As I look over the empty lake it’s hard to believe that just a few short days ago thousands of people filled this place. I am still amazed at God’s plan, and how he managed to place us right in the middle of a community that is struggling to find their way. I spent most of my life lost, so there is no judgement, just a passion to build relationships and point people to Jesus.
The best way to make friends when it is five hundred degrees outside is to help them cool off. We took full advantage of the extreme temperatures by creating bandanas promoting our September launch, soaking them in ice water and handing them to people that were overheated and desperate for relief. We also passed out popsicles to kids and adults throughout the day. The response was epic. People were shocked we were just giving everything away – no strings attached. The response was so great we went through 500 bandanas and popsicles in just a few hours, so we wrapped up the outreach and headed down to the house boat for the after party.
Traveling from the top of the marina to the houseboat with nearly 60 people was quite comical. The golf carts were busy helping others, so many in our crew had to walk. It was slightly chaotic, but eventually everyone made it down to dock 8 where we reside. There were a few casualties along the way, luckily none of which were people. We did, however, sacrifice a wagon full of goodies, electronics, toys, bags, and towels to the bottom of Lake Pleasant. I jumped in to try to save some of our belongings, but unfortunately everything sank pretty fast. One of the downsides to living on a lake is the nearly two hundred feet it is to the bottom – so long go-pro!
The rest of the evening was equally as chaotic, because anytime you squeeze that many people into a small space it is bound to be a little crazy. Add the Petri kids to the mix and it’s a circus! Despite the madness everyone seemed to have a great time eating, hanging out, swimming, enjoying the waterslide and watching the fireworks over the lake!
In the middle of all the festivities we forgot to move the freezer that we had used for popsicles back to the building at the top of the marina. Instead, it sat where our pop up tent had been, and remained there even when everything else was taken down. I am sure you can imagine our shock when our friends that work for the Maricopa Water District called to inform us that Peoria Police Department thought our freezer was a bomb. I think the tagline for our church should be Reclaim Church…never a dull moment!
We wrapped up the night at nearly 2 a.m. by standing with a couple in the marina that was opening up to us about their marriage struggles. They shared their plan, asked for advice, and we prayed together. As we got into our boat and headed back across the lake we noticed a lot of people were still partying. How ironic that years ago that would have been us. Now? We are still up at 2 a.m., but instead of partying we are praying. Instead of getting out of control, we have given Jesus control. Instead of waking up ashamed of the night before and feeling terrible, we woke up feeling joyful and content. This life we are living is a bit unorthodox, almost always chaotic, and completely unpredictable but I honestly can’t imagine it any other way!