One thing I love about traveling to different places to minister is the learning factor.
When I travel to speak somewhere I have three goals. The first is to give 110% to what I've been brought in to do. I want to give above and beyond what is expected. The second thing I love is encouraging and affirming the leader(s) publicly as well as privately in between sessions. And the third thing I love is learning all that I can from others. I'm like a sponge! When I travel somewhere as the speaker I usually come home with pages full of notes of what I've gleaned from other people.
When I travel alone it's always a challenge to come back and try to explain to Larry whatever it was that I experienced and learned. During times like this weekend, it's great that we are together and there is no explaining to do.
I have always loved North Carolina and in recent years it's become even more special to me with the connections and reconnections I've made with people there. This was my first time to have the privilege to come to New Bern. We came at the invitation of Cindy King, one of the leaders here in the church where we're ministering this weekend, as well as within the NC district, but we had never met the lead pastor, John Watford and his wife Bonnie. They invited us, trusting Cindy's recommendation.
Cornerstone is one of the healthiest churches I have ever had the honor of ministering at, and Pastor John and Bonnie are two of the strongest leaders and most interesting people in general that I've ever met. They are kind of hard to describe, but I'll just say, I'm crazy about them! Rarely have I met leaders who possess such an intense passion and love as they not only display, but actually live out. I have learned so much in just a short time.
Larry and I have finished teaching all of our sessions for this weekend -- four of them. We are savoring every last moment we have spending time with our hosts. We have one last dinner with the Watfords tonight and I'm going to soak in every bit of what we talk about.
One thing I love about the Watfords is, they are the same way. After service today at lunch they said, "Whenever we have a guest minister join us, we ask them to give an honest critique and tell us everything about their impressions from the time they drove onto the property to the time they left...
We struggled to find anything to critique. The place is nothing short of amazing, probably in part because the pastors have asked the hard questions.
I love learning!