Come Away with Me and Rest
Many of you know my oldest daughter, Kelly, who has some intellectual disabilities, but is as sweet as honey. She turned 29 this summer (how can this be!) but to this day she is the best “rester” I know. Often when I’m on mission travel, I’ll call home and talk to Kelly and ask her, “What did you do today?” She’ll reply in her sweet, soft voice, “I rested.” Even when she was a baby, she was such a great sleeper and looked so absolutely peaceful and cozy in her crib, that I was often tempted to crawl in there and join her in her peaceful slumber! Unfortunately, she didn’t get this trait from me!
When you look at the scriptures, rest is a huge priority for God and He makes it very clear that He wants it to be a priority for us. Exodus 31:15 contains one of the Lord’s top ten commands: “For six days, work is to be done, but the seventh day is a day of Sabbath rest, holy to the Lord.” God knows that we need this downtime for extra sleep, time to enjoy our families and friends, time for recreation and time to slow down the pace, in order to be reenergized for the work week ahead.
Matthew 11:28 is comforting to all those whose energy reserves are depleted: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
Today, October 1, we opened registration for our 2019 New Wineskins Global Mission Conference, one of the largest mission training conference for Anglicans in North America. The conference is held every three years at Ridgecrest Conference Center which is situated in the heart of the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains near Black Mountain, NC. Our four-day conference is packed with engaging speakers, interactive missionary awareness presentations, missionaries sharing their exploits from the field, and dozens of exhibitors each representing an effective ministry aimed at taking the Gospel to the nations. With over 1,000 people who come from dozens of different countries, the missional fervor is palpable. But, at the end of the conference, everyone is inspired, but tired!
The feedback we have gotten in previous years is that attendees want more space in the schedule for conversation and connection. They want more time to commune with God surrounded by all this nature. They see the inviting rocking chairs that are dotted all around the campus, but they don’t have time to ever sit in them and rest. They see the signs to mountain trails and a huge cross up on the peak above the Ridgecrest campus, but there is no time to hike up there and just take in the magnificent views stretched out in all directions.
We are changing that this time by encouraging attendees to come early for a day (or two) of rest! We are encouraging families, groups of young people, teams from churches, and individuals to add an extra night or two to their stay to enjoy the beauty of God’s creation and all the fun things there are to do at Ridgecrest such as:
Praying in the outdoor prayer chapel
Hiking up to the scenic overlooks
Doing the High Ropes Challenge course with your family or group
Playing miniature golf on the course that runs along the mountain stream
Eating ice cream at the Scoops shop or reading at the Clouds coffee shop
Playing corn hole or bocce on the lawn
Sitting in the rocking chairs and …..rocking!
The ironic thing is that this God-inspired idea is not just about having fun, enjoying the outdoors and getting some exercise before four days of conference sitting. This dedicated time, I believe, will help all those who attend to re-connect with God, to quiet our over-active minds, and to tune our ears to hear the still, small voice of God. When we take time to engage in the rest that the bible talks about, our hearts are more ready and open to discern our unique missional calling. Our souls and spirits are more willing to say “Yes” to the things God does have for us to do to expand his Kingdom on earth.
The next New Wineskins Global Mission Conference is September 26-29, 2019, but you can add an extra day or two and the necessary meals to your reservation when you call Ridgecrest to select your housing. Trinity School for Ministry is bringing their entire student body and staff down early to do just that! To register for the New Wineskins 2019 conference, simply click here.
We have designed the conference in ways that will facilitate more time for connection and reflection. Pray also that many families and individuals will come early to rest and prepare their hearts to receive all that God has in store for them. Our prayer is that many of you will attend the conference and allow God to speak to you about the specific mission that He has prepared for you!
Jenny Noyes is the Executive Director of New Wineskins Missionary Network. She is a passionate speaker, networker, and evangelist. For fun, Jenny can be found riding ElliptiGOs with her husband Larry, playing tennis, and spending time with her family. You can contact Jenny here.