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Thinking about what I need to get finished before General Conference I began to feel excitement rise within me.  I paused for a moment  and asked myself this question, why am I excited about conference?  I’ve been going to General Conferences since 1973 so you would think I would be tired of it by now, or at least NOT excited.  Hmmmm….so what is it about the United Pentecostal Church International General Conference that puts a smile on my face and a pep in my step?  First of all I thought, I will get to see my two sisters and their families.  Since we have moved to California I do not get to see them as much as I use to, so I’m excited about that. 

2.  I enjoy the large crowd of pastors, teachers, missionaries, evangelists, preacher’s wives and preacher’s kids, of which a lot of them are my friends.  We will sit and talk and I will enjoy every minute. 

 3.  Walking into the large arena and hearing the music and singing of such a large audience is always a pleasure.  Sometime during the week I will stop and just listen as someone from the podium says, “Let’s give the Lord a hand clap of praise” and I will think, WOW! That sounds like a mighty rushing river!  There is nothing like it in the entire world.  All of these people clapping and making a joyful noise unto the Lord is incomparable. 

 4.  Wednesday morning I will be with Ladies Ministries Presidents and Secretaries from all the districts of the United Pentecostal Church for a meeting.

5.  I will look forward to hearing the General Superintendant’s message on Thursday night and hear the direction he is setting for this great fellowship.   

6.  Thursday morning as my husband attends a business session, I will attend Ladies day with many other ministers’ wives for a time of refreshing.  On Friday Morning as my husband attends more business, I will be meeting with friends and family for the ministers wives breakfast with the General Superintendant’s wife as our hostess.  Oh!  And then, there is Youth Day, Home Missions Service, Foreign Missions, Sunday school and Sunday Night Crusade!  These are just a few things that I look forward to at our annual United Pentecostal Church General Conference. 

I am thankful to be part of such a great body of believers and men and women who are giving themselves to ministry in some way.  Some are pastors.  Some are missionaries.  Some are evangelists.  Others are in children’s ministry, music ministry, teachers, youth pastors, and the list goes on. 

God, please bless Your people as we gather in Houston, Texas for our General Conference.  We need Your touch.  We need Your guidance.  We need to hear from You.  Thank-you for being mindful of us and sending us exactly what we need.  In Your precious Name.  Amen!

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Last week my sisters-in-law, Teresa Sarria and Patricia Hurst and myself took Mom (Dorothy Hurst) to Washington for Ladies Retreat. The retreat was held in beautiful Wenatchee, Washington. This all started with a phone call from Leah Seagraves, Ladies President, Washington District. She said that they would like to honor Mom for having started Ladies Retreat in their district 25 years ago and wanted to know if we thought we could make sure she got there. Well of course, we would do everything we could to get her there. We talked about it and planned, so on Wednesday, August 11, 2010 at about 2: p.m. we piled into the “old” Lincoln and took off. Randy’s (mom and dad’s youngest son) girls, Shavon (13) and Danika (8) rode with us to Kennewick, WA. So… there was six of us in the car. We didn’t quite know how this was going to go but we needed to get the girls home (Kennewick). As it turned out, we had a blast! We laughed and talked and slept (a little) all the way. We drove straight through which was about 15 hours. I’m sure that Shavon and Danika will never forget the trip. 🙂

Once in Kennewick we dropped the girls off at their home and then we got a room and slept for a few hours.

We awoke to a beautiful day in the Northwest and called Bro. Wayne Clemetson, pastor of the church that Mom and Dad pastored for 41 1/2 years to ask if we could see the newly remodeled church. He graciously said yes and met us there to give us the grand tour. They have done a beautiful job on the building and we enjoyed a little time with the Clemetson’s. May God richly bless them as they carry on the work at Apostolic Tabernacle, Kennewick, Washington.

Cindy Hansen (my other sister-in-law) who still lives in Kennewick, met us at the church and it was so good to see her. I always love to see Cindy’s big smile.

After the tour of the church, we headed over to Zips for a Papa Joe. This is one of our family’s all time favorite places for a good hamburger, french fries (with tartar) and something cold to drink. I’ve been in the Hurst family for 33 years (Sept. 2) now and was introduced to Zips from the very beginning and I love it just like they all do. We can never get near Kennewick and not stop in at Zips for a Papa Joe. We had a great visit with Cindy and then said our goodbyes and headed out to Wenatchee for Ladies Retreat.

