On 20th September I again put my suitcase in my car and drove the forty kilometres to Malenovice, our hotel and conference centre a five minute drive from our office. Malenovice is a special place – I’ve been going there since my first English camp in 2007 and I’m there five or six times a year (for three-seven days each time) for conferences, retreats or camp.
Just before Fall Conference each year we use the fact people are already travelling to gather our camp team. This year that meant over forty of us met for two days to debrief the summer that was and look ahead to next year. Yes, in September we talk about and decide the direction of next year’s camps.
This meeting is really the only time each year we get all these people in one room. It is so wonderful to hear the stories of what God is doing through camps in these countries. It is also good to talk about the issues we’re facing in different countries or across our countries. These are the people I work closest with all year so it’s a lot of fun to be all together.
And from that meeting we went into our annual Fall Conference from 22nd to 26th September, where we gather those serving in or alongside Josiah Venture. This year there were two hundred and eighty youth leaders and missionaries from thirteen central and eastern European countries!
Our theme was ReJesus. The idea was to get back to the Gospels, and Jesus. It’s always a good idea. The loop we circled many times during conference was looking at our own ministries, looking at Jesus and His ministry and applying Jesus’ principles to our ministries. It was a good loop to circle, and one we should always be going through.
The Bible talks about Scripture not returning empty, not returning without accomplishing the purpose God desires and so even when we return to familiar passages it’s amazing how God speaks in new ways. And in unique ways too, I think we all felt like God was talking individually to us as we looked to Him to guide us in our ministry.
The conference was used to release our training material called Walk 2:6, based on 1 John 2 v 6 “Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.” This training material was the basis of the conference and goes through those loops of looking at our ministry, and Jesus’ ministry and applying His methods.
With a conference this big we’re getting creative with how to have that many people. Our main sessions took place in a big tent/marquee! Thankfully it has heating, although sometimes we turned it off and it was worth it (check out the link for more photos of conference!)
The other thing about having this many people at conference is it’s impossible to meet or even see everyone! But it was so good to connect with so many friends and co-labourers over different meals, during coffee times and while walking from one meeting to another.
Malenovice continues to be a wonderful and special place, and I’m so thankful for my week there sitting in the Bible and being refreshed.
You can see more of my photos and short explanations of the week here.