*waves wildly to get your attention, jumping up and down in excitement* Guess what?? This is my- (wait a second, I need to go count to make sure I’ve got this right) -fifth consistent post in a row!! I feel so proud of myself… 😂
This also happens to be the third (and finally last) part of my youth-group-with-superheroes story! You can find the first part here, and the second part over here. Now… enjoy the story! I’d love to hear your thoughts on it at the end.
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I lasted almost until the end of the second round, though eventually Maddison caught up with and tagged me. The amount of disappointment I felt as I headed back to the gym was surprising. Usually I didn’t get that wrapped up in games.
With a sigh, I set out to find my friends. They had both already been tagged, meaning they were both in the gym, and it didn’t take me long to find them. Faith had brought the two of them up to one of the rafters again, so I spread my wings and soared up to join them.
“Finally got tagged, Kate?” My telepathic friend Ethan asked, his face mirroring my despondent look of dismay at being out of the game.
“Yeah.” I said. “Avoiding Maddison was really hard! She’s so skilled with her powers-”
“You think avoiding Maddison was hard?” Faith laughed. “You have no clue how much work it was to stay away from that invisible leader…” She trailed off.
“Josiah.” Ethan supplied.
“Right!” Faith nodded. “I always forget his name for some reason. Anyways, avoiding him was truly hard. He’s just so fast! And his invisibility makes it almost impossible to spot him.”
“You should have sticked with me.” Ethan smirked, tapping his head. “I can sense whenever people are approaching.”
“You still got tagged.” Faith pointed out.
Ethan appeared to be preparing a good retort, then stopped all of a sudden and perked up slightly.
“The game’s over!” He grinned, eyes glazing over slightly as he used his telepathy to read the minds of the people below us. “The leaders won,what a surprise.” He snorted. “And Pastor Jackson wants everyone to gather at the chairs again for the devotional.” Ethan paused for a moment, then rolled his eyes. “Of course they did, you idiot!” He said, now looking annoyed.
I frowned in confusion.
“Ethan…” Faith sighed. “You’re talking to the other-person-thoughts in your head again.”
Ethan blinked in surprise, his eyes once more focusing on the things around him, then blushed.
“Oh, yeah. Sorry about that.” He said, then glanced down. “We really should be heading down there… Pastor Jackson’s going to be starting the devotional soon.”
Me and Faith both nodded, and I leapt off the rafter while my friend made a forcefield to lower her and Ethan down.
Reaching the ground didn’t take long, and I soon found my friends and I a comfortable and overstuffed couch to sit on. Of course, I perched on the back of the couch, because it’s really hard to sit normally when you have a giant pair of purple wings sprouting out of your back.
My disappointed feelings from earlier now gone, an elated grin once more slid onto my face as I thought over everything that had happened so far. This was turning out to be so much fun! Who would have known that spending an evening surrounded by loud and energetic people would be so much fun?
Eventually Ethan and Faith found me, and sat down on the couch. They both looked incredibly excited as Pastor Jackson stepped up to begin the devotional, which I found rather surprising. I would have thought that most of the kids would just want the lesson done as quickly as possible so they could get back to hanging out with their friends.
Looking around the room, I found that a few of the kids had phones out, were fully absorbed in chatting with their friends, or in some other way weren’t paying attention to Pastor Jackson as he started to speak. Yet a large majority of the group seemed engrossed in what he was saying. Weird… I thought. I hadn’t expected that many of them to seem excited.
“Hey, guys!” Pastor Jackson was grinning, his amplified voice reaching all through the room. “Those were some awesome games of manhunt, right?”
A mix of cheers and boos came from the crowd, some kids apparently still sore from losing the round against the leaders. Pastor Jackson smirked.
“I know that last round was a little… anticlimactic, maybe?” This time there was lots of agreement from the crowd. Pastor Jackson waited for them to quiet down before continuing. “I’m sure you’ll all get a chance to redeem yourselves next week.
