The 2009 Christian Meetings and Conventions Association showcase conference was last week, in Ft. Worth, TX. What a tremendous week it was, one in which God was present throughout the entire conference! God was truly glorified during the week.
I was anticipating traveling to Ft. Worth for what seemed like weeks! Airline ticket was purchased, the hotel reservation made, my presentation was finalized, and I was off to Texas on May 18!
Note: You can view my photos on Picasa at: http://picasaweb.google.com/travelguy727/FtWorthTX#
Monday evening after I arrived at the Omni Hotel Ft. Worth I was off to explore the downtown area and Sundance Square. This is an area in downtown Ft. Worth that includes many shops, restaurants and night clubs. The downtown area has an old west charm about it, with many of the historic buildings fully restored and preserved.
The conference officially began Tuesday – registration was at the Ft. Worth Convention Center. This was like a family reunion – catching up with old friends and making new friends! CMCA is more than just a network of meeting planners and suppliers who service our meetings. It’s truly a family!
Tuesday afternoon I led a session for meeting planners who were attending their first CMCA conference. It was exciting to share the mission and history of CMCA as I had attended the very first retreat in 2000 in Breckenridge, CO.
Soon after the afternoon sessions wound down, many of us participated in the pre-conference tour to the historic Ft. Worth Stockyards. The Ft. Worth Stockyards is the history book of the livestock industry in Texas. Each chapter is represented by the original bricks and mortar, the wood corrals, the men, and the music that are all still a part of the the Stockyards today.
The Stockyards possessed a wide variety of people, there were cowboys, cattlemen, bartenders and bankers. The Packing houses brought skinners, butchers, and bookkeepers to the area. The horse traders, hog dealers and harlots mixed with harness makers and mule dealers.
From the time following the “War Between the States” through the decade after the Second World War, the livestock industry was a huge part of the Fort Worth and Texas economy. Its employment base and dollar volume affected many lives.
We saw the daily cattle drive down Main Street – much like what occurred many years ago. Today, it’s more of a show for the many tourists that come visit the Stockyards. There was adequate time for shopping!
The evening dinner and opening event was held at Joe T. Garcia’s Restaurant. This long-established Mexican restaurant is host to many events during the year. Following dinner, we moved to the Worthington Renaissance Hotel for dessert and presentation by Kerby Anderson, head of Probe Ministries. Probe’s mission is to present the Gospel to communities, nationally and internationally, by providing life-long opportunities to integrate faith and learning through balanced, biblically based scholarship, training people to love God by renewing their minds and equipping the Church to engage the world for Christ.
Perhaps the most encouraging and fun part of the conference is the evening prayer time. It’s a time where attendees can come and pray for each other. It’s a time where God speaks to us in that quiet moment following a long and productive day in general sessions, workshops or on the trade show floor. The hospitality suite opens in the evening for more food and wonderful fellowship!
Wednesday was a full day of both general sessions, workshops, and tradeshow. The breakfast was at the River Ranch – a local event and meeting venue in Ft. Worth. Several great workshop sessions was a great way to learn more about he meetings industry. Wednesday evening was spent at the Ft. Worth Zoo, with dinner and speaker. We had some free time to explore the zoo.
Wrapping up the week on Thursday began with breakfast at the elegant Ft. Worth City Club, followed by a second day on the trade show floor and appointments with the suppliers. Dinner that evening was at the historic train depot in Ft. Worth (the very first depot in the State of Texas) now called the “Ashton Depot”. The men’s choir from Shilo Baptist Church of Ft. Worth. Kerby Anderson of Probe Ministries, wrapped up the conference with a very powerful presentation based on Hope.
Part of the purpose for attending this conference is do business with potential hotels for meeting locations for board meetings for CMCN. Serving as the Executive Director it’s part of my responsibility to plan board meetings each year. The other purpose for attending this conference is to catch up with dear friends I see only at this conference! It was a real treat to see a couple of very good friends that hadn’t attended a CMCA conference for several years! Rita and Lyndy, it was a real treat to see you again! Bless you both!
As I was set to fly back home on Friday, I had a connection in Salt Lake City for the return flight back to Portland, OR. I had a feeling that one of my flights may be overbooked and Delta would be offering their incentives to entice someone to relinquish their seat! I positioned myself near the check-in counter at the gate, and when I heard the annoucement that the flight was oversold, I rushed to the counter and offered up my seat! I benefited very nicely! $400 in “Delta Dollars” (which is a voucher for future travel on Delta or Delta Connection), being put up in a hotel overnight, and out the next morning (in first class). It caused a slight problem with some things I had planned to do Saturday morning but nothing that I couldn’t rearrange for a later day! So now comes the challenge to find a destination with my “Delta Dollars”!