Sunday, December 28, 2008

An Interesting Moment @ the MidSkool Movement

Two weeks ago, we had our MidSkool Movement Youth Service.  On Sunday Mornings at the First Church we have approximately 70 middle school aged youth that attend.  A few months ago, we launched the MidSkool Movement Service once a month on Sunday Mornings.  Luis Abbott and Christian Johnson are the Main Coordinators of this group of young people.  They do an incredible job prepping for activities and connecting with this age group.

The First Church Children's Ministry Department  conducted a Sunday School Training Seminar a few weeks back with Brent Regnart - Children's Pastor of CLC and Bro Jerry McCool, a very awesome and dynamic Children's Evangelist.  Alot of things were mentioned, but one of the main things that stood out - especially when working with a bunch of crazy, hyper, and unchurched young people was that you must have classroom / activity rules communicated.  You cannot enforce rules if you have not communicated them to the youth you are working with.

With that being freshly engraved in our minds; Luis, Christian, and I made a "Rules" Video for the MidSkool Movement Video.  We were so proud of it.  We had fun making it.  Let me give a little insight into youth ministry.  There are alot of challenges in working with today's young person, but there are fun parts of it as well.  Creating media that can be played in your venues, can be alot of fun.  Here is a Video Recap of the Service, and at the end of the video is the Rules Video that we were so proud of.

So back to the story.  We thought we had it down.  All bases covered.
Room 9 was packed. Excitement was in the air.  The theme of the Movement Service was "The Tightest Gift Ever".  We were going to discuss the real reason of Christmas, and why Christ came.  We had wacky games, awesome giveaways, and off tha hook crowdbreakers.  We were even giving away an IPOD.

As we were 3/4 the way through the service, we were making our way to the "message" segment.  Christian was leading us in praise and worship, I felt to take the mic and sing one more song before I began to launch into the "Message".  The presence of God was there.  Kids were on their feet with hands in the air singing and praising God.  We were right in the middle of the song "Here I am to Worship" when out of the corner of my eye, I witnessed a Blue Bomber Kid get up out of his seat and make his way to the second row, and with all that he had began to punch another Blue Bomber Kid in the face.  In fact, it was so bad, that the kid on the second row got knocked down to the ground as the other continually pounded him. Immediately Bro Richard Masoner, who by the way is one of the coolest Dads/Pre Teen Teachers around, jump right in and break it up.  They grabbed both boys and took them out of the room.  I instructed Luis Abbott to contact the Police - and for them to come out and take a report - in case of any injuries that may of occurred. 

The room was quiet.  I looked into the faces of the other MidSkoolers in the room.  I think the state of shock had set in that there was a Royal Rumble in the middle of praise and worship left the room in silence.

See, I failed to mention, that in the Sunday School Seminar with Regnart and McCool - that one of the main points that McCool really hit on - was working with "Object Lessons".  That "Object Lessons" really help a child to identify with the lesson attempting to be communicated.

I had just had the best "object lesson" take place right there in front of the rest of MidSkoolers.  I quickly took control of the situation and said,  "That when you have the Holy Ghost - you don't have to act out in violence.  That when you have the tightest gift ever, You don't have to fight - but the Lord is with you."   I still felt the presence of God, right there in the Midst of Summer Slam.  I continued to minister to this awkward age group.  A group that seeks identity.  A group that struggles with insecurity. A group that seeks acceptance. God was in room 9.

That night, Victoria - a girl that has been riding the Blue Bomber for a while now came back to service & was sitting in the front row with her Sunday School teacher- Shannon Erickson. She responded to the preaching of Bro Ari Prado and was drawn to the alters seeking God.

After a decade of being involved in youth ministry, I am convinced more now than ever that young people really do need Jesus.  One of the many goals our youth ministry has this year is to connect and minister effectively to the Midskool Age Group.  It is a group that the world is quickly trying to impact and affect.  Please continue praying for the Revivalution Youth Ministry in 2009.    

