Monday, March 30, 2009

Last Full Day at Long View Ranch

Posted by: Shannon Lee, Amy Barwell and Mr. Hood (Posted Tuesday morning because internet went down at 1:00 am when it was ready to publish!)

After a yummy pancake breakfast we had another wonderful time of personal devotions in and around the dining hall. At the end of our devotions we all gathered on the porch overlooking the Smokey Mountains and listened to God's creations as it awoke - we even heard a woodpecker off in the distance!

We then divided into four work groups to spend the morning serving our friends (George and Kay Widmaier and their son Dave) at Long View Ranch. The group led by Mrs. Sengberg helped clean windows and wash the screens at the dining hall. They also cleaned the bathrooms of all the cabins (thank you girls!!) and cleaned the inside of the bus. Another group led by Mrs. Wenzel went to the barn to curry the horses - which means to brush the horses in order to remove their winter coats! A third group led by David Widmaier went to work re-stringing all of the wire for the electric fence on the horse pastures. The fourth and final group led by George Widmaier, Mr. Hood and Mr. Mitchell cleared the land of old branches and logs by the front entrance to the camp. They made two large fires and threw all of the wood into them. It was a tremendous morning of work and we were all thankful to go to lunch. However....
When we arrived at lunch we were not expecting a team building activity to be part of our lunch experience. This activity involved each person having both their wrists taped to their neighbor's wrists. Each person could not feed themselves but could offer to feed their neighbor and vice versa - all of this was a fun attempt to show servanthood and build teamwork. Lunch consisted of cheeseburgers, chips, grapes, vegetables and soda or water. It was fun to say the least!

A brief free-time was followed by a low-ropes team building activity. It was called the "Trust Fall". Several smaller exercises helped us be prepared for the ultimate trust test with our classmates. Eventually students voluntarily climbed up to a 4 foot platform (it felt like 12 foot when you got up there), turned their backs, tucked in their arms, closed their eyes and when all was deemed "ready" - fell backwards trusting their group of classmates below to catch them. Everyone stepped out of their comfort zone and participated in this challenging activity - we even caught Mr. Mitchell!

The remaining afternoon time was spent horseback riding, playing games in the dining hall or just relaxing. Mr. Hood, along with George Widmaier, went back to finish some of the work on the house which we worked on this past Saturday. He brought back compliments from all of the people who our Sophomores blessed this past weekend.

After dinner there was an extended time of group reflections and devotions. We were challenged to do several games which also carried the message of the week - "receive the love". The concluding activity was an opportunity to "step across the line" if you were in that category. It opened many people's eyes to what their classmates were going through. This was followed by our most powerful time of sharing. Everyone shared their thoughts on the topic of "what impacted you the most" from the trip. We feel the poem below by Christian Baez aptly describes how we have felt during this incredible week. As a class we want to continue to grow closer to each other and to God as we return home.

We look forward to seeing our families today. This is the Sophomores signing off for the final time in Tennessee! God bless you.

Where God Is
Where is God?
When the little ones are starving
Where is God?
When the sick are dying
Where is God?
When disasters occur
Look around you
That's where God is
And if you're too blind to see
His wonderous creation
And if you're too deaf to hear
The splendour of His Name
Then Fool you are part
Of a dead, dead world
You're life is meaningless
And like a fool
You blame God

Accept His love!
Get swept up by His grace!
And then you will know
Where God is.