When I first mentioned to people that I was going to chaperone a bus full of choir students on an eleven day tour to the west coast, some regarded me with a mixture of wonder and pity. I assured them I knew what I was getting into and the trip was everything I expected...and more.

Today our students will give two full concerts at Victory LB Church in Jamestown--both the early and late services at 8:30 and 10:30 before rolling into Fergus Falls for our final concert of the tour at 5PM at Bethel Church. It will mark the end of a fabulous adventure.

I wish you parents and grandparents and friends could have had a secret window into our days of travel and music. I have tried to give you verbal snapshots, but there is much that was just not mentioned: 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. If you could have watched the girls cut and curl each other's hair, sharing and swapping supplies and making sure their friends looked their best. If you could have seen the whole group, heads bowed in prayer as they asked God to move among the hearts of all who would come to hear them sing. You would have smiled to see the cheerful way they responded to requests for help from their director--the way their eyes never left her during performances as, with a lift of her hand she could raise the volume of their voices or subdue it. You'd have laughed at their antics during roll calls as they tried to break their own time records. Your hearts would have burst with pride to hear them sing with conviction, eyes shining with the fire only God can light. 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.

For those of you who are able, please don't miss this last day of concerts. For those of you who can't be with us in person, know how very blessed we have been by your child. All the laughter, the tears, the thoughtful words, the praise and prayer--together form the patchwork of memories that will forever be a part of the Hillcrest Choir Tour of 2017. We have much to celebrate!!

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