Matt got to lead a workshop (AKA a "Splatshop") at the quadrennial United Methodist youth event, Youth2007 (the theme of which this year was "SPLAT!: Seek, Pray, Learn, Act, Teach"). The event was held in Greensboro, NC, so we decided that if he/we were going to drive that far, might as well go on to the beach and make it our summer vacation!
So, we left Nashville on Thursday 7/12, and drove to Asheville, NC, where we spent the night in the mountains and enjoyed a nice Mediterranean tapas dinner. (We'd planned to eat at the Biltmore Winery, but found that it closes at 5pm! How crazy!) Friday morning, we drove a few hours further, to Greensboro, where I did a little shmoozing with UM youth pastors, trying to promote a particular Abingdon book we're wanting to push. (Might as well plug it here, too--see http://www.cokesbury.com/forms/bookstore.aspx?pid=446592 for the "Unofficial United Methodist Handbook," a humorous but insightful dummies-guide to the UMC!) Matt led the two sessions of his seminar, "Evangelism for the Rest of Us," in which he encouraged the youth (and their chaperones, who weren't all thrilled with this anti-prostletization look at sharing the gospel) to evangelize by sharing their own stories of faith, telling people how God has actually impacted their lives, rather than "four easy steps to escape hell and damnation." The sessions went really well; the youth loved having a good portion of the workshop time to just talk in small groups about their views and experiences, prompted by a list of 15-20 questions Matt posed to them about God, Jesus, hell, the Bible, etc. Kids are so much more insightful than we give them credit for, and it's amazing how deeply theological they can be when given the opportunity.
After dinner with a friend of mine from Furman, who now lives in Greensboro (though he's moving to Israel soon--awesome!) Matt and I drove on to Wilmington, NC, where we enjoyed three days at Wrightsville Beach! It rained a bit Saturday and early Sunday, but by Sunday afternoon, we were frying in the sun, so much that Monday morning, we went to the NC Aquarium to avoid the midday sun before enjoying some late-afternoon beach time.