Friday, July 27, 2007

PYT, part II

I am commenting on my time at the Presbyterian Youth Triennium (PYT). Wednesday morning we were introduced to our "Small Groups". Each of the 4,400 participants were placed in small groups of consisting of 18-22 members. Since we were originally divided up with colors and then numbers, we were Purple group 7020 or Purple 20. We were asked to come up with our own name; I suggested the "Royal 20" since purple was the color of Royalty, but we ended up with "The Royal Twenty-Somethings". The small groups then meet once or twice a day for the remaining week.

The Royal Twenty-Somethings consisted of 17 youth from age 15 to 18, and three adults, the group leader, another Adult from Layfette, and myself. We figured that I probably the eldest in our group, as I was a senior in college when the next eldest person was born. The people were from all over the United States, New Jersey and New York to Florida, to New Mexico and California. There were several from that "other" large state of Texas and myself coming the farthest from Alaska.

By Wednesday afternoon and evening the 85 degree weather and exhaustion had caught up with me, so I basically slept from 5 PM, met with my "Huddle Group", at 11:15; four youth (two from Barrow, one from Anchorage and the other from Wyoming) that I checked in with each evening to see how their day went and to make sure they were there for curfew; then went back to sleep for the rest of the night. Since I had problems with heat stroke and heat exhaustion several times before, my Son was very worried about me. Fortunately, the heat was not too much of an issue throughout the week. It was hot, but not deadly.

The rest of the time at PYT was spent eating, in small groups, worship, free time and lights out by midnight. The theme of this years gathering was: "Hope In Our Midst". Of course with each of the scripture readings and stories we had to find the hope and despair. The bible stories used were: Noah and the Ark, The Good Samaritan, Jesus and the Woman at the Well, and Jesus and Peter walking on the Water.

There was a time for the students to receive information from the different Presbyterian Colleges and Seminaries. Unfortunately, Whitworth University, (they went from College to University starting 1 July 2007) had a table there, but nobody was present. Oh well. Also there was displays from Cokesbury, Serrve, a group for Young Presbyterian Women, Peacemaking, Self Development of People, among other groups.

This was the first conference were a Sabbath time was planned and used. Nothing was scheduled for Friday morning, breakfast was a sack meal handed out the night before. The majority of the people asked said they spent the time sleeping until noon or later. I can say that I actually got up before 10:30 A.M., very good for me. We met in small groups that afternoon to watch movies. We were divided into five groups to watch different movies; Goal, October Sky, Sister Act II, Anna and the Bee (not the right name, but sponsored by Starbucks), and another movie I can not think of at the moment. I saw Goal, about an illegal alien growing up in L.A. and being "discovered" by a former soccer scout to make it as a big star in the English Football League. There was despair and hope throughout the movie.

Our group from Barrow ended up missing the last worship on Sunday morning, as did probably about half of the participants, because of flight schedules home. We reversed our travel home, drove to Chicago, (this time without the wrong turns), flew to Seattle and with a 45 minute layover flew on to Anchorage. There our sister church, Immanuel Presbyterian, had sleeping bags and food waiting for us. We ate and then slept. Eight of us got up and went shopping at the Diamond Mall in South Anchorage, but had to be back within a couple of hours. Then we returned to the Anchorage International Airport, [a/k/a Ted Stevens International Airport, (money and power can still buy you things...)] arriving home in Barrow a little after 5:30 Monday afternoon.

I arrive just in time to told of another death in the community; thoughts of my first ten days went quickly through my mind. As it turns out the woman is going to be buried in another village, our prayers are with the family. Then Tuesday morning I returned to the office with Vacation Bible School already under way, having started the day before.

It is now Friday afternoon, I have survived Vacation Bible School, (not really involved other than being present), the bulletin is ready for Sunday Morning, and I think I have finally caught up with my sleep. Now I get to go home and catch up with the dishes my wife left for me during the week I was gone. (I will explain why later...)

Peace and blessings.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


It has been several weeks since I last wrote any comments, so I thought I better get to it, especially now that I have actually told people of my blog. I now remember how difficult it is for me to keep a journal, daily or otherwise. I have several stories to tell and want to save them each for their own separate time. I will not be going in chronological order, but rather as I remember them.

