On Thursday morning I got up early to drive to Guelph Bible Conference grounds for Write! Canada the annual writers conference organized by The Word Guild. My friends Susan Stewart and Claire Alexander were not attending this year and I missed them. But I did look forward to seeing other old and dear friends and the sun shone brightly as my beat-up but faithful old Honda Civic wound its way up the drive of the conference centre, and into the grounds with their beautifully kept gardens, shaded by tall trees and dotted with Adirondack chairs.
I arrived at 10.00 am, in plenty of time to put up signs around the conference centre and be ready to help my friend Bonnie, the registrar, when two hundred or more writers and faculty arrived for registration at 12.30 pm.
A sense of anticipation hung in the air. The pre-conference quietness was pregnant with promise and under girded with the prayers of the sixty or so strong strong prayer team that supports this organization. I knew that over the next three days, connections would be made; skills honed; new friendships formed, callings affirmed and destinies would be birthed.
I checked in with Andi, the volunteer coordinator and noticed an empty gift bag on the table she was sitting at. It had a sign next to it: "Prayer Requests." I was not going to pass up this opportunity to ask for help. I found a scrap of paper and wrote out my prayer request--basically something like:
"I need direction--am I really a writer or just deluding myself? Does what I write matter or is it only fluff? I need to know, Thank you, Belinda"I dropped the request into the yawningly empty bag with a sense of jumping to the front of the prayer queue but I knew that my aching question was now in good hands.
I went off to enter into the exciting bustle of a conference-about-to-happen.
It was wonderful from the very first moments. High quality teaching, an inspiring plenary address by Tim Huff, who had won the Grace Irwin award the night before at the awards gala, and the fellowship of friends who are kindred spirits.
Several times when I introduced myself to someone new the person said, "How is your mother-in-law doing now?" with an expression of genuine concern. I knew then that I had just met a member of that band of prayer warriors that had been praying for her.
They were everywhere, these pray-ers--getting together in the early morning and again in the evening each day, to pray throughout the conference. Janet Sketchley , the prayer team lead, whispered to me at one point that she was praying for God to give me a "marker," something that I would know was his direction. It was good to know that my sad little note had been found and I thanked her with all my heart, so grateful for the ministry of the prayer team. Now that I knew they were praying I was waiting for that "marker..."
To be continued!