Saturday, February 25, 2012

Lena: International Baby of Mystery

P1020763.jpg by gkhamilton
P1020763.jpg, a photo by gkhamilton on Flickr.

Thanks to my mom for this darling picture of Lena!

Yeah, baby, YEEEEAH! Our 5 ½ month old daughter Lena is the proud owner of a new passport! Will she be flying this week to Spain or Italy, as planned? Maybe the Caribbean? Not so fast… we now have a new problem in the passport department.

Yesterday, Kathy and I were scheduled to fly Lena out on her first overseas trip. A difference of opinion between us regarding Lena’s international airworthiness led me to reroute our vacation from Europe to the closer to home Caribbean. I booked and paid for a week at a posh all-inclusive resort in St. Lucia, complete with a hike/bike/swim excursion (for me, of course) into the rain forest and nearby volcano to complement our fully catered beach chillaxing.

Last night’s unspecified passport issue (Kathy has let many of you know exactly what I'm referring to) down-scaled our plans even further, prompting us to trade in our dreams of a Caribbean paradise for a week of stateside snowmobiling in Oregon or Alaska, yachting and surfing in California, and/or hiking in the Everglades.

However many places we end up flying to throughout the week, it’s only a minor disappointment that Grandpa Tom’s cute little Mini-Me will have to settle for a multi destination vacation in the U.S. for now. I guess the rest of the world isn’t quite ready for Lena yet.
Danger is her middle name!

Or was it Esther?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

WPC Homecoming Weekend 2012

It's after 4:30 AM, and I've been working all night shooting another TV commercial for a national retail store. My regular work shift starts around this time in the morning! We actors and the film crew are doing our best to stay alert between takes.

While the film crew sets up the next shot, I have some time to gush on about how terrific the February 9-11 Homecoming Weekend was at Warner Pacific College! I’ll also tell about my brush with rock ‘n’ roll stardom at L.A. Fitness last Friday. Pictures will be added to this post after I get some post-wrap sleep.

232323232-fp635-2-nu=3368-599-;45-WSNRCG=378;;;349-337nu0mrj.jpg WP alum Jim Sparks receives a certificate of recognition for writing, directing, and performing in his on-campus play, “Biography.” He cast me in the role of a disabled man.

Our “Welcome Home” 2012 Homecoming event at Warner Pacific exceeded our wildest expectations. I haven’t seen the final attendance numbers yet, but early estimates show a possible triple increase in alumni participants over last year’s Homecoming! The success of the weekend was clearly a result of the hard work and dedication of Cindy Pollard, our Alumni Council, the Homecoming committee, and everyone else who helped plan, recruit, promote, or volunteer during the Weekend. And most importantly, thanks to all of our fellow alumni who showed up on campus!

232323232-fp63592-nu=3368-599-;45-WSNRCG=378;;983-7337nu0mrj.jpg The event kicked off Thursday morning with a combined student/alumni chapel service, featuring an inspirational message by my former college roommate, Pastor BJ Kuykendall. By the way, thanks goes out to John Kuykendall for many of these photos!

After the Golden Torch Society/PBC Luncheon, our Alumni Council convened to welcome in four carefully selected new members: Alex Bates, Bruce Krieg, Christi Kurtz, and Jessica Taylor. Before we got down to Council business, Jess Bielman gave us a taste of WP’s mission to be “In the City, For the City”: Using the WP van, we drove through the communities near campus to highlight the college’s many social action projects.

The sold out dinner theater performance of Jim Spark’s original play, “Biography” premiered on Thursday night. 232323232-fp63633-nu=3368-599-;45-WSNRCG=378;;9-45-337nu0mrj.jpg The all-alumni cast featured many talented actors…
232323232-fp6354--nu=3368-599-;45-WSNRCG=378;;9-4-6337nu0mrj_edited-1.jpg …including my multi-talented dad, Doug Hamilton! We didn’t share any father-son stage time (missing each other by seconds), but I finally got to see my favorite former WP Alumni President/professor/theater director/father show off his dramatic flair.

Friday’s activities included the Brunch and Song-Fest, Classroom Visitations (Dr. Carver’s double-take was priceless as I took my seat at the start of his lecture), the Sing-A-Long Movie, the Men’s and Women’s Basketball Games, and the Super Scoop Ice Cream Social, hosted by the current student government officers.

IMAG1792.jpgA huge congrats goes out to the Men’s AND Women’s basketball teams for winning all four games on Homecoming Weekend!

Name dropping alert: In between events on Friday, I had a bizarre coincidence at L.A. Fitness while I was getting pumped up (no pun intended) for the WP basketball games. Band members from rock groups Hawthorne Heights and August Burns Red were hitting the weights as I arrived at the gym. I may not party like a rock star, but now I can say that I’ve worked out with a few of ‘em.

We saved the best for last. On Saturday morning, turnout for the Future Alumni Class of 2033 Pre-Reunion was phenomenal!P1020712_edited-1.JPGP1020710_edited-1.JPG With so many alumni having kids this past year, it only seemed right to round up everyone for a “Preunion” baby-fest (grandparents, etc. aren't pictured). My parents graciously agreed to host this event, and I posted their pictures here because I have yet to see a group photo on Facebook where everyone is looking at the camera.

