SHARE Family Education Conference finished up three weeks ago, but between some personal-time traveling after the conference and getting readjusting to real life, I’m just now looking at the amazing photos Steve took while we were there. SHARE is such an intense time that I’m constantly reminded of things as I browse through: “Oh yeah, I forgot that happened.”
Steve and I went with the primary goal of hanging out with the teens – talking, playing, throwing snowballs – whatever the moment and the Holy Spirit called for. We did all that, plus taking photos for publicity and the website (which Steve created), speaking with Steve’s mom in a seminar on TCK issues (we haz them), and helping with some IT/technical things. I returned to my usual spot behind the powerpoint projector, running worship slides.
The kids were amazing to hang out with, our fellow leaders are stellar people, and the parents we got to talk to (we didn’t get to interact with many people who weren’t aged 13-18) were incredible missionaries.
In no particular order, 10 Favorite Moments
1. Watching them all skate in Vienna. Steve, myself, the two other leaders, and one kid chose not to don the blades of death, but the rest of them were stoked to get out on the ice. And they were stunning.
2. Playing Mafia. Steve is seriously talented at being the Narrator, and the kids enjoyed all the various creative forms of death he came up with.
3. Conversation with a couple of the girls one night about missions. “Why does everyone in the States think that Africa is the only place where people need Jesus? Europe really needs Jesus, too!”
4. Worship Night on Thursday night. I got a little teary at one point, as I looked around at these amazing MKs worshiping so freely…and a little 13-year-old who had been sitting on the table near me saw the tears and scooted over and just wrapped her arms around me. I lost it for reals at that point. Such tender hearts.
5. Any moment an instrument was out and being used. It seemed like over half the kids were talented musicians, and they loved to just get together and jam.
6. That moment when I saw the Shy New Kid became Part of the Pack.
7. Sibling love. For many of the kids, their siblings are their primary companions, and it was obvious that they loved and respected each other.
8. Playing the same games we play every year – with the same joy and enthusiasm. No drywall was harmed this year, though!
9. The goodbye mob at the hotel door, bidding an emotional farewell to each departing teen. The genuine love can’t even be described.
10. This wasn’t at the conference itself, but the day before we left Hungary, Steve and I met up with a kid who graduated last year and was in Budapest for spring break from college. It was so awesome to catch up and hear how he is processing college in the US. It gave us some new insights on how we need to continue to reach out to our kids after they leave Europe.
Tammy Scofield, the SHARE staffer who coordinates the team program, said to me once about the teens, “They really weasel their way into your heart, don’t they? And then you can’t get away from them, no matter what you do.”