Top (l-r): Anna Del Mul, me, and Abby Del Mul. The Del Muls are friends of mine from Texas. I was so suprised when I saw them there.
Bottom: Paul just before his presentation [read below].
Alright, we're finally permanently back from traveling out-of-state until June! Since the last post we went to...The Windy City. Actually it wasn't that windy in Chicago. In fact it felt a lot like how in my opinion spring should feel. We were in Chicago because the National AWANA competition, Summit 2006, was being held there. Paul was there with his Summit team from Grace Covenant and they did awesome! Here is how our team did according to Shaney Lee (one of the kids on the team) :
"Grace Covenant Church in Austin, TX
Quiz: We took four quiz teams. Two got to the silver round, then dropped out. One dropped out in gold. The other made seventh place in platinum!!!!
Games: We took two games teams. Both dropped out in the 3rd round.
Volleyball: We took two volleyball teams. They got 4th and 2nd place!
Fine arts: All our fine arts participants got gold or silver. Paul Hastings was asked to do his counsel time message during closing ceremonies and did a fantastic job. Tabitha Davies won instrumental solo with her flute piece."
Paul also got a gold medal in piano and in public speaking (which is his counsel time message). A gold medal doesn't mean that you necessarily got first place (which would mean that you get a $500 scholarship) but it does mean that you did very well. THEN...the big shocker came...we found out that Paul had tied for first place in public speaking!!! The reason he didn't get the scholarship might have been because the person he tied with was a senior, though I'm sure their presentation was also excellent. So instead, like Shaney said, Paul was asked, out of the hundreds of competitors in Fine Arts, to be one of five people to perform at the closing ceremonies! He performed in front of approximately 2,500 people! It was an exciting/nervous time for all the Hastings.
While Paul flew back to Texas with his team, the rest of the family (me included) drove through downtown Chicago. We saw miles of the shoreline of Lake Michigan, one of the Great Lakes. It was...well...great! Chicago is so humongous that it makes you feel like you're just one tiny speck. As Dad put it when he saw the monotonous mega-story apartment buildings one after another:
"You would feel like you're just another rat in a box."
Yet the beauty and excitement of life is still a hope for everyone because in God's eyes each one of us is unique. And how we look in God's eyes is what matters. We are humans created in the image of a beautiful Creator. We didn't originate from monkeys a billion years ago; we came directly from God. That's why we never have to be depressed or wonder how much we're worth because we're precious in God's sight. What a loving God!