Suzanne's Second Estate

A web log of my thoughts, activities, life....

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Memories of Warrenton

Nine years ago I spent the summer in Warrenton, Missouri, with college friends Kelsey and Annie. "What's in Warrenton?" you might ask. The Child Evangelism Fellowship Childrens Ministries Institute (Say that five times fast.) I returned to complete the training the following year, but that first summer was special. The institute was offering a special grant (and academic credit) to college students, so besides the three of us there were half a dozen other young people mixed into the primarily more mature class. One girl, Susan, ended up being our local CEF director here in Colorado Springs several years ago. Another girl, Sara from Michigan (who drew the picture above), became a very good friend.

First you should know that Warrenton is an "if you blink you miss it" kind of town, containing every fast food restaurant you could desire but little else. The Child Evangelism Fellowship headquarters is located out of town at what used to be a Catholic seminary. Coming from the metropolis of Portland, Ore., Annie, Kelsey and I quickly mined the local attractions: Taco Bell, Wal-Mart (which was actually a blessing, in this case), the roller rink. Eventually we discovered a movie theater in a town 30 minutes away.

We didn't have cars at CMI, but the facility had one very old beater car that we could sign out for excursions to the grocery store or Dairy Queen. We lived for the $.99 super nachos. The rest of our free time was spent swimming in the pool, taking occasional runs in the stifling humidity, chatting about boys in our rooms and doing homework and laundry. I remember we'd always volunteer to accompany Alma Lou, the older woman who had driven us from Oregon, on airport runs so we could get a Starbucks. My favorite pictures from CMI were taken in the St. Louis airport (where I'm pretty sure I saw Michael Tate from D.C. Talk). A group of us from CMI took a trip to St. Louis, where we went up into the Arch, explored the science center and ate at the Old Spaghetti Factory. Later that summer we attended a Steve Green concert.

Of course, Warrenton wasn't a vacation. We worked hard to learn everything from Piaget's stages of child development to a biblical theology of child evangelism to teaching children (and teachers of children) in a dynamic way. And in addition to the uncomfortable heat (outside our air conditioned rooms), sometimes-boredom and Kelsey's ankle injury, we had an unfortunate encounter with chiggers. (Annie, I later learned it was probably a bad idea for you to put bleach on your legs.)

Still, that summer was a wonderful experience. Perhaps it was because in the absence of excitement, Kelsey, Annie and I created our own fun. There was also something rich about the intergenerational format and meeting people from all over the world. In an unlikely place, our friendship and creativity bloomed.


At 12:28 PM, Blogger Annie said...

Thanks for the flashback. Some of those things I have forgotten. I remember the lightning - we don't have lightning like that in Washington. Good times.


Post a Comment

<< Home