By the way, in the rules video, we failed to communicate " No Fighting".

Saturday, December 27, 2008

A Quick Catch Up

Revivalution Youth -> Christmas in the Park & Streets of Bethlehem
Birthday Celebration #1 with BFF's -> P.F. Chang's
Birthday Celebration #2 with my family -> Claim Jumpers
Birthday Celebration #3 with the hubster (forgot camera) -> Carino's
Ollie met Santa -> don't think he liked him
Date night with hubster -> San Francisco/ Union Square
Hosted Christmas Eve at my house -> parents and my aunt and uncle came over (sibling's are in Peru - long story).
Christmas day -> spent with JW's family (forgot camera)
  • I have been 29 now for one week, and must admit that I do feel a little more mature  ;o)
  • I have been off of work for a week, and have had moments of complete boredom (I will be sooo ready to go back to work).
  • So far have been over to the Hassas' house twice for dinner (with a third time approaching this weekend) - thinking we will be wearing out our welcome really soon ;o)
Happy New Year's Everyone! - LW

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Christmas Trees, George Bailey, So-Cal & Sanger

There is no season like Christmas. I love Christmas. Here is a picture of our Christmas tree in all its glory.
The other night I was with a group of our young people and I said "Merry Christmas". They looked at me all weird and then like only a teenager could respond..."Dude it's not Christmas yet!"

Christmas for me is the time from Thanksgiving to December 25th. I remember as a child waking up on Christmas morning and running into the Living Room and ripping open gifts. After all the gifts were opened, it was time to clean up all the debris. Then onto Christmas dinner. was over. My mother was the type that would break down our tree the day after Christmas - because it became a fire hazard. So to me, Christmas became not about the 25th - but about the season.

This year, Leah has 2 weeks off of work. I plan on spending time with my honey going out to the crowded malls, and taking a drive to freshly dropped snow in the mountains that surround San Jose. After Christmas, we plan on traveling down to Southern California to see some awesome friends. We will also be heading to Sanger to chill for a bit with our dear friends Tirso and Rachel Gonzales. They have the coolest kids.

If you have not read any of the previous posts, let me reiterate that I love the cold weather. I love the busy shopping malls. The crowded Parking Garages. The Christmas Music. The Gift Cards I will receive from my youth group...hint hint. I love it all. I love saying "Merry Christmas" to the most grouchiest looking people on the street. I sometimes feel like George Bailey from "It's a Wonderful Life", as he runs through Bedford Falls screaming "Merry Christmas"! - JW

Friday, December 12, 2008


A week from today....I will be turning 29. That's right, you heard me right, there was no mistaking what I said..........29. I will begin my last year of being in my 20's.

I. Am. So. Depressed.

I cannot believe it is happening to me!

A famous person once said:

"I still feel 18 inside, but then I look in the mirror
and see that I don't look 18 anymore, and I think - That is not me, what has happened!?!"
~Bishopette Bobbie Shoemake

That is exactly how I feel. I feel like a fraud, someone that is faking being an adult...I don't feel like one inside.

I have never minded getting older. In fact, I have loved my 20's - they have been great. But to think that next year I will be 30!!!!!! I NEVER thought I would be here. 30 ALWAYS seemed so OLD - and now, here I am one year away from "old".

[A special "Thank you" to the Blue Bomber kid in our class a few weeks ago, who asked how old I was, and then without any hesitation said, "Wow, that is really old" - you did not even notice my eyes welling up with tears, my heart being crushed....I know, I know, I am being dramatic.]

I know I should just roll with it. It is just part of life. But knocking at 30's door has truly made me stop and think. Made me evaluate my life, what I have done, what I HAVEN'T done, where I was SUPPOSED to be at this time in my life. I feel a little panicked when I think of everything I want to do before 30 is here.

Knowing what is ahead gives me a year to come to full acceptance of something I cannot stop or change.

