Malcolm Tyree

A collection of thoughts on things that matter

Archive for the tag “GPTeens”

144 Hours • 1,500 Miles • An IYC2012 Adventure (Day 6)

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.

GPTeens preparing for the ride home

The Grace Point teens and I enjoyed our last meal in Denver as scarfed down some amazing burgers from Red Robin’s Burger Works.    From there we packed it up for our 11 hour drive home.

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 can see Texas from here!

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.

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144 Hours • 1,500 Miles • An IYC2012 Adventure (Day 3)

Our second night felt colder than the first at Noah’s Ark.  The fresh rain and increase in dew point brought much needed water to the Colorado area, but it made for a colder than expected night.  Three of our girls had decided to share their bed space and blankets in an effort to stay warm.  This would have been a great idea if the girls had connected their air mattresses or even slept parallel with on them.  Instead they slept perpendicular and the air mattresses slowly slipped out from underneath them throughout the night.  This created drafts of cold air coming in underneath them, making their sleep less than desirable.  Once we were packed and breakfast was in our bellies, we loaded up the van and made our way to St Elmo.

Standing on a rock in Chalk Creek

Barefoot, enjoying the water & rocks!

View to St. Elmo

Our playground on the way to St. Elmo

The drive up the mountain was great.  There was a scenic overlook for a waterfall feature, so we took the time to take it in.  At first we settled for a group picture from the overlook, but the water and rocks were calling out to us.  We had to go down and see how far out we could get.  Most of us took off our shoes and experienced the cold snow melt water rushing over our feet.  Our adrenaline kicked into full drive as we climbed out to the rocks in the middle of the Chalk Creek.  Timothy, our only boy on the trip, ventured out the furtherest.  He had the advantage of being 6’4″ so his legs allowed him to stretch beyond that of the rest of the group.

After our time at the scenic overlook, we continued up the mountain to the tiny town of St. Elmo.  Today, it’s a little more than a quick tourist spot, but at one time it was bustling with mining activity.  We ventured off into the woods, taking in the trees and stream.  Being from the desert, it was too tempting to pass up this magnificent ecosystem.

Timothy took the lead on a lot of our exploration.  As a Boy Scout with the rank of Life Scout and preparing to earn his Eagle Scout, he was more than excited to explore.  Additionally, Timothy had just returned from hiking two peaks near this exact location.  His adventure spirit was in full swing.  It turns out, he was a bit too adventurism as he made his way into the foliage alone and slipped while crossing the stream.  He was well ahead of the rest of us, so when he slipped, and his wallet fell out of his pocket, he was left to search for it on his own.  Unfortunately, it was lost.

After making our way back into the center of the town, our teens took the time to feed the chipmunks.  Without a doubt, these furry little guys were the celebrities of the town.  Kids and adults alike were gathered around with handfuls of sunflower seeds, feeding the chipmunks by hand.  Our girls loved this! By all accounts, Alvin, Simon, Theodore, and the rest of the chipmunks were big fans too.  After picking up a few souvenirs, we were on our way to Denver.  My memories of the event were free, but for Timothy it cost around $35.

The drive to Denver was uneventful, and very enjoyable.  Being surrounded by the mountains, snaking our way up and down their sides, provided for some great views.  When we reached the Sheraton Hotel in downtown, we were all anxious for a hot shower!

The IYC sessions began that night.  The conference is as much a concert and pep rally as it is a family reunion.  Many who attend the conference attend it every two years.  Half of our students had been to the conference in Orlando so they more or less knew what to expect.  I was as excited to see my fellow MACU alum as I was to take in the great music and speakers we had paid to see.

 

IYC Worship DAy 1

Matt Papa on stage leading us in worship during the first worship gathering of IYC.

The Matt Papa band opened the night up, leading us in worship.  I’ll be honest, I wasn’t familiar with Matt Papa coming into the conference.  As the band lead us in worship, it became apparent that they were not just worship leaders but lead worshippers.  Their songs featured powerful lyrics straight from scripture reminding us of the power and victory of Christ over sin and death.

