Sunday, November 23, 2008

T-Town: Tulsa or Topeka?

It's Thanksgiving break!

Normally, I'm not a very big fan of breaks. It's always nice to not have to worry about schoolwork for a little while, but in general, I would rather be in Joplin than at home. I just usually get pretty bored here without all the people and things to do. However, I am very glad to be home for a bit. The past month at Ozark has been a little crazy, and I feel like I've been in the library doing research every day. But now all my big stuff is done for the semester, though I am going to be spending much of my break catching up on all the reading I haven't done because I was working on papers so much.

I went to the National Missionary Convention in Tulsa the past few days. I had never gone before, and I really liked it. A few thoughts:

First, the convention really made me appreciate the community of the church. It was crazy walking around and seeing all these people I know from all over the place. Obviously, I saw a ton of fellow Ozark students, because there's always a lot that go, and it was only two hours from Joplin this year. But I also saw some people who used to go Ozark. I saw people from other camp teams that I met over the summer, even people I met from the Northwest. Even Jessica from Pentecostal camp. And I saw old ministers. And people from Bible Bowl. And it all made me realize just how small of a world the church is. Not to mean that it's too small is needs to grow (which I suppose it does), but it's pretty incredible all the connections you can make as a member of it. I've been to that North American Christian Convention a lot, but it was pretty much always for the Bible Bowl tournament. But I know that when we've gone, my dad always runs into people he randomly knows from going to Milligan or just by being active in the church for so long. Now, as a supposed "adult" in the Christian community, I'm kind of in the same place, and I think it's pretty awesome. It was good to see everyone, and I look forward to seeing them all again in the future.

Second, I was amazed and humbled by so many of the stories I heard at the convention. There were so many spiritual giants there. It's almost like I don't even belong in the same room. I especially liked listening to Ash Barker on Saturday night. This guy lives in the slums of Bangkok in a house the size of four double beds. I mean, he lives there. I live in a dorm room bigger than that, and I'm in college. And he just one of many people at the convention that do things like that. At times, people think I'm "spiritual" because I know a lot about the Bible or can write good exegeticals or whatever. But I'm nothing compared to these people who voluntarily live in such poverty to reach out to people the rest of the world tosses aside. It's absolutely incredible, and I learned so much and was challenged and inspired all the time while in Tulsa.

So if you haven't been to the NMC, or even if you have I guess, you should go. I'm not going to be a foreign missionary as far as I know, but every Christian should be pretty interested in missions, I think. God wants us to tell people about him, whether it's in Joplin or Topeka or Buffalo or Chicago or Moscow or Bangkok or Nairobi.

The Bloggolution has expanded with the addition of Blake's blog. Check-a it out.


Tom Tatterfield said...

I am glad to hear that the convention went well. I had the privilege of spending a considerable amount of time with Ash while he was at OCC (i am kinda name dropping lol). Anyway, his stories have changed my world view significantly. In many ways he confirmed many things that I had seen in Jesus that the church has often dismissed as impractical (like living in poverty).

Hollar David!!! oh...and by the way, T-town is neither Tulsa nor Topeka...its TUCSON

Everything I Am said...

I agree with the community aspect. I walked into the doors of the NMC and felt instantly at was a gathering of believers that could meet in perfect unity and fellowship because we are all fighting the same fight for the same Lord under the same flag. It's a beautiful thing. What would our world be like without it? And as for spiritual giants...I was so humbled! Not only to be in their presence, but also to experience their williness to invest in the rest of us! cool beans, that's what it beans indeed.