Monday I got up about 6:45, dressed and started helping with breakfast. While making breakfast Maj. Behr discovered that we didn’t have any paper plates in the house we are in. So I was dispatched over to the Nashville Training Center, a short walk through the woods across the parking lot, and all the way through to the other side of the NTC. Upon arriving at the kitchen there was Mrs. Kelly unloading and inventorying the entire semi load of food for the conference all by herself. So I came back and told Maj. Behr what was going on and he sent half of us over to help and the other half stayed behind to eat breakfast and then swap out with those working. For breakfast we had pancakes, (cooked by chef Aaron Miller) Bacon, (fried to perfection by the Master Chef himself Maj. Behr) and juice, fruit, and sweet rolls.
Our work unloading the truck took us till about 9:30 at which time we found a small lobby in the NTC with enough couches for everyone. (edit. Enough seats for all of us after four of us sit on a couch designed for two.) Maj. Farr then assigned everyone to work parties (why do they call it a work party? There is no partying that happens.) and off we went. We emptied the trailer of everything for all the events and set up the food tent and water fill stations.
Mrs. Kelly had sandwich fixing’s, fruit, juice/pop, salad, chips, and cookies for us. It was all very good. She and here 10 kids all take very good care of us and all the other staff. They have also done just an amazing job getting the NTC ready for the conference.
Tuesday found us traveling to Two Rivers Baptist Church at 7:00am to help unload the truck. Just as I finished unloading with Craig, Maj. Farr called me on the walkie and said that Bryce was about here and that I needed to go get him up to speed on his event. Bryce has an amazing sense of timing just as I was jumping out of the truck he pulled up. So off we went back to the NTC. We ran around in the woods getting his stuff set up, had lunch, and then met all the squad leaders. Then we rushed over to the Church for the opening ceremony practice. Maj. Farr and Lt. Cahill did a phenomenal job of designing a new, eye-catching opening ceremony. I was in the color guard and carried the ALERT Cadet flag. It all went very well and everyone seemed to enjoy it. The church has several hundred colored lights in the ceiling that they had flashing and chasing each other across the stage. Then as the color guard came down the center aisle they had fog coming out from the ceiling up around front. It was pretty cool. After closing things up, getting home, and talking, (yes, guys can do this till late hours to :-)) it was 12:45pm.
Wednesday was a great day. I was very busy however I had a great time with the guys, the lunch crew, and everyone else. The challenge went really well. We only had two medical incidents and four kids that their parents didn’t come pick up. I also worked the Cadet sales table with Brystal and Heather.
On Thursday we had a big breakfast so that we could fast through lunch. (this was Maj. Behr’s idea) We got to the church about 9:30 and I worked that Cadet sales table, information table, took some pictures of the sessions, and sat in on some of the sessions. Here we didn’t have to make the lunch for the CI so Bryce, Brystol, and I stopped by McDonald's that afternoon. Dinner was at the NTC and then we stayed for the final session. After the session Bryce, Brystol, and the Behrens went to an Ice Cream party at a large time share apartment that one of the ALERT men’s family, who was an ACC (Alert Cadet Challenge) unit leader had. After talking with some the people there we headed home at about 11:30pm and then talked about life and the future till 1:45AM. Why is it that when you are talking and having a great time that you don’t notice to time till it is way late?
Thursday Maj. Farr was supposed to talk to all the fathers at the fathers session but Mr. Gothard had forgotten so he rescheduled him for Friday morning. Only one problem he has to do squad leader training at the same time. So sometime Thursday morning he came and asked me if I could do the training and wisdom search lesson for all the squad leaders and ALERT unit leaders. Gulp!! Me?? Yes, you. Okay, yes sir, whatever you would like sir. Therefore, after almost FIVE hours of sleep (that was about the norm for the week) I was aver at the NTC looking at a bunch of guys that we looked as if they were still asleep giving the wisdom search and other training. The Wisdom search was on Contentment. Being thankful and content with what God has provided. The verses for the lesson where from I Timothy 6:6-12. Verse 8 says, “And having food and raiment (clothing) let us therewith be content”. What else is there that we need? Do we need that new car? New clothes? New gun? New computer? Or does what God has provided for us fill the need adequately? It also talks about the love of money and how that is a great temptation and the root of all evil. Yes, you can minister to a lot of people if you had a whole lot of money, but what is our motivation? It really goes back to what I learned a few weeks ago at church in Kilgore, stewardship. How am I using, caring for all that God has provided me with? After SL training I helped with sign-in because Mrs. Farr was listening to here husband speak at the father’s sessions and one of the other girls was not able to come. During the morning formation I would narrate a little skit and some of the SLs would be actors. This morning was Contentment, and being content with what you receive in the food line. Bryce was the squad leader and we got one of the more outgoing SL’s to be the A. Cadet. The main character who was not content or grateful for what he had received. The day went pretty well, I didn’t have to help with the lunch prep very much, but I did have to go off campus to get a prescription filled for one of the ALERT guys who had a staff infection. After waiting at Wal-Mart for over thirty minutes I rushed back just in time to serve lunch for the Pre-Excel girls. I was so nice having Bryce’s truck to do logistics in this week. I really don’t know if I could have done it all without it. It was a huge blessing. Thank you Bryce.
