The "noise" has subsided on this year's tour... "Beyond the Noise" - HBC Tour 2008 is over. As always, it's bittersweet. On one hand, it's almost always good to be home and this time is no exception. By the time we rolled into the building last night I was tired and I didn't feel 100% well. Also, as is usually the case with teens on trips like this, the closer we got to home, the louder and more crazy the bus got. No sense in fighting it - the kids are going through the same thing the adults are going through - they just express it differently.
On the other hand, it's the "end" of a labor of love. This tour and this program was one of the best things God has allowed me to be a part of. The tour went as smooth as any of us could have imagined - God is good and His hands were all over this. The kids gave us no unexpected or out-of-the-ordinary problems. In fact, they were routinely WHERE we needed them to be WHEN we needed them to be there. Every stop we had comments about how great our kids were and how they blessed those around them.
As the tour progressed, they also did something amazing...
Every youth worker, student minister, choir director and chaperon on just about any trip like this asks their students to expand their world and try to get to know people outside of their close friends. We ask them to do this, but we know it's hard to do. They did it. It was heartwarming to look back and see almost every student sitting with someone else so often that we had hardly any way to tell which seat they had "laid claim to" at the beginning of the tour. It was nothing short of amazing - God was there and He was smiling.
Here's some of the things I learned on tour this year:
- Never let kids go to the pet store while on tour.
- Restrict the use of large fountain drinks on the bus.
- When God sends you somewhere that feels uncomfortable at first, just relax and get ready to be changed.
- Girls are afraid of bugs - even ones that don't bite and are completely harmless.
- Surround yourself with great, Godly people and God multiplies the results.
- Drink wristbands at an amusement park are GENIUS.
- "The Beast" is the best wooden roller coaster I have ever ridden ("Son of Beast" was a bit disappointing).
- Too much of a good thing is bad - case in point - cologne.
- Not all DVD players are made the same.
- Never, ever question what God can do with those that are ready to be molded.