Yesterday, I spent the day on the road...literally the whole day. At 8:00 AM, I did the pre-trip check on the 26 passenger bus the church owns. I checked to make sure all the lights were working, checked the fluids, tire pressure, etc. Then I pulled the bus, U-Haul trailer in tow, into the church parking lot. For the first time in 14 years, somebody else was getting stuff ready to take students to camp.
My good friend Shaun Windle took my place as youth pastor this past March when I transitioned to administrative pastor. He was excited about getting to camp...and I was excited he was going and not me. Now don't get me wrong, I still love students and know how important summer camp is, but God changed my heart when he moved me out of youth ministry, and I was glad to let somebody else carry the torch. It felt REALLY good to come home to my own bed and sleep without the squeak of bunk beds and sounds (both real "how real can I make this sound") of "intestinal distress."
Shaun planned to leave promptly at 8:30 AM, and to his credit, I think we pulled out about 8:45. I say "we" because, even though I was not taking kids to camp, I was driving to camp. There are just two of us in the church who have our CDL and it was a bit easier to get a day "off" from my boss that it was for the other guy.
Columbus, TX is about five to five-and-a-half hours from Arlington. We stopped for lunch, gas and restroom breaks arriving in Columbus around 3:30 PM. There was a LONG wait while Shaun registered everybody (they had about 2,500 students registering...the biggest camp they have ever had), then we had to unload the guys, unload the girls and wait for Shaun to get some more registration stuff take care of. We didn't leave to come back until 5:15 PM. The "we" on the way back included myself, Amanda, Shaun's wife JoAnna and their son, Jordan.
We got home around 10:30 PM. It was a full day, and we were tired after being on the road most all day. It was really hot and not much fun waiting to head back to Arlington, but the trip overall was pretty enjoyable. I was glad I was not going to stay at camp, but it's still exciting being around students before and after camp.
When we headed back, Shaun thanked me for driving the bus and for coming back to pick them up on Friday. But you know, it didn't cost me much more than my time. I mean, I didn't have to take a day off work and I got "paid" for driving (the church paid me for the work day). But Shaun has a full-time job, so he took a week of vacation to be with "his kids". And then there is Wanda, the mother of one of our students. This is her third year at camp as a counselor. Her third year to take a week off of work to be with students. And then there was Ali, a graduate of youth group when I was youth pastor, also taking a week off of work to be with students. If you ask me, they are the real heroes.