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Day 4: Gather in Detroit

The night before I roomed with two boys from the St. John’s group and we all awoke to a boxed breakfast which was enjoyed in the room. Then only minutes later we separated and found our groups and loaded up the vans. The next stop was Cedar Point Amusement Park!

There the St. Paul youth split up based on the people that wanted to ride thrill rides, like high roller coasters, and people that didn’t want to ride the thrill rides. Dr. Holly Hoffman and Moses chaperoned the thrill ride group and Cheyenne Delp chaperoned the non thrill ride group. I enjoy thrills. So of course I joined the thrill ride group!

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We rode most of the coasters in the  park. Beth, a youth member, helped to guide everyone around since she had been to Cedar Point twice before. 
We rode the Millennium Force which was voted the best steel roller coaster in the world! It was fantastic and was even enough to thrill Dr. Holly along with all of the youth. However, earlier the coasters like Rougarou and the Iron Dragon were not thrilling enough to overly impress the group. But as the day went on, the coasters got more fun.

For lunch we ate at Johnny Rockets and it was packed with people. Just one thing about that place: IT HAS THE BEST SHAKES EVER!

The last ride was by Lake Erie which looks similar to an ocean, it’s really difficult to actually tell the difference. From the Wicked Twister we could see seagulls as we spun forwards and backwards at a speed of 72 miles per hour. It was the best way to end the day at Cedar Point.

The non thrill ride group ended the day at the park at the dinosaur exhibit which sounds awesome!

Getting out of Cedar Point Amusement Park was a struggle. But Moses was a professional driver, I mean this man has driven through rough streets in Africa, so he got us out of there better than anyone could.

Next would be a long three hour drive to Detroit where half the youth would try to sleep and the other half would talk the entire time. I just tried making people laugh by doing some comic relief. It kind of worked. They were into it though, or at least pretended to be.

Once we arrived in Detroit the traffic got worse. And the city wasn’t so welcoming at first. To be honest, it looked dirty, rugged, and torn. What I had heard from people was what I got. Detroit didn’t have much at all, I could tell it was broken. But eventually we saw people just like us. Hundreds of them heading toward our Marriott Hotel. That offered comfort to all of us in the van. We waited in the hotel, which had 70 floors, and met up with Jeremy, Jamie, Mrs. Hafner, Helen, and the Christenson’s. They all were very welcoming and we were glad to see them.

In the hotel, there were restaurants, car dealerships, pools, and tons of activities to do. Not to mention super fast and dynamic elevators.

We all got our room #s and were given tiny blank Gathering bibles. We unpacked and ate dinner first. The lines were super packed, but it was okay because that allowed everyone to meet new friends. After dinner we headed to Ford Field for the first Gathering night. All 30,000 Lutherans fit into the Detroit Lions stadium to listen to worship music, inspirational poetry, and stories from a variety of people. Agape performed for one song at the end. He’s a Christian rapper. Each moment and performance was magical. A Baptist pastor preached to us on the importance of Jesus’s resurrection because without it Christianity wouldn’t exist as it does today. His name was Luke Powery, Dean of Duke University’s Chapel.

A house band performed on stage and more people came out to share their stories. Stage spotlights went all around and TV screens showed everything that was occurring on stage for a better close-up view. By the end of the night, we high-five’d hundreds of people. It was Danny’s idea. He was group leader and held the tall wooden giraffe we brought along so we didn’t get separated from our group. And then we joined all 30,000 Lutherans on the streets of Detroit as we headed back to our Hotel room with Danny and the giraffe leading the way.

After we got back to the hotel we had a quick group meeting and then went to our rooms which had great views of the lake with Canada on the other side. Yes, Canada!

Everyone in our group was on floor 53. It was time to prepare for sleep and the adventures of the next day.

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