Sunday, August 29, 2004

Outlaw Girl

Brian might remember her. She was a big help to me in the early days when I was booted out, copying and e-mailing me the threads about me, posting my farewell message for me, and generally acting as my go between.
Hadn't heard from her in ages, but got an e-mail from her today (a mass mailing to, evidetally, her whole address book). Evidentally, her sister, her sister's son, and two small children were burned to death in a house fire on August 20. Details were scarce, so I know little more.

She put up a Web site with some pictures of them, and said the fire was preventable and won't rest until the negligent landlord pays for his inaction that allowed the fire and deaths of these people.

Anyway, I'm sure she could use prayers.
Well, I finished printing out everything last night. It ate a lot of ink, but I still have some. Now every document I have on the EW situation is sitting on the altar, in one of two folders (I split them between Brian's situation and mine), covered by the cross. I tried to read as little as possible, to avoid stirring up the hurt feelings.

I feel so peaceful. I had to sing as I laid in bed last night, just praising God. The goddess tried very hard to get me back, but I am His and His alone.

Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;...

--Ephesians 6:13-14, KJV

Free at Last, Free at Last, Thank God Almighty, I'm Free at Last!

Yesterday at church I was actually smiling. I was happy, for no real reason at all. Even in Sabbath School when we studied Titus 2 and 3 which touches on the issue of church discipline, and we discussed that for the whole time. I smiled through that all. It can't touch me now. Those who have hurt me have showed their true colors, and my church has shown theirs.

I feel like I am slowly emerging from a dark tunnel. It started back at Conference. It was only at Conference that I was in a place to listen and respond to God - a totally safe place where my issues don't matter to those around me, hense they won't judge me. Only in that sacred time and space could I truly begin to heal. The worst is over, the storm came and went, and by the grace of God, I still stand. Now the damage from the hurricane must be cleaned up and mended. Conference was the beginning of this process.

It was especially hard to not feel the presense of God when all this started in January. I would lay crying out to Him, wounded to the heart, and I got no response, felt nothing. It was hard to go forward. I felt like I was standing alone in the storm.

It in often only when the rain ceases and the clouds clear and the sun begins to peek out, that you can see that, alone or not, you were supernaturally protected from doing something really stupid, like walking away and chucking the whole Christian faith. He is in control of the storm, and will never let us be tested beyond what we can bear.

Father, praise You. Thank You for bringing me through the dark night of the soul into the light of a new day. The dawn I am witnessing is breathtaking.

Blessed be Your name, when I'm found in the desert place
Though I walk through the wilderness
Blessed be Your name.

Blessed be Your name, on the road marked with suffering
Though there's pain in the offering
Blessed be Your name.

--"Blessed Be Your Name" by Matt and Beth Redman

Thank You, Father, for teaching me this song.

Saturday, August 28, 2004

Messing Up

I was really bad today. I did well for breakfast and lunch - really well. But then I went to Eleanor's house to have dinner with her, and Mom and her hubby. Ellie and I split a bottle of wine (I had 3 glasses), and I ate way too many nuts, and I had one chocolate eclair (25 carbs - could have been worse). Oh well, it's just one meal. Back to the grind tomorrow.

Printers - Gotta Love 'Em

I decided to take Brian's idea. I'm in the midst of printing out everything from my EW file. As I finish each batch, I place them in a folder on my altar and place a palm leaf cross over it. It's in God's hands and not mine.

Friday, August 27, 2004

I did really well today. My home Curves scale is 3-4 pounds less than the one at Blanding, so the weight was down this week, but only because I weighed at my home one. It's not REAL weight loss. And what loss it did show can be attributed to weighing in a different pair of shoes that I think are lighter than the old pair I used.

Mom's in town with her hubby and a family friend. Was went to a pizza restaurant at Jack London Square. They had an entire low carb menu! I got the chicken stuffed with spinach, with sides of broccoli and smashed cauliflower. Quite good and only 12 carbs! :) I told the waitress how happy I was they had a whole low carb menu (in addition to their regular menu of course).

We must have spent an hour walking around San Francisco, in addition to my regular workout, so lots of exercise today.

Now if I could actually lose some weight...

