Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.
Exactly one month ago, Arkansas was hit with tornadoes, destroying neighborhoods and taking lives.
Three of those precious lives were our member and close friend Rebekah Tittle, and her sister Tori, and her father Rob Tittle. Their house was also completely demolished as well. We set up a memorial page for Rebekah's honor and linking all the Tittle memorials.
It was so awesome, that we have decided to attempt to make this an annually recurring gathering with the blessing of Mrs. Tittle. Details will be worked out soon.
The trip lasted officially from the 27th to the 28th. In reality, it started on the 23rd, when one of our members, David, arrived early. He hung out with the Pierces, playing some Ultimate Frisbee, and helping out on the farm. He scouted the house to make sure the logistics would work.
On Monday, the 26th, the first wave commenced. Morgan flew in the morning and was picked up. They spent the day wrangling chickens. At night, Caeleb, Joshua, Kit, and Mrs. Brown from Texas arrived in Little Rock, picking up Hannah in the airport, and played rounds of Mafia.
On Tuesday, the 27th, the second and final wave commenced. I flew out in the morning, arriving at 11 AM, and was picked up by the group. We headed to the Chick-Fil-A where Emily and Whitney Tittle worked. Whitney was off for both days, but Emily still had to work until Thursday. Victoria, Catherine, and Jessica arrived from Louisiana to meet us at the restaurant. We had a great lunch to start of the day.
We headed back to the restaurant as it started to rain. Because of the thunderstorm, we had to cancel our plans for Ultimate Frisbee in a park. However, we were able to go to the Tittle's church gym and play dodgeball! We played multiple games with switched teams, but lastly, we had a boys versus girls game.
The boys lost. *sniff*
After that, we had some games of Mafia before closing down the church and heading to a pizza buffet for dinner. We arranged for Whitney to have a sleepover with us in the Pierces' house. So it began, a night filled with games of Mafia! It was the first time I played the game, so my friends taught me. Joshua and Whitney took turns being the narrator, and boy, could they narrate! I was a simple civilian for most of the time, but that's okay. Caeleb apparently got to be a sniper for most of the game. Whitney deviously took the Mafia role away in a round, leaving us guessing. The quiet girls (i.e. Vikki, Caitlin, Caterina, and Jessica) made really mean Mafia. When Kit was assigned the role of the Doctor, he kept healing himself. We added ore people as the Pierce siblings joined in, Elijah and Josie. It was great fun, but we did have a curfew. So we got ready for the night.
We then rushed to church to attend Emily's youth group function. The group was introduced as the VDP. I just realized how many states we were all from: 2 from Ohio, 3 from Texas, 3 from Louisiana, and a Montanan and Virginian. Worshiping and singing songs lighted our hearts, and we split into small groups to discuss some deep things. The VDP guys went up to play in the youth group Family Feud game. We then chased Emily down to take selfies with us, and she did not relent.
Many hugs were given that day. Some tears were shed. But many empty hearts that were filled, longing to be together again. This is true friendship. We flew out, and we all eventually make it home. Some disasters were faced in the trek back: floods in Ohio and Louisiana, breaking down of a plane to Colorado, a dead transmission in Texas. It just solidified the fact that we missed each other.
We will see all each other, again.
We thank the following who donated and made this trip financially possible: The Brown Family, Maria Van Parys, Joshua Subra, The Poppen Family, Nancy Brown, Jeenee Lawhorn, The Baird Family, and Jessica Marse. We thank those that prayed for us from our prayer requests in church, Facebook, and other social media.
I thank the following students who were able to go to the trip. I am proud to call them my close friends: Caeleb Brown, Kit Carson, Victoria Christian, Morgan Rachel Cody, David Haymond, Catherine Danielle Kent, Joshua Loomis, Jessica Marse, and Hannah Musick. They have willing hearts and caring souls. When I was hesitant, they encouraged me. When I didn't know what to do, they stepped up. When I was at a loss of words, they carried on.
We thank Caitlin Pierce, her mother Stacy Pierce, and their family for hosting a sizeable chunk of our group in their farm. We thank you all for our food, laundry, and sharing living space with some crazy homeschoolers.
We thank our moms for the trip Mrs. Brown and Mrs. Christian for being willing to drive our group to various, diverse places around Little Rock, and also carpooling some of those that came. They are models of patience and have withstood our test of endurance. Because we can get crazy at times.
Lastly, we thank our Father in heaven for all His goodness and love.