As I write this final entry into my IYC2012 adventure, I’m reminded of how full the week was. When I finally made it to bed on this last day, I had been rock climbing, rappelling, whitewater rafting, laughing, dancing, surfing, ninja-ing, praying, singing, driving, crying, and just about any other “ing” you can add.
The final day of the conference featured Charlie Hall leading worship and Francis Chan delivering the keynote message. Francis is very popular on the speaking circuit of Christian conferences. This would be my third time to see him live. I’ll never forget seeing him for the first time at the Exponential Church Planters Conference in 2009. The house band and creative team introduced Francis using AC/DC’s “Back in Black.”
Francis’ message was about the power of being connected in our faith journey. As he shared about his personal desire to see God work in his day to day life like he did through the prophet Elijah, Francis confessed for that to happen he would have to be in a position where death was a possibility. He emphasized that we want to see God at work, but we tend to stay within our holy-huddles, aka church, and expect God to do the miraculous. God never said he’d do the miraculous at church. The scriptures help us see that God does the miraculous among the world, particularly in the face of persecution. Francis added that the role of church is to “incourage” us. We gather and connect as the church to put courage in one another. When we connect it should be to pray for boldness in one another and to build up each other’s courage. It was a powerful message to close out the conference.
We took a different route home. This time we spent more time in eastern New Mexico. It rained a few times and we were fortunate to see close to six different rainbows. The two-lane highways of New Mexico were desolate, but they held their own enchantment. It’s easy to underestimate the terrain of an area, especially elevation, until you come across a big change. That’s exactly what happen as we made our way down a 1,000+ foot drop.
We stopped for dinner at The Annex in Logan, New Mexico. Who knew there was a state park and lake there. We didn’t until we saw all the sunburnt people and water craft. We had hoped to get a peek of Ute lake, but the sun had set and we needed to get home.
We approached Farwell, Texas right at midnight. As we were getting ready to cross the New Mexico-Texas border, a train came barreling down the track. We sat and watched as this train crossed in front of us for nearly 7 minutes. We were ready to be in Texas and the train was holding us up.
Pushing through the empty roads of west Texas, we arrived in Odessa just after 2AM. After dropping off all the teens at their homes or pick up points, I made it home and into bed by 3:15AM – 144 hours after I had woke up to begin this journey.
It was worth it!
Here is our highlight video of our entire trip. Thanks to GPTeen Abi for putting this video together.