We’ve returned – pretty tired but grateful for inspiring experiences and new friends. I regret that I only updated you on the trip once – we were out and about for l-o-n-g days and kept busy, busy! Here’s a recap of the fun we had –
Each day began with us boarding the shuttle at the hotel that would take us downtown. Once downtown, we typically camped out the Cobo Center which was FILLED with activities and learning opportunities and all sorts of things to explore. There was no way we could see it all! We spent one afternoon with the other churches in our synod, exploring how our stories are a part of God’s story.
Another day, we gathered with 10,000 other youth in orange shirts to get ready for our day of service. Each group was assigned a servant leader and a bus; once we were aboard the bus with the other churches in our group, we received our service assignment. It was our pleasure that day to go to seven different hotels and collect diapers. Diapers were one of the offering items which many churches brought with them to Detroit. They put them in a specified room in their hotel and then we came to collect them. Once collected, we dropped them off at the service agency which will distribute them. All together, the youth gathering donated over HALF A MILLION diapers! There were mountains of them! What an impact. (This video will show you a glimpse of those mountains!)
Each day ended at Ford Field for the mass gathering. Here we heard speakers and musicians each night. (Check out the youtube page for links to some of the speakers. This was one of our favorites. So was this music performance.) Each night corresponded with a them for the day – bear burdens, build bridges, break chains, and bring hope. We walked away feeling inspired and called to make a difference as leaders in the world.
After Ford Field, we walked a mile in a giant mass of youth to our shuttle buses that would take us back to our hotels. We often didn’t return to the hotel until 11:30/midnight. It made for long, long days but days filled with great experiences.
We left Detroit following closing worship on Sunday (where we learned that the 2018 gathering will be held in Houston) and arrived home about 2am Monday morning. Once our youth catch up on the some sleep, they’ll be excited to share all that they learned and experienced. Stay tuned for a special worship service in which they will share their trip with you! Thank you for your prayers and your support of our time in Detroit!