MAF Global Leadership Conference

Saturday, May 23, 2015

We had a woorl-wind  3 week trip back to North America and now we have been back in Kinshasa for about 2 weeks. I will do a couple blog posts going over what we all did during our time there.

This trip back to North America was one of our most interesting trips that we've made. The kids and I all got colds before we left and we had two, five hour layovers; one in Brussels and one is Chicago. The flight from Kinshasa to Brussels was the most difficult with both kids refusing to sleep and the only way Pascal wouldn't cry was if we carried him around. We convinced him to sleep like this a few times but usually as soon as we would sit down then he would wake back up.

He however took a nice nap in the Brussels Airport for a hour or two, however Ruth was going on 14 hours awake and going strong.
When we finally got on the plane to Chicago, she literally just could not stay awake any longer, her body gave out and she feel over and slept for a good 5 hours. We then had another 5 hours in Chicago then the last flight to Idaho everyone slept the entire flight.
Our good friend Doug Harrison picked us up from the Airport in Boise with carseats and dropped our exhausted selves off at MAF-HQ.
We had 2 days to adjust to the time change and get some business done with different staff at HQ before the leadership conference.
My mom, sister and niece all came down to hang out with Ruth and Pascal while we were at the conference. They were not able to come till after it started so I missed the first day but was able to go to the rest.

The Conference was very interesting and helpful for everyone involved. As many people can probably understand, MAF is a technical ministry and attracts people that are mostly technically minded, detailed orientated, introverts. This is great when it comes to airplanes and IT but when it comes to 'soft skills' we typically need a little bit of help. So this conference had a lot more of those soft skills and less of the technical ones. The first speaker was a Gentleman named Tim Elmore, he specializes on working with leaders on how to lead the 'next generation', Generation Y, which is actually my generation. So it was quite an interesting experience listening and learn about the perceptions about my generation and even learn how to make working with us easier for those that are apart of the older generations.

We did some sessions on coaching people, talks from previous owners of Airlines, a talk from the head of one organization that helps international NGOs determine how to best take care of their own staff. We had the founder of the Jesus film project talk to us about unreached people groups, there was even a paper airplane competition :-).

Though the sessions were awesome it was the in-between and after time where a lot of quality discussions happened. Every break, lunch and supper you could see people strategically making the time to talk to people that they probably hadn't seen face to face in a year or more. 
It is amazing that one face to face conversation can accomplish what 4 months of emails can not. Nick and I did the same, I had quite a few people I wanted to be able to talk to (like the other PM wives that were there) and Nick had his. Then we went out every evening for either more serious meetings or just with people we really wanted to catch up with. 

All the while the Kids had a great time playing and catching up with Grandma and Auntie. My Dad was even able to come and it was really fun to be able to give them a tour of the office and have the opportunity for them to meet some of the people we work closely with in Idaho. 


  1. Good morning, how are you?

    My name is Emilio, I am a Spanish boy and I live in a town near to Madrid. I am a very interested person in knowing things so different as the culture, the way of life of the inhabitants of our planet, the fauna, the flora, and the landscapes of all the countries of the world etc. in summary, I am a person that enjoys traveling, learning and respecting people's diversity from all over the world.

    I would love to travel and meet in person all the aspects above mentioned, but unfortunately as this is very expensive and my purchasing power is quite small, so I devised a way to travel with the imagination in every corner of our planet. A few years ago I started a collection of used stamps because through them, you can see pictures about fauna, flora, monuments, landscapes etc. from all the countries. As every day is more and more difficult to get stamps, some years ago I started a new collection in order to get traditional letters addressed to me in which my goal was to get at least 1 letter from each country in the world. This modest goal is feasible to reach in the most part of countries, but unfortunately, it is impossible to achieve in other various territories for several reasons, either because they are very small countries with very few population, either because they are countries at war, either because they are countries with extreme poverty or because for whatever reason the postal system is not functioning properly.

    For all this, I would ask you one small favor:
    Would you be so kind as to send me a letter by traditional mail from Democratic Republic of Congo? I understand perfectly that you think that your blog is not the appropriate place to ask this, and even, is very probably that you ignore my letter, but I would call your attention to the difficulty involved in getting a letter from that country, and also I don’t know anyone neither where to write in Democratic Republic of Congo in order to increase my collection. a letter for me is like a little souvenir, like if I have had visited that territory with my imagination and at same time, the arrival of the letters from a country is a sign of peace and normality and an original way to promote a country in the world. My postal address is the following one:

    Emilio Fernandez Esteban
    Avenida Juan de la Cierva, 44
    28902 Getafe (Madrid)

    If you wish, you can visit my blog where you can see the pictures of all the letters that I have received from whole World.

    Finally, I would like to thank the attention given to this letter, and whether you can help me or not, I send my best wishes for peace, health and happiness for you, your family and all your dear beings.

    Yours Sincerely

    Emilio Fernandez