I've Been Reading

Been reading the book Forgive and Love Again: Healing Wounded Relationships by John Nieder and Thomas M. Thompson. I picked it up at the Pittsburgh airport when flying home from West Virginia. It's actually a really good book. (I personally recommend it.)

Anyway, there's some passages that really leapt out at me.

"Those of us who give our lives to the ministry of God's Word soon discover that we either learn to forgive or lose our spiritual sanity. The ministry is rewarding but also very painful. One of the biggest problems is a lack of loyalty. I have been knifed in the back more times that I care to remember" (pg. 83).

They later write about Corrie Ten Boom and quote something she wrote. Corrie recounts talking with a friend about some other friends who hurt her many years before:

"It is nothing," I said a little smugly. "It is all forgiven."

"(W)hat about them? have they accepted your forgiveness?" (the friend asked).

"They say there is nothing to forgive! They deny it ever happened. No matter what they say, though, I can prove they were wrong." I went eagerly to my desk. "See, I have it in black and white! I saved all their letters and I can show you where..."

"Corrie!" My friend slipped his arm through mine and gently closed the drawer. "Aren't you the one whose sins are at the bottom of the sea? Yet are the sins of your friends etched in black and white?"

For an astonishing moment I could not find my voice. "Lord Jesus," I whispered at last, "who takes all my sins away, forgive me for preserving all these years the evidence against others! Give me grace to burn all the blacks and whites as a sweet-smelling sacrifice to your glory"
(pg. 88).

I know both sides of the debacle have preserved much online evidence. Now I wonder if I should keep what I have. I have an e-mail folder of e-mails to and from K. Perhaps I should destroy it. I just know that this passage hit me when I read it. How are my electronic copies any different from Corrie's black and whites?

There's much more. I am underlining something on almost every page.

Brian says I shouldn't destroy anything because I can still be hurt and would have nothing to defend myself with. He has a point. So for now I will hold on to it, but will not use it unless they use what they have against me first. Perhaps in a few years I will not have my movements tracked around the Net and I will be able to destroy everything. He suggested printing the folder out, and placing everything on my altar with a cross over it to remind myself that it's in God's hands. I wonder what K will do with what she has, but God tells me that is not my business. He tells me what He told Peter: "What is that to you? Follow thou Me" (John 21:22).

It still comes down to trust. You'd think after eight years I could trust God with a silly thing like this. Quoting from the book again:

"...we are to forgive and leave judgement to God. When we forgive we do so before God as an act of obedience and an expression of our trust in Him as judge" (pg. 82).

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Forbidden fruit

Well, had my first fruit in ages today - an apple. It was good, but 125 calories, all carbs. :-p Honestly, I think I like having bread better, so when the apples are gone, I'm going to use my extra carbs on bread. That's what I really miss.

Conference Pics

Anyway, here's my Conference pics. Put the finishing touches on yesterday and officially launched it.

2004 Seventh Day Baptist General Conference

Finally, my sister doesn't read here, but I'll say it anyway: Happy birthday, April!

Monday, August 23, 2004

Thank God for My Church

Long weekend. Due to K's e-mail to me last week about how she intends to follow everything I say online even though I asked her not to, Brian felt that I should talk to my pastor. I wasn't planning on it this past Saturday, so I didn't have the e-mail to show him, and he wasn't terribly interested in seeing it after the fact. We talked anyway.

He agreed with Brian on one point. People shouldn't feel broken over other peoples' sin, only their own.

I outlined my fears about messing up and her finding out and contacting him. He suggested that I tell him first if I do, rather than him hearing it from her. Strangely enough, that made me feel better. Not that I would (or wouldn't) tell him, but to know that if I am truly sorry that I won't be judged and tossed out - very comforting.

I realized that since I was booted and Pastor Steve was told every gory detail, I have been afraid that my church would treat me the same as they did. It appears now that I may have been wrong. I need my church solidy on my side through all this because of the temptation of going back to what got me in trouble to begin with.

Pastor said that he prays for me, that this particular thing had slipped, but said he would start praying about it for me again. What did I do to deserve such a supportive church and pastor? [sniff]

Due to my chat with Pastor Steve, I started eating lunch late, and with a memorial service that afternoon, they kicked us off the table so they could get set up, so I had to finish eating in another room with the plate on my lap.

