14 August 2018

2018 Home-stay - Ripe for Harvest conference

Ripe for Harvest, my missions-sending agency, holds a conference every few years. This one was held at the beautiful Billy Graham Training Center at the Cove in Asheville, North Carolina. It was wonderful to see everyone again and to meet some new folks as well.

Yep, we were in the South, where folks love to sit on the porch in a rocking chair. We had a lovely view of the Blue Ridge Mountains!

Just a few quotes:

Tim Smith (founded RFH in 1979): 
There is nothing from me; only God receives the credit. We can only acknowledge him, because it's all from him and for him!

Earl Riefel (missionary in Sierra Leone, West Africa):
Walk in the center of God's will, because it's his church and his people and his ministry.

Jason Jimenez (founder of Stand Strong Ministries):
We aren't missionaries for the money, fame, or recognition, but we do missions because we love the Lord. Our ministry isn't about us or our initiatives, but rather it must evolve out of our intimacy with Christ and all the glory must go to him!

Our final session was in the beautiful Chatlos Memorial Chapel

We enjoyed some fun moments...

... and also some serious and challenging moments by Jason Jimenez, our keynote speaker.

We 3 headed out for a walk in the woods, however...
lots of poison ivy on the trails and the very real possibility of encountering a black bear convinced us to keep it short! 

I also created some moments of solitude, going on several hikes around the Cove (but staying on the roads). I really enjoyed these butterflies, as well as several sightings of deer and wild turkeys. I also walked a short distance off-campus to find a GeoCache.

I gave two workshops during the conference, both on the topic of self-care and the importance of maintaining balance in our lives. During each session, we had some good discussions, and concluded with an exercise of attempting to balance a few pebbles like these.

Pebbles from the beach in Jamaica

“To allow our self to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything, is to succumb to violence. The frenzy of our activity destroys our inner capacity for peace and the fruitfulness of our work.” ~ Thomas Merton (1915-1968), American writer and theologian

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I always find these conferences to be very valuable. It's wonderful to come together from all parts of the world and worship our God together in song. The various messages are encouraging and simultaneously quite challenging. These gatherings are a wonderful time to reflect on God's calling on our lives and to re-commit to obey and follow it in whatever capacity God has gifted us.

“Some wish to live within the sound of church and chapel bell.
I want to run a rescue shop within a yard of hell!”
~ C.T. Studd (1860-1931)
missionary in China, India, and various parts of Africa

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