I think I’ve mentioned it before on this blog that my hubby and I are youth leaders in our church. We’ve both been helping out with the youth for a very long time. I’ve been helping out since I got saved in 1997. My friends that lead me to the Lord were youth leaders in their church and so it was just natural for me to tag along to youth group as well as on youth events. I’ve attended Acquire the Fire I don’t even know how many times now, but it’s been almost every year since I got saved, except for maybe 2.
This past weekend, we had the pleasure of taking our youth to Winterfest 2017 in Knoxville, TN. It is a youth event put on by the Church of God denomination. And although our church isn’t of that particular denomination (we are non-denominational and affiliated with Resurrection Life Church out of Grandville, MI) the other youth leaders in our church used to be, and were raised in that denomination. We have very similar styles of music and messages, so it wasn’t shocking or surprising by any means.
This trip we took 13 teens and 5 adults with us. We rented 2 12 passenger vans and were blessed with a really great deal from the rental company. One of the other youth leaders used to work at the dealership where we rented them from and he wanted to be able to bless us since it was a youth trip.
The drive was about 12 hours total with stops and all, and our teens did amazing. There wasn’t any drama, and they were all very patient and got along amazingly well. We arrived at our hotel and check in went super smoothly. They had all of our rooms arranged ahead of time, and even though we had a couple of kids back out at the last minute, we were able to fill their spots. The hotel had all the keys marked with their names, organized by room. I was really impressed by that. She quickly switched out the names of the kids that couldn’t come with the names of the kids that did. It was no big deal.
We hit the pool, which was super nice, but not very big. It is an indoor/outdoor pool, but the outlet to the outdoor part was closed for “winter hours”. We all chuckled at that because it was near 70 degrees the day we arrived. We’re from Northern Michigan, so 70 degrees is not winter to us! The hot tub wasn’t so hot though. The jets blew out cold water and the temp seemed to be only around 80 degrees. It made it nice for sitting and chatting though without getting too hot.
The next morning, the other female adult leader and I got up and went to the arena to register our group. It was in the high 50’s that morning, so we were sporting our capris and summer tops! LOL. Most of the other people were in winter coats, hats and gloves. Hilarious. We were given a nice backpack with a couple of books as well as all our wristbands for our group.
When we got back to the hotel, we had the kids get ready and we headed to IHOP for breakfast. It was super good and the service was great for having such a large group to deal with. The place was hopping too! (pun intended!)
Then we headed to Laurel Falls in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. We took a 1.3 mile hike up the mountain to the falls. It was so amazingly beautiful! Here are a few pics I took.
It was a great hike! Afterwards, we headed back to Knoxville for the opening session of Winterfest.
And it was amazing!!! The thing I like about this youth event compared to ATF, is the schedule. It starts Friday night, lasts about 4 hours. Then the 2nd session on Saturday isn’t until 4:30pm. So we had all day to go explore the area. My hubby took one van and went to the World’s largest knife shop in Pigeon Forge and I took another van and went to the mall. The other two leaders met up with some friends who live in the area.
After a couple of hours, we all met back up for dinner at Golden Corral. Oh my word! The kids loved it and so did my hubby and I! We will definitely be going there more often when we get the chance. We don’t have one in our town, but when we go visit our daughter in Grand Rapids, we can go then.
Saturday night’s session was amazing! Super Spirit filled service! Many of our students are new to the faith, and have never experienced the presence of the Holy Spirit. There was lots of joyful tears as they felt the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the place.
There is a Sunday morning session, but we could not stay as we had a 12 hour drive back, not to mention Day Light Savings Time started Sunday morning! Boy was it rough getting up and getting on the road. But we did it!
This Sunday our kids will be sharing their testimonies from the trip. I may edit this post with those, so stay tuned. 🙂
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