Hello there! As I’m writing this, we are patiently waiting for the metro shuttle and enjoying the ELCA community! Today was a great official first day of the 2018 ELCA Youth Gathering! We started the day off at the Johnson Space Center, a great NASA museum and journeyed to the opening night Mass Gathering at NRG Park.

Personally, I was pumped to go to NASA and had been looking forward to this part of the trip for a long time. I have to say, it definitely met my expectations! It was amazing to see the exhibits, the space suits, the remnants of the space shuttles, and more. I have always loved space explorations and the original Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo missions, and the Space Center has lots to teach about that time in NASA’s history. The Space Race has always been something I love learning about, I’m fascinated by the way the nation was unified and came together for a common cause-kinda similar to the way youth are flocking to Houston right now!

While at NASA, we also watched the movie “Mission Control: The Unsung Hero’s of Apollo.” It was a great movie that shined the light on those who worked to help the many astronauts achieve what they are known and praised for. In the film, they reflected on the profound effect Apollo 8 had on mission control. The Apollo 8 astronauts were in space on Christmas and touched many in their reading of Genesis 1 while the lunar sun rose. Watching the footage from this flight and hearing mission control members’ reaction was a beautiful reminder of how science and faith can coexist. As a young person, so often there is pressure to choose either science or faith, but watching the amazing scientists that worked to rewrite our beliefs of what is possible for humans to achieve while maintaining their faith was truly inspiring.

It was a great evening gathering-full if the sounds of people praising the Lord and building community. We were visited by speakers preaching for justice and love and musicians who shared their gift to spread God’s love. We enjoyed the energy of 31,000 people singing and dancing to “This Little Light of Mine.”

And now, slowly but surely, we are making our way back to our hotel to get some sleep before another great day!

-Sara Holmes

PS-we’ve enjoyed the music of Isaiah N. And his very special recorder!

Group Pic at NASA

Stortz family at NASA

We had a great time exploring NASA!

Mass Gathering!

My sister, Zumbro member Ann Holmes is volunteering at the Gathering and joined us for Mass Gathering!

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