It was a pretty stressful couple of days leading up to our departure. I logged onto Planning Center to find almost 30 songs that we would be playing. I had also been scheduled to play at Eikon the night before we left. The stressful part was that four of the songs on the Eikon set were new to me, not to mention there was quite a few new songs we were playing for our Georgia trip. By the time I got home from Eikon, packed, and practiced some more, I ended up staying up all night. I had to be at Calvary at 4 AM for our departure to Calvary Chapel Stone Mountain, GA. I kept telling myself I would sleep on the eleven hour drive. I totally did. I barely remember anything, haha.
In the past, we usually drive up a day early so we have time to get settled in. Due to a few of us playing Wednesday night, we were forced to leave the day of, and that is why we left at 4 AM. I have to admit it was pretty rough trying to get myself pumped to play after an eleven hour car ride. At least I slept!
One of the biggest downfalls of the trip was lack of communication and preparation. By the time the set list was up, we only had 6 days to go over the songs and we only had one rehearsal that was about an hour long. That still wasn’t a final set either, because we did not have the conference schedule until the day of.. and by the day of, I mean a couple of hours before we arrived at the church. All that to say the first part of the trip was a bit stressful and tiring. I ended up not really caring about what I was doing because everything was subject to change at any given moment.
Of course, that was a rubbish attitude to have even with the circumstances, which I soon realized and apologized to the rest of my team. We were all kind of feeling the same way, so we all got together and talked it out and then prayed about it. The fact was, we just wanted these kids to connect with God. We couldn’t let our feelings get in the way of worship.
I remember going to these summer camps when I was younger and watching the worship team. I remember hoping that I would be good enough to be the guy on stage one day. Then I realized that I was living my dream.. I was doing it. I certainly did not feel as excited as I thought I would when I was younger. But in that moment, I was grateful for the opportunities I had been given these past two years that got me here. I am always striving to be better and sometimes I forget how far I have already come and to be thankful for it.
Everything ended up coming together and we got more and more comfortable with each set. We were all good musicians so we weren’t really worried about changes or getting out of our comfort zone. It is always more enjoyable to have everything planned out well, but sometimes you just have to go with the flow. The conference was three days long and it kept getting crazier each day. By the time we played our last set, the kids were up front jumping and singing. A few of the young girls seemed to take a liking to us too. There were a lot of pictures and autographs going around. It was bizarre. I felt bad because I was just thinking to myself that this was not the goal. We didn’t want them to think that we were awesome, but rather that God was awesome. I guess you can’t escape it, I’m sure Chris Tomlin has some crazy fans too.
During our weekend there, we stayed with Zach Yoder’s family. Their house was incredible and their hospitality was wonderful. I am always amazed that people let us come sleep in their home and that they go so far out of their way for us. They made us an amazing breakfast every morning, always had fresh iced tea ready, and cooked fantastic meals for dinner. It was unreal. They were just so welcoming.
Secretly, I was really excited to go to Stone Mountain because… well I wanted to see Stone Mountain! We made plans to go our last night and watch the sun set. What we didn’t plan on was the random storm that came through. I was so bummed because I knew we were leaving the next morning at nine. Seriously, I was super bummed. Later that night, during an intense game of Phase 10 (which I was dominating.. until I lost, haha) I came up with the idea of going really early in the morning before we left. I got a few other people on board and we were good to go. After our very competitive Phase 10 game ended at 2 AM, I went to go sleep. Mark and Bry, who weren’t waking up at 6 AM to go hike up the mountain with me, decided they wanted to play Call of Duty until 3:30. So I basically took a nap and then I woke up to hike. I am so glad it worked out though. The whole experience was incredible. The weather was chilly and almost mysterious. There was a very thick fog that had settled over the mountain. So thick that when we reached the summit, we couldn’t see much of anything. You might think that was a bad thing, but I felt like I was on another planet. It was unreal! I have never seen anything else like it.
We had a lot of fun adventures during our stay in Georgia. We found this really hip coffee shop called Alcove located on the edge of a lake. We ended up going there three days in a row. We also had quite a few competitive matches between playing Monopoly and Call of Duty. We’re always fighting for bragging rights, and Tokyo (inside joke).
Who knows where I’ll end up next. Be sure to subscribe to my blog below and follow me on Instagram! Thanks for reading!
See the rest of our photos from this trip at: #OESM_Trip