26th Annual FCFI Conference, Grand River Center, Dubuque, Iowa
This year marks the 26th annual FCFI conference. It was held July 26-28, 2019 at the Grand River Center in Dubuque, Iowa. Joe Humrichous gave the keynote address Saturday night on Luke 16.
The address can be viewed here –> Joe Humrichous’ address
The Conference activities started off on Thursday with lunch at the Country Junction Restaurant. From there, we met at the Knipper Dairy Farm, a totally automated milking facility. Cows are conditioned to work their way to the milking robotic machinery, and they are rewarded with treats after milking. All aspects of the process are designed to keep the cows milking, eating, and causing a very minimum intervention. Ear tags keep track of the cows, and their history is all logged on computers. It may become necessary to intervene if a cow is sick, but mostly, very little manual labor is needed.
From the dairy, we then proceeded to the National Farm Toy Museum, containing an extensive collection of farm toys: tractors, combines, planters, farm exhibits, everything farming.
Friday morning’s excursion took us to the top of Dubuque, up the Fenelon Place Elevator. It’s on rails, and the small “train” travels on a cable up a 45 degree angle to the top of the hill, where you can see the city of Dubuque, the Mississippi River, as well as Wisconsin, Illinois, and Iowa.
Then it was on to the Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium, just a couple of blocks from the River Center, where the Conference was held. The museum displayed much of the known history of the Mississippi River, as used for transportation of logs and other goods. Dubuque was the largest city in Iowa in its early history as a major port on the river. The Aquarium had live fish, turtles, ducks, and even an alligator on display.
Our last pre-conference excursion was on the “American Lady” river yacht, where we ate lunch and toured the Mississippi River around the Dubuque area. It was a delightful cruise, with near perfect weather for the end of July.
The conference began Friday evening at the Grand River Center in Dubuque. The Grand River Center is a beautiful hotel and conference center right on the Mississippi River. There is a beautiful river walk just outside the hotel. Here is the complex as seen from the “American Lady”
Following dinner, Executiver Director Dennis Schlagel opened the conference by introducing the home office staff, area leaders and board members. Julie Goss, along with Jeff Goss and Mike Weaver led praise and worship music. Area Leaders Bill Brown, Jeff Goss, and Mike Weaver gave reports, with Bill reporting on the events of the FCFI Eastern Chapters. Jeff Goss and Mike Weaver reported on the great successes at the State FFA Conventions. Michael Conlisk served as an FCFI intern for the summer, and participated in the FFA Convention in Illinois. Dave Slyter reported on well repair in Haiti, where thousands of wells are in need of repair to provide Haitian residents with clean drinking water.
Next is the annual auction, where great treats like kettle corn, salsa, maple syrup, knitted things, walking sticks, white elephants, and other treasures are auctioned off to benefit the Fellowship of Christian Farmers.
The night traditionally ends with blueberries and ice cream. The blueberries are provided by Phyllis Bodke from her farm in Michigan.
Saturday morning started bright and early with Pastor Kevin Cernek leading the early morning devotion. After breakfast, FCFI President Dave Carter addressed the conference, asking for prayer for farmers having tough times. Morning praise and worship was again led by Julie and Jeff Goss and Mike Weaver.
Next followed our FCFI international reports, utilizing online video conferencing.
Sarah Van Orman reported on Albania.
Click on the presenter’s name to view the report:
Jocelyn Aubut, FCF Canada President, reported the need for a new Executive Director for FCF Canada. Several personnel changes have created issues and opportunities in Canada.
Antonio Gomez reported from Mexico, praising and thanking FCFI for faithfully coming to Torreon to help with the building projects there.
Owen Jennings is the new Executive Director for FCF New Zealand, and reported on how FCF NZ is getting up and running after nine years of Dennis visiting and organizing.
Pete Hughes reported on the ministry’s outreach in Russia, where 20 years of mission trips have helped plant churches and rehabilitate men to deliver them from alcohol and lead their families.
Eight Igniter groups met in separate areas to get to know each other a little better, with introductions, prayer requests, and fellowship. Workshops included Jonny Loveless, presenting “The Vision & Strategy of Discipleship” and Marsha Wilkinson presented “The Aftermath of Grief.”
After lunch, Jonny Loveless continued “The Vision & Strategy of Discipleship” and Dennis Schlagel presented “Mission Trip Opportunities to New Zealand, Australia, and the Philippines.”
Our keynote speaker, Joe Humrichous, opened prayer time for distressed farmers in “2019 Crop Year with Pastor Joe.” (video coming soon)
Much needed free time before dinner! Go ahead and take your nap, I’m checking out the water slide:)
After dinner, Common Bond Quartet entertained with joyous praise and worship harmonies of Gospel music.
FCFI Board President Dave Carter gave the Presidential Address, followed by the offering, by Bill Nichols.
Joe Humrichous gave the keynote address, “Executive Director, Paradigm 1.”
And, as always, the afterglow, with blueberries and ice cream:)
Sunday moves fast, and starts of with the Early Bird devotional with Kevin Cernek. Kevin has been writing a weekly column that can be viewed at www.fcfi.org. It is titled “The Pastor’s Piece.”
After breakfast, the Igniter Groups met again, then it was checkout time.
Praise and Worship was led by Julie and Jeff Goss and Mike Weaver, followed by the worship message by Joe Humrichous. After lunch, it was time to leave Dubuque, which was a great location for our 26th Annual Conference. It was great seeing all who attended. We trust that the Lord blessed you this weekend, and hope to see you next year for our 27th Annual FCFI Conference in Shipshewana, Indiana!