ACFW Conference Recap – part 3

ACFW Conference Program

Once again, the day starts with worship and a devotional from Peter Leavell. Peter had an incredible story of learning to surrender to God through a really tough season.

Peter’s story involved letting go. For all of his 30+ years he had been able to rely on his own intelligence and abilities. Then he was struck down with a strange autoimmune disease that robbed him of his physical strength and some of his cognitive skills. He couldn’t work, couldn’t write. All he was left with was … God.

Healing came after many months and a renewed sense of God’s faithfulness and desire to be in charge of his life. On coming through that season he received the tremendous honour: winning Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild Operation First Novel Contest for 2011.

Workshops and appointments.

Peter’s story was a great way to start the day especially for those of us hoping for positive responses in our appointments later.

My agenda for the day followed that of the previous one. Three workshops interrupted by two more appointments. No great revelations. Once again, my two appointments didn’t follow the script I’d planned. Both were extremely useful as I mentioned yesterday.

My mind was racing with all the new ideas and knowledge I’d gained over the three days. My brain was maxed out. It had been a long time since I had felt so mentally bloated. Thank goodness I had taken notes and most sessions provided handouts, otherwise I’m sure I would have had to invest another $200 in purchasing the CD recordings of all sessions.

Carol Awards

The conference concluded at night with the Gala Dinner. Besides providing an opportunity for all of us to dress up, the night served to announce the annual Carol Awards. A panel of prominent ACFW leaders determine the winners across a series of categories that you can find here.

By all accounts the Carols have become the second biggest ‘prize’ for Christian fiction after the Christy’s that are hosted by the ECPA.

Final Thoughts

I didn’t want it to end. Even though my brain was now mush, I felt at home in this community who shared the passion of writing stories whilst walking with Jesus.

I felt affirmed. Something I’ve experienced little in my life.

Even now over two weeks later, my heart is still smiling. I struggle to put words to the feeling. Is it joy, happiness, I’m not sure. But I so hope it lingers for a while yet.

I met some lovely people, a handful of whom, I hope this is the start of a journey together. For how long, I know not? But that’s not the point. But trying to reflect God is.

God is so so faithful. I was so struck by the many stories of His faithfulness: newbie authors like me being asked for their manuscripts, not by just one, or even two, but in some cases, by three publishers/agents. Or the way friendships were refreshed and renewed as virtual writing buddies met, some for the first time, or for the umpteenth time at this annual sojourn.

The tangible evidence of answered prayer, whether it was specific needs as prayed over by Brandilyn in the prayer room or simply the wonderful spirit of camaraderie and generosity that gently blew through the hallways, was inspirational.

God is good.

He’s at work.

I hope He wants me back in Indianapolis in 2013.

Do let me know if there is any extra detail you’d like me to share on particular aspects of the event. I will provide a summary of Mike Hyatt’s two keynotes in my next post.

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