hope to try to avoid the possible inclement weather, at the beach, which may hit later in the afternoon. Thus, we are hoping to arrive at the beach early, and leave mid afteroon.

In the evening we will attend the Opening service, which begins at 7 p.m.

All the kid, and the adults, are healthy, and well nourished!

Sleep well family and friends... look for an update tomorrow!