Thursday, August 09, 2007

NAYC '07 -- Charlotte, NC -- Wednesday -- To Be Continued


We left Dothan shortly after 7:00 AM on Wednesday morning heading to Charlotte, North Carolina for the North American Youth Congress which is conducted by the General Youth Division of the United Pentecostal Church, International.

Our van was fully loaded and our trailer was ¾’s loaded with our luggage. Our first stop was in Phenix City, Alabama around 9:20 AM to gas up the van and then we stopped at McDonald’s (the same one we stopped at on the way to Atlanta for the flight to Romania). We did not stop again until we reached Spartanburg, South Carolina around 12:30 PM. I realize that some might think that the guys were the ones who were pushing not to stop but we asked the girls on a regular basis if they needed to stop to which they would decline.

We made it to Charlotte around 3:30 PM and it did not take long before we decided that history was repeating itself. Just as two years ago, we took a long scenic route around Columbus, Ohio for our NAYC ’05, looking for our motel. . . . well, we did it again. The problem was that some of the exits were not clearly marked and we did find a Super 8 but it was two exits down and we had to backtrack it.

Once we arrived at the right Super 8, as usual, the huge language barrier presented some great challenges. Furthermore to complicate matters, it was 104 degrees and the humidity was stifling which helped to wilt so our patience. So the scenic route, the heat, and the language barrier compounded matters. Although I did try to maintain some sense of composure when the fellow told me that an additional $90 charge was needed, I had a momentary flashback. This flashback took me back 12 years or so to a 2:00 AM meeting in Gastonia, NC to when this fellow told me, “I gi’e you good deal, mon!” The “good deal, mon!” was an incredible rip-off for a room that was built in the early 1900’s, had dim bulb lights in the ceiling, and an accompanying smell of some toxic bug spray. So my nerves started jangling.

Then when we get checked in, the folks would not give any extra towels to Caleb Stark. So I ended up having to go down and work through a language barrier and do a math lesson for the fellow to get more towels. . . . This was successful.

In addition to all of this we were trying to find Jeff Sully but my phone battery had died and I was unable to reach him in the van. So we started playing phone tag until finally we managed to get through and we decided that we would meet him at the registration desk at the Bobcat Arena.

We quickly changed and ducked out in the heat and wilted down again. In transit to the Arena, I told our bunch that obviously the frustrations and aggravations that we had encountered meant that we were going to get a whole lot out of it. As the night developed, I realized this was definitely the case.

When we arrived, there was a huge crowd waiting to get in. The reason that the crowd was so backed up was because of security checks to get everyone into the building. It was almost like the security checks at the airports that we “enjoyed” on the missions trip to Romania. For one brief moment, I thought that I was not going to be able to get in with a digital camera and video. However, the security lady was very kind and told me to go on through although she did caution me to watch out for “mean” security folks who might try and confiscate my cameras. But we found out that there were no “mean” security folks here tonight. In fact, the Arena staff and security have been extremely courteous and very helpful to our group as we have tried to navigate through the masses at NAYC.

Once we got in the doors, Mark Aplin saved the day for us. He had ten lanyards and badges that he did not need so we managed to purchase all ten from him for $30 instead of $50 dollars. This was fantastic! Also, I forgot in the rush this morning to get our V.I.P. stickers for our Top Twenty SFC giver (we were 16th) and I managed to get them from the registration desk and we had good seats for the night.

We are looking from the side at mid-court or so and we are fairly close the platform as you will see in the video clips. I just thought we were loud in Dothan. . . we pale in comparison to NAYC! The theme this year is “To Be Continued. . .”

The night opened up with a fellow encouraging prayer and overall he did a pretty good job with a very challenging job. His job was to get all the folks toward their seats and to get those who were milling around to find somewhere to go. After about seven or eight minutes of focused prayer the majority of the crowd had settled into their seats. I would think that probably ¾’s of the lower three levels of the Arena were filled.

Jonathon Dean, who works with the Pentecostals of Alexandria, is responsible for the music this year. All-in-all, he did well with leading worship tonight (Part Two is here). I can tell that I am aging because about ½ or more of the songs, I was clueless as to the words. However, it doesn’t take long to get a grip on the 7-11 choruses and I recovered nicely although I am not sure if Wayne Worley (who was on my left) and Jeremy McCoy (who was on my right) appreciated my recovery. The good thing is that they did not tell me what my wife tells me, “Don’t sing in the mic!”

The offering was taken up by Simeon Young who obviously works well with Adobe Photoshop (or knows someone who does) because he managed to put Wayne Francis’, Shay Mann, and Todd Gaddy’s faces on the bills. Pretty nifty stuff!

After the offering, Jonathon Dean pulled off an incredible feat. He pulled an old hymn out of his hat and took the roof off with it. After one of the early verses in the song, a large cross started descending from the ceiling which added to the effect of the song. Pretty powerful stuff!

Then to follow up this powerful time of worship, Joel Urshan (grandson of the former General Superintendent of UPCI, N. A. Urshan) preached an incredible message. He caused me to reminisce some of the times that I heard Brother Urshan preach. He was always very doctrinal and very biblical in his delivery. His grandson was no less. He preached on “Living Stones Ready to Rock My World.” He took his text from 1 Peter 2:1-9. It was an excellent message that Power Supply will probably get to see later on this year. One of the thrilling things to see was a lingering altar service that occurred at the end of Brother Urshan’s preaching. He also told a very powerful story about his great-grandfather, A. D. Urshan (Part 1, Part 2). God also spends time "carving" things into our lives. Furthermore, we are the people of the Name!

On our way out of the Arena, I ran into Jeremy Price, who is a class-act (even if his brother-in-law is a little suspect [Joel Mitchell]) and his wife who pastor in Polkville, MS. In fact, he is the pastor of the church that the Hales’ family attends.

We also collected our notebooks for tomorrow on our way out. When we finally cleared the Arena and made it back to our exit, all of the fast-food places were closed. So we went to a Walmart SuperCenter. Justin and Jeremy had some excitement her as you will see on their video presentation.

Once we returned to the motel, Jeremy and Justin decide they will attempt to get some more towels. This activity was video-ed and I will let you determine if they were successful or not!

Until tomorrow. . . To Be Continued! . . . . . .

1 comment:

Terry said...

Good stuff Bro. Philip. Keep an eye out for Tara and Thomas. They are there with their youth and Robbie and I are spoiling their girls for them. Tell them not to be in any hurry getting home. Big-Papa and Me-Mama have everything under control and are loving every minute of it.

We ran into a group of young people from Bro. Kilgores church at Chick-fil-a in Dothan that were headed to NAYC. Because of their Holiness, I could tell they were UPC when they walked through the door. And I am referring to much more than just the way they were dressed. There was a glow of innocence and purity about them.

I have traveled a lot lately and run into Holiness people everywhere I have gone. All is not lost as the devil would lead us to believe.