Monday we were off to the Ontario Regional Vineyard Leader's Retreat. We do this every year and it is often a high point. This year was no exception. But something was quite different. In years past we've had Gary Best and/or another speaker come and share with us. But this year we shared stories from our communities and prayed intensely over each other. I think it was Ed Kolar who said it was like all the after meeting stuff (that is soooo good) done as the main thing. He was right. We loved on each other, encouraged each other, shared each other's pain and struggles, laughed and hugged, prophesied and prayed. It was so refreshing. Our Andrew's comment was that every conversation led to prayer. What an awesome way to spend three days.
To me this underscores the value of denominational families. When they work well, and to me the Vineyard works very well, they are such a great blessing. I always end up leaving denominational meetings feeling more connected to something much bigger and better than what we are doing on our own. And I've never felt anything but encouragement from this family - even when I've taken risks they would not have. I really love my Vineyard family.
We also really felt supported in the decisions we've made recently to put kinships on hold until September. For now I am going to focus on getting my thesis written. I am even hoping to go up to Brad and Mary Culver's homestead to use one of their retreat huts to be alone and write, write, write. Should be awesome to not have any distractions. Not sure how much time I'll be able to pull off, but it is the plan for this summer. Well, one of the plans.
I feel a lot of hope for the future of Freedom. I think that September will have a lot of new avenues open up for us. We needed a good dose of hope like that. Hope grounded in both a prophetic sense of where God is leading us and also in what God has built into us as a leadership team. It feels a lot like we've shaken off some dust and are able to see where we need to go next. (And finishing my thesis is actually a priority to God's plan as well as our church.) In a real sense I can't wait to see what God does in the fall.