Blog Day 5: Improvise, Adapt and Overcome. The mantra of the U.S. Marine Corps and now the Charles Wesley Singers. What a day. At the Tolbert farm, it started with the realization that the gate by the pond had been left open the night before. The cows were no longer in their field but were now grazing in the field across the pond. Ooh, hate when that happens! Next, we learned our wonderful bus driver Johanna suffered a scratched cornea last night and by this morning her eye was swollen shut. While she was diverted for emergency treatment, we re-thought the day’s plans. It was quite amazing to see, actually. Plan B: Our other wonderful driver, Paul, took the youth and a couple of chaperones on to Gainesville, GA to connect with our hosts at Gainesville UMC. The rest of the chaperones and “tall friends” used the time to reorganize over bagels and coffee. A chase vehicle followed the silver bus, retrieved Paul and drove him two hours back to Anderson, S.C., where he picked up the remaining passengers in the gold bus. The group ultimately reconvened at the church in Gainesville. We’re hoping Johanna’s eye will heal enough for her to drive tomorrow, but we’re working on a back-up plan just in case!
In spite of the challenges, our kids made it to Gainesville pretty much on time and were greeted with a pizza lunch. They joined with some of the local youth, and one group went to the movies (Toy Story 3-D) and the other went bowling. One of the Gainesville church’s buses broke down, so they improvised, adapted and overcame with other vehicles. Then, what else, the second Gainesville church bus broke down. Okay, improvise/adapt/overcome is getting a little tedious. Now we’re having to divide and conquer - and that’s not even our mantra. While a chaperone was being treated for multiple bee stings in an Anderson, SC urgent care center and our bus driver was having her scratched cornea treated by an ophthalmologist, a CWS soprano was being x-rayed for what we discovered was a broken hand. Buses and people are not the only things breaking down - we lost a flute and violin, too. But all are thankfully now on the mend.
On the brighter side, you should see this magnificent church! It is unbelievable. Forty foot high stained glass windows, rich wood walls and ceilings, gardens, fountains, and a huge recreation center. They have an entire youth wing with ping pong tables, games, a bandstand for their two praise bands and a DJ center. How convenient, we just so happened to bring Montgomery County’s best DJ, Blake Motter. The kids had fun just being kids - playing, singing and dancing.
One of the coolest things about this church is their Lakeside Chapel. A wooded path next to the church takes you to a big outdoor amphitheater, right on the lake. There are tiers of wooden benches, but the pastor told us most folks just bring their lawn chairs to worship at 8:30 on Sunday mornings, from Memorial Day through October. In fact, some of the locals just pull their boats up and either dock or stay right on the water, where they are able to pick up an FM signal for the service. We were treated to a magnificent southern barbecue dinner prepared by Frank, who this very day was awarded “Best Barbecue in the Greater Atlanta Region.” Needless to say, we cleaned our plates and shamelessly went back for more.
The concert tonight was amazing. As the choir sang Omnia Sol, the sun was setting, hitting the massive stained glass windows - the sanctuary just glowed. It was so serene and beautiful. We ended the night with a favorite from last year - My Soul is Anchored in the Lord. The choir was just on fire and has never sounded better! What a high note (literally) to end this day on.
Click Here for Pictures from Day 5