The drive was beautiful, winding along the magnificent Columbia river and acres and acres of apple trees. We arrived at the Coast Wenatchee Center Hotel for Ladies Retreat with a couple of hours to spare before it all started at 7: p.m. August 12. When Mom got there, they had a hostess meet her and walk her to a reserved seat on the front row. Sis. Leah Seagraves stepped to the microphone and welcomed everyone and then especially welcomed Mom and said how honored she was that she was there. When she finished the ladies (all of them) began to applaud and stood to their feet and gave Mom a standing ovation. It was very touching. Bro. and Sis. Barnett the district superintendent also honored her with kind words. This was just the first night. Sis. Jalane Lumpkin brought the message and it was powerful. After service, we were all too tired to go out to eat so we went to the room and just ate a sandwich that Patricia so graciously walked across the street to a restaurant to get for us. Teresa has many friends in Washington district so she fellowshipped with them for awhile.

Friday was another great day in service with Karen Harding singing and speaking as only Karen can do. WOW! What a voice and what an anointing in both her singing and speaking.

Friday Night they had a big banquet and it was so good. Vicki Warren (ladies secretary) presented Mom with a beautiful cook book that the district ladies put together and dedicated it to Mom. They also had a beautiful bouquet of flowers for her. Vicki is from the Kennewick church and Mom was her Pastor’s wife all her life so the things she said about her were so beautiful. At one point ladies who had written a card for Mom, remembering past retreats brought them up front and put them in a basket for her. Sis. Leah said some beautiful things also and gave Mom such honor and respect. Thank you all for making Mom feel so special. I just have a feeling, that somewhere down the road of your life, you will receive double honor for the way you treated Dorothy Hurst at your retreat. You gave honor to whom honor was due and I believe the Lord smiles on you.

Saturday Morning we went to Leavenworth, WA. It is an absolutely gorgeous little town. We walked and shopped the quaint shops and had a good time. We then left there and traveled to Bend, Oregon. Headed home! We awoke on Sunday and drove the rest of the way to Hollister. We got home about 9: p.m. Sunday Night, August 15.

As you can see we had a very full 4 days. God was good to us and I am so thankful for this time I had with my dear mother-in-law. And, of course my sisters-in-law too. 🙂

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For some reason I have been thinking about friends lately and the different places they fill in my life.  I have many friends and each of them are different. 

A few weeks ago I found out that one of my life long friends had to have emergency surgery and since she is older, I was concerned.  Even though it wasn’t what we would call major, I was still concerned.  I can’t really explain the feelings that I had during that time.  What if something happened?  What would I do without her?  And the funny thing is, we don’t talk everyday or even every week, but I just know she’s there.  If I ever needed her for ANYTHING she would be there.  I have a few friends like this.  Lifelong friendships are awesome.  You are totally you when with these kind of friends. 

Then, just a couple of weeks ago we attended the General Convention of our organization, the United Pentecostal Church International.  This is always a highlight to me.  To gather with so many people of like precious faith and worship together is simply great.  Also at this meeting we get together for fellowship with other longtime friends and our “conference friends”.  When we get with these people we just pick up where we left off at the last convention and have great times of conversation, laughter and enjoying each others company. 

After the convention I was privileged to spend a few extra days with my sisters.  These are my blood sisters and there is no one like them in my life.  What can you say about sisters?  They just are!  I love them both dearly. 

The new friends that God is bringing into my life are so precious to me.  We are getting to know each other and you are fulfilling yet another role in my life and I hope that I am doing the same for you.  With the family of God, it is so exciting. 

We got home on Friday Night and I was already looking forward to seeing and worshipping with my church family.  What precious people of God they are.  As I was kneeling toward the end of an awesome service today and thanking God for what He is doing in our midst, it just came to me again, the different roles different people play in our lives.  As much as I love and appreciate my lifelong friends,  my longtime friends, my conference friends and even my sisters, none of them can take the place of my church family/friends.  There is a special and different bond with each of these groups of people but each one plays a very significant role in my life. 

I can’t find the words to express my deep gratitude for them all.  For the friends that have been part of my life, all of my life,  I love you more than you even realize.  My longtime friends that have stuck with me through thick and thin.  You’ve been there when those closest to me passed from this life.  We have cried together and sometimes laughed so hard we couldn’t hardly catch our breath.  Thanks for just being there.  Sometimes you didn’t know what to say, but you was there and that makes all the difference in the world.  I like the saying, “You can’t make new, old friends”.  🙂

To my sisters:  I love you and appreciate you more with each passing day.  Even in our relationships though, we each play different roles in each others lives.  Talk about ups and downs!  We have been through it all.  We have cried ’til we didn’t have any tears left to shed.  We have shared sorrow and grief together.  Our worlds have been shattered.  However, with each of our strengths and helping each other, we have made it through, together.  Then there are the times that we laugh so hard we hurt.  I’m thankful that this happens more often than not.  You two are the best!  I love you dearly.  “I’m smiling because you’re my sister.  And laughing because you can’t do anything about it”! 

