I’m in Evart, Michigan which is about a 12 hour drive north of where I live in Tennessee. Alabaster Box are leading worship and putting on a concert at one of their many winter retreats at Springhill Camp. We’ve been to this camp a couple of times this past year… pretty much every different season… but hands down Winter Camp rocks! Yeah I look like a complete whimp rugged up like a sore toe! It snowed all day… last count over 10inches! Most snow I’ve ever seen in my life! Absolutely beautiful. It’s like Narnia round here. I don’t think the locals really appreciate it very much hey… I was walking with some kids exclaiming how awesome the snow was and how I’d barely seen snow fall this winter… they just stared at me and didn’t utter a word. Maybe they didn’t understand my accent!
So my reason for blogging tonight is I really wanted to admit to the world that yes… I do completely feel blessed. A neighbour from my childhood in Australia made a comment on my facebook that really got me thinking how blessed I am to even see snow! Where I come from back home it’s unheard of! It does snow in parts… but it’s an expensive ski trip if you wanna find anything decent to board on. I remember the first time I got to see a ‘snowflake’ in real life. I was in absolute awe. I always knew ‘every single one was different’ and all that, but I honestly thought that you would need a microscope to see the intricacy of the flakes! Heck no! The ones that make it to the earth in tack are each beautiful, absolutely amazing masterpieces completely visible to the naked eye. I hope I never grow weary of this wonder of God’s creation.
How do you feel blessed today? Have you stopped to ‘smell the roses’ today? Or checked out a snowflake? Or watched a wave crash so perfectly on the beach? Or seen the latest exotic one of a kind sunrise?
Minus the sheep or two and a kangaroo I am enjoying every minute of sitting out on this deck with cuppa hot tea enjoying the sunshine and serenity in Seymour IN. The band are playing their final Springhill camp for the summer. We are honestly in one of the most beautiful locations I have been to in the US this year… Log cabin (American Style!) on the edge of a lake. Their is a 2 mile loop all around the lake that has all the different aspects of the camp – accommodation, ziplines, blobs, trap shooting, paintball, kayaking …etc… great experience for all!
So… I’m not very good at consistently blogging I’m told… sooo to update… since I last wrote we have driven over 2000 miles… and are now back where we started – Evart Michigan at the Springhill camp. To back track a little, we spent the second week of tour on a Lake in New Hampshire (right up in the northeast of America) at a Foursquare youth summer camp. Had an awesome time and saw God work in amazing ways in many of the students lives. Such an honour to be part of.
After the camp was done – July 4th – we went back to our good friends Mark and Audra’s place for some July 4th shenanigans… I’m sure this date is hugely memorable for every American… to an Aussie I think its just an excuse to legally blow up a tonne of fireworks in your own backyard!!! Thanks America!
We basically spent the week with the Warren’s. One night I cooked up a traditional ‘Aussie’ feast… meat pies, sausage rolls, mash potatoes, green peas and a good ol Pavlova (unfortunately my worst to this day… man those things are temperamental to cook!!!) Check out the vid on my facebook…
We also got to spend a day at York Beach, Maine – Just east of New Hampshire. Below is a pic of the fam we stayed with.
