There were 22,000 people "Dancing at the Cross Roads" June 28 to July 2, and Michelle Kravec was one of them. She and her youth group traveled from Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Little Falls, N.Y. to St. Louis for the ELCA Youth Gathering 2000 (a second event was held July 5-9). Michelle shares her journey with us here in her journal entries. What she learned — about herself, her youth group and her relationship with God — is at the heart of her gathering experience, as it is for every participant.
At the end of the gathering, Michelle had this to say:
"I can't believe it. Everything our group worked so hard for is over. All the pizza sales, dinners, breakfasts, bottle drives and volunteer work for this trip has finally paid off. It was a good trip, and I'm glad I was able to be a part of it.
Traveling to the gathering and experiencing it together has strengthened my youth group. They're already planning for the next one! We led three worship services as a group three weeks after we got home to give our congregation a flavor of the youth gathering.
The expereince has also strengthened my relationship with God. Usually I don't like to talk in front of people, but during the services at home, I got up to tell people about the event. I wasn't nervous at all, because I had so much to say!
Most of the people who go to church in my town are a lot older than I am. Being at the gathering has strengthened my Christian voice because I saw thousands of other young people just like me who believe what I believe.
Pam Fickenscher, the preacher at the gathering's closing worship service, said that for every one person at the gathering, there were two empty chairs in the TWA Dome. Maybe with a little luck — and a lot of help from God — those empty chairs will be filled at the next gathering in Atlanta in 2003."
(Click the slideshow icon at right to see Michelle and her youth group's journey in photos.)
© 2014 Augsburg Fortress, Publishers