Well, last week we three Cunningham kids, our cousin Gabe, and several people from our church spent a good portion of the week up in Bluefield, Virginia for the annual Reformed Family Bible Conference. It was an amazing trip, and next year we're hoping we can go again... as an entire family this time.
On Tuesday, we three, Gabe, Bethany G., and Joseph and Leila B. got up early for breakfast and to get the car packed. It was weird to have us packing it up and then telling Mom good-bye because for years I've been so used to Dad packing the van and then everyone leaving. After getting in our caravan, we began driving north. We took the scenic route to Virginia, going through South Carolina, then North Carolina to Tennessee and then finally to Virginia. We spent about seven, eight hours driving (including a few breaks), and we arrived in the town of Bluefield that afternoon. Bluefield is literally right on the border of West Virginia, and later we would actually cross the state line on our way home. The entire Appalachian region is absolutely gorgeous, and I wouldn't mind at all living somewhere in that area.
Because I was a last-minute addition, there was a bit of a fiasco over where I would be staying. However, we finally solved it, and I shared a room with Evi F. We got the AC dorms while Mandy, Bethany, and a few others were in the non-AC dorms; thankfully, the weather would remain nice all week so those without AC weren't miserable. After unpacking, it was soon time for dinner at 5 PM. In the past, I'd heard horror stories about the food served at the conference, and I was fully expecting to spend the entire week without food; however, God was merciful in that the food was edible, not great but enough to keep you from starving; everyone agreed that the food was much better this year, even if the portions were tiny.
On Tuesday night, we had our first hour-long lecture from one of the pastors in the denomination. Between Wednesday and Friday, there were three lectures a day, two in the morning and then one at night. The lectures this year were on the book of Ephesians and centered around Christ and the church. They were all excellent and very relevant to the times we live in. It made me very thankful that we have such good, faithful pastors who still preach God's Word and not rely on entertainment to do it.
When there were no lectures, there was plenty of other things to do. Several of the nerds played nerf gun war, many guys and a few girls played ultimate frisbee, but most of the time people sat around various places on the campus and socialized. On Tuesday evening, a Gospel group from further south gave a concert in the chapel; on Wednesday afternoon, Judy Rogers, who is the wife of one of the pastors, gave a concert; on Thursday afternoon, several of the young musicians and singers got together and did a little concert, which was excellent. A few people at any time of the day could be seen playing an instrument on campus, and we even had a talented bagpipe player one day. Several people also danced throughout the week, particularly the Salty Dog Rag, and it was largely for practice for Friday. On Friday evening, after the last lecture, everyone gathered in the Dome (the campus' gym) for the dance. The place was filled, and people danced the Pattycake Polka, the Virginia Reel (a fun dance), Postie's Jig (very entertaining to watch people leap around and try not to hit each other), and several others.
It was an amazing time to meet other people from other churches in the denominations and to make new friends. The one downside is that the entire week was quite exhausting, given the busy days, excellent lectures, late nights, and early mornings. By Friday, it was clear that sleep deprivation was beginning to set in, and several people were tired before the evening dance began. Most of us spent the trip home sleeping (except Mandy and Joseph who goofed off in front of the camera and did some rather bizarre and strange things, as evidenced by Mandy's pictures).
It was an amazing trip, and we all thoroughly enjoyed it. Everyone's already beginning to think of next year's conference, and we're hoping that Mom and Dad will be able to join us next time.
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