Last night we spent time reflecting on the day. Talking about how awesome God is and finding ourselves looking forward to greeting the next day with hope and renewed anticipation about what God can and will do. We know God has special things for us and we want everything God has stored up for us, regardless of how it might look right now.
We had breakfast at Wafflehouse this morning, We have renamed it to "Awfulhouse" and not for how awesome the food was. I tend to mix everything together (eggs over easy, hash browns, biscuits and gravy) before I eat it so it probably looked worse than it tasted. It worked in a pinch and got us on our way.
The building we are meeting in is so large we get lost getting into and out of the parking lot. It's like a football stadium parking lot and the mezzanine of the building is like a huge shopping mall. It's a massive complex with over 10,000 people attending weekly services.
There are about 15 double doors leading into the mezzanine and entering into the main area you see a cafe "Cafe 920" on the right with seating capacity for about 200 and a book store down the hall from that.
Centered in the mezzanine is a round counter information kiosk. There are two stories of classrooms and meeting areas for as far as you can see and then beyond that a series of hallways with more classrooms another section of classrooms behind that and another behind that as well. A grand ballroom stairway leads to the second floor on the right and to the left is escalators and more stairways to the facilities circular auditorium.
Going in that direction you see another set of about 15 doors and passing through a second set of doors brings you to a circular hallway around the outside of the auditorium. The auditorium itself is about 10 stories high with a balcony section that rivals the cowboy stadium in Texas. there are row and rows of seats high into the nosebleed sections of the top of the auditorium at a height you can almost not see from the ground. A prolific appearance of stage, video screens and a chandelier of speakers and video screens hangs from the center of the massive room. Three television style cameras focus on the stage and a 30 foot high video screen hags in the bak of the stage to allow everyone to get a birds eye view of the seemingly dwarfed people on the stage.
Total sensory overload/
In the opposite direction of the auditorium, up the stairs of the ballroom stairway is a theater sized chapel that hods about 400. and behind that some distance down the hallways is a fellowship hall on both the first and second floors. Both of those contain stages, sound and lighting equipment. The vendors were in that area for the conference.
The entire complex contains a health and wellness center in a separate six story building and another six story building holds resources for the complex. I can't even estimate the cost of construction never ind the cost of operating this facility everyday of the year. Staffing and operating the complex must be in the millions.
There were a multitude of mission sessions to choose from and many which we had to guess at in terms of their content. Explanations were not too clear. We tried to split up as much as possible and attend the sessions that would give us vision for utilizing that information back home. Our favorite speakers were Chuck Fielding and Rick Donalan on from Memphis. Chuck lives in Jordon and Rick in Memphis. The Memphis group has an inner-city ministry with a clinic and a few home churches. We are very interested in meeting them afterwards and see for ourselves what kind of relationship God may have for us with them.
Lunch and dinner were served in boxes and coffee flowed freely from Cafe 920. We sat and talked for quite a while in the cafe at the end of the day about the event. We made some preliminary notes on how to put together some intense training for our youth for discipleship and missions. We marveled at Gods hand in bringing us all the way here to meet people who lived in Memphis.
One of the other highlights of the day was meeting and hearing Nate Saints son Steve. He was delightful in the dinner story time session and brought us to tears with both laughter and sorrow. His recall of his parents and their missionary days was inspiring. His tales of the life in Ecuador he lived and the friendships he formed we equally inspiring. Hannah has invited him to come to dinner and share his stories with our youth some time. It would be great to include him and some other missionaries in our next conference.
Well for now I am relaxing at the hotel after an exciting finish to the day. We were going to find a Hot Wings restaurant which some how evaded our GPS tracking, left us wondering where in the world it actually was and then realizing that Hannah had lost her wallet. We back-tracked to the conference area and found the item in the care of the security personnel. Whew! Again God was watching after us. Now if we could just figure out where that Hot Wings place went.