It was another top notch lectureship on the amazing campus of Pepperdine University! The classes and keynotes (in particular Don McLaughlin and Jerry Taylor- they are awesomely gifted) I attended were relevant, challenging and informative. The worship each night led by Ken Young and Hallal was simply powerful- at times moving me to tears and at other times lifting me up in joy-filled praise. Hats off once again to Jerry Rushford and his crew for hosting this breath-of-fresh-Pacific-ocean-air and Spirit-filled event!
For Terri and me the experience was somewhat bittersweet. After doing a such a marvelous job in our class- despite her doubts and anxiety- Terri received a phone call on Wednesday night from her dad informing her that her grandmother was not expected to survive the night. So we spent Wednesday night making arrangements for Terri to fly to Arkansas on Thursday. She was glad we did since she then spent some quality time with her grandmother. Her grandmother has rallied a bit but remains in very critical condition and is not expected to leave the hospital. Please pray for her- Emil Dale.
At the lectures I ran into some old friends and acquaintances whom I had not seen in years. My old Magnolia Bible College pal, Rick Jannelle was there. Rick is now preaching in Shillington, Pennsylvania and loves it. I saw fellow Pine Grove Church of Christ alumnus, Glenn Newton who was a presenter and who currently preaches at Lakeview in Tacoma, Washington. Terri and I were delighted to see Christina Guy. Christina was a college student and one of our translators in Vilnius, Lithuania. God providentially arranged her move to England where she met and married missionary Nathan Guy. Nathan is now a Bible professor at Harding University and was a presenter. And it is always a joy to visit with Tom Perkins. Tom is on staff at the University church in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. He was there with the praise team he leads. He is a gifted worship leader.
I ran into fellow bloggers Steve Pucket and Bobby Valentine (who- as usual- taught a great series of classes. The guy is a genius!). I had the chance to visit with Lipscomb professor David Fleer about their upcoming Sermon Seminar in October. I visited briefly a couple of times with Terry Rush, who besides being a dynamic preacher has a tremendous ability to remember names. Terri and I chatted with Sara Barton who is from the same hometown as Terri (Melbourne, Arkansas) and who serves as a campus minister at Rochester College. It was nice to see Doug Edwards again. Doug is excited about his new work with Camp Manatawny . It was likewise good to see Daniel Jolliff who is now preaching for the Simi Church of Christ in Simi Valley. CA. And it was such a blessing to see old friends, Ronney and Slyvia Wheeler again. I enjoyed lunching with them and meeting a group from the congregation they now serve at the foot of the Superstition Mountians in Phoenix, AZ.
Of course part of the joy of the entire trip was spending time with fellow Gateway folks, Mark Stark, who is our involvement minster and Bud Myer who is one of our shepherds (and the president of Global Christian University). The without-a-doubt highlight of the entire journey was on Thursday night as Mark and I witnessed Bud baptize his Vietnamese foster son in the Pepperdine swimming pool.
I did miss somehow meeting Bobby Ross from the Christian Chronicle. I did attend their luncheon and chatted with Lynn McMillon, but missed Bobby. I also missed connecting with fellow refugee from the Missisippi Delta and blogger Tammie Hacker.
One other highlight for me, but of a different sort- was sitting in the sun on a gorgeous day with the Pacific ocean in the backgroung and catching a few innings of Pepperdine baseball. Their 13th ranked team put on a baseball clinic against the team from San Diego in the early innings I enjoyed.
I will say it once again- if you get the opportunity to attend this event in the future- take it! In my opinion it is one of the most uplifting and encouraging events among the Churches of Christ. The president of the university, Dr. Andy Benton, shared the university’s commitment to our brotherhood and in his words celebrated our heritage. Not only was this great to hear, it was great to experience.