I just got home from Blackpool… And on the drive home I was reflecting on some blessings from the last few days… So as it’s getting late, I’m going to do one of my notorious lists. In no particular order, these are some thoughts 🙂
1) It was inspiring to celebrate the legacy of an inspirational man, who really, truly lived out his faith. 10 years ago I was first introduced to the Rank Foundation because they funded my first youth position at an a amazing church, paid for my degree with a wonderful university and just generally believed in me, supported me and loved me. But I didn’t know that much about J. Arthur Rank, other than the fact he had made films back in the day, owned Odeon cinemas and Hovis bread back in the 1900’s and generally was a bit of a legacy. I was really super inspired these last few days to hear more about his faith, his passion for seeing people reached by the good news of Jesus, and his complete generosity. God was talked about a lot at this conference, just because through remembering this man, He couldn’t not be… That’s a truly great legacy. It’s been a wonderful journey to stay involved with the foundation as I have moved on with life and career and opportunity.
2) I was seriously encouraged by great conversations and catch ups with old friends. Whether I was sharing testimony over lunch, or talking about language learning, or reminiscing about old times, or filling people in on Japan, or hearing stories from others… The quality of conversation was wonderful. There were many front led talks, seminars and slightly off-the-wall parts of this celebration, but truthfully, my favourite moments were the in-between laugh-out-loud, know-I-was-loved, fully-edifying talk. I cannot feel anything but blessed when I think about the inspirational and truly wonderful people I have in my life. And my late-night conversation talking about language-learning and missional living with my beautiful friend Adele was one I will keep with me.
3) Which leads me onto number 3… Being directly affirmed by people I love and respect. There’s something heart-touching and confidence-building in hearing words like, ‘I’m proud of you’, ‘I believe in you’, and ‘Thank you for doing such-and-such to inspire me’… And I was blessed to receive those words, and motivated to give them in return. So often we think things like that and don’t say anything… I am grateful to have people in my life that do, and do so genuinely and often. Over breakfast I was saying my goodbyes to an old mentor and he just grabbed my hand and said, ‘I know life has been hard sometimes, but I just want to say I completely believe in you and where you’re going. I know there are so many good things ahead of you.’ I needed that. I recieve that. And I praise God for people like him, and for the words and hugs and love that are always needed.
4) It’s always nice when the seminar you’re involved in goes well! 😉 And I must say, that the grid exercise you would have seen pictures of yesterday went down a storm. Drawing the whole grid-thing in masking tape on the floor proved that I’m not the only one who lacks giftings in spacial awareness (haha), and seeing Jeff go power-mad with a toy green whistle was definitely a photographical moment not to be missed! But seriously, I love the guys I get to work with on these things, and I am going to miss them a lot when I’m living on the other side of the globe.
5) And finally, finally, finally… Because I’m ready to go to bed now… Eating so much food that I know it’s going to take me a good week to regulate my digestion, exercise and eating habits again still feels like a blessing! It only happens at Rank conferences. I always say, every time, that I won’t eat all three courses at every meal… And every time… I show myself to have no self control. But hey, it was good, and although I feel considerably more bloated than I did three days ago, I don’t regret it… 😉 Yet.
Ok. So that’s me. Signing out. Thank You Jesus for the many blessings, and the time to remember them.