Saturday, April 28, 2012

Youth Ministry Film Festival

This week was our annual Film Festival at Salem Alliance. Wednesday was the middle school one. Because Kynzi is a 7th grader I was recruited to film and edit. The theme was prequels and sequels. We came up with the idea of a prequel to High School Musical. Thus we did Middle School Musical. This set up the reason why they always sing and dance in HSM. I loved the concept and we had several award winners from our video.

Friday night it was the high schoolers' turn. I lead a "d" group (discipleship/small group) of senior guys. We wanted to do a Hunger Games parody and do the Hungry Games, but when it came time to film we realized it was going to take a lot more time and work than we were prepared for. So we took a concept from my friends Josh Griffin and expanded on it. It is from one scene in the Hunger Games where Katniss is trying to shoot the bag of apples to blow up all of the stuff the group of tributes were protecting. It gets a little ridiculous...that's the fun of it.

There is something about getting together with a group of people and making a video that brings you together. The shared experience of it all is so worth the time and effort of actually making the video. We laughed a lot and it was a beautiful day. I have a pretty great group of guys I get to serve along with Duane Ditchen. Several of our guys, including Duane, could not be there. Anyhow, here is the video.

After Brian, Ashley and I viewed the videos, we made our own video highlighting each of the student videos and picking on them all. We did a fun parody to the Lazy Song. I will see if I can get the other videos up online so you can get a better understanding for this video. Enjoy.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Hoedown Adoption Fundraiser

No, we are not in the adoption process again! Although that may sound romantic to you right now, we are doing just fine with the 4 kids we have thank you. This was a fundraiser for our friends Jeff and Kara Brown. They are adopting twin girls from the DRC (Congo). I think they are now about $7,000 shy of their needed goal to get their girls home. This has been a pretty quick process, as far as international adoptions go (so far).

These dear friends of ours have a story. You can read all about it here. The fundraiser they did was held at the Schillings Barn. GREAT place for an event! There were so many people there they had to use overflow parking about 1/4 mile away at a church! It was great. They had a guy with a sweet handlebar mustache shouting for square dancing. That was a blast!
Nyah and Sam dancing

Eugene Pavlov was there taking pictures with a full western theme backdrop. So fun.
sorry for the blur

There were great snacks and you could also buy jars with Africa on them, some of Kara's mom's famous Hummus. It was such a festive night. I can't believe how much Haakon and Nyah loved dancing. They enjoy dancing at home, but out in public. I love how uninhibited kids are! It was also fun to connect with several old friends I haven't seen in a while.

This sure makes me think of what it was like when we were at this point of the process. We had pictures of Haakon and Nyah, but we had not seen them yet. We longed for the emails that would have the semi-monthly updates with new pictures and information. As hard as those days were, I miss some of that anticipation. It also meant we had not gone away as a family for 7 weeks to Ethiopia at the time. That was something we will never forget!

I talked with Jeff and Kara afterward and we all agreed we should do something like this next year to help raise funds for others who are going through the process. It makes me wonder what else we could do. I know there are plenty of organizations out there that let you apply for grants, but this would be a fun way we could support others we are connected with.

What are some of the best fundraisers you have seen or been a part of?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

A Reminder of Ethiopia

Yesterday I got a Facebook message from our dear friend Nancy. We met her and her husband Hubert and their 2 wonderful kids while we were staying in Ethiopia. They are really great people. We shared many meals together during our stay. Perhaps the best thing about meeting this family was the fact that their kids and our kids connected equally as well as we did. Having them there also helped lessen the blow of summer vacation without friends back home.

Nancy said they were coming to Portland for 2 days and wondered if we had time to get together. OF COURSE! We would have worked very hard to make it happen if we were already busy, but thankfully we were not. We had planned to take the kids to Bullwinkle's Family Fun Center already and then we met up with them at Bridgeport Village for dinner. Although the trip to Bullwinkle's could perhaps deserve its own post, I will refrain and just add a few pictures with comments down below.

When we finally saw them across the way we all ran over and began slinging around hugs everywhere. It was so good to see this family. I can't even tell you. They live in Vancouver, BC and we had talked about the possibilities of some summer vacation connections, but it was so good to see them before summer's arrival.

Nancy is a runner, so we ran together a few times while we were in Ethiopia and Hubert has a way about him that you just can't help but like him. I know very few outgoing people like him. Most people I come across I find that I am always initiating the "hello." Not so with Hubert. I like this guy. Kynzi and Nia connected really well and Karston and Kai were like peas in a pod. I know Karston grieved the most when we left the States and it was as if God said, "This is right and I know the pain that comes with doing the right thing at times, so here you go." It was beautiful. I loved seeing Karston and Kai walk with their arms around each others shoulders like solid friends do.

They were also instrumental in helping us celebrate Karston's birthday thousands of miles away from home. That was HUGE for him and for us. So today we sat around the dinner table at Claim Jumpers and just enjoyed each other. The older kids sat at their own table and the adults and littles sat at a table. We talked about transition, bonding, life now, the future, running, etc. These are good people. People I like being around. I have some great friends here in Oregon (no buts here) and it is great to be able to talk about a life we had that not many understand.

Thank you Lord for friends from all over the world.
Karston enjoys some cotton candy at Bullwinkle's
There is still plenty of discussion as to who won
Enjoying a virtual ride that bumps and shakes
Nyah desperately wants to play skeeball
Whack-a-mole spider style
On our way to see our friends
Finally the world is right again
The littles keep "sharing" off each others plates
Trying to get one more shot before we left

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