Bowling and Bonding

An Outback dinner and night of bowling binds us together just a little tighter. After waiting a minute or two, 38 of us found ourselves breaking bread with old friends and some brand new ones. Funny how laughter over a blooming onion can break the ice for new friendships.

FINALLY, FINALLY – after dinner we gather around to hear our teams for the week. For previous ASP teams, you know how exciting this is. Some may worry over this but every single year, God has empowered Jimmy and Barbara to put together just the right people to work together to spread God’s love. Maybe there was a year or two that I fretted a little but quickly have learned, it’s always exactly as it should be. Jimmy and Barbara no doubt spend time praying over these teams and listening for God’s word. You simply can’t go wrong when allowing our good Lord to lead.

Ok – so, about the time we arrived at our little Red Roof yesterday, I received a text from long-time ASP team favorite family. Our beloved Fox family, for the first time, in many, many years isn’t here with us. My sweet, Margot, set my mind spinning back over the last seven years and all of the fun and love that’s been shared with so many giving hearts. So, to you:

Jim Bain – I’ll be wary and extra careful if I have to get under a house, looking for creatures that growl and those that fly. Moreso, I’ll be double-checking a leader that leads me to a place with growling and flying creatures…and then LAUGHS uncontrollably as I try to escape!

Greg, Margot, Abby, and Maggie – it’s terribly strange without at least one Fox here. Greg, in my seven years here, I think we shared a team for four years. You were on my first team and I’ll never, ever, in my life forget what God taught me in that week. Abby and Maggie…it’s terribly odd to think one of you won’t be crawling into your mom’s bunk at the center. Both of you over the last seven years, at some point during the week, always come visit us, as your mom is generally my next door bunk mate. Love to each of you Fox’s! I miss you already!

To bunk buddies that don’t know when to go to bed: Margot Fox, Laurie Sturdivant, Alice Parmer, Debbie Bain, Wendy Pritchard…I still don’t know where some of those emojis came from. I’ll have to share a late night text with Barbara, Catie, Penny, and Heather and hope they find as much enjoyment.

My special “distubavant” boys, Sam & Scott, and Matthew…your absence is already obvious. You’ve set a standard and created memories the younger kids are already re-telling and hoping to live into.

And to Mickey Sewell, Greg Blackmon, Robin Newberry, Ryley Scales, and so many, many more – your contribution to the memory bank lives on. I can’t listen to Wagon Wheel or Dirt Road without thinking about two silly high school girls living life to the fullest. Mickey, you’ve been a great leader and will be missed. Mr. Greg Blackmon, as my first group leader on ASP and in many other areas of my life, I miss you and your wise words.

Finally, our fearless leader Jimmy isn’t with us this year. I think we’re about 22 hours into this experience and you are missed and yet what you’ve created with Barbara is alive and strong. We’re committed to continuing what you’ve taught us. As we sang “Sanctuary” last night, I could hear your voice. We never know when our last trip will be but I don’t think I can end my tenure until you’re back on this mission with us!

Love to all! Time to head to the Waffle House!


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