As I gaze out on an empty ballroom, I write with some disappointment. In less than 90 minutes, nearly 250 youth and adult leaders will fill Salons B & C at the Chicago Oak Brook Marriott, ready for a morning of worship and celebration at another YE QuakeZone. As excited as I am to rejoice with them one more time, join Swen & Dean and event crew in a rendition of Build Your Kingdom, and hear Dan Scharnhorst speak again, I am also sad. This is the last Quake or QuakeZone scheduled for East Lakes.
Event season has been a whirlwind, but amazing. I have learned so much and enjoyed so many youth, speakers, and bands.
In Cincinnati I reunited with Echelon, a team alumni band who my sister and I both saw at events when we were in middle and high school. As our first event, we were late to start the variety show, couldn’t find half of what we needed, and simply ran around like chicken with our heads cut off. Yet, I reunited with churches we visited in the fall and saw the love of God through event crew and staff alike.
In Pittsburgh we served over 400 youth. OVER 400 YOUTH! Churches were chomping at the bit to get to know is. I met an awesome alum named Kristen and shared time with her church. There I was reminded that God is Light – in him there is no darkness. None. Ever. It was beautiful.
In Toledo our team had the pleasure of working with Lynn Stoneking and her alumni band. We also witnessed the amazing dramas of Jonathan Swenson with Paraphrase Theater. It was by far our smallest event by numbers, but man did the light of Christ come to life in that hotel.
Next up came Lansing, MI with Bread of Stone. Let me tell you, this was the most extensive set-up we will ever do, but it was amazing to meet Bill, Tim, Ben, and Jason, as well as some of their family and their production crew. I have never met four people who could be so amazing, yet so real. Who had faith so strong. I made four friends through that band that weekend and met the amazing Gabe Kasper, whose messages had me laughing so hard I could cry and still feeling all of the feels that moved my heart.
Finally we experience Chicago. The weekend isn’t over, so I won’t tell you what I learned, yet. But in these five events our team has grown by leaps and bounds. We’ve experienced so much. While I’m sad that event season is drawing to a close for East Lakes, I can’t wait to see what the next five months have in store.