Zane Blackwas the featured speaker and was tasked with help us see through Christ we are free.  Zane shared his personal story and testimony of Christ freeing him from a life of addiction and recklessness into a life of passion and purpose.  Zane illustrated his  full story through a smaller story in his life.  An avid snowboarder, Zane was out with his friends on day after a series of record breaking snow storms had come through Washington.  He and his friends would challenge each other to go the extremes.  On this particular occasion, Zane and his friends saw an area that had caution tape placed around it.  Rather than obeying the warning, Zane chose this area as his new playground.  His friends elected to find a different area to play.  After jumping one of his more intense cliffs, Zane was very excited about his new playground, until the avalanche.

Zane Black and his wife

Catching up with Zany Zane following the first IYC worship service.

Zane managed to free himself from the avalanche, but he then witnessed another man struggling to free himself.  The man nearly died.  Had it not been for the rescue efforts of others and the life saving CPR administered, Zane indicated the man would have most likely died.  Zane’s escape and the rescue of the man helped Zane illustrate the need each of us has to escape the avalanche of sin in our lives.  Our freedom from this avalanche of sin comes through Jesus Christ.

Zane was careful to note that not everyone in attendance would have an avalanche of sin in their lives.  He reminded us that sin, by its very definition sin is not something overwhelming, but merely the idea of missing the mark.  In the Greek, sin is associated with archery or target practice.  Whether you missed the bullseye by an inch or a mile, you still sinned.  You have still missed the mark.  Spiritually, you are still in need of Jesus, even if you sin is just a little off the mark.

As the Matt Papa Band returned to the stage to lead the crowd in worship and response, I made my way to the prayer room to work as a counselor.  After Zane’s message of personal addiction and struggle, I wondered what the response might be like.  I was privileged to pray with a young man who expressed his desire to stop drinking and smoking marijuana.

When the service was over, we made our way out of the convention center, hitting the streets of Denver right around 9pm.  As we came out, the streets were full with people celebrating the 4th of July, including a bicycle parade.  We were a bit surprised by the parade as it consisted of all sorts of people riding their bicycles in celebration of America.  The levels of freedom expressed were diverse.  Some were dressed in costumes like Captain America, others in everyday clothes, and their was at least one person who was naked (minus the strategically located stickers).

When we got back to the rooms, our Sara-duo lead us in a devotion and it was lights out! The beds were great! The air mattresses were effective but these beds were heavenly.

Check out this official Day1 highlight video of the conference.

144 Hours • 1,500 Miles • An IYC2012 Adventure (Day 2)

Our team consisted of 6 females and 2 males, only the girls slept in the weather-dome tent at Noah’s Ark.  The guys slept outside, under the stars, like real men!  When you sleep under the stars, there is one star that gets your attention, the Sun!  It was about 5:30am when the Sun began to rise.

Waking up by the river

Early Morning Start for Malcolm

Kim, our female counselor, was up and taking in the view of the sunrise and the serenity of the Arkansas river.  I began to slowly make my way out of my bed and I was looking forward to a shower.  The facilities at Noah’s are adequate, but it is more of a campground than a resort area.  My shower required that I pay for the water in advance, so I put in my $1 for 10 minutes.

I had an expectation of a shorter than usual, but typical morning shower.  Brrr, was I wrong.  The water was cold and never warmed up.  I’m certain I didn’t use my entire 10 minutes, but I was clean.  The discouraging part was the water in the sink where I brushed my teeth seemed warmer than the water for the shower.

After a breakfast of french toast, we made our way to Bob.  That was the name of the rock we would climb and rappel.  For some of our

Climbing Bob's Rock

Climbing Bob’s Rock

crew, the idea of climbing up a rock 30 feet or rappelling down 70 feet was very intimidating.  Kim wasn’t sure she could make the climb due to her arthritis and Abi was scared to try because it involved heights.

Abi had already demonstrated her fear of heights on day one, as the walk around the rim proved to be more than she was really comfortable with.  After watching nearly everyone else on our team climb the rock, we talked Abi into taking the climb.  I encouraged her to take the rock in stages, identifying various points that would count as successful markers along the climb.  Abi made it all the way to the top!

