ELCA National Youth Gathering - 2009


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ELCA National Youth Gathering - 2009 - New Orleans, LA

Pastor Hans Anderson

The Synod Journey/National Youth Gathering was absolutely phenomenal this year.  I extend a  huge “thank you”  to Trinity for supporting our young people on this journey. 
Please take the time to read their powerful and uplifting stories.
It was an absolute joy to hang with these young people for 10 days.  I could have came up with a top 100 list of funny, meaningful, and memorable experiences from the trip, however I narrowed it down.  Here it goes…drum-roll please!
New Orleans - 2009

Top 10 things I’d like to forget about New Orleans
10.  My blue backpack
9.  The heat and humidity
8.  The alternative uses of powdered sugar
7.  The Chafe Monster!
6.  The soft speaking waitress in Peoria
5.  How we ended up with a drink-holder from the Superdome
4.  Zach Cadwell’s pants and electrical tape job
3.  Stalker man… Oh there he is again…Andrew!
2.  Heartburn from Cajun food, Gumbo, Jambalaya, and Alligator meat.
1.  NOTHING!  It was the best adventure ever!

 Laura Boran

My favorite part of our journey was when we were in Memphis!!!! The museum was phenomenal and I really enjoyed being in a place were MLK actually stood and took his last breath and where he gave his last speech, it was almost eerie like he was watching us. The Mississippi Boulevard was the most amazing experience ever! The kids were like our best friends by the time we left. And they were so welcoming and loving in the church that I could hardly tell that we were even on earth, it was what I pictured heaven to be like.
Then our work project was really cool and we got to know some of the youth a lot more, they were amazed by Gretchen’s shocking resemblance to Cameron Diaz ;) the Slave Haven was awesome and that lady who gave us a tour of the city was kind of scary. But we definitely learned a whole lot from her!!!!

Also when we ate late night pizza and hopped out the window and talked about everything we had a blast. Walking in Memphis with our feet ten feet off of Biele was so much fun that I want to take my family back there some day, and oh! That singer in the bar was awesome, wow!!!! And we can’t forget the day we left when Gretchen, Lauren and I overslept and almost missed the bus!! We went hungry that day poor us. I can’t leave out the amazing time we had on the dance floor in New Orleans! WOWOWOWOW!!!!!! AMAZING New Orleans-Nat Youth Gathering 09

 Kassie Kavanaugh

My experience to the National Youth Gathering was incredible! All the new friends, new experiences, and a new culture made the travel more than just a "trip."  On the way to New Orleans, we had a great time stopping in Peoria, Illinois and helping out a local school. Then once we made it to Memphis the fun really started to happen! Trinity's youth group ended up making some new friends from Mississippi Boulevard and having an amazing time learning about their culture! Then we showed up in New Orleans. Apparently like everyone from Minnesota was there, or so they say! We ended up gardening at house of a family with an adorable little girl! Walking around New Orleans and walking down Bourbon Street was really fun! And the parties at the Hilton were amazing!! All of us met new people, and made new friends! This was definitely an experience of a lifetime and I'm glad I was apart of Trinity's group!

 Jillian Anderson

 National Youth Gathering. Brainerd to Peoria, Peoria to Memphis, Memphis to New Orleans, and back. So many memories were made on this journey, even a wordy person like myself has trouble knowing where to begin!

We learned all sorts of things, including what to do if your trailer gets stuck on the railroad crossing arm and how to do every line dance there is. We ate new foods and met new people, made friends and strengthened the bonds within our group. There were too many funny moments to count, like Erin, Hannah, Kassi and I 'losing our religion' in our hotel room, Hans with powdered sugar all over his face, and the sayings on the shirts on Bourbon Street (none of which would be appropriate for me to repeat!).
Nat Youth Gathering - New Orleans 09

The Gathering itself should not be called a simple 'gathering' by any means... In my personal opinion, it should be called the National Week of Completely Flooding a Town with Lutherans. Not only have I never seen so many people in one place, I have never seen so many brightly colored matching T-shirts in my life! One of the speakers spoke of us metaphorically as the rainbow after the town's huge storm. I doubt anyone could have put it better. It was incredible to see how many people could come together for one purpose, and do so much good.
The work we did honestly did not seem backbreaking or complicated, but looking into the eyes of the locals of each town we served, it was easy to see that even the littlest effort on our part was a huge blessing to them. By the end of it all, we were probably more grateful to be there and able to help than they were to have us there. The most important thing we brought home from this experience is something we can each carry with us the rest of our lives. It is the simple, yet astounding knowledge that each of us made a difference and brought a little more light and hope into the world.
I would like to extend a huge thank-you to anyone and everyone who supported the youth and made this experience possible. God bless!

This article is from the September 2009 Trinity Tidings