I’m writing this at the end of a wonderful and successful State Conference here in South Australia. It was a privilege to work alongside Trish Montgomery and her helpers to facilitate this event for the past day and a half.
Our celebration dinner was catered for by a local caterer called Texas Bull Machine. I personally was looking forward to a mechanical bull ride for the first time, and indeed I believe Regional Coordinator Toni-Rae Burford was too. However it was not to be; turns out it is merely their business name and the horse radish was the only thing with a kick to it (and boyyy did it ever!).
Cardboard testimonies were a powerful, personal and beautiful message of hope, causing us to wonder at God’s kindness. A short clip from Thankyou (the people that brought us Thankyou Water and most recently Thankyou Baby) was powerful and spurred us on to showing kindness to those in need.
At one point Erma Mayes had us all wearing yellow cleaning gloves which had been trimmed with fur and diamantes. Those were our gloves of kindness – because sometimes caring for others means getting your hands dirty.
Friday night was also special because two of our SA MOPS people were recognised and honoured for their exceptional contributions to MOPS. Naomi Mathiesen was awarded the Hand of MOPS award for her work for MOPS here in South Australia. Clinton Wardle was awarded the Heart of MOPS award for his work nationally – on the MOPS Board for six years and as a pastor-advocate for MOPS for the past 13 years.
On our return to Conference on the Saturday and were greeted by the aroma of percolated coffee and treated to a warm, authentic, worship session which totally set the scene for the rest of the day.
Encouraging stories were shared at open mic time. Lexia Smallwood brought the News from MOPS Australia and the keynote address where she continued to unpack the Starry Eyed theme and the significance of Wonder, Hope and Kindness.
Naomi Mathiesen then followed with a session on Coffee Shop Conversations – an encouraging look at evangelism that isn’t off-putting.
Something that many conference delegates also enjoyed was the DVD from Louie Giglio, speaking on the Anchor of Hope. I recommend this DVD to you; it really hit a spot with many of us. It was also around that time that many of us realised we could do with some tissues 😀
Elective time saw the delegates breaking into groups to focus on their specific roles and encourage others in those roles. Positive feedback was received about the electives, the Louie Giglio message (and the food :D).
MOPS Conference never quite feels like long enough. Nevertheless I hope we can all take the ideas, and enthusiasm we garnered over the day and a half and use it to propel us on to finishing well this year and starting strong in 2017.