My first GEM-K conference…

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No this isn’t the hotel

Ah, Geeze… that’s really the only thing that can really cover it… actually the only thing that covers it is the name itself, GEM-K conference… Greater Europe Mission Kids (ages 13- when you finish high school) all piled together in a cozy little Hotel in Hungary for five days…

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Our scavenger hunt required that we put ourselves into, well, different situations. Yes, we are all piled into a bathtub!

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Just another jazzy picture of me and my GEM-K friends on our scavenger hunt…

Ah, Geeze. Last time I wrote to you I was talking about how I had to remember how to breathe in the first place, this time I’m struggling to catch my breath. I’ve been throwing myself into this sea-like culture, enjoying the way that the waves batter against every part of me in a delightfully foreign rhythm. Like a sea sponge I’ve been absorbing the pleasures and challenges God has laid out for me here. However, swimming is hard work. (Despite what some Michael Phelps might make it look like…) Conference was my refresher course with my personal Swim-Trainer, Jesus. And after treading in the deep blue sea it was fun to take a splash in the kiddie pool with all the other GEM-Ks at conference. In Hungary and Austria for five days filled with rather strange adventures and exploits I hung out with some of the most awesome people ever! We pulled crazy stunt after stunt, partied where there wasn’t even a party and laughed our way through each day and into the next. We pranked each other, played really weird games, stormed Vienna, dance until dawn (literally) and (in some ways) refreshed each other so that we might each return to our own unique Olympic-sized pool and continue to tread in the deep and often dangerous waters in our respective places that God has placed us. We all embraced in emotional parting. We had all bonded in astonishing ways. I blinked and now I catch myself wondering if it actually happened. Did I really truly learn to swing dance and didn’t even step on anyone’s toes? (More than five times that is.) Did I really run face-first into that wall that appeared out of nowhere in that glass maze? Did I lie awake all hours of the night playing match maker?

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Me and my match-making partner in crime!

Did I really get up in front of that group of teens and perform a practically flawless impression of Larry in the VeggieTales favorite “I Love My Lips?” [ed: see the evidence on Facebook]  Did I honestly seek out Burger King for dinner in the middle of Vienna? Did I really play Ultimate Frisbee with a frozen pigs tongue? Did I… never mind. The answer is yes. Yes, I am one of those blessed things called a MK. We get to have so much fun it should be illegal. And it’s all because my God is looking out for me and loving on my soul in ways I can’t even imagine. He knows how much stress, newness, and down right scariness I can handle. He knows how much fun I can handle… maybe that’s why I had to come home so quick…

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He wouldn’t shake my hand…

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