The memorial service started around 2:30 and lasted way too long for my liking. Bea Hibbard was much beloved, and people flew in from as far as Maryland. Her late husband was one of the first pastors of the church. Though I never met her, I felt like I knew a bit about her when the service was over.

Sunday City Church met at Central SDA. I always go when the service is there, so I dragged myself in. They had a guest speaker, and the entire pastoral staff was gone, Pastor Harrell on sabbatical still, and everyone else at a community group training retreat of some sort. The guest people used Psalm 73 and talked about "Crisis and Renewal." Story of my life this year, that sermon was. And my devotional Sunday night (James 3:1-12) challenged me to stop talking (typing) bad things about those that hurt me, moreover, to forgive said people (Eph. 4:32), and to "get rid of all bitterness, rage, and anger" (Eph. 4:31). (Okay, it was Friday's lesson, but I missed it then and it looked good so I read it Sunday.)

Finished all the devotionals I had to write Sunday night. Now just go through to see how it reads and edit a bit, then turn it in by September 1. :) Whammo...$150.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

New shoes!

I bought new running shoes last week. Under $30 at Payless shoes and that was the most expensive pair. They are just Spalding brand. I think I will weigh in them since they are almost as heavy as the shoes I normally weigh in and I am getting tired of dragging two pairs of shoes to the gym every week.

Talking to my pastor, and a confession


Well, I took Brian's advice and talked to my pastor yesterday, outlining some of the things in K's e-mail. He agreed with you on one point, Brian. People shouldn't feel broken over other peoples' sin, only their own.

I told him how I was afraid that I would mess up (like when I was booted), that K would find out, and then she would tell pastor. He suggested that I tell him first if I do, rather than him hearing it from her. Strangely enough, that makes me feel better. Not that I would (or wouldn't) tell him, but to know that if I am truly sorry that I won't be judged. I realized that since they booted me and made sure Pastor Steve knew everything, I have been afraid that my church would treat me the same. It appears now, happily, that I may have been wrong.

I don't know if he heard me in the jumble, but I did say that I had failed once since we had last talked, though I don't think I said when. In truth, it had been just the night before (this past Friday).

Pastor said that he prays for me, but that this particular thing had slipped, but said he would start praying about it for me again.

I've confessed to God and asked for forgiveness, but I still feel guilty. It's doubly bad because I think God tried to stop me. All of a sudden when I started trying to do things I shouldn't, my computer started going REAL slow and acting strange. I know from experience that I have to shut everything down and restart. Which I did. All this took several minutes during which time God was saying, "Don't do it, Victoria. Stop now before you do something you'll regret." But do I listen? Nooooo. I restart the dang thing and proceed on to stuff I shouldn't be involved in. So now I feel dirty for failing when God gave me an open door through the computer trouble to walk away and gave me several minutes of warnings. Why do I consistently fail to listen to Him?

Thursday, August 19, 2004

The Netherlands

I finally got tired on the praise music tapes I have, and pulled out an old Wayne Watson tape. The album is called The Way Home, and the song that struck me is "Growing." I always knew part of the song was about following God even when you can't feel Him in your life, but Tuesday night it hit me that the entire song is about that. I won't print all the lyrics here - copyright issues - but it's a good song.

The song reminded me of an old Touched By An Angel episode called "The Netherlands" where Monica doubts God and walks away. During that time, she has no angelic powers, and has to make a choice when God is nowhere to be seen, but Satan was very loud and visible, and his words were oh so sweet. I thought back to January and the beginning of February this year. I couldn't sense God anywhere, but I could hear HER quite easily, and her words were tempting.

I think all Christians go through times like that. Dry times when, as the "Growing" song says, "There's no comfort in praying, not a moment's pleasure in straying." C.S. Lewis also touches on the subject in his novel The Screwtape Letters.

Now is not one of those times. Any distance from God at the moment is my own fault for not making time for my relationship with Him. Something to work on. But the beginning of this year was one of those times when I couldn't sense God's presence. It was like He wasn't there. The verse that comes to mind is 2 Chronicles 32:31, about God leaving us to test us.