“Now,” he paused, looking a bit more serious. “I know you all enjoy coming to Cornerstone to hang out with your friends and play games and chit chat. But for the next few minutes, I’m going to ask that you just put away your phones and, as hard as it might be, ignore the wonderful people sitting beside you and focus on this weeks devotional.”
The crowd of kids nodded, some moving to put away phones or stop talking to their friends, although I noticed that a few continued to ignore Pastor Jackson.
“Great.” He smiled. “Does anyone remember what we talked about last week.”
At first there was just silence, no one making any moves lest they might be called on to talk. Then Pastor Jackson glanced up. Following his gaze, I saw that while most of the group was seated on the chairs clustered around the stage, a group of kids, mostly consisting of one of the cliques I’d noticed earlier (the one with Smaug the dragon-winged boy and Dylan, the kid with ice powers), had found creative ways to seat themselves in the air by use of their powers.
One of these kids had raised his hand, apparently remembering the answer to Pastor Jackson’s question.
“We talked about the Early Church, and how they were united.” He said.
Pastor Jackson nodded.
“That’s right, Owen!” He grinned. “In fact, this whole series is about the Early Church. Today we’re going to continue where we left off…”
With that, he began that week’s devotional. It was rather short, only ten or fifteen minutes, but I found it highly enjoyable. Pastor Jackson was quite engaging when he spoke, and the way he presented the devotional made it truly interesting.
Unfortunately, it looked like not everyone agreed with me, since several times during the lesson I noticed kids goofing off. Once, right during a rather serious part of the devotional, some kids who had been whispering together started to argue with each other, which quickly became rather loud.
Pastor Jackson simply paused in his speech, watching the kids talk and waiting for them to notice that he wasn’t. Part way through their rather loud discussion, they suddenly stopped talking, although their mouths were still moving. I laughed, or at least, I tried to laugh. However, no noise came out of my mouth, either. Actually, glancing around the room, I noticed quite a few kids trying and failing to talk.
Pastor Jackson sighed, thanked Abigail, and continued with his talk. After that, he managed to finish that week’s devotional without any interruptions. Then he had everyone break into small groups according to age and gender.
Faith and I followed Maddison (the leader of our group) down the hall with all the other grade 9 girls. We all sat down in the hallway, forming a very poor excuse for a circle.
I fidgeted nervously as Maddison prepared the study notes for that week. All of a sudden I felt very antisocial and very unsure. Why had I thought it was a good idea to come? I was going to have to talk to people about what I’d thought, which was generally something I tried to avoid.
“Well, girls.” Maddison smiled at us all, a pile of notes spread out in her lap. “It’s so nice to see you all here again, and even some new faces.”
Don’t nod at me. I thought. Please don’t make any indication that I exist-
She nodded in my direction, smiling at me. I tried to smile back, though I was sure it turned out looking more like a painfully awkward grimace.
“What did everyone think of today’s lesson?” She asked.
Several girls raised their hands, and Maddison nodded at them one at a time to let them share their thoughts. They all shared different opinions on today’s lesson, which had been about ways we could learn from the Early Church.
Once they’d finished, Maddison started to ask us the questions from her various notes. Thankfully, I soon realized that I wouldn’t have to worry about talking in front of people. There were enough girls in our group who liked to talk (and talk and talk and talk) that I could just sit quietly and listen.
At least, that’s what I did until we got to the last question on Maddison’s sheet. Then Faith decided it would be a wonderful idea to point out that I hadn’t said anything for the whole small group time, and I suddenly found that everyone was looking at me, waiting for me to answer the question.
“Umm… could you repeat the question?” I asked, in the hope that I’d have a little more time to think up an answer.
“What do you think is one of the most important things we can learn from the Early Church?” Maddison asked.
“Well…” My brain seemed to be drawing a blank. I could feel my face turning red, and I dug my fingernails into my palm as I tried to come up with something. “I think that we can learn a lot from the Early Church…” finally I latched on to a good answer. “But one of the most important things to remember is to support, encourage, and help other believers!” I said, feeling quite triumphant. “When we see other believers who need help or encouragement, we shouldn’t be stingy with our money or time, but instead should help them out.”
