Sunday, February 7, 2016

Renewal Conference

 To many people, the words "renewal" and "conference" may seem contradictory. Conferences are typically filled with busy schedules, lots of people, breakout sessions and very little down time. Not too many conference experiences are restful or rejuvenating. So going into a week called "renewal conference" might lead someone to be skeptical. We are thankful, however, that WorldVenture (our missions organization), keeps true to its word and takes the conference name seriously. 
Last week, we gathered with WorldVenture home office staff, regional staff (recruiters from different regions of the U.S.), board members and missionaries for a week of worship, prayer, teaching, learning and networking. The entire first two days were dedicated to just prayer and worship, allowing us to spend time praying for our world, our staff, our missionaries, people groups throughout the globe and many specific needs. We also each had the opportunity to experience an hour long "prayer labyrinth", where you walk a path in a room, listening to an audio track that guides you through a prayer exercise.  These first two days were very renewing.

 The second three days, we were blessed to hear the challenging and engaging words of Ryan Paulson (pastor of a local church). His message on worry and anxiety really hit home for me, and I really felt the Holy spirit speaking through him to me about releasing my worry. We also got to hear from WorldVenture leadership and attend breakout sessions about medical coverage, finances and other helpful topics. At every meal, we sat down with different staff and missionaries. These impromptu conversations were always great, as we compared cultures, swapped language learning stories and discussed thoughts on how to challenge the next generation to consider missions.

Childcare was provided for kids under 5, so Ellie was in good hands all week. I was quite nervous about this going in and the first day was a bit rough for her...but each day was better and better. It was such a gift for us to be able to attend all the sessions and to know she was having fun while we were doing that.

We came away from the Renewal Conference truly renewed!