Friday, September 19, 2014

A Trip to Virginia Beach

Mr. Matt often parallels his events with the young men working in Tiger Pause, to movies he has watched that impacted his life. No movies here, just an account of a recent trip taken with seven young men from the Eye of the Tiger Program, Matt, and me. This trip was not as long as the jaunt taken last summer to the West Coast when Mr. Matt led three vehicles to move a family west across the Mississippi, through the Great Plains, over the Rockies to view the Pacific Ocean. It was really neat to see the sun rising over the Rockies as we crossed the Golden Gate Bridge, and the eyes of the young men as they viewed the Pacific Ocean from Muir Beach. Fast forward to this summer and picture a large white van at 11:00 p.m. on a cool Friday night in August, pulling out of Beaver Falls heading East on the PA turnpike.

The next 29 hours were just as amazing as the trip west in 2013. In those 29 hours, we first drove through the night to Virginia Beach. At 6:30 a.m. we saw the sun rise over the Atlantic Ocean, ate pancakes, bacon, and eggs at a Virginia Beach restaurant, swam in the Atlantic Ocean, played football, and slept on the beach, and briefly toured that beach community. Just that could have filled a whole day, but it was only 11:00 a.m. and there is more.

The young men told Matt they had enough of the beach. So Matt, in his always forward-thinking mindset, loaded up the van and headed north to Busch Gardens. We arrived at 1:30 p.m., rode all the coasters and some other rides, toured the Gardens, ate a lot of food, and were finally ready to head home.

But wait, there is more. The students had never been to Washington, D.C. So, we headed for the Capital and arrived there at 11:00 p.m. We viewed the Lincoln and Vietnam Memorials and at midnight and then headed home. It did not help that the PA Turnpike was closed at Bedford, forcing a Route 30 detour, but, by the grace of our Almighty Father, we arrived in Beaver Falls at 4:00 a.m.

This was a great learning experience for the young men, which, most importantly, included them hearing about the grace and goodness of our Heavenly Father. As the sun, rose over the Atlantic Ocean early that Saturday morning, they heard that, “The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament showeth his handiwork.” They heard that the sun setting each night and rising each morning is a picture of the death of our Savior and His glorious resurrection. They learned that the Lord uses His creation to daily remind all of mankind about His death and resurrection.

Lastly, at midnight, we quietly walked the granite pathway in front of the Vietnam Memorial. The night was cool, and a haze lingered over the grounds; not a sound could be heard. I looked to my right and saw Mr. Matt gather those young men closely together. He quietly spoke to them in front of that monument about his respect for those had given their lives. “But,” he said, “having your name on a monument is not nearly as important as knowing your name is in the Lamb’s Book of Life.” Wow, that was truly powerful. Every man, woman, and child, needs to know the Lord, and know his own name is in that book. That is what I love about Tiger Pause and about Matt Nance.

Tom Karczewski
Beez Cafe Manager

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