2 years ago today, a freak hail storm went through our neighborhood and interrupted our peaceful lives. Patti, Hannah and I were at Wing Stop having dinner after leaving church. Weather was forecasting a storm but it wasn’t raining yet. As we were waiting for our meal the rain started, and the lighting, and the wind, and the thunder and then the hail. The storm itself didn’t last but a few moments but it seamed like an eternity. The rest of the kids were at the house and no calls were going through our cell phones. I decided to drive through that mess and try and get home. As i stepped outside my feet landed in a deep puddle of ice water. Traffic barley moved mostly because the roads were not visible. standing water, ice and steam from the water vapor made visibility nearly zero. Not to mention all of the debris on the road. Trees, traffic signals, street signs. It looked like a war zone. The vapor from the ice caused a eerie haze to peer it’s way through the headlights. It was like a scene from an armagaton movie. I finally got home. Everyone was safe and accounted for. The house took a beating. Every north facing window had to be replaced. The north part of the car port was ripped to shreds, the north side of the shed was shredded, the roof needed to be replaced, and every leaf on the trees were now on the ground. For McAllen, the storm was epic. Given the magnitude, the community is fortunate to have escaped with no serious injuries and no fatalities.  In all, 217 persons were rescued from being trapped in hail and wind damaged homes and flood waters, more than 1,000 homes and businesses were damaged, and more than 25,000 customers were without power during the peak of the storm.  According to the Insurance Council of Texas and verified by the Property Claims Service of the Insurance Services Office, insured damages tallied $260 million; total damage, including uninsured property, is likely tens of millions of dollars more. In all, 2,800 homeowners’ claims and 3,000 auto claims had been made by the end of 2012. The storm ranked 21st costliest in Texas since 1950 (in 2012 dollars).


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Feeling useful again

From the first time I visited Covenant Church I knew that this was the church that i wanted to be a part of.  Everything about this pace was what i was looking for.  A relevant message, like-minded beliefs, a warm welcoming environment, a strong worship team, an amazing media team and a clearly defined vision were some of the initial items that i was able to check off my list.  I visited Covenant every chance i could.  I would intentionally plan my business trips to dallas to include a Wednesday evening layover.  The true test was bringing Patti to see it for herself.  The evening of my “interview” in Dallas, we got to encounter a Wednesday evening together.  She felt the exact same way i did the first time i visited.

It was nice to sit in a service and get to participate in worship without being called to fix something or check on things.  I could just relax and recharge.  I made contact with the executive director of media and introduced myself and expressed my skills and desire to serve with them.  Once we made the move up here we started the process of getting officially plugged in the church.  We went through their next steps program.  Around the same time the church also conducted a big “Get in the Game” campaign to recruit new volunteers throughout the church.

Get in the Game Draft Day 2014 (HQ) from Covenant Church on Vimeo.

One of the biggest struggles i’ve found since moving here has been the solitude.  Back in the valley I knew people all over.  Family, Friends, Church Family, co-workers.   A lifetime of relationships nurtured and cherished.  These past few months have been a bit lonely.  Sam went back to the valley to visit his other grandparents so the house has been very quiet without him.  I at least have work that i can spend a few hours a day at, Patti is probably even more lonely than i am at the moment.

We’ve sent out inquiries to some “Small Groups” in our area from the church but haven’t heard back from any yet.  I did find out about a men’s group that meets on fridays at 6am (!)  I’ve been attending a few of those but i’m really not a morning person and it makes for some longggg fridays.  This past weekend we were invited to a reception for the new media volunteers and got to get to know several of the staff.  It was nice getting to hang out with other adults.  At the table we were sitting at i got to visit with the audio guys.  They were really fun and down to earth.  It’s refreshing to talk to other professionals who know what they are actually talking about.  I also got to visit with the lighting guy and some of the administrative staff.  Although there are so many places i can find myself getting plugged in with, Video, Lighting, graphics, audio, etc.. i’m finding myself inclined to all of them. I really am just so excited to finally get to be a part of a team again that i’ll take anything they are needing help with.  Ok anything may be a stretch but there are several tasks i can see myself covering easily.

Last night we had our first group training with the video team.  Patti and I got to meet some of the directors.  Learn their terms and equipment.  Tonight we have another training with the lighting guy.  On sunday we are both already lined up to shadow some positions during actual services.

I’m not really sure where i see myself setting down in.  Coming from a position where I found myself having to learn each component of the technical ministry to a  place where i can choose it a little daunting.

I am rather proud of what we were able to accomplish at AGCC.  From where they started to where i left them, they are much better off.  I conducted several major conversions and planned quite a few long term projects.  I’m glad to saw that I was able to accomplish all of my goals and i don’t have any regrets.  Now i’m looking forward to a new chapter in our lives.  A chance to not be a single entity but a part of a larger team that I not only pour myself into but also be nurtured as well.  Just talking with some of these guys it’s nice to hang out with like minded people who understand what your talking about.  I’m anxious to develops these friendships and expand “our circle” beyond the walls in which we live.