You know the old saying — if you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen. On our first day in Kansas City for the West Central Regional Youth Event, we couldn’t get out of the kitchen if we tried. The heat index easily soared past 100 degrees yesterday, making our already taxing first day even harder.
I’m impressed with the resilience of the youth and adults who made their way to this hilly campus on the Missouri River. Park University is nestled among the hills that rise out of the river valley. This makes for gorgeous views and really, really long staircases. In the heat and humidity, those staircases are even more daunting.
Yet, God, good food and a lot of water has been sustaining us this first day. Registration happened in the late afternoon. I’m proud to report that nearly every church group from every represented conference had checked in by about 4 p.m., well before the 5 p.m. deadline.
The Iowa Conference group, all 40 of them, gathered in a hot upstairs room to begin the process of building Christian community right before dinner. Despite the heat in the room, we talked and introduced ourselves to new people. We prayed and read scripture together. We even created a “prayer cross,” a large structure made of PVC pipe and chicken wire, which the whole RYE group will cover in tissue paper. On the tissue paper, participants will write their prayers throughout the week. (I promise to get a finished picture of it soon.)
Today promises to be a cooler day. The temperatures are only supposed to get to the upper 80s, which will be a relief from yesterday. But, today is a full day — we have workshops, our first “listening groups,” a concert by Sheltered Reality, and, of course, more time for the members of our conference group to develop deeper relationships. I know I’m looking forward to that last part in particular — several of our churches either haven’t been to one of these wider church events in a long time or have NEVER been at all.
Friends, keep praying that we continue to develop deeper relationships with each other and with God — and to keep beating the heat!
I will be thinking of you and all the RYE participants this week! It promises to be a wonderful experience for all.