by Ruth DuCharme       

After months of planning and preparing, the time for our Highland Hills children's trip to Sea World to spend the night with the dolphins had finally arrived. Last Thursday we loaded the vans and set off for our adventure. I was admittedly a bit nervous. I was concerned that some of the children might get homesick, that the reservations might not be correct, or that we would have travel problems along the way. There had been months of preparation put into planning this trip, and I wanted the children to have a great time.


As we arrived at Sea World, we checked in at the Sea World Education gate and began our experience. Our first stop was at the dolphin nursery where mama dolphins and their babies spend their first days together before being released to live among the other dolphins. The boys and girls were allowed to sit along the rails of the dolphin pool and immediately the dolphins came to them, poked their heads up and welcomed our children into their world. They blew water through their spouts at the children and flapped their fins at them. The children burst into giggles and their smiles said it all. I turned to one of our chaperones and said, "That makes it all worthwhile."


Seeing the children's faces and watching their expressions of joy made all of the planning and preparing worth the effort. Watching them as they explored the park and spent the night surrounded by a dolphin aquarium made me glad that we had taken the time and energy to plan this trip for them.


Over the coming days and months our church will invest a huge amount of time and energy in a search for a new pastor. We will pray. We will spend time taking surveys. Committees will gather to meet and make plans. At times we will be a bit anxious and uncertain. We might get a little homesick along the way or worry that the plans might not come together as we want. However, there will come a day when we will gather around our new pastor, and we will welcome our new minister into our church family. We will look at the joy on the faces of our brothers and sisters and we will say, "That makes it all worthwhile."