Farewell Sister Brisco

23 years, that’s how long Sister Brisco has been a part of my life. She’s known me since diapers. Literally. And I can honestly say, she’s had a HUGE part in molding me into the person I am today.

Saundra Brisco (Sis. B) has been in children’s ministry for 50 years. She stared in ministry when she was just 16 years old. This past Sunday, we celebrated her 23 years of ministry at my home church, Montgomery First. I think I speak for a lot of people when I say, I didn’t think this day would ever come— Sis. Brisco is retiring. Of course, you can’t leave us until we throw you one over the top Farewell reception complete with over a thousand balloons, bagel bites and a slit walking clown.

As a child I remember Saturday morning Easter egg hunts, parents night out, spring break trips to Butts Mills Farm and even Kids Camp. I remember the first solo she gave me in a baseball themed program. I thought I was hot stuff in my white and red baseball tee. I even remember the time she had me dress up like a toy soldier and glued fake side burns on my cheeks for Christmas. Ouch! We’ve made lots of memories through out the years, Too many to count. But through those memories have come a lot of teachable moments.

If there is one thing that I would have to classify as ‘The Biggest Thing Sister Brisco Has Taught Me” it would be: How to Love People. I’ve had the privilege of serving under her ministry, working side by side with her week after week. We’ve even traveled the world together and I can honestly say she’s the same person in Montgomery, Alabama as she was in South Africa, Ecuador and Guatemala. Her heart for kids is something special. I can vividly remember standing outside a elementary school in South Africa in 2009, dusty dirt roads, kids running around who haven’t eaten in days, showered in probably weeks, but it didn’t matter. She saw someone who needed love, and that’s what she gave them. Wether it was a hug, prayer or even a smile– She could’ve cared less about what their background was, the color of their skin or how well dressed they where or what they smelled like. She once  said to me “Evan, Happiness comes when we learn to love others.” Talk about ah-ha moment, in the middle of Africa at that. I’ll never forget it. Today I find myself loving on those who are in need, who may be different from others and it’s credited to her and the values she spoke into me at an early age.

Speaking of traveling together, boy have we done our fair share together. From Kids Crusades, field trips and overseas adventure we’ve been side by side. I LOVE telling people about the time Sis. B decided to wear white pants on our 16 hour flight back to the states from South Africa and spilled diet coke on them 45 minutes in our flight—she had a bing brown stain for hours. Or the time we were in the Canary Islands and she didn’t like the tuna casserole the sweet church ladies offered her, so she pretended to eat it and threw it in the bushes. They saw her plate was empty so, they brought her more. You know what she did next, she threw it in the bushes again, and they brought her, yet another round. We laughed for hours. I could go on and on with stories, life lessons and memories we’ve shared but I’ll save those for my trip to visit you at the beach.

Sunday night I overhead people saying “It’s bitter sweet. We hate to see her go.”, but I say it’s all sweet and no bitter. We’ve laughed together, cried together even hooted and hollered. We’ve done life together but For now, I suppose two inadequate words will have to do: Thank you. Thank you for accepting me, loving me, teaching me, laughing with me, and most importantly praying for me. Thank You for being an inspiration not only to me, but those in our church, our city, our state and even the world. I won’t say “Goodbye”, I’ll just say “Until we meet again.”. I Love You Sister Brisco.

