Project Description

Houston, We Have A Gathering!

King of Kings Students are heading to Houston for the ELCA Youth Gathering, June 24-July 2, an opportunity that only occurs once every three years.

Along with 30,000 other teens from across the country, we’ll gather at NRG Stadium for 4 nights of amazing speakers, worship, and performances, and 5 days of opportunities to grow in your faith, hear the stories of the people of Houston, meet other students from around the country, serve in the Houston area, and learn about how God is working in the world all around us.

Please pray for our travelers! Kelsey Battleson, Michael Carmack, Annika Griffith, Laura Griffith, Brian Hause, Anna Julius, Chad Julius, Carley Kerr, Haley Kinzie, Hannah McCormack, Keith Oehler, Galina Olson, Sam Persche, Bridget Rands, Megan Rands, Kristina Schwartz, Hannah Smith, Calvin Stepan, Kristin Tollefson, and Natalie Torbert. Two of our college students, Amy Haslerud and Caysie Johnson, are serving as Community Life Volunteers for the Youth Gathering Event Staff.

If you would like to read, study, and pray along with us this week, I’ve included a guide for the week below. We hope you’ll join us!  Read, Study & Pray with Us Guide

Saturday, June 30

Today we hopped on a bus to learn and serve together with 5 other congregations from MN!

Our awesome guide, Brooke,  brought us to a neighborhood on the north side of Houston to help clean up trash and canvass the neighborhood with a HUD Certified, Non-Profit called the Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America (NACA) which is working to bring about economic justice for people with low and moderate incomes through housing assistance and other financial programs.

We were talking about how God’s  hope  changes everything today, and heard the strength and the struggles of our speakers developing and redeveloping or re-understanding their own identities not in the world, but in Christ Jesus.

Tomorrow we are sad to say that we will say good-bye to Houston, TX and head to Tulsa, OK on the first leg of our journey home. We’ve been blessed by our experiences and learnings here, and can’t wait to bring them home to share with you!

Don’t forget: You can watch along with us at home. Nightly Mass Gatherings are streamed via the gathering website: https://www.elca.org/YouthGathering and recordings of previous nights are also available!

Friday, June 29

Today we worshiped with 41 other churches from our synod!

We were talking about how God’s grace changes everything today, and heard from the Bishop of the Saint Paul Area Synod, Patricia Lull, and our very own Brian Hause helped to lead us in word and worship with other student volunteers from around the synod.

Our afternoon was filled with inflatables, rock climbing, and games, before we headed into the Stadium for some powerful and moving speakers that shared their amazing stories with all of us.

Tomorrow we are hopping on the bus in the early morning for our Service Learning experience! We’re looking forward to our time learning about organizations in the Houston area and serving alongside them and 10,000 other people!

Don’t forget: You can watch along with us at home. Nightly Mass Gatherings are streamed via the gathering website: https://www.elca.org/YouthGathering and recordings of previous nights are also available!

Thursday, June 28

Today was our interactive learning day!

We were talking about how God’s love changes everything today, and heard and saw many examples of this in our experiences! From kind strangers willing to jump in and help out with our scavenger hunt, to stories from speakers about recovering from eating disorders, becoming a parent, and finding a place to belong in the church, we have been surrounded by God’s love.

Our day started out with 12 football fields worth of activities, learning opportunities, games, organizations, and fun. Some of our group went to see LZ7 perform today as well, a Christian Electronic Dance band, that shared an amazing story of hope and the impact one person can make in the life of another.

Tomorrow we’re hanging with the synod! We’re excited to be with some familiar faces, meet new people, and have a little extra down time and rest tomorrow.

Don’t forget: You can watch along with us at home. Nightly Mass Gatherings are streamed via the gathering website: https://www.elca.org/YouthGathering

Wednesday, June 27

It was the first day of the Gathering today!

After some breakfast and bible study this morning, we hopped back in our vans to visit Kemah Boardwalk where we rode rides, checked out the Gulf of Mexico, worked on our Scavenger Hunt Missions, and had lunch together.

This evening we experienced the first mass gathering, kicking off our week by talking about how God’s Call Changes Everything. We heard amazing stories of overcoming struggles, pursuing calling even if you’re still figuring it out or becoming ‘qualified,’ and danced and sang along with some great musicians.

Don’t forget: You can watch along with us at home. Nightly Mass Gatherings are streamed via the gathering website: https://www.elca.org/YouthGathering

Tuesday, June 26

Hello Houston Families & Prayer Partners! We arrived in Houston today!

Two days of driving was a long trip for us all, but we made it through with laughter, naps, good music (and lots of bathroom breaks).

This morning we slept in a little and after some breakfast, we made our way to the Comal River to float and relax. Even though there was LOTS of sunscreen applied by all, the Texas sun got the better of us and we all left with a little sunburn. We’re still in good spirits, even if we are a little more red than before.

Tomorrow we are headed to Kemah Boardwalk and looking forward to our first Mass Gathering at NRG. We hope you’ll consider joining along with us by watching the live stream! Mass Gatherings are streamed via the gathering website: https://www.elca.org/YouthGathering

Sunday, June 24
The Houston team had a blessing and a send-off at the 8:15 a.m. Worship service, and then went straight to the loaded vans and began their journey! Prayers for all of you on your travels.