I was nearly out of breath by the time I’d finished, and very nervous. Thankfully, everyone nodded and smiled, then continued on with the discussion. Huh. I thought to myself. So maybe talking in front of people isn’t that scary.
The discussion finished up pretty quickly, with Maddison praying at the end before sending us girls all back to the gym.
Ethan was already there waiting for us, snacking on a large chocolate bar.
“Chocolate?” I asked eagerly. “Where’d you get that?”
Ethan pointed across the gym to a small stand that had been set up, selling chocolate bars, sour keys, and all other manner of goodies. My eyes lit up with excitement.
“I’m going to have to bring a lot of money next week.” I mused.
“Next week?” Faith grinned in a playful manner. “So you’re going to come back?”
“Umm, yes. Didn’t I already mention that?” I smirked at her.
Faith shrugged, looking too happy that I was going to join her at Cornerstone to reply to my quip.
I was about to ask her about one of the trips they’d mentioned earlier when my phone, which I’d kept in my pocket, buzzed. I pulled it out and groaned. The message said, “When will you be home?” and was from my parents.
“I think I have to go, guys…” I sighed. “My parents are wondering when I’ll be home, which is basically their way of telling me I should be home soon.”
“Aw.” Ethan said, chocolate smeared across his face. “We usually hang out a bit after youth…”
“Maybe next time?” Faith asked hopefully.
“Maybe?” I shrugged. “I’ll ask, and they’ll probably say yes.”
“Okay! See you tomorrow after school?”
I nodded, slipping the phone back into my pocket.
“Yeah, I think I’ll be able to bike over to your house once I finish up my schoolwork.” I replied, thinking over the school work my mom had scheduled for me that day.
“I wish I was homeschooled.” Ethan sighed.
“Same here!” Faith agreed. “You get to sleep in, and skip school…”
I laughed, starting to head for the door, my friends following.
“It’s not as amazing as you make it out to be. Mom’s assigned a bunch of stuff for me to do, including writing a story which I have no inspiration for whatsoever…” I sighed, remembering that specific project, which was due in a week. “But I suppose I can ask my mom if she’d be willing to take on two more students…” I said jokingly.
“Yes please!” Faith said, at the same time Ethan said, “When can I start?”
“Har har.” I said sarcastically as I pushed open the gym door and lead the way towards the doors of the Church. “Will you be at Faith’s house tomorrow too, Ethan?” I asked.
“No…” Ethan sighed. “Band practice.”
“Really?” Faith looked disappointed. “That’s too bad. I was planning to make chocolate cake before you came…”
“Umm… I guess I could be too sick for band practice?” He suggested, and I could tell that he was only partially joking.
Faith looked like she was about to encourage him to do so, so I broke in.
“No. How about you go to band practice, and we save some cake?”
“Okay…” Ethan said.
“Aw, come on Kate!” Faith looked annoyed.
I shrugged, pushing open the door that lead outside.
“See you tomorrow!” I said, waving goodbye before heading out.
My friends echoed my call of farewell as the door slid shut again and I turned to head for home. Stretching out my large, feathered wings and propelling myself into the air, I smiled.
Tonight had been amazing. I had never imagined something like that could be so much fun, instead of incredibly awkward. Yet between the games, chatting, and outright gawking at all the… highly unique sights, I hadn’t had any time to be awkward.
I need to get my friends to come! I decided. I knew a few other kids with superpowers who would definitely enjoy going to something like Cornerstone, if I could convince them to come. If only there was some way to share this with my friends who live too far away to come to Cornerstone… I mused.
As I circled in the air far above my home, a sudden, brilliant idea hit me. I knew exactly how to share this with my long-distance friends! I also knew how to finish up the schoolwork assignment I had no inspiration for.
I would write my story about my experience at Cornerstone! I could rewrite my evening at Cornerstone, and simply make that my schoolwork, plus send it to my friends. I’d probably have to change everyone’s names, but other than that, it would undoubtedly work as my story project!
I grinned, already starting on a good opening sentence for the story. This is going to be perfect. I thought to myself, beginning a spiralling descent towards my house.