About three weeks ago Grace and I went to Orlando Florida to the Overflow Conference. Overflow is a brand new idea for the Free Methodist Church to have their annual conferences all together in one place, rally, worship, and cast vision for the future of the church. Because of all of the traveling I’ve been doing, especially in April, I really wanted to see if I could take Grace with me. I wanted to take her for a few reasons:
- I wanted her to be able to see the benefits of my new job. She could go with me on a special adventure. And we can afford it.
- I want to continually cast vision to her about what kind of life we want to live and how we want to live. I want to place her in front of opportunities to find her calling.
- I needed time to spend with her. I’m wired to multi-task, but with Mick and Grace, I value focused time to have significant conversations without too much noise. Bottom line: I miss that time and needed to hang with my girl.
Our trip started Maust-Like. Favor. (That comment was for you, Joel Maust). We arrived in Detroit to find our flight was overbooked. Because I wasn’t crusty to Elaine, the ticket agent, we not only got two free round trip tickets anywhere in the US, but we also got bumped to first class for both of our flights from DET to Atlanta and ATL to Orlando. Elaine made it a point to affirm to Grace that the way I treated her was instrumental in the hook up. So we flew first class all the way. And it was nice!
We enjoyed the day traveling together, talking, taking pics of Flat Stanley for Micki’s class, and not being in a hurry. When we arrived in Orlando late, I realized that our hotel was going to be a $50 cab ride, $40 van ride, or a $2, 2-hour bus ride. After talking to Micki and her wisdom, she said, “Why don’t you just rent a car? We wound up sweet talking the car rental place and got a car for cheaper than a cab ride. The entire day was an adventure. Fun. Not rushed. Just with Gracie Lou. It was a great day.
Thursday we went over to the conference, spent the morning in the penthouse with the Roller family doing tech support, and Grace went with Aunt Yvonne to be a greeter to the more than 1100 people who would arrive. Dinner was a blessing. We wound up catching up with Mike Rynan, a missionary to Africa. We took him out to Buffalo Wild Wings. It was neat to hear about his family as well as have him talk to Grace about what a missionary’s life looks like. After we got back, the conference started with an amazing message by Pastor Hector Fernandez. It was in Spanish with a translator. The title of the message was, “Passion for Souls”. It was powerful. Grace and I took pics and video on the Flip camera. After the session, we went back to the room, uploaded pics, blogged, and made a video. The site I helped create is: www.livethestorytellthestory.com
Friday was a crazy day. I knew I was working and let Grace know her job was to be my apprentice. But I also wanted to see if there were windows to do something fun. We went to the morning session to take pics and video. For lunch we snuck out together and had lunch at a cafe outside. We did some shopping on the strip on International Drive and got ice cream. It was a nice break. After the session in the afternoon, we then went to a place Grace was really excited about: Waterworks. It was an interactive kids museum with lots of cool stuff to do. It was a surprise for Grace and fun for me to take here there. Friday dinner we took Henry and Virginia Wingfield out for dinner. Great time to spend with great people. I love those guys. Friday night was the most powerful service. It was the ordination service. It was so moving to see a group of people giving themselves over to the mission. We blogged, created video, and told that story as well.
Saturday morning Grace slept in after staying up late to watch the NBA playoffs with me. I set up my booth for the Web site and got ready for the Saturday morning closing session with Bishop Roller. It was great. After the session, I was able to connect with so many people. One thing I remarked on as we traveled home was the fact that I had forgotten that I’m from the east. I had opportunity to reconnect with David Prince, Mac, Katrina, Bob Billings, Lynton and Nancy, Ted Smith, Charlie and Angie, and Chris Hoppe-Spink. I know I’m forgetting people, but that’s the blessing. One of the greatest joys for me was to introduce Grace to these people that she didn’t know from different seasons of life. Katrina from high school mission trips and summer camps. David and Mac from church planting. Wingfields and Beverages as well as Pastor Keith from Virginia. And Ted from my childhood in Batavia and Edgewood. I hope Grace was able to see how we’re connected and what the Body of Christ looks like. All of these people had fingerprints on my life as I’m sure I did with them.
As the conference ended, we discovered we had extra time before our flight. Which we took advantage of. I took G to Universal City Walk where we had lunch at NBA City, bought her a “special bracelet” as a reward for her hard work, and enjoyed the hot sun. We were excited to get home late after midnight on Saturday. We were in beds at 2am tired. But it was a good tired. Satisfied. Know what I’m talking about? I knew that time was beneficial to serve the Bishops. I knew it was beneficial for my team to have a win with the Web site and tools to connect people. But for me the greatest piece was simply time with my girl to invest and cast vision for her life.
Check out the Overflow photoset in Flickr.