Ok, it's way past bedtime. Nighty!

Saturday, August 14, 2004

Speaking the Truth

Instead of a regular service today, Andre and Sarah gave reports on their summer with SCSC and the things they did and learned about God. Andre is now back. Sarah leaves Friday for college in Oklahoma. Pastor sent out an e-mail earlier this week asking anyone who had been at Conference to also give reports if we wanted. Boy, did I want! We ran out of time, but there was enough for Jane and I to give reports.

I had to scribble a few notes, but I just HAD to talk about forgiveness because that's what God impressed on me at Conference, has impressed on me all year. I talked about Pastor Rod Henry Tuesday night and how he challenged us about there being any parts in our lives where God isn't and to let Him into those areas. I said I went forward at the invitation. I talked about God doing some mysterious work in my heart in that moment. The forgiveness at that moment was all God and not something I could ever do. I talked about learning to trust Him, as forgiveness really IS an issue of trusting God to take care of the people involved. I still struggle with the emotions involved, and the flesh that still brings up feelings of bitterness, but that I am trying to focus on God, what He's done in all this, and what He taught me about Himself. Romans 8:28 applies to this situation, too.

I briefly looked at pastor, as he knows the whole story, and he smiled and nodded once. My voice cracked a couple times as I talked - it is a very emotional issue, whether sadness at what was done to me, or joy at how God responded to the situation. When that happened I had to get my voice under control. Conference is joyful; it would not be right to cry while talking about what happened while I was there.

Pastor Steve is the only person who knows the whole story and showed me Christ's grace and mercy. Being able to see Christ through him helped me to hold on to my faith in the situation. When I could not feel God's presence, and all evidence pointed against Him and back to the goddess, God made sure one person would give me what I needed to hold on.


Pastor Steve was the only person willing to accept my apology, to believe my apology. I could also safely express to him how I was doubting my faith and thinking about going back. I expressed that both in person and by e-mail. I still have his e-mailed response.

It has been a very hard year, but God has been working behind the scenes, undoing what He can, bringing good out of what He can't. I nearly went back to HER, but in the end He came to my defense, and my faith is now stronger. This is the biggest good brought out of the evil done.

A struggle still remains. I once prayed about leaving the C&C Listserve so I don't go crazy and stay bitter, but I had a strong "no" feeling. I believe God wants me there, still wants me in ministry to Pagans. The feelings...they will just have to be dealt with. He sure doesn't pick the easy lessons.

After months of suffering, of my praise being all but extinguished, it is starting to well back up, like waking from sleep to a world still evil, but a God who is Lord over all. And so I praise Him, and hope that perhaps someday in heaven, I can be reconsiled to those who have hurt me. Perhaps there, nothing that transpired will matter anymore. But in this world, the less contact the better. Forgiveness does not mean letting the abuser(s) back into your life.

I'll quote again a portion of my favorite song from Conference, a song that taught me that it's possible to praise Him no matter how bad the pain.

"Blessed be Your name, when I'm found in the desert place Though I walk through the wilderness Blessed be Your name.
"Blessed be Your name, on the road marked with suffering Though there's pain in the offering Blessed be Your name."

--"Blessed Be Your Name" by Matt and Beth Redman

Indeed, Lord, blessed be Your name.

Friday, August 13, 2004

Six months in...

Ok, today I realized I am six months into this weight loss/get healthy thing at Curves, and 4 1/2 months into Atkins. I've lost 6.2% body fat, so that's about 1% per month. My final goal is to lose 10% body fat. Total weight loss is 32.5 pounds. Wow! To think of how much that weighs and that I'm not carrying it around anymore! I've lost 19.75 inches - so almost 20. According to Curves I've lost 24 inches, so I need to recheck my math.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Weighty Matters

On the weight loss front, I did gain a bit. When I weighed myself Monday at Curves I had lost 0.3 pounds, but I had my period at Conference, so I should have lost more. So I gained fat and lost some water. I'm getting serious about Atkins again now that I'm home, keeping carbs to under 40g a day. I am also at a point in the program where calories count, so I am having to watch that if I want to start losing again. My menu for the week is posted here.

