Tuesday, November 26, 2013

A Report from The Fellows Conference

by Cary Bayless, 2014 Raleigh Fellow

A few weekends back your Raleigh Fellows had the joy of attending the annual Regional Fellows Initiative Retreat in Virginia. The retreat included lots of coffee, bonding in a van ride through the mountains, an expansion of each Fellows community, talks and discussions on Justice based out of Micah 6:8, an intensely competitive ultimate frisbee tournament (even though we didn't win we had the best jerseys), a hilarious montage of skits and videos by each program, heavenly worship, bonding for the guys from sleeping in tents in the frigid October air, and beautiful peace from the surrounding Blue Ridge Mountains ablaze in ambers, oranges, and greens. It was life giving. 

To discuss all of the aforementioned joys would take pages of ink, so I will instead leave you with a few important nuggets we all learned. 

First off, man, we are thankful for YOU Church of the Apostles and Raleigh, North Carolina. Seeing all of the other programs our friends from college and new acquaintances are a part of was wonderful! Each program is unique and Jesus is present in every Fellows program, but in every program he is teaching different things. Being in Raleigh we are really learning a lot about biblical community, loving like Jesus, and what it means as an adult to follow him in our places of work, in our homes, and with each other. The Raleigh Fellows program does this very well and we are all very thankful for that.

Second, we are thankful that our God IS good and He IS just. Hearing our speakers talk about what it truly means to love mercy, seek justice, and walk humbly with our God was refreshing and encouraging. We were pushed to see that all of these mandates in Micah 6:8 are applicable to us whether we are working to free our brothers and sisters around the world from human trafficking, working for a landscaping company, or serving as a teacher. No matter what our profession, Micah 6:8 applies. This is a beautiful part of the Gospel. Wherever we may be, serving God is a part of our job. 

Finally, we are thankful for the opportunity to be a Fellow. From every conversation I had with friends in other programs one chord rang similar: having nine months as a Fellow is one of the best decisions we have made thus far in our lives. It's not easy. It's not a perfect community in constant harmony. In fact, at times life as a Fellow can be hard. But it is so, so good. The reason is simple enough: Jesus. He is the reason we are all here. We all want to grow in our love of him. We all want to learn how to love others like him. We want more of Jesus and being a part of a Fellows community gives us that opportunity. Taking classes that study the Bible as a whole, prayer, solitude, silence, and leadership; Jesus is central. Being in a new community and living with a new family; Jesus is the cornerstone. Entering into what John Mayer would disdainfully call "the real world," we see to do so well, we must have our whole hearts turned to Christ. Seeing these truths in each program was encouraging and seeing how God is using everyone's time as a Fellow to draw us all closer to him was even more encouraging.

The retreat was wonderful. The coffee was fresh, the laughter always present, and the Fellows community beautiful. We are all thankful for the opportunity to go and would love to talk to you about it more at anytime! Just don't bring up the ultimate frisbee tournament.

Raleigh Forever,
Raleigh Fellows 2014
Cary Bayless

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