Monday, April 16, 2012

Vacation! ...sorta

Last week, Brandon, Asher, and I loaded up the car and took a mini-vacation.

Where did we go, you might ask? To a beautiful beach?
Or to Mexico to explore the Mayan ruins?
Or on a luxurious cruise?


Obviously, there are a few things missing in the above pics (like a baby, and a belly which still shows the effects of aforementioned baby) and there are some things in the pictures which are no longer present (Brandon's long hair).

No, those pictures were from our honeymoon.

Our true destination for our mini-vacation was Louisville, KY. We went for a 3 day, (not-at-)all-inclusive stay in a city 2.5 hours away. For what reason, you say?

Together for the Gospel!

This is a conference I heard about online several months ago. It had half of my (and Brandon's) "Dream Team" of speakers and pastors, and we were soo excited about it. T4G is a pastors' conference (which I found out the day before we went), so the vast majority of the 8,000 or so people there were men. I felt a little out of place, but their messages applied to me as well, and to everyone who has any sort of ministry (which all believers should).

Another perk was that there was never a line for the women's bathroom! That actually was very helpful as we brought Asher with us and he needed to be fed quite often. As many people on Twitter pointed out, a pastor's conference is pretty much the only place you'll ever see a line for the men's bathroom but not the women's. It was pretty funny - they even designated half of the women's bathrooms for men.
Asher did quite well, for a 3 month old. There was some fussing and squirming (as would be expected), but there was also a whole lot of cooing and smiling at strangers friendly brothers and sisters in the Lord. We didn't take many pictures,  but here are a few from our trip:

It was a great time of encouragement as we talked in love with brothers and sisters who were otherwise strangers to us. Most of the conversation centered around Asher (babies are a great conversation starter:). There were 3 encounters in particular I want to remember:
  • The man from Seattle. We talked with this man for just a few moments, and he shared with us that he and his wife had been married for quite a while - I don't remember exactly how long, but he did, and that's the important part - and he loves her so much more now than he ever could have at the beginning. He smiled and played with Asher, and told him how much of a "vessel of blessing" he was to us. It was really sweet, and a sweet encounter in itself. 
  • The man from Michigan: This gentleman caught us on the way out of the last session. He said he was encouraged to see a young family at the conference, and that seeing Asher reminded him of his own 12 or so grandkids. 
  • Nastaran: I can't remember if this is her name or not, it started with a "Nas-". This lady was an Iranian emigrant to California. Asher and I sat next to her in the bookstore while Brandon perused the stacks.  We got into a conversation, once again, over Asher. She and her husband were expecting in about 4 months, their first as well. When she told me she was originally from Iran, I asked her "That's a dangerous place to be a Christian, isn't it?" And she told me of how she and her husband had been arrested for their faith while in Iran, but were given the choice of whether to stay in jail in country or to leave the country. They chose to leave, but their friend was still in jail in Iran. I told her I would pray for him, and she said to pray also for Iran, as the Gospel is being persecuted there. 
I don't know what it is about those encounters, they were not extraordinary in any way, but they were sweet to me in that I was able to enjoy fellowship with brothers and sisters in the Lord whom I will probably never see again til Heaven. 

I'll probably be posting more about T4G here in the next few days.

May the Lord bless you and keep you!

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