More on Conference

To finish up with what happened at Conference:
Thursday morning was the men's chorus. Oscar was in it and just collapsed partway through. A couple doctors ran to help him. It turned out to not be serious, thankfully. He had a cold or something and thought he could make it through, but couldn't. He rested for a while before joining back in.

I did get to help out with communion. I helped break the bread up into little pieces. I also got to help clean up. I enjoyed both. :)

Communion went well. The guy in charge nabbed me on my way into the chapel and asked me to guard the extra juice and bread on the back pew. So I sat on the very back pew and got Dave (who has visited my church once) to sit with me. The guy in charge asked me to sit by the elements so that no one trying to sit in the pew would accidentally hit it with a bag or something and knock it over. During communion I nearly cried thinking about all God has done in my life this past year.

Saturday morning was Sabbath School. I went to one on the Conference theme, Seeking God With All Your Heart. It was taught by Joanna Kandel. I was going to be in Cheri Appel's class, but when I saw the sheet of questions she handed out I got spooked and left.

Following that was Sabbath morning worship, far too serious and staid for my liking. In the afternoon was the children's program, followed by the Lost Creek church's presentation. The Lost Creek presentation was interesting. They did it in the form of a skit of a church business meeting. I was really surprized at the kinds of things that would get one disfellowshipped back then. Breaking the Sabbath and being drunk are things that would hardly make anyone bat an eyelash today! How times have changed!

Sunday, August 08, 2004

Conference Updates

These updates are arranged backward chronilogically and were written during my vacation in West Virginia at the Seventh Day Baptist General Conference. Pictures from Conference will be posted as soon as I can get them up. [Note: There is no time/date stamp on this post, so I'll just guess.]

Sabbath, August 7, 2004

I want to weep with gratitude at all God has done for me this year. He can work in power at any time, of course, but it seems His power is more clearly shown in the valleys.

(time unknown)

Friday, August 6, 2004

More on the situation with Witchita Falls, TX. Basically they were admitted to the Conference 23 years ago, even though they held aberant beliefs that did not agree with our Statement of Belief (such as the Trinity). For some reason, it is just now being dealt with, and I personally think the credit goes to the situation two years ago in Alfred, NY. It seems to have woke the denomination up to problem churches needing correction. At least the Alfred situation ended better, with that church remaining a part of the Conference after the then pastor resigned and his wife was baptised and took over.

(While I don't believe women should be pastors, it was probably the right decision in this case as, IMHO, her husband was not in a place where he should be pastor. Perhaps when he left his old church [he was still a Mormon!] and figured out what he believed, but he was a man in transition who never should have been made pastor to begin with.)

Let's see, back to Witchita Falls. They held some aberant, Unitarian views on the Trinity. The pastor was setting dates for Christ's return, and they published literature on these and other topics using the SDB name. My understanding is that those in the church who did not believe this theology had already left, leaving only the pastor and those who believed the aberant theology behind. So as of yesterday they are now an independant church and no longer part of the General Conference.

One thing that happened yesterday that I forgot - a recommendation was brought to the floor about SDBs as a whole affirming the traditional view of marriage as between one man and one woman. No one stepped forward to make any comments (the woman reading the report with the recommendation seemed genuinely thankful), but when it came to a vote there were one or two "no" votes - far short of enough, and so it easily passed. It's good to know that SDBs, on average, still hold to the traditional views.

This year the communion service will be tonight (Conference Presidents have a choice of holding it Friday night or Saturday morning.) I may get to help set up and/or clean up, but only deacons can serve and I ain't one. (File that under "stupid chuch rules.")

Last night at worship instead of the Lord's Prayer we sang the Doxology. I like any litergy, so I'll take what I can get.

There is a song we have sung a couple times, and I have found it deeply meaningful. It is "Blessed Be Your Name" by Matt and Beth Redman. I won't type the whole thing, just the pertinant parts. I will note that the song switches between scenes of joy and peace and scenes of pain and sadness.

"Blessed be Your name, when I'm found in the desert place
Though I walk through the wilderness
Blessed be Your name.

Blessed be Your name, on the road marked with suffering
Though there's pain in the offering
Blessed be Your name.

