All good things must come to an end, and in the case of Plant Camp, the Noblesville Baptist Church teens finished with a bang. We were off to a fast start Saturday morning, arriving at Gospel Grace Church bright and early to help with their carnival. The event was held in Liberty Park in the same location as Church in the Park earlier in the week. Our group helped to unload all the carnival activities and set up each station. Our teens then paired off and were responsible for running each activity, allowing Gospel Grace staff the opportunity to mingle with families taking part.
The carnival lasted close to two hours, and once complete, we also assisted with breaking down all the stations and returning everything to their trailer for transport back to the church. It was encouraging to see the number of families that turned out on a Saturday morning for the games and prizes. Our teens were instrumental in providing a fun atmosphere.
After the cleanup was complete, Gospel Grace served lunch to our group and the youth groups from Wisconsin and California there in the park. Fried chicken, potato wedges, potato salad and watermelon sure tasted good after a morning of ministry!
With our obligations complete for the day, the NBC team set out for some fun. We returned to the Wasatch Mountain region where some of the locals told us of a really fun hike down to a lake where we could swim. Pastor Hack carefully navigated the roads (with no guardrails) and switchbacks as we climbed to an elevation of 9,700 feet above sea level. Once we reached our destination, the sun was shining, but the air was cool due to the elevation. In fact, there were multiple places during our hike where snow was not only visible, but you could make a snowball if you wanted.
After hiking down a few hundred feet over the course of about 20 minutes, we reached the lake. A few of the teens opted to jump in for a swim. There was a rope swing available, and a few brave thrill seekers took the plunge. The water, as one could expect, was refreshingly cold. Whether making the hike to and from the lake, or simply sitting and taking in the scenery once there, it was again a great reminder of all that God has created.
Once we had our fill of swimming and exploring it was off to dinner. There was an In-N-Out Burger close to the house where we are staying, so we made a quick stop. This provided valuable nourishment while giving the teens a chance to say they had visited the popular establishment.
Returning to the house close to 8 p.m., the teens had a time of testimony and discussion with Pastor Hack. That was followed by some group games and free time. We also took time to begin cleaning up in anticipation of leaving the next morning.
Sunday morning was a flurry of activity. We prepared for service at Gospel Grace Church, but also had to finish packing and leave the rental house we had called home for the week. Everything went smoothly, and we were able to get on the road at a good time and make it to church for the morning instruction time. All three youth groups came together for a session held on the lawn, and we were given a challenge of staying on mission once leaving Salt Lake City. Lead Pastor Lukus Counterman preached the main service, focusing on Mark 18:28-19:16 and Jesus at the hands of Pontius Pilate.
After serving side by side with the team at Gospel Grace Church, we said our goodbyes and loaded into the bus to begin the long drive to Las Vegas. Picking up lunch at Subway, we set out to reach Las Vegas before nightfall. The drive was particularly tough due to strong winds throughout the more than six hours we were on the road. Making only two stops on our way from Salt Lake City, we arrived and checked in to the hotel a little after 7 p.m. (10 p.m. in Indiana). With a few minutes to freshen up, the group headed out to see the sights. First, though, we needed dinner, and we needed to feed everyone on a budget. CiCi’s Pizza filled that need. By 9 p.m. we had eaten and were on our way. One of the must-see stops in Las Vegas is The Bellagio. There, we saw the fountain show set to Elvis Presley’s Viva Las Vegas. We were back at the hotel shortly before 11 p.m. and tired from a long day of travel.
Now all that is left is to fly home Monday afternoon. We look forward to being home. Please pray for our safety as we complete the last leg of our journey home. Also, pray for Pastor Hack and his safety. After dropping us off at the airport, he will be bringing the bus back to Noblesville, making the drive by himself. Pray for Gospel Grace Church and the people of Salt Lake City. There are many there that need to know Christ. Pray that others would answer the call to join the effort in Salt Lake City.