Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Beachstock Report

So, with 4 other disciples, we left on Thursday for Beachstock IV, a christian conference organized by the Hampton Roads Church of Christ.

So, on Thursday, I leave work at 12, meet a friend that I lost touch with, then did some final shopping. In the evening, we got the car from the rental company.
We had to worry about a few logistics issues and we left around 10 or so.
By Friday morning, it was my turn to drive, which I did for a little while. We ate our breakfast at a restaurant with a flag as tall as the building holding it. We arrived at First Landing State Park in the afternoon, after ~16hours of driving.
Interesting facts: have lots of spare cash for the tolls (soooooooooooooooooooooooo expensive). One of the tolling areas is a tunnel/bridge that is a nice feat of engineering. It crosses the bay in full, but two parts are tunnels, so that ships can go through. The drive is nice, as we had the full sun and the ocean wind/smell. We had strong rain at that point.
We set the tents, registered for the conference, then did our grocery shopping. We cooked ourselves a few burgers and then joined a song worship event. I was in and out of the group. As always, I'm not always comfortable in group worship (especially with songs that I don't know well), so I took turns worshipping on my own. The rain had stopped, but I could see the lightning at a distances, which I felt was God's fireworks for me.
We went back to our tents, and the sleep was quick to come. I was a bit cramped, because I wanted to avoid touching the tent, as it was raining back.
On Saturday, I woke up early and joined a prayer on the beach group. It was followed by the baptism of our new brother. That did start my day well. Then we had breakfast in our little group and arrived a little bit late for our classes. Men and women were split, and we guys had two messages. We were roasting in the outdoors auditorium under the harsh sun. Essentially, we are called to stop sitting on the fence, and to have real relationships (with God, in discipling, in the fellowship)...
We had lunch and I got a shot at the "Fast Fellowship" event, a variant of speed dating. It met some nice sisters, but 4 minutes is really tooooooooooooooooooooooo short for me. Not sure I'd do it again. Afterwards, I attended the Talent Show. One of the brothers of Montreal did his French rap that got the crowd going!
We had another message afterwards and I was smart enough to stay in the shade this time :) I can't say that I remember anything from the message, but I'll re-check my notes this week.
In the evening, we changed and went to the Luau party. I had a short date with a sister who committed to go see a movie later. It was nice breaking of the ice, and I'll be writing her. Afterwards, I hung out with a sister I met at the speed dating and she was telling me about her dream of evangelizing her native region in Albania, which was very inspiring to me (as a sidenote, I met many sisters who are dreaming to be missionary... I'm not the only one on this planet who is!).
On Sunday, I woke everybody up and rushed to prepare the breakfast for everyone else. We obviously arrived late for the message. This one, however, I remember better. We were challenged to take a year off our lives to offer ourselves to serve in whatever way God was choosing. The brother was from India and told us about the examples of many christians in India with the trials, the difficult choices and persecutions they face.
I then went to the beach, and I saw a brother and sister be baptized in Christ. I love seeing a baptism, because of two things 1) reminds me mine and 2) reminds me that they can happen (sometimes I loose sight of that after months of seeing no impact in my evangelism).
Afterwards, I had a quick lunch and then, at 2 PM, I joined a 5 km race group. I finished the race in 28 minutes! I was pretty happy about my performance, as I was hoping to do it within 30 minutes.
Then, I went to have a swim in the Atlantic ocean, took a shower, and attended the last of the Talent Show. We had some outstanding rap and dance that I remember the most. They also randomly picked contestants to do some crazy stuff, one of them having to do a peanut butter/jellybean sandwich with his feet! The whole thing was very funny for us in the crowd.
Once this was done, we packed the camp (that was a change in schedule) and deal with a few issues that emerged in our group. Everybody was tired, which didn't help. Once we more or less forgave each other we went to then end of the dance (about 30 minutes... they were ending too early). A sister lent me her glowsticks and I did my thing :D Mental note: buy glowsticks next time. My knees were seriously hurting after all that, suffice to say.
And then, I was time to go back to Canada.

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