You give and take away.
You give and take away.
My heart will choose to say
Blessed be Your name."

I have suffered much this past year, but the praise is beginning to bubble back up. Instead of focussing on the wrong done to me, I am choosing to focus on what God did to rescue me from the brink of going back to HER. Because of God and the gentle way my pastor treated me, I am still a Christian today. This is why I use the names "Charis" and "Eleos" on the C&C list. I can now honestly praise Him and say, "On the road marked with suffering, when there's pain in the offering, blessed be Your name." And it is this song, more than any other this week, that touched me, causing me to praise, my arms upraised to heaven.

Thank You, God, for all You have done to me and for me this year. I am just a child, to stupid to realize in the midst of pain that You always inflict pain for a reason, and never test us beyond what we can bear. Thank You for being faithful, and using this bad situation to show me my former gods' utter powerlessness.

And thank You for this respite, this haven in time and place where I can be with other believers and focus on You.


When I lost my pedometer, someone found it and turned it in. I never have to worry about my bookbag being gone when I get up at meals to get seconds. And as I relaxed and read a book last night, winding down for bed, strains of "I Exalt Thee" floated in through the open window from somewhere down near the cafeteria. Yes, these are good people I am with, true believers in the Lord. Thank God that His people still exist, and thank God for this yearly reminder that my tiny church is not the only SDB church in the world, that I am part of a larger whole.


Thursday, August 5, 2004

Ok, the rest of Tuesday.

Evening worship was good. The speaker used the text on the parable of the talents and how if we do not use our talents for the Kingdom of God, we are like the third servant and not fit for the kingdom.

The nurse told me to stay off my injured ankle and ice it, so I am not excercising.

After breakfast, Dr. William Brackney, Professor at Baylor University spoke about "Seventh Day Baptists in a Baptist Context."

Then the Council on Ministry gave it's report, followed by the program of the Tract and Communications Council. This is usually funny, but since I volunteered to be part of the skit and was therefore (with a bunch of other people) seated behind the actors, I could not hear anything. I got a copy of the script afterwords so I could at least read what I missed. The TCC almost always presents its report in the form of a humerous skit.

Then lunch and the one Reference and Counsel committee I was able to attend. (Therefore, my name appears on no committee list since you must attend two sessions and this was the last session for them.) Since we let out early, I went back to my room and took a nap.

Then we had dinner followed by evening worship. The Scripture text was Luke 14:25-33, about taking up our cross and following Jesus.

I got to thinking in my room last night, and wanted to share my thoughts:

We have said the Lord's Prayer at every evening service this week. I like this because I like litergy. We say "Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors." I always wonder: Can I, have I, forgiven those at EW who have hurt me the most? Dare I believe I have made progress in this sanctuary, this quiet, holy place separated from the world with its cares?

See, I went forward at the Monday evening service. Rod Henry did an altar call, asking if there was any areas in our lives that needed "God's Kingdom to come, His will to be done." And I need His kingdom to come in my forgiveness (or rather lack thereof). Dare I believe something changed in that moment?

I know the true test will come when I go back to the real world. Can I forgive, using Stan Toler's definition, "The true cost of forgiveness lies in being willing to live with the consequences of someone else's sin"?

I know there is much unforgiveness in other areas of my life - my father, and the men who molested and sexually assaulted me are some examples - but God calls me to work on this single issue of EW for now. If I can solve this, I will have laid the groundwork for all the others.

Okay, that brings us up to today.

After breakfast was the SCSC program. We sang some choruses, and they read Scriptures by "team," and presented a skit, with Andre (from my church) in the center. It was about sin and how those who are hurt can turn to Jesus. Andre was the Jesus figure. They did it totally without words, just a recorded song in the background, and I thought they did a good job of getting the point across. They had obviously put some work into it.

After that Pastor George Calhoun did the Bible study, talking about a pastor's role, and also how the congregation should support the pastor. I filled two notebook pages (about half or a little more the size of a regular piece of paper) with notes.

Then we had business, and this is where it could have gotten interesting, as the Reference and Counsel report was given, and the situation with the Witchita Falls, TX church came up. A motion was made which I seconded, but it was lunch so we broke for lunch and came back at 1, whereupon we backed up a bit and dealt with another issue first: that of making Vision Christian Fellowship a member church of the Conference. This was happily passed with much clapping.

