Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Shepherd's Conference 2011 and Rummy-O with friends

The Shepherds Conference 2011 was such a blessing to be involved with! There were lots of late nights, but it was sooo encouraging to witness the +-750 volunteers serving the +-3500 pastors who came in from all around the world!

I volunteered and was placed with Izak and some other GBI staff in the Shipping Department. Each pastor was given 14 giveaway books at the conference, plus a $50 gift voucher to spend at any of the bookstores or shops on the campus. The Shipping department was available to ship those back to them. Then, there were publishers set up on the campus plus lots of conference specials on books and even a 'Shepherds Shoppe' that had t-shirts, travel mugs and other souvenirs for the pastors to buy.

Here is the entrance to our Shipping department:

 Here are the friendly GBI'ers:
 Here are many volunteers working while a session is on:
 Here tables are set up for lunchtime in what is usually the parking lot:
 Here are some pics of places on the campus that has been set up especially for the conference:

 Someone said that this is like 'Disneyland' for pastors! It really is so fun to see these men that work hard pouring out their lives for others all year and then they come here and are served. There is a never ending supply of cold drinks, food, books... and even haircuts! Here is the little barber station that is set up during the conference:

 Here are a few more of the campus:

 They even set up lounges for the specific countries represented! There is a Russian lounge for example so that Russian pastors can meet one another and enjoy food that is more what they are used to enjoying culturally!
 Anyway... Back to the shipping department... Here you see a sign leading to our little room:
 Here are some pastors sending off books... If you look towards the back of the room you can see blue bins stacked up on the shelves. Well, they could have bins allocated for their books and add to their individual bin during the conference and then we would organize to ship the contents for them at the end of the conference.
 Here I am holding the 'punch', which was what would be done to their conference cards upon signing up for shipping: (Whoooaa! It really was quite difficult to do at first and then Izak changed the setting to a smaller hole setting which helped me feel a little 'more capable'!!!)
 We had many 14 hour days and finally, quite late on the Saturday evening, after the conference had come to an end... our lonely little car got to take us home... with sore feet and burning, tired eyes... but joyful hearts!

 Then, just last night, we had a fun get-together with Bryan and Polly... and an evening for... wait for it... Rummy-O! (Known as Rummycub back home!)

Here are the serious players:
Check the intensity and concentration!

 And your friendly South Africans:
 Thanks for reading our blog! We have had some very heavy rains and I took some pics to show you the Californian roads which are now rivers! Quite frightening! I can see why so many people have such big vehicles now! I will post the pics soon...

Keep in touch and please keep the comments coming!


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A delightful evening at the Ronald Reagan Library

We have had a wonderful week, beginning with an evening celebrating the 25th Anniversary for TMS at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library...Here is a link to check out their galleries and virtual tours:

Here is a pic of us at the entrance:
Now, I am sure that some of you would have seen the program- "Where's Wally?" Well- let me know if you can spot Izak! hehe.
We traveled to the venue with Bob and Lenore- it was lovely to catch up with such busy lives all round!
Here they are at the entrance:

And then we got a look at a 60'x20' replica the white house:
(It is shown all over the country and is updated with the new president's changes to the oval office etc...)
I love how this one almost looks like a real life limo! But... it is just part of the display:
Here is a small glimpse of the Oval office currently:
Then, onwards we adventured, deeper into the Ronald Reagan museum...
They had a life size room made up to be like the Oval Office when Reagan was president:
These and other giant and colourful pictures mark the halls of the museum:

We then followed the crowds to the pavilion which hosted Air Force One and the actual celebratory banquet:
Here I am standing in front of Air Force One: (Typically you get to go through the plane to get down to the pavilion, but we were a little late...)
 Here you see some guests making their way through the plane:

 This is a picture of the pavilion from above:
 Here is a closer look at what the tables looked like:
 The singer- Jubilant Sykes blew us away with his beautiful voice:
 Here is a close-up of our delicious meal: (salmon, steak, delicious salad and vegetables!)
Here is one of the two of us standing under Air Force One at the end of the evening... courtesy of Lenore...

 And to top it off, each table could take the centre-piece home and I was nominated to take our tables!
Our first All American vase:

I planned to include info from the Shepherds Conference, but will do that with our next post! There was just too much to include. We were glad to bump into Dave and Mary Gillies at the Banquet- but don't have a picture to prove it! 

Well, until next time! Totsiens!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Beloved snow and meet the EWG and Sem wives ladies!

I have secretly (Alright, perhaps not so secretly!) been hoping for it to snow this winter but it hasn't snowed in La Crescenta since +-1984 and this stat according to Pat our WPC- Weather Report Landlady! But it suddenly began getting very cold and one morning on our way to the campus we looked up and... saw SNOW-covered mountains!

Well, with this development, I began hoping even more for snow in the normally sunny California... and....
TA-DA! It did! Here are the Bakkes' enjoying some Californian snow:

I have been planning to  introduce you to the Every Woman's Grace group and also to the Sem Wives group.... So at last, here are pictures of both. 

This is the EWG Bible Study Group: (We meet at 10 on Wednesday mornings...)
 I thought that I had managed to capture everyone, but missed Dot who is the lady right on the right end- she is so precious and couldn't resist putting up an extra picture so that you can see her! So encouraging to meet these more 'mature' ladies who have walked with the Lord for so many years and who love Him so much still.
Then, our International Sem Wives group which meets at 7pm on Wednesdays.
We have ladies from South Africa, England, Australia, the Philippines, Germany and Belgium...

More exciting news! We are going to the 25th Anniversary TMS Celebration Banquet this Friday, which is going to be a formal 'do' hosted at the Ronald Reagan Presidential library! They are having a well known singer called Jubilant Sykes performing and also John Macarthur will be sharing about the last 25 years of The Masters Seminary! What a blessing to be here during this time in order to be a part of this! :) 

Here is a link to check out the venue in more detail:
We are excited to get to tour the library and they even have a small replica of the Oval Office that is available for viewing which we will hopefully get to see too!
Here is a link to the Oval Office exhibition:

We hope to take lots of pictures! So perhaps in the next blog post, you will see our smiling faces touring the library and 'Oval Office'! 

The Shepherd's conference begins next week and like I mentioned before, I will be volunteering to work alongside Izak in the shipping department and I am really looking forward to seeing 3000 pastors flocking in from all over the world and hoping to serve them alongside the other 500 Grace Community Church members!

I took these pictures just this afternoon so that you can see the Shepherds Conference preparations:

In closing, Izak said something good about the snow we had on the La Crescenta mountains recently, based on Isaiah 1:18, "Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool."

He said, ...come rain or shine, these mountains have always been a dull brown but now, for the first time, they were a beautiful white! It reminds me of God's grace to those who believe in His Son. His  grace covers our sin, so that all He sees, when He looks at us, is His own righteousness through Jesus!

Have a great 'rest of the week' and we hope to hear from you soon!