Students Arrive and Opening Night!

Well this week the Fall DTS students arrived, meaning that if I thought life was hectic before, now there are 29 other people to have fun with/drive me a little crazy.  It seems to be a young school, quite a few 17 year olds, and I don't think many of them have been away from home for an extended amount of time.  They all seem a little anxious, but I suppose that's normal for anyone that comes to a new place not knowing exactly what to expect.

It's a little weird to think that this time a year and a half ago, I was going through the same experience.  I'm excited to see how these students change in the next six months, and what effect they'll have on Maui and the nations they'll be going to in December.  

As I've been talking to the new students, it seems like a lot of them come from bad family situations.  It's sad to see the effects a broken or abusive family has on kids, but it makes me realize just how fortunate I've been.  I have family and friends that have surrounded me with love and encouragement throughout my life, and I've had to deal with relatively few problems in my 25 years.  It's a blessing to be a part of a church that supports me here and encourages me to follow my dreams.  Thank you all for everything!

On Saturday, we had what we call "Opening Night".  Its a time to introduce the students to the staff and vice versa.  The staff give students leis as a way to welcome them and then we had a time to just hang out so that everyone can get to know each other a little better.  After Opening Night is over, the students go on what we call "Exodus", which is a glorified way of saying that they go camping for three days.  Its a chance for the DTS students to get to know one another and to see each other at their worst.  

Just like the Biblical exodus, our students have to "wander" (hitch-hike) around Maui together on a kind of scavenger hunt.  Then the staff takes them to the other side of the island to camp for three days with minimal food (plain oatmeal and ramen is pretty the extent of the food out there), no tents and generally dirty conditions.  After the three days of camping, (which will be tonight) the students come back and we have a huge steak dinner for them with a ton of good food, ice cream, brownies etc.  

I didn't take any pictures of Opening Night, but I'll make sure to bring my camera tonight and post some pictures of our students either tonight or tomorrow morning.