Becoming a Citizen with the Saints! (Day One at the Gathering)

Yesterday was too full of activity that our overwhelmed and sleepy small group went right to bed as we returned to the hotel, so this is a bit later than we hoped. Wednesday began by kicking the day off small group bonding around the city, partnering with Pastor John’s group! Hit up Bourbon Street, the French Quarter, Voodoo museum, and Sarah’s favorite store– OLD LUTHERAN! We tested our limits with some new foods, muffulettas at a local Italian deli! And spent quite a bit of time working on our fashion sense with masks and feather boas. All of which resulted in a much needed drink on Bourbon… Water that is!

After a fun filled afternoon, we rushed to the SuperDome for our mass cast rehearsal as Kristin and Noah rocked the lip dubbin’. Being in the presence of 36,000 fellow enthusiastic Jesus lovers was incredible! We pulled up our ‘Lutheran bootstraps’ and hopped in a conga line or two, and listened to inspiring speakers and musicians truly encouraging all of us to ‘Make a Change’!

Topped the night off with a delay in our departure but some much needed singing in the cool rain!

Lovin’ Nawlins!

– Amy’s small group! Sarah, Matt, Shea, Sheyanne, and Amy!










4 States in One Day! (:

Hi Y’all, Greetings from the Bayou. This is Patty and Mike’s group. Tom, Grete, Ben, Catie, and Kaleb. We hit the highway again today and stopped at a nice rest stop and had lunch. Then we had an hour and a half drive to get to New Orleans. We crossed lake Pontchartrain on the longest driveable bridge in the US. We were told Pastor Colin’s uncle provided the concrete for the bridge. While the youth watched a movie on the bus, some of the adults checked into the Hilton Riverside. We had a special dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe and had a rockin’ good time. Afterwards we did a walking tour to Jackson Square, and on our walk we stopped at a set of stairs across form Jackson Square, took pictures and started singing camp songs for the passersby. We also got some applause and cheers from the bystanders. We stopped in front of Saint Louis Cathedral and Pastor Colin told us the history and that his cousin plays the organ there. We are back at the hotel now looking forward to a great night’s sleep. Don’t forget to look for us at the Superdome at 7 o’clock Wednesday night. We are also being streamed in the CLC at Trinity. Blessings from Patty, Mike, Tommy, Grete, Ben, Catie, and Kaleb.

Adventures of FIF and the C R E W (;

Hey pals, hows it hangin’ back home? We had a great day in Pensacola! The group started out in a state park for our service project. It was an awesome and very sweaty time painting an extremely long boardwalk a weird color. Some of us also cleared brush in the park. After that we had the rest of the day to enjoy the breathtaking ocean, and have some free time. Everyone had fun jumping and riding the waves. G-dog (Greyson) got to parasailing with his mother (G-dog’s Momma dog (Patty)). To round off the day we worshiped in large group, then went to the beach to end the night with reflection and lighting off lanterns to fly above the ocean. Tomorrow we are off to #Nawlins.

Signing off this is Young Kaspy(Joe Kasper), G-dog(Greyson Grinde), KRae(Kristin Drechsel), DestinAyyy(Destiny Brewer), and our group leader Shafnation(Brenda Shafer)

WAR DECLARED ON BUS 2!!!!!!! (Rock, paper, scissors, that is….)

On the road again for most of the day.  We left Memphis via Graceland.  We didn’t stop but were able to drive by the gates of Elvis’ home.  Then it was off to Pensacola and the beach.  But…en route, bus games took a turn for the worst.  Rocks smashed scissors, paper cuts abounded, paper concealed rocks in what became an epic Rock, Paper, Scissors tournament on Bus 2.

Bus 1 went with normal bus game questions so there’s really not much more to say about that. But, Eric reports that quiet time on Bus 1 was particularly restful.  And…more getting to know one another with great conversation questions.

But, on Bus 2, Champions in many categories were crowned from Bus Champion to Biggest Loser to the Battle Royale of the Sexes.

For those those of you at home, the wounds were merely psychological and, we believe, short term.

As the day progressed, we finally made it to our hotel on the beach at Pensacola – all thanks to our able bus drivers Mark and Doug.  They rock!!!!!  We dropped our bags and some dashed for dinners of crab legs, shrimp or pineapple burgers while the rest of the group dashed for the surf.  Lots of boogie boarding, body surfing and all around splashing.  Some of us found out that the Gulf of Mexico tastes salty.  Who knew?

Laura and Eric’s Group – Ally, Lily, Grant, Gabe and Taylor.


Rock, Paper, Scissors Tournament competitors Destiny, Ally, Elizabeth, Shontel and Drew.

Beasts, Burdens, Barbecue and Blues

Today we finally got to do something other than riding in a bus!  It was a great day exploring the historic and energetic city of Memphis.

We started the day by going to the Memphis zoo. There were tons of animals that you wouldn’t normally see in a zoo in Minnesota like giraffes, pandas, hippos, and elephants. It was really exciting to see Evan Bailey enjoy the zoo and listen to him talk about the animals. (:

After going to the zoo we went to the Civil Rights Museum. The museum was an eye opening experience for all ages. Some were first time visitors and others were back for their second visit or more. Overall everyone learned something new and had a very memorable experience.

B.B King’s was so good–the best food ever on Beale street.  I was shopping so crazy and it was fun as heck.  It was exciting to be with our friends.  The music was great–even some dancing with random folks–CRAZY!  The best part was the “flippers” and the tricks they did in the air as street performers.  (You may know about them from America’s Got Talent).  All in all Beale street was so crazy and fun.

Tonight after we returned from Beale Street we worshiped as a large group at the hotel for the first time on the trip. It was exciting to have everyone in one spot worshiping and singing songs all together. There is just something about being with 96 of your closest friends that makes everything perfect.

It really was the perfect end to a perfect day.  More great friendships made, lessons learned, along with the joy and laughter that is Friends in Faith.

We thank you all for your support and go forward on our journey with God–next to Pensacola, Florida.  (Another long day on the bus–argh!)

Brent Gerber’s Group of Awesome Friends and Faithers!

Walking in Memphis…

Today we departed Lee’s Summit super duper early and headed for the “blue suede shoes” town; aka Memphis. We stopped in the moldy city (St. Louis) to catch a quick glimpse of the famous Gateway Arch. We stopped for lunch at the nearest rest stop and shared our lunch with the bees. After some awesome bus games, including bus bingo for some, we made it to Memphis, and listened to the song “Walking in Memphis” by Mark Cohn. We went out to eat at some delicious places and then gathered back as the best small group in town. Signed: Kirsten’s group.