Thanks to the abundant generosity of several local churches, we were able to attend The Gospel Coalition 2013 Conference in Orlando, FL, April 6-10. For those of you who helped provide the financial resources for our travel, accommodations, and conference fees, we are so grateful. This was the first time in many years that we have attended a conference where we were not working and the content was simply for our personal edification and encouragement.
The first night we were privileged to meet Mack and Leann Stiles, who work with FOCUS (Fellowship of Christian UAE Students). FOCUS is the UAE equivalent of InterVarsity USA, both of which operate under IFES (International Fellowship of Evangelical Students). Mack is a former IV staff and author of Marks of the Messenger. They currently do mission work in Dubai, UAE, working with college students, raising up new campus ministers, and serving with Redeemer Church of Dubai. We were also able to meet many of the missionaries on their team- a group of men and women from countries like Syria and Iran – who shared their testimonies during the conference. We were so encouraged to hear firsthand what God is doing on college campuses across the world.
The world missions pre-conference (April 6-7) was our favorite part of the trip. Its theme was “God Compels Us”, based on 2 Cor. 4:1-5:21. The national conference (April 8-10) was focused on Jesus’s Mission in the Gospel of Luke. Throughout the week we heard messages from speakers such as John Piper, Tim Keller, Don Carson, Kevin DeYoung, and David Platt. Beth attended workshops led by women like Elyse Fitzpatrick and Kathleen Neilson. In the coming weeks you will be able to view the plenary sessions on video and listen to the workshops on audio on the conference media page. We highly recommend this to you as it contains a wealth of deep scriptural teaching and practical advice for ministry and life.
So much about this conference was just excellent – including the music. We were thrilled to be led in worship by Keith and Kristyn Getty. It was amazing to hear songs that we ourselves have sung and played (like “In Christ Alone” and “The Power of the Cross”) being performed by the people who wrote them!
It was also just great to get away to a beautiful, warm place for a few days, and enjoy the freedom that comes with not having our 2-year-old in tow. We were so blessed and refreshed (spiritually and physically) by this trip, and have so many resources and ideas to bring back to the CNU campus.