Winterfest – Gatlinburg – Report from the Road

These words are coming to you from the winter wonderland of Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Along with my wife and several other adult sponsors I have the privilege of chaperoning a group of teenagers from Delaware, Pennsylvania and New Jersey in attendance at Winterfest 2007.

While it still feels like today, it is actually already become yesterday’s tomorrow. To make this cross-country journey we boarded our bus at about 4:30 AM on Friday. We’ve traveled a ‘fer piece’ today.

Today’s (yesterday’s) highlights included:

— A nasty fall while helping load the bus this morning. Actually, I was on my way to help load the bus. Our church facilities are positioned on a relatively small but steep hill. The road up the hillside has a couple of sharp curves which prevented the driver gaining enough speed to cross the ice barrier created by runoff in order to reach the parking lot. So, we had to load the bus in the roadway at the bottom of the hill. When I was making my way down the icy drive down to the bottom of the hill, I was being so careful. I was getting reasonable traction with my brand new Adidas walking shoes. I thought I was out of danger, having reached a relatively level spot at the bottom of the steepest part of the drive. What looked like a blanket of snow was actually a rock-hard frozen sheet of ice. One instant I was feeling my oats, like I’d conquered the hill. The next, I was giving the night sky a look at the bottoms of my brand new sneekers. The fall didn’t really hurt. But, man-oh-man did the landing hurt! Fortunately, no one saw a thing. So, I was spared the embarassment of everyone talking about the preacher’s crash landing before we’d ever even taken off!

— An uneventful but long bus ride from the right coast to Tennessee. I still need to get our bus driver’s permission to post his photograph. Stay tuned for breaking developments.

waiting-in-line-at-winterfest.jpg— Waiting in line outside the Gatlinburg Convention Center in 20 degree weather for more than 30 minutes before our first session got underway. This photograph shows a few of the almost 6,000 people who joined us for the wait.

— Listening to a really funny comedy group called 321 Improv.

— Soul-stirring worship led by Watershed.

— Vibrant preaching from Philippians by Mitch Wilburn.

— A concert by this group you might have heard of: Jars of Clay. Check out these two photographs I took during the concert:



Please pray for our safe return trip tomorrow!

Blessings to all,

About a fellow sojourner

a sojourner in life, trying to follow in the steps of Jesus.
This entry was posted in Blogroll, Children, Christian Living, Christian music, Family, youth. Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to Winterfest – Gatlinburg – Report from the Road

  1. Neva Cooper says:

    Gatlinburg is so beautiful!! I am jealous! Sounds like everything is wonderful. Prayers for a safe trip and no more falls.

    Peace and prayers

    Thanks, Neva. Your prayers are much appreciated

  2. Mark says:

    Sorry about the fall. Hope all is well and you have a great time.

  3. Kathy says:

    Oh, yeah! May your trip home be safe, may your Addias not be too scuffed, and may you be fairly comfortable on the long seated trip back home.

    Can there be any more fun that being enclosed in a motorized tin box full of over energetic teenagers? I pray the ear plugs are working well. LOL

    Seriously, kids are so much fun. Their unrestrained exuberance is a wonderful reminder that although getting old is a fact of life, acting old is a choice. It’s too much fun having fun to be stodgy, imho. So, have fun, be safe.

    Oh yeah, sorry about your fall. But then, you already knew that. 🙂

  4. Greg England says:

    Sounds like a great weekend! Jars of Clay are / is awesome. We play several of their songs in our praise band. Many years ago, Cecil and I worked with a central Florida ministry called “Lynx Ministries.” We would take a group of middle schoolers from central Florida to Gatlinburg or other places, leaving about 6pm on a Friday night and driving all night (Cec and I were drivers / chaperones) in one of the big Grayhound busses (and neither of us ever took a lesson in driving anything that large … when it was our turn to drive, we took the wheel and learned as we drove). The busses were reconfigured inside for benches that converted into two levels of bunks. Many of the trips were winter trips and driving those busses on snowy roads by drivers from central Florida was not a good combination, but the good Lord watched over us, fools we were!

  5. janice says:

    sorry you fell, i know that it had to hurt, I fell 2 sundays ago 😕

    Glad y’all had a great time,

    safe trip home!

  6. donna says:

    jars of clay is awesome, gatlinburg is beautiful, kids are a sheer delight, prayng for your safe trip home and no more falls…God Bless.

  7. Dee Andrews says:

    Godspeed to you in the trip, Bill.

    And stay SAFE!!

    Cheers & Blessings to you today! Dee

  8. pam says:

    Have fun! I helped chaperone our Texas version of Winterfest down here a few weeks ago. No Jars of Clay for us, though….wahhh!

  9. Lisa says:

    I can’t wait to hear from our teens how Winterfest was!! Hope the roads are clear for you on your trip home, we’re getting some snow right now. I don’t know how much longer it’ll be coming down. Be safe, no more falling!! 🙂

  10. Keith Davis says:

    We missed Winterfest this year, but really enjoyed the trip last year. I hope things are going well.

  11. Rex says:

    It’s never the fall that hurts, just the sudden stop at the end of the fall.

    Blessings! I am glad all is wonderful at Winterfest.

  12. Thank you for the encouraging report.

    Bobby Valentine

  13. Trey Morgan says:

    Other than the fall, sounds like you’re having a great time. Wish I was there….

  14. Kathy says:

    Just me being nosy. Are y’all back or still traveling?? Will enjoy hearing about your adventures with the teenagers. 🙂

  15. Nan says:

    Wow, what a wonderful adventure. Hope you are back home now and pain free from your fall.

  16. max says:

    sounds like fun!!!!!!!!!! beautiful tooo

  17. This internet site is really quite good, but for some reason it does not display properly when trying to view on my Nintendo Wii. If it helps, the console uses the Opera browser and am impelled to using the console for accessing the Net whilst my PC is away being fixed.

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