Just about two weeks ago, I had the opportunity of a lifetime!
#iwillalwaysrememberthis , #sneakygirl, #sorrynotsorry , #shepherdsconference2015
Also, I got the hashtag bug as you can see. It’s not limited to instagram or twitter anymore, but rampant across all social media have you noticed? Hashtag this and hashtag that. People use them instead of making proper sentences, and it’s now beyond the purpose of tagging, it’s used more for describing your photos in a lazy kind of weird way.
Anyway, back to the subject. So, my family and I decided to make a trip all the way to Grace Community Church for the Shepherd’s Conference on Friday, the last day of the conference. We arrived late in the afternoon, toward the end of the conference. I had to get permission in advance from school cause I had class that Friday. I don’t regret it one iota.
You see, there’s this unspoken understanding that on the last day of the conference, families and wives of the men attending the conference sneak onto the campus of the church to enjoy the few last hours of the conference. There used to be an overflow room/auditorium where families were allowed to come and listen to the last session of the conference. I know this because my dad attended the conference a few times in the past, and we would come on the last day and sit in the overflow area. It was such a delight!
But this year so many men attended the conference that the staff didn’t want other people sneaking in anymore because they didn’t have space.
…Well things went a little different for us 😉
Here’s a little glimpse of our adventure!
If you watched the conference throughout the week like I did, you would have seen it was one of the best conferences in the world- sound preaching, and even special surprises in between, like special music from Fernando Ortega and Keith & Kristyn Getty during worship! Those men were spoiled!
So, after being good little people for most of the week, and watching the conference online, we decided we couldn’t resist getting a little taste of this super great conference in person. At least the last few hours. So off we went!
We mingled among the crowds outside, watched people talking, relaxed on the beautiful campus, and took lots of pictures. The quality of the pictures leaves much to be desired because I had a cellphone I wasn’t used to, and borrowed an old point-and-shoot from my younger sibling. But they will have to do.
The campus at Grace Community Church is lovely. There are benches everywhere outside for people to sit and listen to the sermon from loudspeakers. There was a big fancy concierge booth in the heart of the campus for information or assistance.
I fell in love with all the special lighting on the campus! It made everything look so festive!
My favorite area was a corridor called the “Grace Walk”. I couldn’t stop roaming around there and snapping pictures.
There were hundreds and thousands of men all over the place. I didn’t really get pictures of the crowds outside, since it was break time and most of them were lined up at the food trucks getting lunch and spread all over the place. But you’ll see some pictures inside the main auditorium later. There were of course other ladies around too, lots of volunteers, and a few families with little kids so I wasn’t an odd-ball out there.
This is the overflow auditorium area where families used to come and sit. It’s much larger than in the picture, but I couldn’t capture it all.
One of the greatest highlights of my day was the opportunity of a lifetime. Literally. My greatest wish in coming on the last day to the conference was: to personally see and touch the old, old copy of the Bible translated by Tyndale. It was the 1526 Bible, and it was on display in the library of The Master’s Seminary on the church campus! I got my wish and much, much more! There was more than just that Tyndale Bible there!
The library was open for people to come in and take pictures. And to my surprise there were several very old Bibles on display, and I had the enormous privilege of seeing, photographing and touching most of them!
This was the Geneva Bible. I opened it to the Psalms to take a picture. Later, I thought it would have been even better to open to Romans, the Gospel of Grace!
The Matthew’s Bible was one translated by a friend of William Tyndale’s and finished after Tyndale died.
Look at that old cover and pages! I can’t describe to you the delight of touching something so precious, and so old…I literally touched history from the 1500s! And the best of the best, better than jewels or gold- the very Word of God!
Thinking of the great sacrifices, perils, and hard work that was put into making this priceless Word available to us so many generations later leaves me speechless. Praise the Lord for His providence and preserving His Word intact throughout the centuries despite all the attempts made to destroy it!
I didn’t even know there was such a thing as the Bishop’s Bible, but there it was, and I made sure to touch that one too! 🙂
There was also a 1611 King James Bible in a case.
And I have more to tell you! There was an ancient scroll of the Torah on display as well!
It was from the 18th century and I was thrilled to see this in person too, albeit through a glass case. The men attending the conference actually got to touch the scroll earlier that week! Sigh. Why aren’t there conferences like these for women may I ask?
Anyhow, I was obsessed with that Tyndale copy of the Bible. It was so small too, like a purse Bible.
Another highlight was being able to listen to the powerful singing inside the main auditorium! It was a glimpse of heaven. Thousands of voices uniting in praise to God! I sneaked through one of the doors and stayed in the shadows with a handful of other ladies who were volunteering at the conference (and a few other sneaky people like me). Just for the music. The ushers even welcomed us bolder folks inside just for the worship because they knew everyone loves to hear it in person. Then I hurried back out when it was done.
It was glorious to hear those hymns resounding in such a heartfelt way! It is deeply moving to be there.
Sound preaching, heavenly music, good food, sweet fellowship….all the men attending the conference got to experience this. A whole week all about Scripture, all about our Savior. I am sure this is just a sneak-peek of what heaven will be like. To be saturated with all things about our great God and do nothing more than to worship Him!
Just being there for a few hours felt like we had been there almost all week. I got to speak to some Indian ladies whose husbands were there at the Seminary studying, and a female nurse that was there volunteering at the conference. So I got some fellowship too!
My family and I sat outside when the sermon began, listening on the loud speakers. There were plenty of people outside, even though it was getting dark, and the weather was so warm and comfortable!
The campus became even more beautiful as darkness fell, and the little lights were shining.
There were many areas with tables and benches to sit around and eat, talk, and relax.
They even had a charming little coffee shop on campus which was called Steeple House Coffee.
And bordering the campus were these beautiful trees in full spring bloom! The gorgeous pink blossoms are so refreshing to look at!
It was an unforgettable experience to be there at the last few hours of this historic Shepherd’s Conference! I hope you enjoyed seeing a glimpse of our adventure!