Tuesday, November 13, 2012

West Coast Conference 2012

The first full week of November is always West Coast Conference in Fresno, California.

We've attended in 2006, 2008, 2010, and 2011.

When we attended in 2010, Elder Morton had four young men speak during the morning sessions who had all grown up going to West Coast Conference and are now ministers.  I believe they all said that they had never missed a year.  I know that was true for Bro Joel Booker, at least.

Justin was just a baby that year and Jim turned to me and said "I want Justin to be able to say that."  So, we set in our hearts that we would go to West Coast every year.

Last year it was easy.  We were blessed with the finances early in the year, and since my brother was getting married right after WCC, it was a no-brainer.  We went and had a great time (You can read about our whole trip by clicking on the "The Long Trip" tab)

This year we have had a difficult financial year.  This past summer seemed like the absolute worst for us with the rising cost of food and gas, and lots of vehicle woes.  West Coast was just not going to happen this year.

Then, at the very last minute, we had a financial blessing occur and we suddenly had the money to go to WCC.  Even then, we didn't make our reservations until two days before we were to leave because my very practical, frugal husband kept wondering if he should save the money for bills and sundries.  But, he finally said "I asked God to provide the finances, and he did, so I need to uphold my end of the bargain."

So, two days before the conference, we "hotwired" a hotel room for $63, packed our clothes, gathered snacks and light meal preps and made our plans to attend.

We are sooooooo incredibly glad that we went.

The conference was wonderful.  Every single message was right on target, especially in light of the election day results.

Some of my highlights:

Bro Jimenez:  PeeWee Herman, skinny jeans, Goo-Goo Gaga, and Justin Beiberlips

Bro Miraflor:  Fear Not...even "four more years"

Bro Meyers (Now, Bro Meyers is one of our daughter work pastors, so it was a special treat to be able to hear him preach at WCC.  His message was especially good as it addressed some feelings that I've been having):  What got you into this will get you out.  Daniel and the Lions Den:  Daniel's prayer got him thrown into the lion's den, it also kept him alive while he was in the lion's den.

Bro Ham (He was the one that I was most looking forward to hearing.  Although Bro Hyler introduced him as though no one knew him, Bro Ham is well known to VPC Glendale.  He preached an extended revival for us in 2008 and has been back several times since.  We also got to hear him when we visited Bro Trevino's church last year after WCC.  I was waiting for him to greet the conference with an "Ain't God good?" but he didn't.  Jim said maybe he reserves that until he's been around awhile):  Traveling from house-to-house without leaving your home.  Paul wrote about idle women who were traveling from house to house, gossiping and causing trouble.  When we are on the computer, playing around with social media, even visiting blogs, we are traveling from house to house, even if we never leave our home.  We need to be careful and be mindful of how we spend our online time.

Bro Seals:  Honey...

Bro Mantooth:  The story of their burning car and the police officer asking over and over if everyone got out.  Be a good saint (Pastor Garrett:  he just solved all of our pastoral problems!).  Pray for your Pastor and his wife and family.

Bro Meade:  His mom getting 12 kids ready for church.  The story of Bro Meade praying for the Holy Ghost in his car while on the way to church (I cried!).

We also met some folks from Canada and overall just had a great time.  Jason and Justin went to the children's church every night, and then were really well behaved during the morning services.

Our hotel was awesome!!!  We hotwired a hotel room and wound up at the La Quinta Inn and Suites Northwest.  It was about 10 minutes from the conference, but it was a great place to stay.  The hotel staff was so friendly and service oriented.  In fact, the whole trip was that way.  I was blown away by the great service we received, especially after hearing years of complaints about service in general nowadays.

Like I said, we hotwired our room for $63 a night, plus we paid an extra $10 a night for a roll a way bed.  The hotel offers free breakfast, and it's not bad.  Cereal, muffins, toast, waffles, scrambled eggs and sausage.  Not the best, but definitely good enough to fill your tummy.

Then, for lunch we went back to our faithful Hometown Buffet.  We like to go there because it's affordable and everyone is happy.  We always eat a good filling meal.

Here's something funny:  On Thursday, Jim left a good tip for the "waitress" or whatever they are at Hometown.  When we walked in on Friday, the same waitress saw us and hurried over to put her name on our tag to be our waitress again.  Jim said "Wow, what Pastor said is true:  they really do remember you if you leave a good tip!"

That was the only meal that we ate out.  We packed sandwich fixings, hot dogs, canned chili and ramen, along with snacks and ate that for dinner.  It worked out really well and Jim was really pleased because we spent far less on food than he had budgeted.

Our daughter is twelve this year, so Jim gave her permission to attend the youth function after church on Friday night.  She had a wonderful time and got to play chaperone to a sparking couple, which she loved.  Mom had to get up at 1:30 in the morning to go pick her up (oh, the sacrifices we make, lol)

We did so well financially on this trip, that Jim agreed to take us to Knotts Berry Farm on Saturday!

So I quickly made a hotel reservation and we drove down Saturday afternoon, arriving soon after 4.  Knotts sells discounted tickets after 4, so it was very affordable.

Knotts is small enough that we were able to do most everything we wanted to by about 9.  We split up; Jim took the older ones on the roller coasters, while I took the littles through Camp Snoopy and some of the tamer rides.  I was pleasantly surprised that there was plenty for everyone to do, and the crowd was small enough that we hardly had to wait at all.

By 9 we were all tired and hungry, so we enjoyed a sit-down dinner at the Johnny Rockets in the park.  We were almost done when Justin fell off of his chair and bumped his head.  He cried hard, but I think he was more tired than anything else.  He had a small bump on his head.  The waitress and a manager came running and so I asked for some ice.  When the manager came back he said that he had called the EMT to come and look Justin over.  I was embarrassed because I knew that it was no big deal, but I understood that they had to do it for liability.  Thankfully, the restaurant was pretty much empty.  The EMT quickly pronounced him fine and we were on our way.

We spent Saturday night at the Radisson Suites Buena Park which was a fantastic hotel.  Very spacious room with a separate bedroom.  The free breakfast was made-to-order which did take awhile, and the place was packed, but it was yummy.  We got on the road at 11 and headed home.

It was a wonderful trip and I am so thankful that we got to go.  I came home strengthened, encouraged and renewed.

We're already looking at hotels for next year!!!