My church family:  You are incredible.  I cannot even begin to tell you what you mean to me.  After being with all my friends at conference, when I walked into the church today, I was so warmed by your love.  Church families hold a very special place for the Pastor and his family.  I love singing and worshipping with you.  I love dancing before the Lord with you!  I love it when you pray for me and I love to pray for you.  I love how you love to hear your pastor preach and teach. 🙂  I love your outpourings of love that is given in the form of a gift or just a simple, “I love and appreciate you”.  You are simply the best and no one can fill that place in my life but YOU. 

This has been my thoughts for quite sometime now.  I love my life and all the people in it.  Thank you all for being YOU!  You are precious to me. 

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We all showed up yesterday at church wearing some version of black and leopard. 🙂  I wonder why that happens sometime?  I guess the old saying would apply…”Great Minds run in the same Channel”.  We thought it was “cute” so we took a picture.          

     Church Ladies

Minuet, Me, Amanda, Mindy, Danelle

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This may seem a little sacrilegious to some folks, but bare with me for a little bit.

I grew up in a Pentecostal Preacher’s home.  I loved every minute of it.  Really!  When I was young and we would have a revival (extended series of services), we went to church every night of the week.  Then we progressed to having Saturday Nights with no service.  That was great because then we didn’t have to go to church on Saturday Night with curlers in our hair.  No hot rollers back in those days so we had to roll our hair Saturday Night so it would be pretty for Sunday.  Not quite sure why it wasn’t so important to be pretty on Saturday Night. 🙂  Anyway…then we progressed to having Monday and Tuesday Nights off and having Revival services Wednesday through Sunday.  Ahhh..the joys.  Well,  in some of those long services when my friends and I would get a little bored we would make up things with the songs we sang in church.  Here are a couple we use to sing and  then laugh ’til we cried.  My brother and sister was in on it too.  “Now lettuce (let us)  have a little chocolate (talk with) Jesus, Lettuce tell Him all about our bubbles (troubles)….”  and,  “I’ll fry (fly) an egg (away) Oh glory…” .  As I got older we still had fun with songs.  We would mix words up like, “Oh glory je to bejus let the rallelujahs hole….”(Oh Glory be to Jesus, let the Hallelujahs roll).

Other times people thought they heard something different then what was actually being sung.  A friend of ours, Bill Henry, who we (Nathan and I) sang with for many years, wrote hundreds of awesome songs.  One song he wrote, “Running With HEAVEN on My Mind”,  had to have a little word change, because the first time we sang it he had written it to say, “I’m running with WINNIN’ on my mind” and a man in our church was laughing after service because he said it sounded like we were singing,” I’m running with WOMEN on my mind.”  🙂    My mother-in-law said that when she was a little girl she couldn’t ever understand why they would sing a song in church about a cross-eyed bear name Gladly…”Gladly the cross I’d bare…”.  Singing is good for the soul but it can kind of get you trouble sometimes too.  For instance, one time when my Dad resigned from a church, he then asked Mother to sing and she sang, “It Will Take Me a Million Years to Thank the Lord”.  Probably not the best selection for the moment. 🙂

Well, I hope you have enjoyed my little tour down memory lane.  I’m sure if you were raised in a preacher’s home you could tell some of your own stories.  Just thought I’d share a little church humor with you.  Hope you don’t think I’m horrible, but P.K.s  are good at finding ways to have good fun, even in church. 🙂

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tangerine friends

 

The 12th Chapter of Romans, in the 14th verse says, “Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep”.  The Message says it this way, “Laugh with your happy friends when they’re happy; share tears when they’re down”.

I love friends like this.  If you have a friend that something good has happened to, why not call them up (if you can’t be with them) and have a good ol’ rejoicing session!  You will be blessed as well as them.  If a friend is weeping now, sit down and cry with them. 

There is another scripture that I love and it is, Galations 6:10—As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.  We give and give to reach people that are not saved and this is right.  However, don’t forget your friends that are in the church.  The ones that work beside you in the gospel work.  As the scripture above says, “especially” unto those of the household of faith. Let them know you care today.

I am so blessed to have these kind of friends in my life.  Let your friends know that you care today, one way or the other.  Happy or Sad.  Up or down.  They are your friends and they matter.  Let’s just make this our unofficial “Friend Day”. 

tender moment

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What a smashing success!  Over 87 visitors.  So many good things happened I don’t even know how to put it in words.  Go here for a good report and some photos.

You can also view photos on my flickr account.  You will find it in the right column under “More Pics To Enjoy”.

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