Life Scraps

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Singles Conference Huge Success!

We said goodbye to Kent Bottenfield a little over an hour ago while outside of Farmer's Restaurant in Highland. It was such a let down to see him go. After the months and months of planning the FIRST Singles conference at FBC Maryville was an incredible success. Some might be inclined to follow that comment with the question, "So then, you had a large number turn out for the event?". To that I would reply "No, not a large number but the perfect number showed up." It was a success not because of numbers but because we honored God in every aspect of this event.

The preparation began Friday morning about 10:00 a.m. when my friend, Sheila, and I went to buy bottled water, soda, and various items for Kent's welcome bags. We arrived at the church at 12:30 p.m. and met up with others on the team to begin setting up tables & chairs in the gym. We decorated tables, arranged plates/napkins/utensils, stuffed carry-out bags, sorted through prize give-aways, etc etc. We left the church around 4:30 exhausted. We went to eat at Applebee's where we were entertained by Tyler and his impressions of Stuart & Lorraine. Okay, I was entertained and I entertained everyone with my hysterical laughter.

Saturday morning many of us arrived at the church by 10:45 a.m. to take care of the final details of getting registration tables in order, sorting t-shirts to sell, making copies of ice-breaker questions. The anticipation was mounting as 1:00 p.m. rolled around. We looked as though we would pounce on the first person to walk through the doors. It really was quite comical to look at. People began to arrive and the buzz started. My feet were insanely sore already. Soon it was nearing 2:00 p.m. and it was about to begin. Years of praying and a year of planning was about to unfold before us. I felt like a kid on Christmas morning eagerly ready to see the gift beneath the wrapping paper.

The worship band opened with 4 songs to bring us into an attitude of worship led by Brian Carr and the college band. Next was the human video by our very talented Steve Moutria. His ability to minister through these human videos just amazes me. I kid you not, you do not take your eyes off him the entire time he performs. We were so glad he had the forethought to ask us to move the video to the beginning of the conference vs. beginning of the concert.

Then it was on to the break-out sessions....1, 2 & 3. I was only able to listen in on 2 of the 3 due to a few glitches that came up. What I heard on the subjects of Flexibility, Unity and Purity was the heart of God and nothing short of that.

Now we are coming the really good part of this event. Yep, you guessed it, the food. Come on, we are Baptists and we love our food fellowships. Cuz let's face it, is there such a thing as a fellowship without good eats??? Oh no, no such thing! LOL We had purchased extra food just in case and there was SO much left over it was sickening! Farmer's restaurant out of Highland prepared it and we had Fried Chicken, Italian Roast Beef, Mostaccoli, Green Beans, Corn, Mash Tators, 2 Gravies, Salad, and bread. PLUS, delicious Boston Creme Torte Cake donated by our Sunday school teacher from his business. Seriously....insanely.....out of this world good eats!

We opened the concert at 6:45 with prize drawings and then Kent Bottenfield took the stage for his first set. Sitting in the very front row was bittersweet. While one moment I could sense Pastor Fred's presence and could easily picture him in my mind with that big grin on his face, lifting those eyebrows and doing that quick little head bob and giving us a thumbs up.....the next moment I was seeing the events of March 8th. Both visions would bring me to tears. And of course, I did not have my kleenex! Hello? I thought it was church policy to have boxes of kleenex in the front pews. If not, it should be!!!

The remainder of the concert was super and the presentation by African Vision of Hope was so informative but done in a way that did not bore you or turn you off. I pray their ministry was hugely blessed by the platform given through this event. Kent ended the night by grabbing the mike from Pastor John to make this announcement "I have NEVER, EVER done this in my performing career but I am asking you to please go out and buy my CD's. Every dime from those sales will go to AVOH." I just could have cried when I heard that. Humble, gentle, kind, compassionate, selfless man of God = Kent Bottenfield.

Afterwards we took Kent to......Applebee's! I don't eat there for 6 months and then I am there 2 days in a row. It was nice and relaxing to just sit and enjoy Kent's company.

Sunday Kent did the sermons of all 3 services. Wow!!! I could have listened to him speak all afternoon. He is a visual speaker and I LOVE visuals! He spoke on the subject of 'Intentional Pursuit of Godly Passion'. Purpose-Attitude-Satisfying-Sacrifice-Invest in Others-Non Negotiable was the acronym he used in his sermon. As always God gave yet another confirmation this was all HIS plan when Kent touched on several key notes of our class lesson from the previous hour.
After church our class & the speakers of the event took Kent to, no not Applebees, Farmer's in Highland. It seems most restaurants follow this code of architecture that states "Always design the dining rooms with high, open ceilings & tile floors so every sound echoes and when there is a room full of diners it is so loud no one can hear what the person sitting next to them is saying.....thus, your table turn around will be much faster and you will make more money" SERIOUSLY! Still, it was a delicious lunch and a great 1 1/2 hours of fellowship with Kent.

And then it was time to let Kent go so he could get back to his family and rest. This was an amazing weekend filled with great attitude of worship....satisfaction of jobs abundantly well done....sacrificing of time and sleep....investing in others in our church and surrounding community....and the bringing forth of the non-negotiable Word of God. All this combined made for changed lives and what an incredible honor that God allowed me to be a part of it all.

Here I am with Kent outside the restaurant.