MCYC 2008 – Random Thoughts

Some random thoughts from the speakers . . .

95% of all people who attend church today have never won anyone to Jesus.
(I’m not sure about the source of this data, but it’s a staggering and frightening statistic.) This really blows the 80/20 rule out of the water! Just imagine if that other 95% would get to work!

God is not worried about your ability. He wants your availability.

Worship is not about you; it’s everything about God.

MCYC 2008 – Who’s Who?

We’re down in Macon, MS, for this year’s Mississippi Christian Youth Conference. The Isaac Schade Band is here to provide the music, and Robin Sigars is here as the featured speaker. Robin currently serves as the Senior Minister at the Carterville Christian Church in Carterville, MO. Robin served as Associate Director of Christ in Youth for 17 years, and is uniquely qualified to speak to the hearts of today’s youth.

We have a good crowd from the Valley here this weekend: Chelsey, Zack, Ben, Jennifer, Devin, Abby, BB, and Kevin. We’re looking forward to an exciting weekend here in Macon, and we’re looking forward to growing closer to the One who loves us.

So We Didn’t Quite Make It . . .

It was another slow day of driving. Perhaps we’re all just a little tired. Perhaps we just don’t feel the same motivation we did on the way out to the Grand Canyon. Whatever the cause, we were not making good time. Ronnie and I kept consulting the GPS, and the results were not encouraging. We kept rolling, but it just seemed that we were not getting anywhere.

We finally had some unexpected and unwanted excitement a few miles east of Shawnee, OK, when the tread peeled off one of the back tires on the van. Fortunately it didn’t cause a blowout. We changed the tire at a rest area and drove back to Shawnee. We found a place where we could get the tire changed, and after the late afternoon excitement, we decided to call it a day. We’ll stay the night in Shawnee and finish our drive tomorrow.

Off to a Slow Start

We’re officially off to a slow start on our way home. We decided to take an alternate route in the beginning. We stopped to enjoy one last scenic overlook (Desert View) before leaving the park. There is just so much to see, that one could spend weeks exploring all the various wonderful vistas here. Even though we’ve enjoyed several days here, it seems that we’re leaving before we’ve finished exploring! After enjoying Desert View, we drove and drove and drove for a loooooooooooong time! We finally made it to Four Corners Monument. For those who have never been, this a unique place where visitors can stand in four states at once: Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, and Colorado.

We were caught in a brief summer thunderstorm here, and we passed the time snacking on frybread. Once the storm was over, we started rolling again. Ironically, we stopped in Tucumcari again, the same place we stopped on the way west.

Photography and Shopping

On our last day in the park, several more of our group got involved in the Canon photography workshops. It was a lot of fun for everyone, and it was very helpful to all of us. It was great to be able to get tips from the pros!

Of course there was a lot of last-minute shopping in the gift shops around the park. It’s a good thing most of our food is gone, or we wouldn’t have room for all the souvenirs!

We wrapped up our time in the park with another photo composition workshop at the Shrine of the Ages Auditorium. Tomorrow we’ll be back on the road.

Lazy Day

After such a long day of hiking yesterday, I felt that a lazy day was in order. Looking back at it, it seems that it was a rather busy day, but there was a lot of shuttle riding so it seemed like a lazy one. Most of the day was spent in taking pictures. I first headed out to the Kaibab Trailhead observation point. As the roads and trails curve around the canyon rim, there is always a new perspective and different views of this natural wonder.

After taking a number of pictures, I went back to Grand Canyon Village for lunch at the El Tovar Dining Room. I ate here once before when I visited the Grand Canyon, and I was looking forward to enjoying it again.

When we got to the park earlier this week, we found that Canon was sponsoring a series of photography workshops, and many of us were interested in attending them. These workshops were extremely popular and filled up quickly. It was a great opportunity to get photography tips from the pros as well as having an opportunity to experiment with a variety of Canon cameras and lenses. After the Canon workshop, I went back to Yavapai Observation Point for more photos. Canon also sponsored a photo composition workshop that night.

Plateau Point

This morning started off early, but in a way not so early as I hoped. I was ready to move out by around 5:30. Unfortunately the shuttle schedule didn’t cooperate, and it was 6:15 before I actually started off down Bright Angel Trail. En route to the trailhead I saw several elk grazing near the El Tovar Hotel and Bright Angel Lodge.

I started down the trail at 6:15. I reached the first rest house around 7:00. Of course the downhill part is easy, and I was making good time. I passed through Indian Gardens and reached Plateau Point around 9:30. I spent about an hour down at the point before starting the climb back up. Plateau Point was very nice overlook with great views of the Colorado River.

I started back at 10:30. The walk from Plateau Point to Indian Gardens is a very easy one, but once I hit Indian Gardens, the real climb began. The park’s general rule of thumb is that hikers should expect their trip out of the canyon to take about twice as long as the trip in, and this held true in my case. I finally reached the rim about 4:30.

It was a long, long day of hiking over a 12-mile route, but there was a lot of great scenery and vistas that just can’t be enjoyed from the canyon rim. By the time I reached the top, I was ready for a good meal, and I stopped in for an early supper at the Maswik Cafeteria before heading back to the room. After cleaning up, I took the shuttle back up to Hopi Point to enjoy another sunset.

Grand Canyon Fossils

After lunching at the Arizona Room, we met the ranger again for another nature walk. He led us along the rim to a spot where we could see a number of fossils.

Dating from the age when the Grand Canyon was an ancient seabed, these tiny fossils serve as a reminder of the intricacies of God’s Creation. From the largest of mountains to the tiniest of creatures, God’s handiwork is visible in everything we see.

Exploring a National Park

After two days of hard driving, we felt that we were due for a rest. We decided to sleep late today and wake up whenever! It’s a delightful feeling to lie abed until one is completely rested, rising only then to face the new day.

Once were were up and about and breakfasted, we took the shuttle up to the Yavapai Observation Station. We enjoyed a ranger-led nature walk, and we learned a number of interesting things. The ranger showed us a type of yucca that Indians used to make soap. He also showed us something called the resurrection plant. He said that this plant is one of the first to return after a forest fire.

We lunched . . . no, feasted in the Arizona Room. We were getting rather tired of the sandwiches we had brought along, and the Arizona Room was a great change of pace!

Sunset at Hopi Point

After the first peek at the Grand Canyon, the group decided to put supper on hold while we took the Hermit’s Rest shuttle up to Hopi Point to watch the sunset. Hopi Point seems to be THE gathering place for sunset viewing at the South Rim. Every canyon overlook offers something a little different with changing scenery, formations, and perspectives on this amazing wonder. From Hopi Point there is another spectacular canyon view as well as a glimpse down into the Colorado River.

After the sun set, it was time to catch the shuttle back down to Grand Canyon Village. We drove over to Yavapai Lodge to check in and call it a night.