So, these folks are bouncing around in the back of my head. So much so that I’ve decided to write about them, albeit briefly. Why?
Because we spent an intense nine days together, braving the cold wind, walking the vast Sydney Olympic Park where the Hillsong Conference was held, driving from Parammatta (it really mattas) to the Acer Arena, then to Chinatown for late dinners, to supermarkets, to the seaside town of Manly, and even to Miranda police station out in the ‘burbs. (Just to retrieve Stacy’s cellphone which got lost at the Youth conference).
Oh, and of course, the Hillsong Conference. All those morning and evening services, listening to inspiring sermons, queueing up outside the doors of the Arena, jostling with the waiting crowd, chope-ing seats with our jackets and scarves for other friends; all part of the plan.
So to my conference mates, here is my two-part paean.
#1: Big Poppa and Big Mama (Fang Wei and Sook Yi)
He got his name from a pizza place called The Sopranos. The biggest pizza you could order was called Big Poppa and it was only for take-out because they had the boxes but not the dish to serve it in. Fang Wei, who was our leader, arranged for our hotel rooms and rental van, and did due diligence for everything from parking rates at the Acer Arena to where we could have our late dinners. He also earned a nickname after the trip: Free Wifi (FW) for his ability to secure internet access on his iPhone where others could not.
Sook Yi, his wife of 16 years, by default, became Big Mama. Also because she made big breakfasts for the fellow occupants in their 3-bedroom hotel apartment and made their pack lunches to take to Conference every morning. Big Mama has a big heart.
My roomie of six nights, Judith was always fun and engaging. People always feel good about themselves around her and that is a gift indeed.
Wilson was our brave and tireless driver. He’d never driven a 12-seater van before (no easy task when cornering) and endured drives into the city looking for curbside parking so we could eat Chinese food, and that unforgettable foray into a Sydney suburb for the Miranda Police Station.
He was always fun to be around with, and thinks of others. Church is so privileged to have someone like him in our midst.
Ainsley is a Conference alumnus, having attended in ’07. This time round, she knew what she wanted out of the time spent going from one conference venue to another. She never got tired of shepherding the youth around, making sure they got to places on time, she never complained.
Ok, at this point, I’m wishing this post could be a lot funnier. For some reason, it ain’t so. Maybe tomorrow.