On Friday we started our trek back to Michigan… to cut up the trip we spent a night at Niagara Falls! Always wanted to see that place…. and yes when people say you gotta see it from the Canadian side they are right. It’s spectacular. So tourist-ized…
So… we’re having an awesome time in Evart, MI at the Springhill summer camps. This place is totally going off. Alabaster Box are playing at 3 – 4 sessions a day and just having a great time with all aged kids… check out the video below for some of tonights shenanigans….http://www.blogger.com/img/videoplayer.swf?videoUrl=http%3A%2F%2Fv3.nonxt4.googlevideo.com%2Fvideoplayback%3Fid%3Db3ac0913f92297bf%26itag%3D5%26begin%3D0%26len%3D86400000%26app%3Dblogger%26et%3Dplay%26el%3DEMBEDDED%26ip%3D0.0.0.0%26ipbits%3D0%26expire%3D1276447250%26sparams%3Did%252Citag%252Cip%252Cipbits%252Cexpire%26signature%3D6108BC452C791F82624FE48AFC80C1272DAB082.53EA38555E0E3057861D34A00F35A25282796159%26key%3Dck1&thumbnailUrl=http%3A%2F%2Fvideo.google.com%2FThumbnailServer2%3Fapp%3Dblogger%26contentid%3Db3ac0913f92297bf%26offsetms%3D5000%26itag%3Dw320%26sigh%3D7KLghZhGzyrWtkyXbdM1TcN9TEY&messagesUrl=video.google.com%2FFlashUiStrings.xlb%3Fframe%3Dflashstrings%26hl%3Den&nogvlm=1
Also tonight the band played for the 5th and 6th graders. There theme was ‘Rockstars’. I think they sold out to the ‘tweens’. They dressed up like crazy people with incredibly silly wigs! Can you even recognise any of the band!!!
Springhill camp was definitely an eye opening experience for me. That place is run like a tightly oiled machine. There are over 500 workers – some of which are uni students who are gaining credits towards their degrees for the hours they do and some are high school students also gaining credit. Over here, to graduate, students have to do a certain amount of hours of ‘community service’. Sounds like an awesome concept to me.
Springhill camps have more fun activities then you can think off… skeet shooting, archery, blobbing (not blogging technology is BANNED!) ziplining (flying fox), waterslides, horseriding…. and the list goes on! They also have three camps running simultaneously with up to 1200 kids on their 900 acre property. You’d think there were no more then 200 there though. The accommodation is themed – there’s a cargo plane, a train, Teepee’s, tree houses, Forts, Country and western style town… you name it… its there. All hidden away on different parts of the campsite. I imagine this camp is a dream come true for any kid. I definitely can’t remember experiencing anything like it when was a young whipper snapper! How about you? Post me a comment on your favourite childhood camps and some of their highlights.
— Matt’s ROCK stance
Last weekend I joined Alabaster Box on the ‘Tour Van’ and we headed to Michigan. Nice long 13 hour drive… a couple of us got 3 hours along the way by leaving on Friday night to spend some time with Andrea and Jeff. The wonderful couple I lived with the first time I came to America in 05/06. The rest of the band left at 2am Sat morning…
Springhill Camps put on their first festival and Alabaster Box got to join Tree63 on mainstage to rock it out! Naarah did awesome. Check out their new song ‘Bigger’ on myspace. Seems to be having a huge impact on young lives!
Sunday, we headed further north in Michigan to Traverse City, which is right on the great Lake Michigan. Johnny V and his wife Darcy brought us up to join their church. We met them in 05 on the first Ichthus tour we did with Day of Fire – so this visit has been a LONG time in the making. The interesting fact about all this was Darcy was MEGA pregga’s… so while we were trouping around Traverse City eating their famous fudge and drinking latte’s we’re wondering if it was a totally wise move… At the evening concert, Johnny V didn’t quite make it to do the final closing prayer… he was at the hospital while his wife was delivering their new baby boy – Ben! How cool hey!
Monday morning we left nice and early to try and make it back to Nashville in time for dinner. Only a couple of hours into the trip, whilst going through roadworks, the bus started making some thumping noises then blew a tire! Right as we went past a copper! I’m sure he thought his days were numbered! It was so loud! We ended up creeping a little further so we could pull into the road works but off of the fresh bitumen (Asphalt for you Americans) to change it. Turns out the spare that had been fixed the week before was flat and the road work crew came to our rescue with a Gennie and even some handwash and some towels! Then in Grand Rapids, where we went to get to get the tire fixed, Bretta ended up getting given a new tire and free repairs! So praise God with us! Good times on the road… I think we were on the road longer then we were actually stationed in Michigan… but we sure saw some pretty sunrises!