A few months ago, I signed up to volunteer at Christian Alliance for Orphans Summit 9. This conference is where many people with a heart for orphans from all over the US and world come together and learn about what’s going on in the world of adoption and foster care.
This year, Summit was hosted by none other than Brentwood Baptist Church. It is a huge conference so it was all hands on deck, so I took two days off to volunteer to help.
Turns out, it was the largest Summit EVER. They had to close registration after 2,500 signed up (first time ever). As a volunteer, I was a breakout host which meant, I was able to be in many of the break out classes. Unfortunately, the ones I was assigned to were pretty large and I didn’t get to pay attention too much, but I got to talk to some pretty awesome folks, so I was thrilled.
Here’s one of the main evening times. The times where everyone was gathered to worship really did rock my socks off.
Lemme tell you…there is NOTHING like worshiping in a crowd of Jesus-lovers! You can see quite a few empty spots in the balcony. This was the last session of the conference and many, many folks had already left. I wish I’d gotten a shot of one of the day before.
I was fortunate to host one of Dr. Karyn Purvis’s classes on connection. For those of you who aren’t in the adoption world or don’t know, Dr. Purvis has done ground breaking work regarding attaching with kinds from hard places or who have experienced trauma. She is an amazing, amazing woman. Many adopted families read her book The Connected Child and a for 2 years in a row, I attended her Empowered to Connect conference that BBC also hosted. I was able to meet her briefly before her class and she was just as nice as could be.
I was also able to meet Barbara Rainey who you might recognize as the wife of Dennis Rainey from Family Life. The Rainey’s also created the Passport to Purity program that Jenna and I did back in January. I was able to talk with Mrs. Rainey for quite some time before their session and was able to tell her how awesome the P2P program was. She was so nice and told me to tell Jenna how proud she was of her for completing the program and to hang in there that she could do it! I wish I’d gotten a pic of us, but I was too nervous to ask her or Dr. Purvis for a photo. FAIL.
Friday night’s worship began with some worship music by Nicole C. Mullen. HOLY COW. That was some rockin’ worship! That woman is amazing. Jenna had to opportunity to meet her after. She signed a book she wrote for Kylie.
And then she was nice enough to pose for a photo with Jenna. This woman does much to mentor young girls and I’m pleased Jenna thought what she stood for was cool. Nicole took quite a bit of time to talk with Jenna and encourage her.
The evening concluded with one of the pastors I respect most…and he did a BANG UP job.
There is nothing like hearing David Platt speak on adoption. He has two adopted children, one from China and is so passionate about adoption. If you are interested in hearing some of his talks similar to the one he gave at Summit, go here. If you’ll remember, I had the immense pleasure of meeting David at our agency’s picnic right after we received Kylie’s referral. He is truly an amazing man.
Another one of my favorite speakers was Bishop W. C. Martin. If you want to get fired up for the fatherless, just spend some time with this fella. I am about 1/2 way through his book Small Town, Big Miracle and I’d highly recommend it. One word of caution though…read at your own risk. You could walk away changed or at least motivated and inspired.
As you might remember, I have really been struggling to find a channel for my growing passion for adoption/orphans. Summit really helped me in getting closer to knowing what exactly I might do with that passion. I am so glad to have been blessed enough to be part of such an amazing conference.