Friday, April 29, 2016


We got up at 6:30 a.m. on Tuesday.  We were not going to miss breakfast after missing dinner the night before.  I had slept next to the window and froze all night.  It was COLD up there in the mountains!  I had a headache from the cold.  

After getting a warm (?) shower we got dressed and walked over to the Guest Services Building to see where the nearest pharmacy was.  You'll notice Joe had to wear a shirt and tie (and most times a suit coat) the whole time.  He looked so nice each day that I had to take pictures of him.

Joe walked up to get the information (the building was at the top of a big hill) while I sat on a bench and began to take pictures.  This place was a photographer's delight!

Joe heading for the Guest Services Building.

This was a great seating area.  I never got to sit on this swing, but it looked wonderfulThe Adirondack chairs were in a circle.  I saw several men sitting there talking.

The gazebo in the Children's Garden.  My friend, Donna, told me that this garden was made in memory of a Pastor's wife who had passed away.  She was a kindergarten teacher who loved kids.  So they made a play area in her honor.

Another shot of the gazebo area.  It was so beautiful.

The dining hall.

 My brother, Larry, is a great photographer.  One of the things he always says is when you've gotten a great picture, turn around and see what is behind you.  There's probably another great shot.  He was right.  Here's what was behind me.

You can see how overcast the sky is.  It rained off and on all day.  Sometimes just drizzle, but often a downpour.  Fortunately it wasn't as bad as they had first predicted it would be.

Joe was given the address and phone number of a nearby Rite Aid.  He called his doctor's office and arranged to have a few days' supply of the three medications he was missing sent over there.

Here's a picture of the area we were staying in -- Sunnybrook.  We were in the building with the yellow doors in Room 1 at the end toward the other building.

Pretty little violas.

Beautiful hostas.  I wish mine looked this good.

One of the pots outside of the Dining Hall.  It is so beautiful.

Joe took a couple of pictures of me waiting on the bench before the Dining Hall opened.  It opened exactly at 8:00 a.m. and not a minute sooner.

One of the other housing units on the grounds.  This is not where we stayed.
Look at that beautiful twisted tree in front of it.

It was such a cool shape!

I had pancakes, bacon, tater tots and fruit for breakfast.  There is a group called City Concerns Network consisting of the pastors who work in the cities.  Most of our churches are more rural, but there's about six in inner cities like we are.  Joe was asked to join the group and I was invited too since I do Women's Ministry.  I was the only woman at the table, but they were asking me questions, listening to what I had to say and I was asking them questions also between bites of food.  A working breakfast.

After breakfast we had our first session.  Again I sat in the back.  I sort of liked that.  This time I had my Bible and paper with me so I could take notes.  There was tons of prayer all through all the meetings.  That was how we began -- looking at Psalm 51 and then breaking into small groups where we worshipped, praised and thanked God for Who He is.  There were about 8 people in my group.  I was the only woman with a bunch of pastors, elders, and missionaries.  It was totally awesome to hear hundreds of voices all around the room saying, "I thank You for Your faithfulness...  I praise you for your majesty... You are my rock and defender, a strong hold in my agony...  Thank you so much for providing a way of salvation."  I began to realize how heaven is going to be... millions upon millions of voices giving praise to God constantly.  Something inside of me began to expand and my thinking began to change.  I never thought about prayer too much before this week.  Now I think about it a lot.  

After that we broke into even smaller groups of 3 or 4.  Donna had joined me by that time and we were with John, one of our missionaries.  We were to pray for each other until everyone in the group had been prayed for.  Awesome beyond belief.

Following that we had some singing and then our speaker for the morning Pastor Tim Gibson who spoke on "Pressing On...With Prayer."  The scripture was John 14:12-14.  It was a powerful message.

After a break they introduced pastors and elders who were there for the first time.  Each went to the microphone, gave their name, which church they were from and what they did for a living either now if they were working, or previously if they were retired.  Unfortunately I didn't get a picture of Joe up there, but he went.  Then they introduced the missionaries that were there and they each told something about the work they were doing.  Then they started in on all the reports before breaking for lunch.