I spent the last week at Purdue University for the Presbyterian Youth Triennium (PYT) with FOUR THOUSAND teenagers, including my own 16 year old son. It is an event that happens every three years, (thus the name, Triennium), and it is always at Purdue University in the middle of July. This was my second PYT, the first being an Adult Advisor for the Presbyteries of Glacier and Yellowstone (Montana) in 1992. When I arrived in Barrow and mentioned that I had been to PYT before, I was recruited again as an Adult Advisor.

In the group was two other adults and five teenagers from Barrow. My son had registered with the Presbytery of Seattle, so he was just traveling with us staying with the Seattle group. We were later joined at the PYT by a group from Anchorage which brought the numbers from the Presbytery of Yukon to five adults and eleven teenagers. There was one or two others from the Presbytery of Alaska, but they traveled with the Seattle group.

This time the travel took a little longer. We left Barrow Monday, 16 July at 6:00 P.M. With a stop over at Fairbanks, we flew on to Anchorage. We arrived in Anchorage about 9:10 P.M. and picked up my son who had spent the previous week at his grandparents. At 10:30 P.M. we caught our flight to Seattle. We arrived in Seattle at 3:30 A.M. and sat around Sea-Tac airport for a couple of hours. I thought we were going to be in real trouble at Sea-Tac, because nothing was going to open up for us to eat until AFTER we left at 6:00 A.M. As it turned out, a couple of the shops were open 24 hours, then at 5:00 A.M. other shops opened up. (Starbucks being one of the shops to open at 5:30, but who was going to wait in line that long?). So we were able to get something to eat in Seattle, which was my worry, because we were not to land in Chicago until noon Central Time.

We arrived in Chicago on time, tired and hungry. We got something to eat then looked for our luggage and rentals. We rented two mini-vans for the nine of us, with only two of us driving. Since I was the only one to drive through Chicago in the last ten years, I tried to get us out of O'Hare Airport and on our way to Purdue. Starting right out of the gate, I miss read the directions and took a wrong turn. After doing a couple of illegal U-Turns, (the other driver being a Federal Judge), we finally got on the right freeway to head into downtown Chicago on a hot muggy afternoon. I thought once I got on the freeways, everything would be fine. But this is Chicago....anything is closed....missed exits...but finally all works out, and God delivers us out of Chicago. Now we only have to survive the two hour drive to Purdue.

We arrive at Purdue with enough time to check in and get ready for dinner. Or course, since Sam was suppose to stay with the Seattle group, he and I went looking for them, not sure which dorm they were staying; locking the van and taking the keys with me of course, so everybody had to wait to empty the van until I returned after dinner. After dinner was worship, then meetings for the Adults and then another meeting with the youth. At about 11:30 P.M. Eastern Time, we were quite ready for bed.

This is becoming longer than I thought, so I will continue my experience at Purdue University with FOUR THOUSAND TEENAGERS along with the HEAT AND HUMIDITY that is NOT in Barrow sometime tomorrow, (or at least by Friday).

Thank you for reading. Peace and Blessings.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Pleading the 5th on the 4th

Yesterday was the 4th of July. It was a beautiful day here in Barrow, just as is today. 50 degrees, very slight wind, almost perfect. Trouble is that I am inside, and the fantastic weather is outside. I guess this will be made up very soon, as the weather turns to winter quickly enough.

I wanted to be up early yesterday, clean the house a little and enjoy the parade through the village. Instead, I was woken up by the sirens of the fire trucks as they went by our house in the parade. It was 12:25 pm. I slept through the morning again. I went downstairs and watched the parade as it went by the house. My wife and son were both woken by the sirens as well, but only my son mustered the energy to get up.

We spent the day quietly, enjoying the day off. The village has a three day celebration, with the parade, races, dances, ball games, tug-a-wars, etc. Last night being Wednesday night, we held our regular Wednesday night services before the Barrow Dancers performed.

Today we have been having problems with the Internet connection at the church, and it becomes very frustrating with the slow connections even though we have DSL. Of course I intended to write much more than I have so far, but all that I wanted to say has long left my head. "That train has left the station."

Last week I went to Wainwright, a village southwest of here, I will "blog" about that next time. Right now, I think I am going to enjoy the sun outside, and worry about the office later.

Peace and blessings.