Saturday, July 24, 2010

Having a BLAST at Home

Originally uploaded by gkhamilton
I was living the bachelor life at home last week, while Kathy was leading (in my place, as mentioned in my last blog entry) our student ministry’s trip to International Youth Convention in Orlando. Though it provided some good sermon material for that week, was bummed about missing the trip and missed having Kathy with me. My injured leg prevented me from doing anything active (I wasn’t even able to drive until earlier in the week), so there were only a few minor tweaks in my current routine: enjoying some “Garth time,” eating unhealthy foods, having my students over to the house more often, and playing my movies and music louder.

That last part, about cranking up my home theater system, wasn’t nearly enough to drown out the series of loud booms that drew our new neighbors and me together late Thursday night. I thought the first blast at around 10:40 was coming from my rear surround sound speakers, as part of the fireworks display from the rock concert that I had blaring in my living room. The second boom rattled things on my walls and sent me hopping out to the front porch, grabbing a crutch on my way out. I glanced over across the street to see if Dave my neighbor had driven into his garage door or something.

From my front porch I heard the third and final, biggest, deepest boom of all… followed by a cloud of black smoke billowing into the sky. My first thought was that the Intel Aloha Campus was blowing up, one section at a time. Chills shot down my spine at the fear of a major meltdown at an industrial plant that I could see from my living room. We could have been in big trouble if Intel was going down in flames. As Doug, my neighbor, so comfortingly put it, “We’re right in the blast zone.”


The flames were coming from the corner, however, at the Aloha Garbage and Recycling plant, just west of the Intel Campus. Two garbage trucks were destroyed by the flames, reportedly causing over $350,000 in damage. As bad as this was, I audibly thanked God that this was not the more potentially catastrophic crisis that I had feared.

I hobbled across the street to the corner, joining the growing number of gawking onlookers that came running from blocks away.

Police cars and fire trucks had Blanton Street completely blocked off.

IMAG0235.jpgLocal affiliates from all four networks, ABC, CBS, NBC, and FOX showed up on the scene within minutes.
IMAG0236.jpgI was interviewed on camera by news crews from KGW and KPTV, and I encouraged them to also talk to my neighbor Brett (pictured), who was the first to see the flames erupt.

Channel 8 and Channel 12 broadcasted my interviews live on Thursday night (I think), and clips from my interviews were repeated at least every 30 minutes on both channels all morning, at noon, and during the afternoon and evening news on Friday. I was floored by the dozens of people who called or Facebooked me (including one guy who I’d never even met, on Monday) throughout the week about seeing those interviews. If only my paid work in print ads and TV commercials was that popular!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Student Ministry Newsletter- August 2009

I am so excited that our high school students from Aloha Church of God are in Orlando this week experiencing International Youth Convention 2010! At the last minute, it was determined that my recent leg injury from work would unfortunately prevent me from leading our group's trip to IYC Orlando. Now that the students are away, however, (and considering the fact that I am mostly couch-bound), I have some spare time on my hands... to upload a classic blog!
Here's what our students were up to last year at this time:


We serve a God who delivers us from our circumstances and calls us to live a new place, in the Kingdom of God. When God protected the Israelites were delivered from slavery in Egypt, God made it clear that following Him also meant a new way of living.

Our student ministry sessions at Aloha Church of God are currently examining God's instructions, including the Ten Commandments, which He gave to His people after freeing them from slavery. We have also discovered how the intention behind Jewish rituals and celebrations such as the Passover, Pentecost, and Purim remains relevant in pointing out our own need to remember what God has done for us in our lives.

Our student-led congregational service was one of our ministry's finest moments yet this year.
After weeks of preparation, we had our final practice the Wednesday evening before the big Sunday. During the actual Sunday morning service, our students served in the following roles: Flow person- Ben; Praise team- Ben and Eleanor; Information table- Jessica; IMG_2450.JPGGreeters- Brandon W., Jackie, Kenny; Ushers- Brandon E., Jackie, Juana, Kaila. After Garth preached his sermon titled, "Prison Break!," Will delivered the closing prayer. We were so proud of how well our students led Big Church!

IMG_2496.JPGIMG_2515.JPGThe week after fellowshipping at the Fourth of July picnic…

IMG_2561.JPG…A few of the guys backpacked 15 miles (round trip) along the Eagle Creek Trail to a remote campsite in Oregon's Mark Hatfield Wilderness.
After marching their heavy backpacks past (and even under) seven gorgeous waterfalls to the 7.5 mile mark, Garth, Ben, Brandon E., Dean (visiting from Pennsylvania), and Will set up camp and went for an evening swim.

IMG_2623.JPGThe weather was so nice that everyone slept under the stars after dinner...

IMG_2630.JPG...waking up just in time for morning devotions.

A much needed stop for a refreshing swim at a popular cove notwithstanding, the pace was quickened for the next day's hike back to civilization.

Later in July, we picked the hottest weekend of the year (so far) to hold our car wash fundraiser for International Youth Convention 2010, to be held in Orlando, Florida. We took in enough money to set a new car wash record since Garth and Kathy came on board in 2001!
We enjoyed spending time with new student Jessica Hayden, who recently moved here from Salem for her senior year at Aloha High School.

Most of us managed to stay hydrated amid the water fights, car cleansings, and a purse snatching/ recovery from the brave Wendy Peterson.

We are so thankful that God is watching over and blessing our student ministry!

In Christ,
Youth Pastors Garth and Kathy Hamilton