Last month leaders gathered…. Sherrry Surratt, CEO MOPS International inspired us…. Here is one leader’s reflection on conference.
My father used to tell stories about explaining our hometown of Dubbo’s whereabouts to colleagues in Sydney.
“Dubbo… that’s over the mountains, isn’t it? West of here?”
We’re in the Central west, approximately five hours drive from Sydney. (Eight if you have a baby…) We have cold dry winters, and hot dry summers. There are many big communities; you just have to travel to get to them. One of the few drawbacks here is the distance from major cities.
Our church started a MOPS group in April 2008. We’re into our seventh year now, and have spent the last six months navigating challenges, and rebuilding the team and vision of the group. I’ll be honest; at times it’s been a hard slog! Our whole team was feeling exhausted and overwhelmed. It was in this state that we decided to make the effort to come to conference.
Conference was a breath of fresh air, and exactly what we needed! It was a privilege to spend three days together with teams from around Australasia. Beautiful surroundings, meals we did not have to cook; and for myself, the fact that my beloved munchkins were with their daddy at home and complaining about bedtime to him!!!! These were just some of the perks of the weekend.
The most incredible part of the conference was that the feeling of isolation has left us. We could see in person the other leaders out there who are engaged in the same work as us- other groups just like us- using the same materials, navigating interesting personalities and trying to reach hearts for Jesus. We heard firsthand stories of your groups, and you gave us ideas that we could try back home. Most importantly we saw that we are a small (and necessary) part of a huge organisation. We have the same mandate the same heart. We gear up for this battle together, and are changing the world, one mum at a time. For that, I thank you so much.
This has been a big year for us, and we are excited about the new theme for next year. It builds so beautifully on A Beautiful Mess, and we can’t wait to begin showing it to our group. Be You Bravely is something we have taken on in ourselves, and also articulates the step we will be taking into our community next year.
It was wonderful to meet many of the leaders in the MOPS organisation, and I thank you so much for taking time to talk to us all. We can put faces to names now, and we know that you are out there, helping to equip us to do the job! The teaching at the conference was incredible, and we have come home to implement much of what we have learned.
The Australasian MOPS Conference was exactly what our team needed. We have new ideas to try, relationships with other leaders whom we connected with around Australia, and it revived us for the road ahead. From the welcome packs (you had me at ‘lip balm’!) to the nightly visits from the gift giving angels; the mocktails and chocolate; the tears and oh so much laughter, we thank you. Belonging to this community is a blessing; and it is an honour to stand alongside you all.
To the greater MOPS community, and to the God who is at the foundation of it all-
You make us Brave. Thank you.