In short: great teaching, great surprises. A brother was apointed evangelist (and wasn't told in advance), and I stopped counting the number of baptisms that happened. A missionary team was presented too. It was so great.
There were a few preaches, and I attended two lessons. The first was about full-time ministry, and the other was about building efficient Bible talks.
I also had lots of fun
A brother is very kind and took me in. Its at the outskirts of town, but its a comfy bed!
But let us go chronological
Thursday, 10PM, we leave for the bus station. Take the bus of 11:30. The border crossing goes smoothly. We arrive in Burlington 2:15ish, I don't remember.
We then proceed to walk 4 miles east towards the airport. We take a stop at at gas station to get some breverages, then to fetch bagels. We arrive at the airport past 3 AM. We sleep a bit, and at 4:30, its time to check in our luggage. The departure is at 5:30. The airplane was tiny, and one of the travellers (a tall fellow) did have to stretch his neck to fit in :(
We arrive at Cincinnati, and have one hour before the next flight, so take some time to have a "good" breakfast, even though its all fast-foodish places. We take our 9:10 flight to Portland and arrive about 11:00ish local time (14:00 EST). We take the MAX (light rail) and arrive easily at the convention center. We meet the sisters welcoming us and, since there was nothing better to do, we help moving books for the book table, then cutting name tags.
We then head out to a popular mexican restaurant called Chipotle. The burrito I ordered was actually HEAVY. Not jut for the stomach, but for the arms as well. Must've been a few pounds... not as light as I'm used to for my food!
We then go for a Syracuse-Montreal meeting and spend time with the people of the church there. Toronto and Ottawa meet us.
In the evening, the jubilee began. We had a funny video of Kip and Helena McKean evangelizing the moon, and on the first mission to spread the Gospel to Mars. We had a good laugh. Kip's preaching afterwards on the problems the church went through in the last few years left us with a sense of solving. It was behind us, there has been repentance, let us move forward again.
A brother took me in to sleep at his place, and thus we went to his home, and I was straight to bed.
Saturday morning did not leave us much room to build frienship, because we did not wake up much in advance, really. So we got at the conference center quick.
We had an introduction of the new website for the churches: upsidedown21. We also had a report from HOPE. Afterwards, we had a preach titled "Love Your Enemy", which talked a lot about forgiveness.
Then, I attended a presentation "Is the full-time ministry for me?", which left me with more resolution, but also more questions to ask myself, and more prayers. Basically, if this is not really for you, don't force yourself to keep doing it, because you can end up burnt out and bitter... woah!
My initial course of action remains: I do my Master first. That leaves me 2 years to figure it out. In general, however, I am making it my dream and asking God to make it happen if that is His will for me, or to make it plain clear if it is not. I am in no hurry to have an answer anyway ;)
Another lesson was about Bible Talks. I left with a few good ideas, and a conviction that I was not leading mine in a spiritual way at all. This was THE big thing for me in this conference.
I hung out with some Campus folks during lunch time, and spent time with some sisters during the afternoon break. We were supposed to go to the falls, but that didn't happen. We had a good time though.
During the evening, we had one more preach ("Faith But No Deeds"... you can guess the content!), followed by the band. They had real good music, and it was lots of fun for everyone.
On Sunday, we had the service early. We had a "missions report", which should be titled "news from the congregations present here". The preaching was about the relationship with God, with different aspects to it, and a major challenge to be living it as a husband-wife (in LOVE!) relationship.
After exchanging a few emails, I went on a group date with folks from the Eugene church and ate at a mexican restaurant. I had a good time, and the folks with us were great.
In the afternoon, we had a double date with some Campus sisters and they brought us to the Rose Garden and the waterfront (the big park next to the river). The Rose Garden is very pretty. They do weddings there every now and then, and its no wonder why! I don't love flowers as badly as my mom does, but I do appreciate their beauty, especially as a "photographer". I do love the sense of peace that nature gives me.
So, that's a quick summary of the conference for me. The fellowship was lots of fun, and the spiritual example was stimulating!