Kathy and I couldn’t help but wonder, though…IMG_3883_edited-1.JPG ….How could Lindsay Chamberlain, one of the graduates from our student ministry, already have a baby boy that is nearly the same age as our 5 month old daughter Lena? If our kids ever hooked up, that would be a strange youth pastor/ in-law situation!

Saturday afternoon was crammed with the Souper Seminar and Jazz Concert, Hall of Honor Induction Dinner, and the Honored Alumni Luncheon to honor notable WP alumni Sonya Fischer, Bob Stewart, Ethel Willard, Robert L. Williams, and Ysu Umbalo.
IMAG1821.jpg I was so excited that my buddy Ysu Umbalo was recognized for his medical relief work in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (in Central Africa) that I lovingly included a blurry picture here of Brian Hill’s presentation during the Luncheon on Ysu’s behalf. We wish that you could have accepted the award in person, Ysu!

The Connection Reception, hosted by Bernie & Cindy Buckle and Michael & Stephanie Pollard during and after the basketball game (did I mention that we won all four Men’s and Women’s games?) on Saturday evening, was a perfect way to cap off our Homecoming Weekend.

Mark your calendars, WP alumni… Next year’s WP Homecoming is scheduled for February 14-16, 2013! Love will be in the air, and we hope you’ll make it there!!

In Christ,

Garth Hamilton, WP Alumni Council President

Next week here on BlogSpot: Lena’s passport arrived in the mail last week. Our baby girl is about to become an international sensation!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

E.P.I.C. Student Ministry Update- Feb 2012

IMAG0109.jpg by gkhamilton
IMAG0109.jpg, a photo by gkhamilton on Flickr.

A homeless man on Burnside receives one of many care packages from our high school students.

Someone asked during Sunday’s E.P.I.C. Super Bowl party why so many months have gone by without a student ministry update here on BlogSpot. Was it Lena’s birth on 9-10-11? The frenetic juggling of new fatherhood, ministry, day jobs, volunteer ops, WPC Alumni President stuff, and the credentialing process? My love of sentence fragments? Yes, yes, and yes.

Blocking Facebook for the past few weeks didn’t free up as much as time as I had hoped, although my head is almost above water. But enough about me… this is about our amazing Aloha Church of God students. Sit back and let these pictures wash over you:

IMAG1068.jpgIMAG1063.jpgIMAG1043.jpgIMAG1072.jpgIMAG1078.jpgOur annual boating/camping weekend at Yale Lake, Washington—Ben led morning devotions on Day 2

DSC_0577_edited-1.JPGDSC_0600_edited-1.JPGIMAG1192.jpgIMAG1193.jpgHiking the Ramona Falls Loop in the Mount Hood Wilderness Area

DSC_0297.JPGDSC_0248_edited-1.JPGDSC_0382.JPGShaving cream fight!!

DSC_0470_edited-1.JPGDSC_0417.JPGDSC_0449.JPGDSC_0489_edited-1.JPGDSC_0561_edited-1.JPGDSC_0412.JPGFloating the Nehalem River and engaging in horseplay at Tom’s and Wendy’s property outside of Vernonia

DSC_0651_edited-1.JPG Ultimate Frisbee

DSC_0452.JPG"Soul Surfer" party night at our house

DSC_0401_edited-1.JPG Allen and Eleanor helping with the fishing booth while Garth Brooks and Lena, his delicious little strawberry, tour our church's "Trunk or Treat" displays on Halloween night

DSC_0208_edited-1.JPGDSC_0196_edited-1.JPGCrafting shaving cream Afros and pelting them with Cheetos during “Cheeto Head”

IMAG1326.jpgSeveral rounds of hanging out at DQ with some of our Wednesday night E.P.I.C. students

6320398439_e929e9684f_o.jpg Will, Eleanor, and Wendy serving our church family during “Coffee Talk”

IMAG1398.jpgIMAG1374.jpgIMAG1444_edited-1.jpgWinter Jam 2011 with Kutless, Red, Newsboys, Fireflight, Matthew West, KJ-52, For King & Country, Patrick Ryan Clark, and more @ The Memorial Coliseum -- See the bottom of this post for a video from Red’s fiery opening performance.

DSC_0243.JPG Our all-night E.P.I.C. post-Christmas party-- Amazingly, we were still having PlayStation 3 dance-offs into the next afternoon! See the bottom of this post for a video clip.

DSC_0750_edited-1.JPGAnd the meat of it all: The teachings! These past few months, our E.P.I.C. Wednesday night sessions have launched these series: “Made to Make a Difference” (social justice/ action), “Crazy Love” (radical transformation), and our current “Soul Surfer” teaching series, based on world champion teenage surfer Bethany Hamilton's inspirational comeback following a brutal shark attack, which faces discovering God’s purposes while coping with trauma, crisis, and tragedy.

For those of you who prefer to gawk at those newfangled moving talkie pictures they have nowadays, here are a couple videos from this past fall:

Video: [Click the "play" arrow above] Red kicks off Winter Jam 2011 with an pyrotechnic-filled run through of “Faceless”

Video: [Click the "Play" arrow above] Eleanor and Kenny bust a move during “Everybody Dance,” as the remnants from the previous evening’s all-night E.P.I.C. post-Christmas party cheer them on.