Evan’s Summer Camp Adventure

I know it’s December. It’s cold outside, well kind of. We do live in Alabama. The holidays are upon us so I thought what better way to remember the warm summer weather than a trip to Summer Camp. America, I Present…  2015-07-14_0001 This past June I took a trip down memory lane. Some of will know what I’m talking about, most of you won’t.  2015-08-02_0007 When I was younger I lived at Springville Camp. My Mom was the concessions and staff coordinator during Bro. Greg Kelley’s time as DYD. We grew up at camp. If my memory serves me correctly Mom started when I was about 8 0r 9? Actaully I don’t know, I could be completely wrong but who cares, that’s besides the point. No matter my age I LIVED for summer time. You couldn’t get me to camp soon enough.  2015-08-02_0010 2015-08-02_0013 Camp Springville holds many memories for me personally. I made tons of friendships and even developed a few crushes the 9 years we were there. Hey Tenly Sue, Hey!  2015-08-02_0008 2015-08-02_0004 I think one of my most favorite things about summer time was meeting and getting to know the staff. We stay in touch with a number of them still today (Thanks Facebook!). There a few that have made lasting impressions on my life, a few that a wasn’t too crazy about and a few that are no longer with us, but no matter where they are in life now, they were a part of mine once and I am forever grateful for that. From Lice check every Monday… 2015-08-02_0011 to late night waffle house runs, there was never a dull moment. 2015-08-02_0001 Oh, can we have a moment of silence for those sequin aprons? Yes America, I’m the responsible one. I sewed each and every sequin on those aprons by hand. The Springville Camp and Conference center kitchen ladies are gold. Some of the sweetest folks you’ll meet. I LOVED spending my summers with them.  2015-08-02_0002 2015-08-02_0003 Some of those staffers we see on a regular basis and are apart of our everyday life. Who would’ve thought?  2015-08-02_0016 2015-08-02_0014 2015-08-02_0009 Camp Memories are memories I will cherish forever. I don’t particularly miss the matching t-shirts and the scorching hot summer days but everything in-between…. what I would’t give somedays to go back to those times.  2015-08-02_0012 I hadn’t been back to Camp Springville since our last summer of 2008. So this past June, I figured it was time to take a field trip. I called Steve Mason (the camp director) and asked if we could come up and spend the day… without hesitation, he said “Come On”.

A LOT has changed since my time away. But if there was one thing that hadn’t changed, it was C-7. My home away from home. Oh the stories that room could tell if walls could talk.  View More: http://nickdrollette.pass.us/campcooper Campers sill hang their lake drenched clothes out to dry. View More: http://nickdrollette.pass.us/campcooper The pavilion hill is tougher than ever, View More: http://nickdrollette.pass.us/campcooper and the Team Spirit is still alive and well. View More: http://nickdrollette.pass.us/campcooper View More: http://nickdrollette.pass.us/campcooper View More: http://nickdrollette.pass.us/campcooper  I went to Summer Camp with the intentions of trying some of the activities that 1), I was too afraid to try as a 12 year old or 2.) weren’t there when we were. I still have yet to find the “amphitheater”. View More: http://nickdrollette.pass.us/campcooper The river front was booming. TONS of new activities and I was ready to tackle them all. View More: http://nickdrollette.pass.us/campcooper View More: http://nickdrollette.pass.us/campcooper Clearly I wasn’t a fan of the lifejacket or the water activities in general… View More: http://nickdrollette.pass.us/campcooper View More: http://nickdrollette.pass.us/campcooper but I was a beast on the rock wall. Well kind of. It’s actually a lot harder than it looks, but I haven’t been working on those bulging biceps for nothing. View More: http://nickdrollette.pass.us/campcooper View More: http://nickdrollette.pass.us/campcooper View More: http://nickdrollette.pass.us/campcooper View More: http://nickdrollette.pass.us/campcooper and most importantly it IS possible to spend the day at summer camp and look fashionable.  View More: http://nickdrollette.pass.us/campcooper As if the picture weren’t enough… you know this post wouldn’t be complete without a video of my adventurous day. Enjoy! 

Evan’s summer camp adventure from Luke Lindgren on Vimeo.

A HUGE thank you to my “Production Team” for braving the heat and spending the day with me. I couldn’t have done it without you.  2015-12-07_0001

 

Humbled

Yesterday, I did something that I typically wouldn’t do. Something that most would’ve considered out ordinary for me. I left my blog camera’s at home and told very few people what my plans for Wednesday afternoon actually were.

Why?

Because I wanted to do this for myself. Most of you are probably thinking I spent my day at the spa or shoe shopping but I didn’t. I volunteered at a local nursing home. I didn’t do it for publicity. I didn’t do it because a family member is a resident. I did it because I saw a need.  2015-12-02_0002 Mrs. Alberta Woodson has been volunteering at 6 different nursing homes and rehab facilities in our city for years. Residents look forward to seeing her walk through the doors each year for their annual Christmas Party. She leaves not detail untouched. Showering each resident with gift after gift. They don’t get just a candy cane– Mrs. Woodson does it up right. Wether it’s 40 patients or 200 they all go back to their rooms with an arm full of goodies.  Lotion, shampoo, socks, fruit baskets, cologne and they even get a few new clothes.

