April was a busy month full of excitement. I was in North Wales with a group of excellent church friends for a Christian conference/holiday, then took a few stops on the train and landed in Snowdonia for a quick detour before we joined the family for a baby dedication service of our forever-smiling nephew.
This was the prologue of my Word Alive 2018:
One day in March, I got an email asking if I’d like to read a book for this Christian conference/holiday, called Word Alive, and do a book plug for the morning teaching session. I said yes immediately, received a beautiful book with an attractive cover design that felt comfortable in the hands. I spent a week or so devouring it and came to the joyful conclusion that God was at work in sending this book to me and that this book was going to be useful to so many people just like it was to me! This brilliant book is called Tactics. A Nicole-style double book review is sure to come, paired with Newman’s Questioning Evangelism. (The book plug was filmed without too much pain, the lady behind the camera was absolutely lovely! I didn’t go watch it on the big screen when it was played in front of a thousand people, but I was glad many people bought a copy judging by the dent in the piles on the bookshelf!)
I was so excited to go on a week-long holiday with good friends that I started packing about a week in advance, just to make the holiday feeling last longer. Just to show that this was purely for the excitement rather than for the purpose of actual packing: I didn’t finish packing until 2am on the day we left…
We managed to take 90 copies of JOURNEY magazines to Word Alive and sold a few. But more importantly, many people got to see it with their eyes and flick through it in their hands. I believe that’s the magic of physical books. The appreciation and encouragement I got from a few people’s responses was overwhelming. It keeps me going.
One of the first places I rushed to as soon as we arrived at Word Alive site was the bookstore. It was absolutely one of the highlights. Here’s a photo of what we brought home.
Every single day was packed full. Breakfast at 7:30 before international team briefing. It followed by a little bit of quiet time in the chalet with my little sister or just on my own. The “main course” of the International Track started at 11:15 with a talk (Matthew 13) and a Q&A. Then lunch. We were lucky enough to have two sunny days to have lunch on the beach under the supervision of seagulls. Then, 2pm, there was reflection and discussion on the earlier talk in small groups. 3.30pm, Seminars. About 5.30ish, we would go separate ways to get our belly filled. Some went back to their chalet to cook, some went to the restaurant on site. Breakfast and dinner were actually some of my favourite times of the day. It was lovely to get to know other international workers around the UK in an informal setting. After dinner and a breather, it was the unmissable Evening Celebration (Hebrews).
There were films in the evening. I watched Dunkirk (first time) and La La Land (second time). I have been listening to La La Land soundtracks, singing along (really loud, sorry neighbours) and practising the piano since I came back. Music is addictive! There was also something called Silent Disco which I missed for La La Land. The day did not end until at least 1am each day! One night I opened the chalet door gingerly so not to wake people up but found I was the first one back. And that was 11:45pm! I was completely exhausted at the end of the holiday.
Another brave thing I did (in addition to the book plug) was to lead the song “How Great is Our God” in seven languages. I nearly chickened out (I had a lame excuse that my voice was going), but I’m so glad I didn’t!
I did some filming during the holiday (therefore not as many photos) and hopefully, I’ll be able to put together a video to treasure the memorable time.
After saying goodbyes to new friends and old friends in tears, husband and I went to Snowdonia for a short break. I was content to just curl up in an armchair and read in the lounge of the Youth Hostel after running around like a headless chicken for a whole week. And I was delighted to have cotton bed linen again! As we sat and read, a fellow hosteller glanced at our 10ofthose bags and asked if we had just been to Word Alive. And subsequently named a few people from JPC whom he knew (J Redfearn and T Fenning).
We did go up to Snowdon summit, by the way, cheating or no cheating…
In light of the near-irrational purchase at Word Alive, I had to edit my to-read pile. The photo on the left is of the books I’m reading and the photo on the right is how the to-read pile looks like at the moment. The Micah commentary is for JPCi small groups. The book at the bottom that I wrapped in a Christmas wrapping paper is A Call to Spiritual Reformation (re-named as Praying With Paul). Along with Praying With Paul study guide, they are for 121 Bible studies. The non-Christian pile on the right is small and still untouched…
The non-Christian book pile is short but it doesn’t mean I haven’t read any books in that category. I’m still getting through Psychological Criminals, or Guilt of Mind steadily every day and enjoying it very much.
Top left: Beginning of 2018. Top right: End of January. Bottom left: End of February. Bottom right: End of March.
I saw this coming but it still amused me. My book review blog post of Sex Is Not the Problem (Lust Is) was exceptionally popular among readers! I’m not sure how to feel about this popularity. My book reviews for other great books like A Call to Spiritual Reformation or Don’t Waste Your Life all had average number of viewing, while this book got the victory because of the book title (I presume)…
Misc of Misc
JOURNEY #06 is 60% complete. There are still 10% proofreading, 10% content approval, 10% final design and 10% printing to go. It’s possible that this is the last issue, for many reasons. I don’t know. What I do know is this issue is full of interesting stories again with some pretty amazing photos.
I went to Globe Cafe last Monday after being absent for ages. It was lovely to see almost the same group of volunteers that are still serving in this way and even more amazing, some PhD students were still here too!
Here’s a photo from last Saturday out with friends. It finished so late (without getting drunk or even getting to a bar) that we were fortunate just to catch the last metro home.