So, I am finally back from my recent escapades up North, first in Uttoxeter, second in Nottingham. Both were challenging, changing and learning experiences, but for vastly different reasons.
MEC – Midlands Easter Conference
So firstly, I was in Denstone College for the MEC organised by Leicester Church, with the theme beng, ‘I Heart What?’ Nice T-shirt designs, go Wai! 🙂
I have never been the most out-going person, and I am also very uncomfortable around loads of new people. So I was extremely appreciative of the Chrissy/Sam duo, and also of the extended Leicester social network that Debra enabled me to hi-jack. (China-points!)
For me, it was one of the most emotion-less conferences ever. Don’t get me wrong, this is not a bad thing; in fact, it was a real blessing. God enabled me to have a level, sound mind, and really think through and muse over the weaknesses that are evident in my walk with Him. I was able to really meditate over Galatians 5:22,23. Here, a reminder:
When the Holy Spirit controls our lives, He will produce this fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Here, there is no conflict with the law. (Bold added by me)
The English devotional speaker, Kenny Gan, reminded me of the verse in Philippians, “I can do everything through him who gives me strength,” (4:13) which God used to really bring to light what has been a huge flaw in my walk so far.
A couple of months ago I had gotten very down-hearted about the ways in which I was failing God, and I was struggling so much to try and reach that ‘ultimate Christian woman’ that I had in my head; it was nearly an idol for me, and I suspect a reason for my feeling of discourgement back then.
However, with the connection of those two verses, I began to realise that I was really limiting God in what His Spirit could do in my life: anything! I had yet to trust that God would be growing each of His fruits in me and that it was in spite of me and not because of me that He could. Wow. Such a simple truth, and yet so powerful.
It was also a real blessing to meet so many people on fire for Christ. I was really able to go so much deeper in my conversations with others than ever before; my small group were an especially big encouragement, and taught me a lot, though they may not realise it. I was especially happy about my small group leader, because she was truly awesome 🙂 Rock on. You let God use you, and it was a blessing.
Haha, just remembered, a few of you may like to know how the suitcase thing worked itself out: well, I got an Argos bag, I managed to only half-fill it, but James still drove all the way to the conference with an absolutely useless rear view mirror:
Agape Easter Bible Conference
Agape is the missionary organisation that my parents are with, and they always have an opportunity open for me to go help out with their childcare, K2 (after the mountain). The group I got included my brother, the Hikers, 10-13 year olds.
God revealed to me just how incredible are the people involved in youth work day in, day out. It was not so much physically exhausting, but mentally tiring: trying to keep up with all the kids, teach them, entertain them and control them. I think as the days wore on, I was depending more and more on the fledgling spontaneity developing within me, and less on my usual response of planning and organising these things as much as possible. It was a time to really get creative.
My subject was the Holy Spirit, and man did it tie in with everything God had been revealing to me at MEC! Coincidence? Not a chance. It’s amazing how much more you learn when you try and teach something.
Some highlights included losing my voice halfway through, getting King Jesus into the head of every kid there (kudos, Bert!) and having the fire alarm go nuts on the last night, resulting in a 4am and 6am interruption to my sleep that morning. It’s funny when you say ‘Good morning’ to people three times in one day, that early. What was a bit sad was the fact that every kid would also be woken up, so their trip home might not be a happy one for their parents.
So far, support-raising has been an amazing blessing from God, me and Sam have both been SO encouraged by it, and are also very psyched about the trip!
I realise this post is extremely long, apoligies (as usual) for taking up your time, I just hope that it’ll be an encouragement to you. God bless!