The Hillcrest Comets defeated the C-G-B Wolverines 12-2 Friday evening as Reggie Undseth had a perfect night: 3 for 3 with a walk, 3 runs scored and 5 RBI on two doubles. He also stole two bases in two attempts and handled 5 chances flawlessly at shortstop to back up pitcher Sean McGuire, who also had an outstanding night: 3 for 4 with 3 runs scored and 2 RBI, and a complete game on the mound allowing just 3 hits while striking out 7 Wolverines.
Friday marked the beginning of the final days at Hillcrest for many. The all-school picnic and clean-up day was followed by an afternoon at the ball field where the Lady Comets hosted a double-header against Clinton/Graceville/Beardsley (CGB). They left the 2017 regular season in the dust, scoring 17 runs over the two games, giving up only 3 to CGB, in a dramatic finish.
I had to ask them how to say it because I was saying it wrong. May 17th--Norway’s Independence Day or Syttende Mai is a big day for some of our students. Our 26 Danielson students dressed in their best and paraded down Vernon Avenue waving the little red, white and blue flags of their country. As they walked, they sang. People who lived along their parade route came outside to talk to them or wave.
For all the walks Hillcrest picked up Monday, a quick scamper home was the deciding move that bumped the Comets to .500 in the conference Monday night. Hosting Brandon-Evansville, Hillcrest showed great patience, picking up three walks in the final frame before shaking hands and huddling in the dugout with the win.
On Friday, the Hillcrest Comets were hosted by the WCA Knights in Barrett for a double header. The teams split with the Knights shutting the Comets out 4-0 in game one. The second game finished in dramatic fashion with the Comets coming from behind to take the victory 13-12 on a walkoff two run triple by senior pitcher Nicole DeKok.
It's a good day when the only run support a pitcher needs comes from her own bat, backed up by her catcher. On Tuesday, Comet ace Nicole DeKok hurled a no hitter, and founder herself on the bench after the 5th inning because the Comet bats 10-run-ruled Lake-Park-Audubon, forcing an early dinner and more time for homework.
If you could have heard your son or daughter stand up and tell of how Jesus has impacted their lives. If you could have seen them stand and belt out Happy Birthday to a 107 year old lady with party hats on their heads--going from person to person at the senior center, greeting and holding hands with the residents. If you could have seen the way your boys loaded and unloaded the bus over and over without complaint. You would have been surprised, maybe, if you heard how many references were made to missing and loving their parents at home and to hear how thankful they are for you. Together these memories form the patchwork of events that will forever be a part of the Hillcrest Choir Tour of 2017. We have much to celebrate!!
A trip like this begins with everyone in high spirits and feeling gracious towards neighbors and seat mates. But then there are the short nights. And the long days. And the lines to the bathrooms. And the people who talk too much. And chew too loudly. And who are not generous with their secret stash of treats. At the end of the day, everyone gets on stage in their black and white best and sings their hearts out about Jesus. And the irritations melt away as voices blend and harmonies meld. Musicians listen to the person on their left and on their right and adjust their pitch accordingly.
My particular group of ten girls was driven to a ranch that raises cattle, sheep, and operates numerous greenhouses. In the dark, we could have been staying anywhere, but this morning when we got up, we saw the sunrise over a lake with a mountainous backdrop. It took my breath away. People LIVE with this scenery before them every single day! Our host read Psalm 100 to us before feeding us a fabulous breakfast. I was struck anew with an appreciation for the body of Christ that has embraced us every step of the way.
We talked today about the difference the Holy Spirit makes in the life of a believer. Brash Peter, so quick to make promises he cannot keep finds new courage to stand before a crowd and preach with such boldness and authority, 3000 were added to the church in one day. “That same Spirit enables us to proclaim Him still,” admonishes our manager, Todd Mathison as he encouraged the students to continue to be open to God’s leading in unusual and spontaneous ways.
Throughout the afternoon, we heard more details and stories of our students proclaiming Christ--at the Rushmore monument to a group of Jehovah’s Witness students, on the waterfront in Seattle to a couple of young Vietnamese young men. We marveled and the students rejoiced in the knowledge that God had given them the words to speak and that seeds of eternal consequence were planted.
From the time we arrived late Saturday, Seattle has been met with rounds of gasping approval. Locals tell us, after days of straight rain, the sun came out for us, spilling over the mountains, sparkling off the water, and trickling off the rough rock faces along the roadside. We gasped at the house and marina in Bill Gates neighborhood. Students snapped pictures and video and some even called home in their exuberance.
Slumberers slouched against the windows, the arm rests, one another. Stockinged feet laced across the seats and above those sleeping on the floor forming an almost impenetrable web of gangly limbs. How do I know this you ask? Blame a 3 AM stop wherein I consumed a 20 ounce cup of coffee and felt the impending results long before any promise of a relief stop.
Following a fabulous music/communion service at Blom Prairie Church last night, we were parceled out to various group homes in the congregation. I imagined this could be awkward, as I loaded my gear into a strange car and buckled into the front seat. Students were doing the same in cars and trucks all over the parking lot and we waved at each other, grinning nervously.
Try to imagine nearly students belting out music beneath the dome of the tin-ceilinged arch. I assure you, you cannot. As I type, I am listening to the choir warm up and my arms are covered in goose bumps and tears occasionally fog my eyes.
A group of smiling, bright-eyed 6th graders lit up our campus today as prospective J-Hi students for next fall. They began in the science lab observing 7th graders present a report about arthropods and habitats. Next, in chapel, they explored ways we can know about God: Through his divine Word, Special Revelation, and through General Revelation--learning about God through the world he’s created.
We left the boys smiling, eventually meandering back to the church for a worship service. During the boisterous singing and clapping, six young boys stepped from the darkness of the street to the church stoop. Their faces lit up the room. All five of Jerry's friends showed up to the church service, Jerry by their side, and we praised the Lord together, as brothers.
Hearts pound as families embrace. Excited smiles mix with nervous laughter as students board the bus that tangibly represents the beginning of something new.
I had a growing fear that I was alone when we all finally jumped into the bus to head off to our overnight in Minneapolis. In the weeks before boarding the bus I told all my mission peers that I was scared because I was going alone.
Today, the team left the front steps of Hillcrest to greet our friends in the Dominican Republic. Prayers were said after the team collected for a final group picture in the United States. The team will arrive in the Dominican Republic tomorrow afternoon, where they will travel right away to an outreach event, sharing the Gospel story through love, open conversations, and large group Gospel presentations.