Skydiving for my birthday last Saturday was incredible! Stay tuned for some stories and pics from a birthday weekend filled with rock wall climbing, hiking in the Gorge, go carts, laser tag, worshipping with our church family, a party, multiple coffee/lunch/dinner get togethers with friends, a Los Lobos concert, and jumping out of an airplane from 12,000+ feet! I can’t wait for my friends to send me some pictures from last weekend so I can post them here.
In the meantime, my wife Kathy has graciously agreed to give me a much needed break from blogging this past week. In a rare appearance on BlogSpot, Kathy has picked out some photos and written a follow-up to my earlier Intermission: IYC Denver(From the road) post—Check out that link for more exclusive stories and photos from our IYC trip.
Dedicated readers are probably aware that I intentionally keep my BlogSpot as secular as possible, but I’ll occasionally break loose with a student ministry update. And who better to write about what God is doing in our young people’s lives than my amazing wife?
Take it away, guest blogger Kathy!
IYC, Day 4- Impact: Denver Service Project- Students partner with other churches to restore a rundown playground and beautify a public park, on the second day of International Youth Convention.
July was the month we had been anticipating and working towards for two years: International Youth Convention-Denver! In July and August, we are dedicating two separate posts for IYC stories and pictures on www.garthhamilton.blogspot.com.
The theme for IYC this year was Free, Awakened, Empowered, and Connected, encouraging us to live out Romans 8. Sunday night through Wednesday afternoon were our days to relax in Denver:
We visited Elitch Gardens theme & water park and explored the city of Denver.
On Wednesday night, Matt Papa led worship and snowboarder Zane Black opened the conference with a talk on being free in Christ and learning to let go of the things that hold us back.
On Thursday, we had the opportunity to give back to the city during the IMPACT Denver project.
Our group, along with a couple of other churches, cleaned up a park in downtown Denver. There was playground equipment to seal, trash to pick up, and debris to be swept away. The lady from the Parks Department was so thrilled that we were there. She said that due to cutbacks, the playground hadn’t been sealed in over 10 years and they couldn’t afford to have people pick up the trash.
We were so proud of our students. They worked hard and didn’t complain, even though it was the hottest day in Denver that week.
That night, Margaret Feinberg shared what it means to be awakened. We each have a unique purpose in the body of Christ and being free in Him allows us to be awakened by the Holy Spirit.
On Thursday and Friday mornings, there were different conferences for the students to choose from: understanding Islam, sharing Christ with and loving Muslims, having Christ-centered relationships, and having a powerful prayer life (just to name a few). The youth pastors had the privilege of hearing Steve Fitzhugh, a former Denver Bronco. His encouragement to us was to live for the prize. Ministry can be tiring and discouraging, but we need to keep our eyes focused on the prize as we run this race.
Friday night, Harvey Carey shared with us on living empowered by the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit who can empower us to make a difference for the Kingdom. The closing service was on Saturday morning. We had another awesome worship time led by Charlie Hall, with the final message from Francis Chan on being and staying connected to God.
This is just a snippet of a fun, life-changing week in Denver. We believe that God was at work in our lives and the lives of our students. Thank you so much for all your prayers and support for us. And for those who are wondering: Lena did come along with us, and she charmed everyone!
Thanks for sharing, Kathy! Here are a few other pics from IYC Denver that Kathy wanted to include here:
Denver IYC, Day 2- The evening before International Youth Convention kicked off, baby Lena and Will kicked and flailed together on the girls' bed in our Grand Hyatt hotel room.
Day 4- Impact: Denver Service Project- Garth took turns performing acrobatics with a member of an outdoor wedding party to knock down a moldy, maggot-ridden burrito from the roof of a park shelter. Nasty!