Saturday, March 19, 2011

A Weekend for Encouragment

This weekend I had the opportunity to attend a women's conference at a URC in Hudsonville, MI.   Becky Dibbet and I drove together and sat with some gals from the Free Reformed Church that we both knew. Probably about 150 women attended the conference entitled "Encouragement to Refresh Hearts".  The main speaker was Mary Beth McGreevy with a workshop led by Rev. Bob Van Manen.   I could tell that Mary Beth had been a BSF teaching leader for eight years, as she did a wonderful job working through a passage of Scripture for each of her three sessions.   She and her husband had been good friends with Dr. Boice; she even worked as his personal assistant while her husband was the CEO of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals for a short time.  She and her husband moved from St. Louis to Philadelphia 5 1/2 months before Dr. Boice's cancer diagnosis.  Following Dr. Boice's death only eight weeks later, she and her husband moved back to St. Louis where they currently live.   We were able to glean many Biblical and practical "kernels" not only to apply to our own lives but also to encourage/counsel others.

The music at the conference was also a blessing as it was very worshipful and uplifting.  Before each session the organ and piano played beautiful hymn duets.    Listening to all those women sing hymns was so inspiring.  Mary Beth mentioned it was worth flying in from St. Louis just to hear the women sing.  I think she was right!  The conference was very well organized--you could tell they had been doing this for ten-plus years.   After the session on Friday night they had cake with coffee/water and a time of fellowship.  Saturday morning they offered bagels/cream cheese, muffins, sweet rolls, fresh fruit, coffee and OJ before the sessions; cookies, crackers/cheese, water and coffee in the morning break; and sack lunches of either chicken salad or turkey and cheese on croissant, a bag of chips, a small container of pasta and of potato salad, and choice of coffee, water or soda at noon.  (I know the men reading this blog aren't really that interested in the food served, but I know the women are, so I included that vital information).  A book table was also set up with almost all  of the books from Reformation Heritage Books. 

I heard someone mention that there were fewer women attending this year and they thought it was probably due to the Philadelphia Conference on Reformed Theology in Byron Center (very close to Grand Rapids) also going on this weekend.  Russ and I were also given tickets to this conference, but since I had already committed to the women's conference we gave the tickets to other seminary students.  I am sure the PCRT conference was packed with extremely rich teaching on a topic that is near and dear to me--the doctrine of adoption--but I was also nourished and refreshed where I was placed this weekend.   I am very thankful for a dear husband who understood my need for refreshment this weekend, even though he had much studying and research to do for the next week.  

On another note, we have enjoyed the warmer temperatures this week.   Seeing the first robins made us realize that we are almost through our first Michigan winter.  (Did you know the American robin is Michigan's state bird?)  We took a hike at the Blanford Nature Center on Thursday and enjoyed watching the Canadian geese flying over and in the ponds at the Center.  I think the temps are supposed to be cooler this coming week which is a bummer now that we have gotten a "taste" of spring. One thing that is hard to get used to with the time change is the sunrise at almost 8:00. (7:46 tomorrow!)  This makes it very hard to get our behinds out of bed in the morning--glad with homeschooling we are a little flexible in that area:).  The kids are outside right now enjoying a huge full moon "rising".  It is beautiful!

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