Conference of runners

Our bedroom looked a bit like this - nice, eh?

June 21-25 we were away for the triennial OMF Japan conference. Including children there was about 150 of us staying in a lovely hotel with Japanese tatami (rice mat) rooms, excellent buffet food, a pool and some outdoor onsens (public hot spring baths). I enjoyed the view from our room of nearby mountains covered in deep green, sometimes wrapped in mist. We got a chance to go in the pool with Ethan, but sadly we didn’t get a chance to enjoy the onsen.

The location of the hotel is technically still in our city, Sapporo, even though it was an hour bus ride away. There’s nothing much there apart from the mountains and some hotels renowned for their onsens – so I was told by my friend at our local recycle shop.

The OMF International General Director, Patrick Fung, was giving the main Bible readings from Acts, particularly from ch20. I love that chapter, such an inspiring speech from Paul – final words of farewell having taught them the whole counsel of God and having lived it out among them above reproach.

Another Patrick mentioned was the community of runners from Heb 12:1 (the link was from Acts 20:24). He showed us a couple of clips from the film ‘Chariots of Fire’. One was of Eric Liddell winning the 400m at the Olympics, with a voice over saying how God made him fast; the other right at the beginning as the whole team run along the beach, a community of runners. (The theme of running also came up in Phil 3:12-14 and 1 Cor 9:26.) We’re not meant to do it alone. Patrick pointed out that it was when David was alone, a lonely leader, that he ended up committing adultery with Bathsheba.

The conference was a little taste of that community of runners. All the OMF missionaries in Japan were together for a week. That only happens once every 3 years, but we enjoyed being together while it lasted – learning from God’s Word together, praising Him together, praying for each other … encouraging each other to keep running the race.

Me & my guitar 🙂

we had a fun Fun Night

For a lot of the meetings, these 2 were on the 'back row'!

Our friend Rosanne flew in from the UK in time for the conference! Nice surprise!

Was great having 3 generations of Aylings there! (We're sitting with my parents there)

Ethan with Granny 🙂

My dad made the banner - this was the theme

the group photo - can you see us?! Its like "Where's Wally?"!

3 thoughts on “Conference of runners

  1. Can see Ayling Juniors and Pa in group photo but not sure about Ma. Is she right in the middle? Really nice to see so many photos.
    K x


  2. Hey N&A, Hope you guys are enjoying plodding on. It was encouraging to read of the fellowship you had at the conference. It made us feel like we weren’t so alone, strange really. The thought that there are others out there making the choice to cross cultures for Jesus’ sake is nourishing to us. Hoping we’re just coming out of a dip, which has been hard going, but thankful that the Lord has kept out sights on him. He’s our only hope. Keep on learning the language and trusting in him. Lots of love, S&F


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