Tuesday, May 31, 2011

E.P.I.C. Student Ministry Update- May '11

As of Wednesday, June 15, I’m still unable to embed those video clips that are mentioned below. Sorry about that. Enjoy the pictures, though!

On each Sunday morning this past month, a different one of our middle/high school students or graduates has had the honor of serving as “flow person” in an Aloha Church of God congregational service.
IMAG0185.jpg Each of these students, Will, Whitney (pictured), Kezin, and Tamarra, made the most of this opportunity to develop their leadership skills in front of our entire church family. It’s debatable who benefited most… the students behind the pulpit or the rest of the congregation who came together to worship in Big Church (as we refer to the weekly gathering of our church family). However, we couldn’t have been more pleased with their gifts on display which, ultimately, are only intended to bring glory to an audience of One: our God.

Here are some other recent highlights:

Partnering with the Aloha Christian School for our Spaghetti Dinner fundraiser: IMG_7950.JPG gathering pre-sale tickets, setting up, serving, and cleaning up after the event

IMG_8049.JPG Creating and performing skits that illustrate Jesus’ “I am” statements from the Gospel of John. Each of these statements became springboards for Garth’s upcoming teachings on understanding how Christ explained himself to His listeners and followers throughout the ages.

IMG_7846.JPG IMG_7886.JPG Pi Day/St. Patrick’s Day pie in the face quiz [IMG 7837]

Spring break madness:
IMG_7916.JPG IMG_7912.JPG Dodging rain while hiking portions of the Wahkeena Falls Loop...

IMG_7931.JPG IMG_7932.JPG ...throwing a pizza and Playstation Move motion-controller party at Garth and Kathy’s house...

IMG_7923.JPG ...hanging at the local DQ...

...and rocking and worshipping at the Rose Garden!
imag0006.jpg IMG_7818.JPG IMG_7823.JPG IMG_7825.JPG A few of us headed out to the Rock ‘n’ Worship Roadshow at the Rose Garden, featuring Mercy Me, Thousand Foot Crutch, Jars of Clay (pictured on above, on stage), LeCrae, and more.

[Video0037] Click on the “play” arrow in the lower left-hand corner above for a video clip of students groovin’ and movin’ as Mercy Me takes the Rock 'n' Worship Roadshow stage.

In Christ,
Youth Pastors Garth and Kathy Hamilton

Here is this month's bonus section!

[Video0057] Click on the “play” arrow in the lower left-hand corner for a video clip of a chaotic Sports Champions' Gladiator Duel between Will and Eleanor with Playstation Move motion controllers, at our house during spring break.

[Video0023] Click on the “play” arrow in the lower left-hand corner above for a video clip of Thousand Foot Krutch laying down the heavy stuff as they get the Rose Garden crowd to “Fire it Up.”

And finally, here are a few photos from Garth’s fun and meaningful time of inspirational instruction at the WARM ministers’ conference in Sacramento:

IMAG0047.jpg Garth and Joseph hit Hot –N- Now after getting picked up from the Sacramento airport.

IMAG0067.jpg Veteran youth leader Les Christie speaks to the troops.

IMAG0072.jpg Youth pastor buddies Brian, Garth, Kris, and Joseph try to hold it together as we pose for our outrageously clutzy (but sweet-hearted) Johnny Rockets waitress. Just to give you a taste: that would have been a PERFECT time to cash out your 401(k) to invest in paper towel and napkin stocks!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

London with Bo, Part 3

Note: This Blogspot update is an excerpt from the March 2, 2011 entry of my "London with Bo" travelogue (Part 1 was a mobile upload from New York on February 28). My dad and I made a quick trip to London, prior to last month's Royal Wedding.

IMAG0341.jpgIMG_1487_0095_edited-1.jpg Despite leaving my house on Sunday, Bo and I were only beginning my second (and final) full day in London on Wednesday. We grabbed a quick bite at Victoria Station before beginning our promotional “bonus day” on the open-bus Original Tour.

Our first hop-off stop was Baker Street, home of the fictional Sherlock Holmes, which was my personal highlight.

Here is the backstory:
In Switzerland a few years back, Kathy and I got caught in a severe storm while backpacking through the Swiss Alps. We came down out of the mountains and checked into a youth hostel in the village of Meringen. My research turned up that Meringen’s foothills housed Reichenback Falls, the setting of the fall to the death(at least, until his much later resurrection) of fictional character Sherlock Holmes at the hands of his nemesis, Dr. Moriarty. I have had a casual fascination with Sherlock Holmes lore since backpacking up past those falls that day. (As I find time, I will search my archives for photos from our adventures in Switzerland to post to www.garthhamilton.blogspot.com).

IMAG0334.jpg The modern day Sherlock Holmes museum is located is located at 221b Baker Street NW in London, the street address of the legendary fictional sleuth. IMG_1514_0073.jpg Bo and I made a somewhat brief visit to discover a painting depicting Sherlock Holmes’ “death” at Reichenbach Falls in memory of my Switzerland trip.

The cashier girl’s eyes widened as I shared my Swiss Alps story (see above) with her while purchasing the painting. I also picked up a pocket sized edition of the corresponding story. Admittedly, I am already reading “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes” using the Kindle app on my HTC Hero phone (to be replaced next week by an HTC Evo 4G). However, scrolling through an e-book will never compare to holding an actual hard copy, IMHO.

