Wow! I have been all over the place in the past eight days! Last Monday, I flew to Dallas for a number of meetings in the Dallas area and Shreveport, LA. Other than my complete inability to get around without a navigation system in my rental car, the trip was awesome. I met AMAZING people who continue to confirm that this marketing/pr/development position for the United Methodist Men was the RIGHT decision for me.
While in Dallas, I had coffee with Mary Brooke Casad from the Connectional Table (within the United Methodist Church). She is a precious person and I know that I will enjoy working with her for a long time through the connection of the UMC. (I just hope her LSU Tigers aren't able to beat my Crimson Tide in a few weeks!)
I met the team of guys who work with Greg Vaughn on the ministry, Letters from Dad. We (UMM) promote and endorse Letters from Dad in United Methodist Churches around the world. This ministry is blessing families and making a difference in the spiritual lives of men.
I also met Dr. Gene Getz. I couldn't believe the amount of quality time that Dr. Getz gave me. He is a real pioneer in men's ministry and an amazing man of God. Dr. Getz has written over 50 books, one of which is The Measure of a Man. We (UMM) also strongly endorse this book as a teaching tool in men's ministries in local churches. Dr. Getz gave me about 15 books while I was out there. I just left his office so encouraged and excited about my own spiritual journey.
While in Dallas, I met a group of men from First United Methodist Richardson. They are like, the model of successful men's ministry. These guys have really good hearts and I look forward to sharing the story of their ministry efforts through our revised website that will launch in January. (Yes, we are going to launch a completely new "look" to our website and many new marketing materials really soon. More details coming.)
So before I wrapped up Dallas and drove to Shreveport, I had breakfast with Andy James (UMC Reporter). I learned a lot about the Reporter and had a great visit with Andy. I also visited with Bishop Bledsoe, bishop of the North Texas Conference. He was gracious, encouraging and kind. A funny story...I set the appointment with his assistant. All she told him was that "Bari from United Methodist Men" wants to meet with you. Well, when I walked in his office, you can imagine his surprise. I was not what he was expecting! :)
From Dallas, I was off to Shreveport with a visit with Judge Carl Stewart and his wife, Jo Ann. What a couple! I can not say enough about these wonderful people. We dined at a seafood restaurant near downtown. I learned about their family and careers and community. What quickly stood out, though, was their commitment to the Lord and their commitment to people. I want to invest in others and be a difference-maker just like them. Judge Stewart was on the UMM board for eight years and provided great leadership, especially in the area of Scouting.
So, I flew home on Thursday....Worked all day Friday in the Nashville office. I caught up around my house on Saturday and then was off again on Sunday to Gulf Breeze and Panama City, FL. (My husband, Clif, traveled with me this time. He is serving as my living, breathing navigation system! :)) We leave here today and head to Birmingham, AL for meetings and then back to Nashville to wrap up the week.
Yes, I'm busy. But, I love what I do. I love people. I love the people of the United Methodist church. I love the wonderful Lord we serve.