Just bare with me if you happen to walk by me sometime this year and I am having a complete break-down, if Alzheimer's starts to set in, or if you happen to notice any white hairs on my head (DO NOT point them out unless you are willing to comfort me as I cry).

You never know, maybe the rapture will happen next year and I will get to stay 29 forever. -LW

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


Photo of me and my sister when I was 10 years old

It felt like someone was holding our building, gave it one rough shake and let go. It was an earthquake. We have had two so far this morning that were centered 6 miles from where I work. They were 3.0 & 1.4 magnitude.

The California native that I am hates earthquakes, but would much rather have them then hurricanes, tornadoes, snowstorms, etc. You never know when they are coming (the whole "not knowing" works really good for me). While they are happening, I AM terrified, scared, heart racing, looking frantically for a doorway/desk to duck and cover (like I learned in elementary school), but an hour later my fear has been forgotten. I like it that way.

I remember the Loma Prieta Earthquake in '89. I was 10 years old. At the time we were living in a mobile home in Union City. It was so strong that our mobile home moved a few feet forward (with all of us inside), and the car across the street rolled and crashed into our home. It was CRAZY to say the least. We did not have a TV, so I remember going to our neighbors and watching the bridge collapse and the aftermath of chaos as a result of the earthquake. I will never forget it. -LW

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Thanksgiving Recap #2

Annually we meet on the day after Thanksgiving, with Sam & Monica Hassas and Johannes & Tawni Escudero for dinner.  I think this year may be our fifth or sixth year of doing this.  I look forward to it every year.  Not meeting up after a conference, not going out to eat after a youth event...just getting together for the sole purpose of having a good time.
Usually Monica or I host it, but this year we boycotted all of the work and opted for a Maggiano's feast instead...who could resist that???? 
JW and I feel so blessed to have these two couples in our lives.  They are truly GOOD PEOPLE, and we feel honored to call them FRIENDS.
JE, TE, SH & MH ~We love you guys and look forward to another 50 years of Post-Thanksgiving Dinners with you! -LW 

Monday, December 1, 2008

Thanksgiving Weekend - Jwest

What an awesome Thanksgiving Week we had. The Tuesday night before Thanksgiving, Pastor threw down. It was not your traditional "Thanksgiving" Message. It was incredible. It ended with everyone flooding the alters just so grateful for the blessing of God. It was awesome.

On Thanksgiving, Leah and I did the annual Turkey Day at three locations. We started the day at my mom's house for a few hours. Then off to Leah's Parents for a bit, and then finally concluded the day at Sam and Monica's house. Leah and Monica were crazy, going shopping at the Great Mall at Midnight on Thanksgiving night. I fell asleep on Sam's Couch till 3 am when they came home from their Shopping adventure....WITH NOTHING! I am sure Leah will blog about it later.

What was even better this week was that Leah began decorating for Christmas. For those of you who don't know Leah very well, she loves adding things to our home. She has an awesome sense of decor and style. She worked at Ethan Allen for a few years when we first started dating, so she has a good sense of home decor - but not at Ethan Allen prices!.
What is so great about Leah, is that she is constantly shopping for really neat things to make our home an even more welcome and desirable place to be. Even though I complain at times for the hours she spends at Home Goods in Gilroy, she does an incredible job. You all need to stop by our house in December.

On Friday, we spent the whole day at home recuperating from a very festive Thanksgiving Thursday. Later in the evening, we met up with long time friends Johannes and Tawni Escudero and Sam and Monica Hassas at Maggianos for the annual Thanksgiving Connect. What a great time we had laughing and enjoying each other's company. We all came back to our house, and talked until 1:30 in the morning! I really appreciate the times that I am able to spend with quality friends.
I love the season of Christmas. Believe it or not, I love the cold weather, crowded malls, packed out parking lots, and the hustle and bustle. We have spent 2 of the last 3 Christmas' in Manhattan. If I had my way, we would be there again this year. I can't wait for all the Holiday Parties, and festive things we have planned this month.
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