Then came the issue of the Witchita Falls Church, which I seconded again, and some discussion ensued - not about the rightness or wrongness of the action, but concerns about what the deacons and church members believed, how reconcilliation had been tried, with a delegation traveling all the way to Texas, and so on. With these issues addressed there was not one single "no" vote. And just like that, they were no longer a member church of Conference. Sad, but necessary.

The worst part is that 23 years ago when this church became a member of Conference, they held these same views. They were made a member holding the same heretical views that today made them not a member anymore. It is clear that they should not have been given membership, but now all we could do is undo that mistake of the past. Again, I credit the situation two years ago in Alfred with waking people up to the problems in Witchita Falls.

After this was the Thursday seminar time, but I skipped it to come to the library and catch up online. :)

So, all in all I learned a lot about the SDB denomination this week, how things work in committees and on the floor and the role of delegates and such. Most I knew before, but this is my third year participating and it helped to really solidify it in my mind.

Fun week, other than my ankle injury. On that front, at least I am not limping anymore.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.


Tuesday, August 3, 2004

Hey peeps! Just popping in to say hi from West Virginia! Conference is great. Travelled all day Sunday - San Francisco to Altlanta to Pittsbugh, then a three hour drive in a cramped car - imagine 5 people AND their luggage in a midsize car - and we arrived at the Conference site about 3 a.m. Monday morning. Needless to say, I had to take a nap Monday afternoon because by the time I got to sleep, I slept 2-3 hours max. But the nap did make me feel much more awake so I could actually enjoy the evening worship.

So let's see.

After only about 2 hours sleep on Sunday night, I got up and had breakfast. Then we had morning Bible study. Paul Manuel talked about the paprable of the soils, the developing seed, and the mustard seed.

Then there was Conference business in the chapel (that's the meeting place for all business that includes everybody from every church.

After lunch I went to the General Conference orientation, where they talked about what Conference is and how it works. They've never done anything like this before and I only wish they'd had it two years ago - everything I have learned has been teh had way through asking questions and observing sctuff around me. Having a little class that capsulizes it really helped, and I did learn some stuff I didn't know.

After that I tried to go to the Reference and Council committee meeting, but my lack of sleep caught up with me and I couldn't concentrate to save my life. I went back to my dorm room and took a little nap, setting my watch alarm to wake me for dinner.

After dinner was evening worship. Pastor Rod Henry talked about "God's Kingdom Within You." I had always wondered what to make of that verse, and I thought he did a good job of explaining one perspective. He did an altar call, asking us where in our lives we needed to let His kingdom into. "Thy kingdom come in ____ area of my life, so that Thy will be done in my life." I am lacking seriously on the forgiveness front, the big lesson God seems to have for me this year, so I went forward and prayed about that (and missed the closing hymn). When I looked up, there were many other people up front, kneeling all around me.

Rod Henry is cool. His style reminds me of fire and brimstone preachers, but his message is challenging and not condemning.

Afterwards, as I talked with Pastor Ray and walked with him back toward his dorm, I saw lights coming up from the grass. I didn't know what it was, and it was so normal to him that he didn't know why I was asking what they were. They were fireflies I learned. I have NEVER seen fireflies before. I think they are one of God's better creations. So beautiful. :)

Today I was up at 7 for breakfast, then morning Bible study. Pastor Steve James preached about being prepared, using the paparble of the 10 virgins as his text.

Then the Missionary Society presented their report and talked about the various things they are doing. I skipped the business meeting after that in order to get a shower. Then we had lunch, and then I skipped committee meetings and part of a seminar to come to the library on campus and find a computer to do this update. :) I'll continue with updates as time and computer access allows.

Oh, leaving the chapel to head to my dorm for the shower, I missed seeing a step and twisted my ankle a bit. It hurts a little, but it's not seriously injured and I can walk on it okay. I need to be careful though. This is the same ankle I seriously sprained in the spring of 1996, so it is not as strong as my other ankle.

Okay, bye for now. Conference is great and the humidity isn't too bad.