The month started off with the NOC (National Outreach Convention) in San Diego. Teresa and I spent 3 extremely long days hanging out, talking to people and sharing our passion for ministry with anyone who would listen. We got to know our fellow exhibitors really well and Teresa even won a rather large fishing pole from the christianoutdoorsmen.org booth next to us. We had tons of fun but it was rather tiring. One day we worked from about 6:30 am until after midnight and then had to be back up and at the conference again the next morning. There was some slow times and some where I looked up as I was talking with someone and saw that there were people waiting in line to talk to us. We also got to see a sneak peak of the movie Soul Surfer, the movie about Bethany Hamilton, the teenage surfer that lost her arm to a shark attack. It was such a great movie and I highly recommend that you go see it when it comes to theaters Spring of 2011.
The very next weekend we headed up to Irvine, CA which is about an hour and half north of San Diego for something a bit different. This conference, instead of hanging out talking to a bunch of pastors, we got to hang out with a bunch of junior high kids. We were thrilled to have the opportunity to be the ONLY exhibitor for Stuck in the Middle's Identity Tour. Stuck in the Middle is an organization for JUNIOR HIGH ONLY!!! The founder, Sean Meade, went on a Mission Adventures trip to Tijuana and built a house with YWAM San Diego/Baja when he was in high school. When he graduated he realized that there was a huge need for ministry resources and conferences specifically targeted toward junior high/middle school students. There were plenty that included that age group but non just for them. So he and his wife sold everything and started this ministry. Now they host several conferences each year across the country (they are looking for someone to partner with to host them on the east coast) and even in Canada. They are amazing!! We had so much fun, got so many wonderful ideas and let me tell you, they really know Junior High/Middle School Ministry!!! It reminded me alot of being at Metro and having the large Root Beer Float in the toilet or the Rain Gutter Ice Cream Sunday parties we used to have!!
We were extremely exhausted but not time to sleep as we got everything ready to travel for real this time. A few days after we returned from Irvine we headed out again but this time all the way across the country to the Music Capital of the WORLD, Nashville, TN. We got to be a part of the Youth Specialties NYWC (National Youth Workers Convention) again and were blessed to see some familiar faces as we shared the Mission Adventures booth. Youth Specialties, YS, is an amazing source of materials for anything and everything to do with Youth Ministry. I have owned several of their books from drama sketches, to marketing tools to teaching with movies and everything in between. I LOVE YS and i LOVE working the exhibit hall at NYWC. This year was no exception. We talked to so many people I practically lost my voice. I met with TONS of people from the great state of Alabama as well as people from Belize. I talked to this one couple and shared my wisdom on random topics all throughout the weekend. They would come around and ask me for an idea about something and I would immediately spout off a few that came to mind. They loved the ideas and even asked me if they could sign up for what we were offering. It was awesome!! I also got to meet up again with my friends from Believer Bands. If you have kids you know the craze that is Silly Bands, well some youth pastors from Alabama decided to use this idea to teach people about Jesus. Check out their website, read their stories, watch their videos. These guys are amazing and their product has gone CRAZY!!! This is going to replace the salvation bracelet of old. I'll write more about these guys later!!