At 4pm all the parents came to pick up their kids and take them back to the Church for the final session with the choir and orchestra. It wouldn’t be a Cadet Challenge without one of the little guys being left without his parents coming to pick him up. After calling over to the church and having them put a message on the screen he just hung around the trailer with us while we packed. We were all finished packing and loading the trailer by 5:45. All the event leaders worked together and did an amazing job pulling things together. They were one of the best groups of guys we ever had. They made the events fun and interesting, the analogies easy to understand and not boring, and brought a whole new level of enthusiasm to the group, even when a couple of them got into some poison ivy while setting up and had some pretty bad reactions to it. They all hung in there and finished strong. You are all an amazing group pf guys, thank you very much for giving of your hearts this week to make an impact in these kids’ lives. Having finished packing all the Cadet gear in record time we headed over and ate dinner in the dinning room. The food this week was all really good. They had the cooking class from Indy come and along with some of the Eagle Springs girls and they did a phenomenal job. The session let out about the time we finished eating so we loaded up and made our way to the church. There we loaded the truck with everything from the church. We had everything loaded except for book sales because they were inventorying all the books before they sent them back to HQ. So Craig sent all the ALERT guys except for myself back to the NTC to start stacking and moving all the chairs he had brought from Indy out to the loading dock. Then Craig and unloaded all the skids at the NTC and with all the other guys help loaded all 800 chairs, some of the left over food, and all the kitchen stuff on the truck for him to take back to Indy.
After finishing loading I went back to the house and helped Bryce load up his gear and some wheat that another family had brought for the Reckners. Then we just talked for a while then made our way back to over to the training center and had Ice Cream with the rest of the ALERT guys and IBLP staff. After Bryce left we all went back and packed up our personal gear and started cleaning the house till 12:30 Saturday morning.
Saturday morning found us up at 6 packing the last of our gear and cleaning the house from top to bottom. The Farr’s arrived with Brystal, who was going back to ALERT for three months to work in the office, and we transferred all there stuff to the van with the trailer. After saying goodbye to them we loaded our stuff in the other van, finished cleaning the house, and were on the road by 8:30. I Aaron and I slept from Nashville till just past Knoxville. We ate lunch at Taco Bell and then continued on to Richmond arriving around 8:20. The Jullians, our wonderful host, were still at a previous commitment but she had left two Sam’s pizzas out for us. The Jullians came back just as we were finishing dinner and she brought out fresh apple pie and ice cream. Wow, it was all delicious.
After dinner Mr. Jullian took us out to his shop where he builds potato guns. He has several different sizes and he has shot them up to 750 FEET! They are all made out of PVC pipe and use alcohol for fuel. I put a barbeque igniter in the handle and when you press the button it creates a spark in the chamber which causes a small explosion forcing the potato down the barrel and on it way. He took one of them and fueled it up and let some of the guys dry fire it so they could see how much it kicked. Without a potato it hardly kicks at all. Aaron was total captivated by the spud busters and we could hardly get him out. Mr. Jullian even gave him copies of his plans. Beware ALERT.
Aaron and I are sharing a room at the Julians and Sunday found us up at 7:00 having our devotions and packing a few things for our trip. After a delicious breakfast we headed for Williamsburg to help Maj. Behr’s older sister start packing up things and moving them to their new house. After loading the small truck we went to a Chinese restaurant for lunch. Early in the trip Maj. Behr just spontaneously pops out with a this question, “Who here likes Chinese”? Weel it turns out that everyone that came on to Richmond likes Chinese. So he sai we would probably have it often. After lunch we picked up the van from having the tires balanced and off we went to Bridgewater 3.5hours back to the northwest. During the drive we talked for a while, listened to a few adventures in oddessy, and slept for an hour.
Okay, now to the van. Ever since we departed Nashville there was a terrible vibration that seemed to be coming from the rear of the van. We wondered if it was the tires for Maj. Behr took it to Wal-Mart and had them balance the tires. After picking it up it was still not any better. So you ride with your teeth chattering all the time. :-)
This morning I was reading in John 7 and came to the following:
If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that beliveth on me as the scriptures hath said, out of him shall flow rivers of living water.
This is part of what I was trying to get across to the all the SL on Friday morning. Your “river”, your actions, and attitudes that are flowing our of you are a clear representation of your heart. Sometimes I look at maybe a word I spoke, or how I treated someone and my river is a little muddy. I am so thankful that God has given me many others around me that will point out these things to me and help me clean up my river.
Today we worked on the yard at Maj. Behr's sister's house and I finished cutting in around the edges of a wall they had painted. The yard was fairly big and all we had was a small push mower. They also had a little electric weed eater so it took forever to get all the weed eating done. Then I also needed the extension cord for the hedge trimmer but Aaron was still using it to weed eat. Then I was using it with the hedge trimmer and he was wanting it for the blower, so the day was a tale of the fight for the extension cord. We also took out two bushes that were dead.
After determining that a quorum of the Richmond expedition was present we proceeded to cast our vote for lunch. It was decided that we would have pizza. The first pizza place we went to was closed so we proceed down the street to Papa John's. After Lunch we packed up and headed back to Williamsburg. On the way back we vibrated our teeth out while sitting in the back and listening to the rest of "True Honor", a book on cd that Aaron had brought. It was good. We had a great time listening to it along and Maj. Behr's choice comments.
Once we arrived back in Williamsburg Aaron and I started taking all the tires off the van, checking them over, and rotating them. When we took the left rear one off we found the culprit. It had a small bulg in it causing the excessive vibration. Thank you Lord for helping us to find the problem.