Last night we had so many laughs thanks to a walk down memory lane here at Disney in Orlando for the Every Nation World Conference.
Every Nation is the network of churches that ours are part of, and this event was the 20th Anniversary celebration, with Ron serving as emcee.
About 1,000 from 52 nations attended (with another 2,500 yet to arrive), and I was reminded of a few truths about friendship…
Memories, both good and bad, are treasures — This group has endured many ups and downs together over the years, and it’s the sticking together that makes for real reasons to celebrate. Friends who’ve seen you through and seen you at your worst are those you can really count on when the going gets rough. You seldom realize it at the time or when you’re young, but later you wouldn’t trade any of it for anything.
Laughing at yourself is good medicine — Ron is naturally funny, and this group loves to laugh. Plenty of inside jokes and ribbing of one another happens when we gather, especially when you meet in your 20’s and are now in your 50’s. Life makes you laugh AND cry, and we were doing a bit of both last night. Went to bed full and grateful.
You rely on others’ faith and strength in times of pain — With all our family is going through right now, we’re reminded how its the faith of others’ and their hugs, prayers, and concern, that lift your load. Just two years ago everyone gathered around Jordan and our family at the last conference, never knowing we’d need similar prayers again so soon. What a gift, and one we don’t take for granted.
When you dream with friends you do bigger things and have more fun — So much has been achieved in the last 20 years. With just 2 churches in 5 nations at the beginning, it’s now 500 churches in 73 nations. Pastor Russ Austin who spoke at the event, attributes it to big faith, radical discipleship, and spiritual family. Awesome to consider.
Here are a few fun photos that capture the evening. May you treasure your own friends more deeply than ever. They are gifts no money can buy and only grow sweeter with age. On to four more days of friends galore at the happiest place on earth (that would be Disney:)