July 29, 2011
Adventures with a Church Youth Group
Adventures isn't quite the correct wording for what I went through yesterday - perhaps it was more like a quest or journey of hysterical fun with a bunch of teenagers.
I am helping with our church youth group and yesterday I went with the group "tubing" down a river. We drove to Boone, Iowa which was about a 2 hour drive from our town and went to Seven Oaks. It is a wonderful place to go for skiing and water adventures as I am now calling it. There were 17 teens and 3 adults on the trip. We were driven to the Des Moines river in a school bus and were handed huge air tubes along with life jackets and we were ready to take off on the river.
We sat down in our inner tubes and started our journey down the river - 7 miles to be exact. It took 3 hours for all of us to float down the river. We had an absolutely great time and I learned many things along the way. First of all, kids take their cell phones everywhere including tubing on a river. They put them in water proof cases so that they can text each other down the river. Second, it is peaceful, except for the distant giggles of girls swimming and tubing along the way. Third, watching nature as you go along drifting down the river can be awe inspiring. I'm talking about beautiful birds (no snakes thankfully). A hawk and other birds were diving around us and then underneath a train trestle. Then there were the beautiful species of plants, flowers and trees. Fourth, drifting down a river makes you look at the flow of the river and consider how it cuts it's way through the earth along the path the water flows. Fifth, there was the struggle against the current if you tried to swim a little across the river or trying to slow your speed down in order for someone to catch up with you.
When the river "ride" was done, we dried off and changed our clothes and left for home on our church's little bus. Everyone was a little tired and happy and chatting along the way until ...... the bus overheated and broke down 40 minutes from home.
A member of our church is a mechanic so he left work to come and help us. In the meantime we called 4 parents and they were happy to get in their cars and vans to come and pick up the kids. In the meantime while we were waiting by the side of the highway we played "Survivor". We joked that just in case we were stranded for days, we had to pick which person we were going to eat first. Everyone was laughing and of course texting. Kids were counting cars going by and getting semi-trucks to honk their air horns. Within an hour the kids were picked up and were on their way and the mechanic had arrived.
We got the bus going and then it broke down for a 2nd time only 8 miles from home. We gave it our all that's for sure.
So there are wonderful memories of yesterday and tubing down a river, surviving a bus breakdown and the memories that go with both events.
I slept 10 hours last night and I awoke knowing that I am so lucky and happy to be a part of a wonderful church and that I am healthy and have enough energy to help with a youth group.
Tonight I baked some banana bread. I love this recipe. I am baking it to take to church on Sunday as I supply coffeetime treats for our Hispanic service. So I am ending with a recipe and also this advice. If you are lonely, find a church where you can grow and serve, even if serving means tubing down a river with a bunch of teens.
3 ripe bananas
1 stick butter
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped nuts, optional
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a loaf pan with butter or shortening, dust with flour.
Mix butter, bananas and egg together. Add vanilla and blend with a hand mixer. Sift flour, salt and baking soda together in a separate bowl.
Blend flour mixture into wet ingredients a little at a time. Stir in white sugar and beat on low. Stir in brown sugar and nuts. Pour batter in loaf pan.
Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Then check to see if the bread is done. If not, lightly cover with foil and then bake an additional 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven, run a knife along the sides and remove the bread from the pan and cool on a wire rack.