When we rolled in to Bartlesville last Wednesday, the first thing we did was check in to the OWU dorms. They couldn't find the key for my room, so they gave me a better room. This slight alteration was to come back on me a couple days later. But in the short term, it gave me the chance to meet Dave and Jan from Iowa. Dave is the area coordinator for that state.
Dave and Jan are really a neat couple. They made a trip to southeast Asia earlier this year, and actually God timed it so they wound up in Burma (Myanmar) 4 days after the cyclone hit.
Our dorm rooms shared a common bathroom -- with no lock on the doors -- and I passed on the really handy tip that my Dad taught me years ago in a similar dorm situation. You take a piece of paper, write "Bathroom in Use" on the bottom, and stick it under the door to your neighbor's room when you are in the bathroom. Then when you're done, you pull it back and leave it on the counter in the bathroom for them to use under your door when they use the bathroom. Simple, and prevents a lot of embarrassing moments.
Dave, Jan, Kathy, and I (and a number of other area coordinators and VOM staff) congregated at a small bistro in downtown Bartlesville for an informal meal that evening.
Bartlesville has a very charming downtown that looks like something straight out of the 1950s.
Here are a few shots of people gabbing.
Next morning, we left at 7:30 for area coordinator meetings. It was really nice to get to meet others in person that I had talked with via email for so long.
In a conversation with one of the upper level VOM officers, I knew a person who fit a very unique job description he was trying to fill. This was one of the best things that happened to me that morning. I love "networking" in this way (although I must confess that usually my ideas don't work out as well as I envision). Hopefully this one will turn out to be of benefit to VOM and the people we serve. If so, it was certainly God who caused this connection to happen because it was unusual that this man mentioned this need in his conversation and it was unusual that I knew a person who may fit that need.
In order to maintain better continuity in my story, I am going to skip over the events of Thursday afternoon (I'll come back to them in my next post) and tell you about the VVN banquet. This is for all area representatives and area coordinators. Some of the upper VOM leadership such as Tom White came to this.
It was a great place to meet new people and hear inspiring stories of what God is doing.
Here are Mr. R, the man who coordinated the whole National Conference, and Mr. B who leads the VVN. Both of them worked very hard the last couple weeks.
I sat at this table. Brandon, the man on the right, turned out to be a fascinating high school history teacher who has an encyclopedic brain. The couple at left were missionaries in Africa.
This picture has an interesting story. At the 2006 VVN banquet, my friend Carl (who was with me) saw this Frank Lloyd Wright building across the street from where the banquet was held and said, "I think it's ugly." We chuckled so hard over his comment that this year I got this picture. It's too small to see, but the sign I'm holding says "Carl's Favorite Building."
A woman sitting to my left at the table (I didn't get her picture) was from Lima, Ohio. I asked her if Stanley Tam, the Christian philanthropist who gave his business to God, is still alive. She said he is indeed alive. He has turned over management of US Plastics Corp to one of his son-in-laws, but he didn't like doing nothing, so he has started a small woodworking shop. People can just come in and talk to him! To read a great message by Stanley Tam from 2004, click here.
One other interesting story: during the VVN banquet they recognize each of the area coordinators with a round of applause. As I was wait for my name to be called, my cell phone rang. It was one of my area reps whom I had been anxious to hear from. My name was called, I stood up, with the phone against my ear, still talking to the rep. Everyone clapped. The rep on the other end, oblivious to what was going on said, "Hooray for whoever that was!" I said, "Actually, they were clapping for me!" It must have made me appear very hard-working, to even take a call when I was in the limelight. Ha ha!