Great Expectations, Part 2
I neglected to mention that we met Molly and Pastor Manny Harrison at the airport where they had been waiting after their long flight from America. They had several bags of stuff for their new home in Dumaguete, wherever that turned out to be.
The first night of the conference, we were divided into teams according to the colors of our name tags, blue, pink, or green and orange. Each team was given a 1000 piece puzzle to complete on a round table in the meeting hall where the sessions were held. This was a great idea, at least for me since I enjoy jigsaw puzzles. Pastor Josef Marian's children decided to join our team and were a big help. Pastor Josef literally had his hands full during the conference, sometimes holding one of his daughters as he preached. His wife was in China with their newborn child, and he had come by faith with all the other four or five. They made good use of the swimming pool.
Pastor Clyde's church led praise and worship for most sessions and we sang the song O Happy Day many times. It was one of their favorites. We all enjoyed seeing Pastor Clyde dance around when his team sang Everlasting God.
There's a lot of joy in his church. Unfortunately, that was not my experience. As I mentioned in my last post, I was failing the expectations test. I didn't realize it at the time, because I couldn't be objective about it. Fortunately, I had some gracious people around me, which included the young people from Korea who put up with me. One day they found the phone I'd left behind and filled it with some photos.
We ate well physically and spiritually at the conference.
Pastor Drew, Pastor Steve, Pastor Clyde, Pastor Manny, Pastor Josef and several of the Filipino pastors attending the conference shared the Word from the pulpit and there was beautiful special music and rap sessions. Pastor Manny and I sang Praise Him twice and Here In Your Presence once as specials and led worship once. I enjoyed Pastor Manny and his good humor and fiery preaching. We went to the mall nearby one afternoon and I are chicken inasal, but without Nobu. That was something I had expected to do with him. It didn't happen.
There were all sorts of little things that were not happening the way I would have liked through nobody's fault, and the devil built mountains out of molehills, until I became unbearable even to myself. I tried to get my mind off myself by taking pictures of things around the resort:
But that was only sublimation, and not the solution to the problem. The solution was, of course, the Cross. Death to self and its not so great expectations that were robbing me of the joy of my salvation and the fellowship of my friends. I'm sorry to say that I didn't reckon myself dead for quite awhile. Why is it that when the solution is obvious, we fellowship with the problem? Why do we feel that it is so important to be right when, plainly, our right to be right is dead wrong? And why do we tell people who care to notice our self-inflicted misery that everything is fine when they ask if we're okay?
Once I finally came to myself as the prodigal son did in my pigsty, I found it hard to arise and go to my father's house, so to speak, out of shame. It took awhile to take the first steps back toward the ones I loved who maybe never noticed my absence, since the eyes of grace and mercy see people differently.
When the Dumaguete conference ended, we set out for the next one. We got up early and rode to a ferry landing, got some tickets to ride, then headed out into the streets in search of breakfast.
and then boarded the ferry.
When we got disembarked at the next island, this was our view:
Alas! All it was was a view. We didn't get to put even one pinky toe into that gorgeous water. Instead, we boarded a coach bus and rode along the coast of Cebu to our destination. I was glad to have Jon Saboe's Days of Lamech downloaded onto my Kindle to help me pass the hours.
Eventually, we arrived at a hotel, checked in,
and then headed to a dim sum restaurant where we ate and retired to a meeting room for the Greater Grace Philippines conference condensed into one afternoon. Local pastors and Bible college students attended.
When the first half of the conference ended, a bunch of us returned to the hotel to rest and recreate. I discovered that I'd left my Kindle at the restaurant, so I walked the kilometer or so back there only to discover it had not been seen by the staff and the the conference was over. I walked back to the hotel and took Tain out to dinner down the street before we went back to our room to sleep. The next morning, I took these pictures from the breakfast table. The cat tried to mooch some food from me.
He didn't get anything from me, but I got my Kindle back. Pastor Clyde picked it up when the conference ended. All I can say is that it was just as the name of the store below says: