75th Annual Missions Conference , Part I

How can we begin to tell you about the week of Missionary Conference at Aldan Union Church?  I’ll start by saying, in a word, my feeling at the final moment of the conference was “inspiring”. 

Our week began BEFORE the kickoff breakfast because we were already here!  So I had the opportunity to share with the Explorer Girls and Wes and I both shared with the Middle School youth in the week leading up to the conference.  On Saturday we stood by our display for 3 or 4 hours as we greeted people who had come for breakfast.

The Sunday service was beautiful.  The theme of the conference was “A Past to Remember; A Future to Pursue”.  It began with a processional of flags from the nations Aldan Union has sent missionaries.  It was a visual testimony of the Word of God going out to the nations.  The flags were placed in their stands for the week.  Pastor Paul welcomed us all to the conference and asked the missionaries to stand.  It was humbling when he asked the kids to look at these missionaries as ones to look up to.  He made a point of saying that we are not perfect, but that we are examples to follow.  We were uncomfortable with that, but accepted the words as encouragement to set a good example.  Of the 6 or 8 missionaries who shared testimonies of their call to missions that morning, 5 or 6 were raised at AUC!  I was amazed.  I knew many of their faces from my years attending the conference as a child, but I never realized how many grew up at the church.  I shared my story, and our family shared a song about following the Lord with all our hearts in English and Spanish.  Our annual Missionary Conference played a big part in my call to missions as a child.  My father, his wife Marlene and my aunt, Peggy, all joined us for the service.  We had a wonderful time connecting with people from the past who came for the service. 

We spent some time with the AWANA kids Sunday evening, introducing them to things a missionary does by wearing hats that represent the tasks different missionaries might do.  We were encouraged the following Sunday by the number of kids who remembered in detail what each hat represented!  On Monday we shared with girls from 4 years old to 12th grade at Explorer Girls.  They have chosen us as their missionary representatives for the year and are raising money to buy archery equipment for camp.  We had shared with them about archery before, but this week we talked about the other things we do as well.  On Tuesday we traveled to Lancaster to meet with AUC members who retired out that way.  We had a few hours of informal sharing as well as a few minutes to share formally with the group about what we are doing in Honduras.  We heard stories of when I was a child – and even before I was born!  We heard from missionaries who were among those that inspired me as a child.  Amazingly, we were among them!  Wednesday was a women’s coffee hour in the morning, where I learned about the plight of Muslim women in certain parts of the world.  I was also privileged to spend time with my sister’s childhood friends, who came back for the event.  In the evening we had dinner as a church, spending some time sharing informally with a family we’ve enjoyed getting to know (yeah – the little boy I took care of in the church nursery is now father of 2!).  Then we shared about our ministry with the adults and teens of the church.

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