Day one began with registration. We walked (20 minute walk, according to directions) to the convention center (entered through this mall - as a long way around, but air conditioned). Our early trek through the mall did bring us back later for some shopping (especially after I lost my sun glasses in the convention center).
After registration, we walked, ate lunch, and toured the Jax Brewery area of the French Quarter.
Later, we headed for the dome, where we and the other 36, 996 Lutherans in NOLA gathered for song, fellowship, and encouragement. Opening night was great! Lots of good music, good speakers, and great entrance by the bishop (wish I had a video of that!).
It was also a good day for meeting friends. I ran into no less than six friends from seminary, plus several other pastors I have met over the years. While the national youth gathering brings many young people together, it also reunites many of us "older" youth with friends.
Tomorrow, the events begin. One day will be the Interactive Center; another will be a Servant project, and the third day will be a Learning event. We begin in this order - with our Interactive Day being tomorrow.
It is hard to describe what it is like to be in one place with 37,000 other Lutherans, singing, praying, and preparing for our time here in New Orleans. It is especially moving when you realize that this whole event was planned and is being carried out by the youth of our church, along with dedicated staff and adults. I look forward to tomorrow, with great anticipation.