The theme for this year’s conference was “Proclaiming His Excellencies” based on the passage found in 1 Peter 2:9. This theme was very fitting and appropriate as we basked in the goodness and greatness of God as displayed in the lives of our friends and guests from the four corners of the world. Men and women of God, true giants in the faith, gathered in Heartland for four days and shared stories, reports, challenges, and dreams of what God will do in their land in the future. Countries represented were the United States, India, Haiti, Moldova, Romania, Egypt, Mexico, Colombia, Israel, Brazil, Thailand, Sweden, the Philippines, and the West Bank.

It was a blessed time where new friendships were made and old friendships were strengthened. Most everyone played a role in the conference through sharing in day sessions, speaking in the corporate sessions, or praying and testifying to God’s love and mercy. Our main corporate speakers brought very timely words. Our dear friend Phil Paino from Fort Wayne, Indiana spoke on Sunday evening and made us laugh, cry, and hunger to know God. Heartland’s own missionary, Tass Abu Saada, shared on Monday evening and challenged us with what is possible if we dare to believe God.  We also had the privilege of having Pastor Jack Sara and Pastor Nihad Salmon, Palestinian pastors, lead us in wonderful Arabic worship on this night. Tuesday evening, long-time friend Victor Pavlovski brought forth a very good word on building and serving with excellence. The last evening corporate session on Wednesday was ministered by our own Pastor Charlie who spoke about the authority God has given us as believers to make disciples and live victorious lives. Through all the sessions, God was very faithful to use men and women to bring forth what He wanted us to hear.

As always, there was an abundance of delicious food and snacks consumed. Many of the conference attendees participated in a tour which found them petting baby goats, observing cows riding on a carousel, and learning to make cheese. One of the highlights was Heartland’s Christian school hosting a Missions Day. On this day, our international guests were assigned a classroom that was decorated representing their culture and also had food to taste. The children of the school were then able to visit each room and meet the missionaries and hear first-hand about what they were doing in their homeland. Each conference these same school children raise money to be donated to one of the ministries represented and this year the children raised over ten thousand dollars to be given to support the Christian school in Oaxaca, Mexico.

We thank God for His faithfulness and for the privilege of being able to host such wonderful men and women of God. We, as a Church, come away more blessed and having received way more than we give. We especially look forward to what God has in store with these relationships as we work together to see His kingdom extended in the earth.

Dave Barton