117-Nerves Of Steel Or Jello?

I think I could feel my heart pounding on the inner wall of my chest cavity.  It was requesting more blood, my brain meanwhile, requesting an escape plan for the moment and cycling a rolodex of questions for my experience to answer—Who is going to be on this adventure?  Will they be impressed or think this is stupid?  Are we ready?  Like, really ready?   One might think that we had somehow joined the majors and were down by three, full count, bases loaded.  Or maybe it felt as though hopping off of a boat in the middle of the night into a murky, jungle swampland, weapons ready but having no idea who or where the enemy was lurking.  Pushing through all the angst we knew and held onto one single fact:  Yahweh has not let us down thus far and He sure won’t start now!  So, with bold confidence Adventure 181 opened the door… literally.

Contrary to the handful of teens who have stepped into the unknown to trust Project Forty and go on some crazy, epic adventure; Project Forty stepped into a Flint public school to become a part of their adventure for three weeks.  Instructing 25 students in a classroom to line up by the first letter of their middle name, without talking mind you, is far more challenging then getting 5-6 to back themselves off a cliff with a rope and harness!  Project Forty partnered with the 181 Movement from Good Church to form Adventure 181, three weeks of team challenges, personal goal setting, and character development.  The moment that my racing blood turned from nerves and uncertainty to excitement and deep joy was at 12: 49pm on day two.

Each team looked intently at their own pointer fingers, stationed below the ten-foot-long tent pole that lie across each facing pair of students, shoulder to shoulder to form a single unit.  Team one verse team two, classic mono-e-mono warfare.  There are only two rules to this initiative—everyone must always be touching the bottom side of the tent pole and each team must lower their pole to the ground… simple right?  Wrong.  I’ve seen many teens quit in frustration and verbal fights breakout because of simple.  Mic in hand I sport casted details of each team as they worked together to make this pole go the correct direction.  One minute turned into five, which soon crossed over the ten-minute threshold.  “Start over… You got this; do you have someone leading?” I shared some guiding tips with team one as I could hear team two chanting, “One, two, three, dooooown… one, two, three, doooooown.”  It was working!

I can’t tell you who won because that tiny little reality was nothing compared to the moment that I had to look these teens in the eye and say that I was impressed with their integrity and patience.  We defined integrity and the value of that important, but lacking word in our culture.  Speak life.  I have heard that phrase somewhere along my journey although I can’t remember when.  Speak life.  Some of these young people have experienced things that I cannot even fathom, yet here we are together in the same room, at this appointed time.  Speak life.

Over the next three weeks we had an opportunity, no privilege, to run low and high ropes courses, teach them how to use a compass, tie climbing knots, belay one another up a wall and take them to Planet Rock.  We witnessed hoodies come off that you’d assume were somehow glued to their heads, smiles appear that seemed impossible, and walls come down as we began to share our lives with them.  Adventure 181 was a blip in our lives that for some, will be the catalyst we all need to live life better—more integrity, less fear, greater depth of understanding and relationship, learning about the concept of a Creator that made us to live with Him and in community… speak life.  This is only the beginning, and here I was all nervous, and for what?  Who are you speaking life into?  Make every moment count and let’s get out there and impact the world for good.