Getting into our Iowa groove

Trip Start Jan 06, 2011
Trip End May 24, 2011

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Flag of United States  , Iowa
Monday, January 24, 2011

Kelsey and I are starting to call Iowa our temporary home by now. More than three days in one place? Unheard of! :)

We are very welcomed guests living in the home of John and Pat Sellers, who in turn are living in the home of their two little shih-tzus, Echo and Nemo. Nemo is three years old--he's gray and white, and a energetic bundle of personality. He's jealous of any attention that you give to Echo, who is nine, and black and white. Echo's much more chill, and he looks like an ewok from Star Wars. Both dogs are super cute.

John is a chaplain. The way I understand it is that Youth for Christ contracts his chaplaincy and places him where he's needed. Therefore, John serves as chaplain at Iowa's State Training School for Boys. Young men from across the state who have gotten into some pretty big trouble end up here. Some have been in and out of jail. Others have committed life- or long-sentence crimes, but are too young for jail, so they are living here until they're eighteen and old enough.

A handful of students at the training school have proven themselves dedicated to improving themselves. A select few are chosen to be on the Honor Corps. Their privilege? Work. We in the working world can be quick to consider work almost as bad as prison, but think of it--fundamentally, it is a privilege to be entrusted something by someone. That's all work is. The opposite is not being trusted by anyone to do anything. And that's prison. So the Honor Corps guys enjoy the odd jobs they are given to do around campus. When Camfel rolls into town, they are our helpers.

They helped us set up an afternoon show yesterday, and they were back for round two today. Honestly, Kelsey and I were hardpressed to remember having a better crew. They took direction well, they were very careful and methodical with the equipment and processes. They were living up to their Honor Corps reputation.

So, when it came time to set up the show a second time, they hardly had to be told what to do. We got everything set up in fifteen minutes flat.

With all our spare time, we got to hang out. We ate some popcorn, and played some cards.
We taught the guys how to play Egyptian Rat, which is game that tests fast reflexes. They caught on fast!

After the show was done, as the students were filing out of the room, many of them came over to Kelsey and I (who were standing a little bit out of the way) and shook our hands and thanked us for coming. I hope our presence there showed them that we really do care about what they're doing there and the choices they're making. It was encouraging to have so many of them go out of their way to thank us. They were very polite.

P S - ironically, this show was a skipping disaster, too. On Saturday, the left DVD was skipping. This time, the right one was. As we were re-syncing the show, the left projection was flickering. One of the video cables was going out. As Kelsey tried to duct-tape that connection to keep it from flickering worse, the right video skipped again. So I switched out that DVD for a spare, but it didn't fix the problem. Shortly, it began skipping again. Kelsey and I nodded to each other. "It's the player." So we whipped out our spare player from Justin ("Justin Case" the spare box) and hooked it up and re-synced it to the rest of the show. The rest of the show ran smoothly. Whew!

But just like on Saturday, God showed us that he doesn't need the show to run smoothly in order for the Spirit to work in the hearts and minds of the kids watching the show. Through response cards, we learned that fourteen of the guys wanted to talk to someone more about how they can have a relationship with God. Cool, huh?

So this is our work here in Iowa. We've done a lot of work with the training schools and churches with which John is affiliated. We'll also do shows for a number of the local public schools. It'll be a busy week--about fifteen or so shows over a week and a couple days. But each day has been fulfilling in its own way. And we couldn't ask for better hosts. Bring on more Iowa! (that's something you'd never think you'd say...)
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