IMG_1534_0060_edited-1.jpgIMG_1542_0054.jpg Our next stop was the picturesque Trafalgar Square. IMG_1521_0069.jpg We witnessed a Trafalgar street performer draw an audience before getting busted by the London Police for his unauthorized performance. He defiantly completed his final act before the cops shut him down, to the cheers of the enthusiastic crowd.

IMG_7697.JPGIMG_1546_0050.jpg Down the hill from Trafalgar Square, our attempt to view the Prime Minister’s mansion on Downing Street was thwarted by heavily armed guards.

IMAG0339.jpg Walking a bit further, we reached Big Ben and Parliament, two of the most recognizable structures in England. IMG_1559_0041.jpg The queue for neighboring Westminster Abbey (my 2nd favorite site in all of Europe so far, after the Vatican Museum in Rome) was too long and slow moving for our fast paced itinerary, most likely due to next month’s royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.

IMG_7723.JPGIMG_7728.JPG Leaving Westminster Abbey, we crossed Westminster Bridge to walk the docks under the iconic London Eye.

IMG_7733.JPG A river cruise ship picked us up from the docks and floated us up the River Thames, past Shakespeare’s Globe Theater.

IMG_1599_0007_edited-1.jpg After ducking under the London Bridge, the cruise ship dropped us off at the Tower of London for our last daylight stop.

IMG_7729_edited-1.JPGIMG_1607_0004.jpg We took the scenic route to barely catch the final hop-on tour bus of the evening.

Magical views of the city at night (not done any justice by my blurry photos) greeted us around every corner, and our hearty evening meal was a fitting end to our father/son time together in London.

Bo turned in early at the Cherry Court Hotel. I set out later that evening for the Queen’s Arm, a local haunt, to enjoy some fascinating conversations with some Londoners regarding literature, politics, and culture.

HOMEWARD BOUND: Thankfully, returning home to Portland on Thursday went smoothly. The Gatwick express train sped us from Victoria Station to the LGW airport, roughly 20-30 miles outside of London. I’ll spare the gloatful details of flying over the Big Pond in Business Elite cabin, except to mention that the food was delicious, the two in-flight movies I watched were suspenseful, and the flight attendants were exceptionally hospitable. Bo and I were then seated next to each other on the final Atlanta to Portland flight.

IMG_7761.JPG My mom picked us up from PDX on Thursday night, graciously allowing me to crash at their house in Vancouver, WA. She then drove me back to PDX the next morning for my marathon 5 a.m. - 1:15 a.m. shift at Delta.

If this sounds like an exhausting way to end a vacation and begin a work week, it was. But I thank the Lord that I was able to spend this time with my dad, and grateful that I was able to squeeze in one more trip to London before the Royal Wedding.

Friday, May 13, 2011

London with Bo, Part 2

Note: This post is an excerpt from the March 1, 2011 entry of my "London with Bo" travelogue. My dad and I made a quick trip to tour London as preparations began for last month's Royal Wedding.

IMG_1427_0148.jpgIMAG0318.jpg My dad and I sat in the Business Elite cabin of a 767-400ER, as expected, for our flight from New York to London. The cuisine was characteristically flavorful, from the seared pepper crusted tuna seaweed salad to the garlic and herb shrimp with lemon butter, and each of the courses in between. I read, worked on my netbook, and watched the airplane version of "The Town." I didn’t sleep at all as we flew over the ocean, mostly by choice.

After landing at London Heathrow airport, Bo and I navigated our way through the various shuttles, trams, and underground Tube lines to reach Victoria Station. We walked through the neighborhood to find the Cherry Court Hotel, which was near the top of our list for possible accommodations (Bo had ruled out the local youth hostels that Kathy and I usually stay at overseas). They had a vacancy, so we dropped off our bags and hit the streets of London.

IMG_7672.JPG Despite being familiar with London from my previous visit with Kathy, I suggested that Bo and I join a hop-on, hop-off style Original Tour (catching the last day of a “2 days for the price of 1 day” promotion) for an overview of the city. Every 15 minutes a bus loops through the major tourist sights, spouting out canned narration, and allowing opportunities to make stops at the popular attractions and catch the next bus to continue on (or just ditch the bus altogether and walk around).

IMG_7721.JPG Throughout the day, we were able to catch glimpses of the iconic London Eye (pictured above) and other famous London landmarks (to be featured in my next Blogspot post) from various vantage points around the city.

We stayed onboard for the entire city bus tour, taking in all of the sights, before hopping a different bus to start the loop again.

Hopping off at Buckingham Palace allowed us to catch the tail end of the Changing of the Guard and pick up some presents at the palace gift shop for Kathy and our yet unborn baby.

It felt great to stretch out our legs in Hyde Park on our walk back to the Victoria district (Bo is pictured in front of the Princess Diana memorial fountain).

A “Free Iran” political rally/protest against Iranian leaders Ahmadinejad and Khamenei made life interesting (and loud) for us as we left Hyde Park. Eventually, we walked our way back to the Victoria district and ended up at St. George’s for fish and chips that evening.

We saved the best for Day Two.