Well...after the busyness of the proposal week, the enjoyment of hosting Bethany's family, and packing to leave for the conference...I've returned home and finally found my way back to the computer! What exciting and busy days we've had!
Last weekend we were blessed to be able to attend the annual National Center for Family Integrated Churches Power of the Gospel Conference held in Asheville, North Carolina, at the Ridgecrest Conference Center: As we arrived at the conference center and checked in at the Registration desk, we connected with several other families arriving, and as always, enjoyed talking with them. Here's the smiling Halbach family with Sarah: Hannah talking to the Halbach girls:And here are members of our family (Tom, Bethany, Jonathan, and Sarah) talking with Mr. Halbach: Granny rode with us down to Asheville, and here she is on the beautiful conference center grounds as she waits for my sister to arrive to enjoy a quick weekend at her house in nearby SC while we're attending the conference: After checking in, we sat outside the main lobby and people watched...and talked to whomever strolled by. Here we are with our friends, the Servens:And then the Hills family from Canada, whom we'd met this summer when we visited Bethany's family, stopped by to chat: During the weekend, we attended the conference break-out sessions, listened to the keynote speakers, and enjoyed the hymn singing. Over on the NCFIC blog, there are lots of live-blogging posts about the speakers and pictures taken during the conference.
Here's a view of the 1,500 attendees (some from as far away as Columbia, Australia, New Zealand, Africa, Canada and Bolivia) listening to one of the keynote addresses: The music this year was especially good! I very much enjoyed hearing the words and music to What God Ordains is Always Good. Here's a view of the front of the auditorium as we sang: The meal times were especially rich with fellowship. We ate lunch with a family from Indiana who visited our church here in Virginia earlier this year, and we enjoyed catching up with them (so fun!).
Here we are visiting with several folks around a meal table: Jonathan and Bethany ate at another table with Caleb, his family, and his in-laws: A meal enjoyed with the Hartel family...here's part of our table with all the kids conversing together: And here's sweet Victoria (a faithful blog reader and commenter) with her husband Greg: Jonathan and Bethany are headed down the hall to the dining room for a meal with their ever-faithful chaperone, Libby, enjoying her responsibility and doing a great job: And I had some fun holding a baby--not something I get to do very often!: While Jonathan held her sister, Victoria...his future niece: The fall leaves made great backgrounds for photos. Here I am with Hannah outside the conference center: And here are Hannah and Sarah between sessions: Before we knew it, the weekend was over, and it was time to say goodbye to Bethany and her family. Here they are huddled on a chilly afternoon after Asheville received a smattering of snow during the weekend: We're hoping they can make the trip down from Canada to visit us again after Christmas. After all, there's a wedding to be planned!