The craziness officially begins this next week. Club fairs, move ins, survey tables, weekly meetings, discipleship, followup from surveys, etc. will all begin THIS WEEK. My friend Linsey made this comment explaining her excitement for students this coming year and I love it – “They might not know that He is going to change their lives while in college. They have no idea that these next few years are going to shape them- and that the decisions they make while in college affect the rest of their lives. These students might think that they are going to live a typical college life- but for some, their stories will be different.” While we are expectant and excited to see what God is going to do, we are so very thankful for this past week.
This past Sunday, we loaded up our family in a rental van and drove 2.5 hours to East Hampton, NY to join the rest of our team on a staff retreat. There, we enjoyed time connecting with each other, catching up on our summers, encouraging each other by sharing what God has been teaching us, relaxing together, and spending time with Jesus. We spent time at the beach and in the pool and cooked meals together in our rental house and played games. I love our team that feels like family to us! It was also really fun to say that we have been to “The Hamptons” – I was in complete shock as I counted the number of “nice cars” we passed…and by nice, we are talking about Range Rovers and Porsches and Ferraris and Teslas and Lexus’ – seriously insane. Another fun thing about our time is that we got to celebrate the birthday of our new team member – Kathia! This is an answer to prayer on so many levels – to have more laborers, to have more laborers who don’t look like us, and to have more laborers who don’t look like us who can identify with college-aged students.
Then, this week, we started our beginning of the year planning meetings to get things lined up and set up for the school year. I am so thankful to great babysitters who enable the moms to be a part of this! It was super encouraging to talk about what we are trusting God for as a Queens team!
Last weekend and this weekend, we decided to venture into Manhattan to enjoy what the city has to offer. Last year, we were told by a friend and ministry partner about this place that is only open during the summer called the Magnum store. Last weekend, we traveled to the Magnum store and created our own Magnum bars. They were delicious! However, the train ride with Brynn was pretty rough and there was lots of complaining from the walkers about being tired and how much longer we had to go. Ed and I knew to give them all lots of grace as we were all transitioning into the city and even for us, getting used to walking again and subway commutes and even traveling to 4 grocery stores to get all we need has been an adjustment for sure.
This weekend, we decided to travel to Park Avenue where we had heard that for a few Saturdays this month, they shut it down to car traffic and they have things set up all along the way, like booths for vendors and kids fitness area and food samples. The kids had a great time getting free applesauce pouches and running the kid’s obstacle race. Afterwards, we got hot chocolate, went to the American Doll store and Nintendo store, and saw where they were going to be hosting the MTV Video Music awards. It was a very relaxed and fun morning in the city and the kids did SOOOO much better. No breakdowns, kids asking to play on our phone, or bugging us about too much walking. It was such a breath of fresh air to have a laid-back and fun morning exploring this city that we love.
Here are a few fun pictures from the last week here. – scooter riding to the store in our neighborhood, Blake riding his new “big boy” bike at a local park, and Blake trying out a new hairstyle.
The kids don’t start school until after Labor Day, so it will be interesting navigating campus start ups and staff meetings while having them all home. Our hope is that we can take them to some things on campus, I will stay home with them some instead of participating in start of the year things, and that we will be able to hire sitters to help us. More updates to come on how God moves!