Kim also made a successful climb to the top.  As a matter of fact each of us made it to the top in our own time.  The Noah’s Ark guides were great in helping us reach our goals successfully.

After grabbing a bite for lunch, our team prepared for the whitewater rafting adventure.  Unfortunately, we would need to break up into two groups for this stage.  The rafts are limited to six people plus the guide.  Three of our teens had been rafting before.  The Greggs, Elizabeth, Timothy, and Sarah, had each gone rafting with their family and the Boy Scouts in years past.  Like the rock climb and rappelling, I was experienced in these things, but it had been more than 15 years since I had done either.  For Kim, Abi, the other Elizabeth, and the other

Whitewater Rafting on the Arkansas River

Hitting the rapids with Sara, Sarah, Kim, and Dave (our guide)!

Sara, it was their first time to try any of these activities.

Each group had a great time on the water, even if one of them took a few unplanned stops on the rocks.  Our guides, Liz and David, made sure our team had an exciting adventure.

On our way back to the basecamp, we were introduced to the ghost-town of St. Elmo.  It is an old mining town near Mount Princeton.  It would be part of our adventure on Day 3.

After the full day of adventure, it didn’t take long to get to sleep.  In the middle of the night, Timothy and I were recipients of answered prayers.  As we slept out under the stars, we awoke to find our sleeping bags wet.  It hadn’t rained, but there was a strong dew settling in on us.  This was an answer to prayer because Colorado was in desperate need of moisture.  The wildfires were a major threat to the area.  Though the moisture was a bit inconvenient, it was welcomed!  Plus, living in the desert as we do, it was an extra bonus to our adventure.

144 Hours • 1,500 miles • An IYC2012 Adventure (Day 1)

On July 2, at 3:15am, my alarm sounded and the adventure began.  We were on the road by 4am, though our group of eight (6 teens and 2 adults) might have been short two pillows and a sleeping bag.  Our destination was Noah’s Ark Rafting in Buena Vista, Colorado.

As we made the predawn journey through the rural panhandle of Texas, we noticed the smell of money was quite different for our fellow Texans the closer we got to Interstate 40.  In the Permian Basin, the smell of money is a pungent sulfur or rotten egg smell.  It can be especially strong on cold mornings.  It’s the smell of the oil patch.  In the panhandle, money smells like urine mixed with poo.  They have cattle in the panhandle, lots of cattle.

Picture of the GPTeens entering New Mexico

Entering New Mexico

Exiting the nation-state of Texas through it’s northwest corner, we entered New Mexico.  It was there that we began to notice a change in elevation.  The ground seemed to have pimples.  There were large mounds rising up from the surface.  West Texas is known for its flat landscape.  We joke that it’s so flat, you can watch your dog run away for five days.  These pimples turned out to be volcanic mountains.  That’s right, there are volcanos in North Eastern New Mexico.  We took a short, unplanned expedition up the Capulin Volcano National Monument.  After walking the rim of this once active volcano that reached nearly 9700 feet above sea level it began to feel like we were really on an adventure.

The walk around the rim turned out to be more challenging than expected.  One of our teens became overwhelmed by her fear of heights.  Others expressed the challenge of walking the near one-mile circle of varying elevation points.  Outside of the little gnats that followed you from the top into the van, it was a remarkable view and a neat find on our journey.

Our trip still had several hours of driving before we reached our resting stop.  As we made our way into Colorado on Interstate 25, we knew we were in a foreign territory.  The road was surrounded by mountains and along the way there were warning signs. I am familiar with the deer warning signs.  I was not surprised by the elk sign.  But when we saw the yellow diamond with a black bear in the middle of it, I knew this was a different territory! I wish I had been able to get a picture of the sign, but there was no shoulder and the cars were whizzing by us.

After 13 hours of traveling (including our stops at Capulin, Wendy’s, and the restrooms) we arrived at Noah’s Ark Rafting.  This simple camp was right on the bank of the Arkansas River.  We unloaded our bedding, enjoyed the meal of chili, played some “ninja” and volleyball, and then went to sleep not long after sunset.  Our physical challenges of the adventure awaited us in the morning.

Day 2 will post tomorrow.

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