I will say they fed us good.  Real good.  It was buffet style, so you could take as much or as little as you wanted.  And it seemed as if no food was thrown away.  No one took too much.

After lunch there were lots of reports and voting going on.  I stayed for the worship part at the beginning and for the mid-afternoon snack.

Then I went back to the room and laid down for awhile and fell fast asleep for about an hour.  I needed it.

When I woke up I called the pharmacy to see if Joe's medicine was ready.  They said they hadn't received any prescriptions for him.  So I called the doctor's office and was told the doctor would send them over after she saw her last patient later that day.  I explained that one was Joe's anti-seizure medication and he hadn't had it for 24 hours.  She said she couldn't help that and she would do the best she could.  

As I was in the room, I pulled the back window curtains aside and saw this lovely view.  So I took these photos out of the back window of the room.  Everything there was so pretty.

And here's a video of the brook.

I decided to go outside and take some pictures while the rain had stopped.

The brook was right beside our room.  We could hear it all the time.

The pond was right across from our room.

 I went back to the room and changed my clothes.  Donna had told me that the women would change for dinner and dress a little fancier than in the jeans they wore during the day.  

As I finished changing there was a knock at the door and it was Donna.  She offered to take me to the pharmacy if I could go then.  She was concerned about Joe not having the medicine too.  I called the pharmacy and they said they had just received the prescriptions.  I told them I had a ride now, but wouldn't later so could I pick it up in 15 or 20 minutes and they said yes.  So we walked to Donna's car and she drove me over there since she knew where it was.

The people at the pharmacy were so nice.  They had three prescriptions.  Two were right but the third one they gave me was not his anti-seizure but his cholesterol medication. So I refused to take it.  I took the ones for his tremors though.  I tried to straighten it out, but the doctor's office was closed.  So Joe went without for one more night.  Fortunately there was enough residual medication in his bloodstream that he did not have a seizure.

We got back just in time for dinner.  I had salmon and Joe had beef.  There were veggies, salad, mashed potatoes and rolls.  Each meal we ended up eating with Pastor Sean who has been coming to help us out with preaching.  It was so good to catch up with him and hear how things were going.  He and his family are moving to Chicago next year to be missionaries in the inner city.  Fascinating work he's going to be doing.

After dinner we headed back to the Fellowship Hall for our evening meeting.

The evening was an ordination ceremony.  Five men were being ordained.  It was wonderful.  I've always liked tradition in a church and this was it at it's highest.  The message given to them about integrity and honesty was to all of us too.

Singing before the ordination (Picture courtesy of Pastor Dan Allen).

Laying on of hands and prayer.  (Pinebrook Conference Center photo)

(Pinebrook photo)

Pastors lining up to shake hands with newly ordained pastors.

Afterwards there was a little reception and then we headed back to the room to get some sleep.  I slept with my heavy sweater over my pjs that night.  It was still very cold.

And so ended day two.  To be continued...



  1. what a beautiful spot to have such an inspirational event!

    1. It was gorgeous. I couldn't ask for a prettier place.

  2. such a peaceful, beautiful place.

  3. I would be sitting on the bench by the pond. Beyond wonder you felt changed.
    I can almost feel the peacefulness to meditate..and that's without hearing the prayers!I am so enjoying your blog about your visit. It sounds like an intimate time with the Lord. woof

    1. No one sat out because it rained so much everything was always wet. We spent most of the time listening to sermons and watching the pastors/elders debate on points of order. Glad you are enjoying the trip. More to come!

  4. Good memory! You gave us such great a detailed discription, plus wonderful pictures.
    I can see how this could be powerful.

    1. If I don't write it down right away, i don't remember. I want to remember this for a long time. I wish you could have been there, Christine. I would love to have shared it with you.


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