Saturday, July 25, 2009
Our congregation is truly blessed to have such amazing young people - the ones with us in New Orleans as well as the ones who are still in Vermillion. The kids here have been outstanding on this trip. They have learned to help others, they have thought about the way they treat others, they have participated in praising God with 36,000 of their peers! It has been an incredible experience for all of us. Where has the time gone? We only have our worship service tomorrow and then we will already be on our way home.
The first picture is so that you can get an idea of the sheer number of kids who are here. Tonight we got a greeting from New Orleans mayor, Ray Nagin, and then Bishop Hanson read a letter to the Gathering from President Obama. Those were wonderful moments -- the kids erupted into cheers at the conclusion of each. (Sorry -- my pictures are blurry....)
One of the musicians tonight was Guyland Leday, an under-ten-year-old self-taught zydeco artist. Here you see him along with his brother playing the washboard. I think that accordion is probably heavier than Guy!
At the end of the evening, we lit the Dome with our cell phones. It was just like Christmas Eve, when we light the candles -- starting from the front with one person and going all the way to the top of the Dome. It was beautiful and moving to watch -- as each row opened its phones, the people stood. Here is a picture, which really doesn't capture the moment in its glory. But hopefully you can get an idea. If you look carefully, you can see all those thousand points of light.
The Katinas closed the evening. They began with a lovely song about waiting for the Lord. As you can see in these pictures, the kids felt that music. They put their arms around each other and swayed back and forth in time with the music. It was beautiful to behold. Aren't they beautiful?