I’ll be honest with you though, I was unsure of what I was getting into. I hate hospitals and nursing homes. I don’t know what it is but it just freaks me out.  But I left South Haven nursing home yesterday  afternoon a better person that I walked in.

2015-12-02_0001 Thanksgiving has come and gone but the spirt of the holiday keeps on giving. I stepped outside to grab some extra cookies out of the car and when I walked back in I will forever remember the minute I stepped foot in the cafeteria. Nurses, volunteers and residents were gathered around  a boom box singing an old hymn. You couldn’t wiped the smile from my face. It was something I’ll hold in my heart forever.

Thankfulness is a choice and when we choose to be thankful our emotions have no reason but to be exude joy. It can be the smallest act of kindness, but when it’s given out of gratitude it’s bigger than we imagine.

As American’s we sometimes get so caught up in our bubble that we forget about everyday life around us. Wednesday was a day that I needed. A day that took me back to reality and made me realize a life isn’t so bad after all.

Thank You Mrs. Alberta Woodson has a servants heart and obeying the call that was placed on your life years ago. I was honored to be a part and look forward to Monday.

 

#Columbus14

What’s going on America? It’s been a while Huh? I thought summer was suppose to be chill and boring once you grow up and become an adult, right? WRONG! This summer has been packed with adventures, weddings, traveling and more traveling. Over the last week I was in Columbus, Ohio for the Assemblies of God National Fine Arts Festival.  Growing up in the AG, Fine Arts has been a part of my life for years. From drama, photography, music and even human videos, it’s in my blood. I’ve done it all.  For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Assemblies of God and Fine Arts, here is a little re-cap video from this year’s festival. FA is discovering, developing and deloying your gifts for ministry. The best way I have found to describe nationals is, America’s Got Talent for Church Kids. There’s everything from vocals, dance, photography, show choir, to puppets, poetry songwriting, Walking the halls of the convention always provides some head turning.
I have officially reached the age cap for the festival and this year I was invited to be a guest evaluator. Nervous didn’t even describe my feelings. I remember getting the email from Jack and Lori (the festivals coordinators) like it was yesterday. I was floored, honored and humbled. As a past national fine arts award of merit winner, it meant TONS to me that they would even consider inviting me to come and invest into the lives of hundreds of students from around the nation. I’ve stood where they’ve stood. I’ve practice hours upon hours and worked my tail off. It’s not easy, but for me it was one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve been a part of. 2014-08-02_0002 While in Columbus I had the pleasure of evaluating with some of the Finest. After receiving their comments and critics for years, it was pretty exciting to finally put a face and name with their sloppy handwriting. 😉 Evan G. Cooper dot com readers please give a round of applause for my new friends Lauren, Chase and Lori. I think we laughed more than anything. We had a blast together and my week in Columbus was greater than expected because I got to spend it with them. 2014-08-02_0004 Friday night was the Celebration service for the Festival. It’s like the Oscars of the event. This year the event was hosted by former Fine Arts baby and American Idol contestant Angie Miller.  We were priveleged enough to have a student from our group take home a national award of merit this year. I have known Garrison for years. Watching him work year after year as he entered photo after photo has finally paid off.  I couldn’t be more excited for him and his win. Thanks for letting me have a small part in helping you achieve one of your goals. 2014-08-02_0003 Writing comments on a sheet of paper for 10 hours a day straight, 3 days in a row is beyond exhausting, but we ALWAYS make time for a little fun. Kings Island, Here We Come! 2014-08-02_0001 Oh and Jenis Ice Cream.  Goat Cheese and Black Cherries, YES PLEASE!!!!! 2014-08-02_0005 With all of that being said, Fine Arts is more than a comptetion as I mentioned above. It’s about developing your gifts and talents for ministry. To be in the same city with 12,000 talented individuals, watching their performances, listening to their songs is nothing short of amazing. But having the opportunity to invest in their lives was certainly the icing on the cake. Thanks Columbus for having me. It’s been a pleasure!! I’ll see you guys in Orlando next year, well If Jack and Lori will have be back. 😉 Oh I’ll be starting a campaign very soon… I’m determined to host the Celebration Service next year.  Move over Angie!!!