Have you ever gone to a conference or workshop that was suppose to be one thing, and it turned out to be another? Nah, I doubt that has every happened to you or anyone else. Besides, who goes for the actual sessions? It is suppose to be a "free vacation", isn't it?
Well, the last three days were spent at a workshop that was billed as training for the trainer; but ended up being an overview on the subject, no certification for anything. How disappointing in some ways, but Ms Optimistic here can put a spin on anything.
As you all know, Katrina, Tsunami, other major disasters have changed everything in terms of Disaster Relief/Response/Preparedness. They are rewriting the book on all parts of the picture. My role for the conference on the Disaster Response team will be to train case managers as well as be over the case managers. Due to the rewriting of the book for case managers, and I do mean rewriting the book, the workshop was unable to train the trainers or even certify us as casemanagers. We were told that they are in desperate need of case managers in the effected areas as they enter the Long Term Phase of Recovery.
It was frustrating. It was too soon after we got back from a vacation. It was too soon in the Bonding process with Zach (our new adoptee). I would not have gone to just an overview, I had already read the manuel. I went for a specific reason. And yes I and the others of our team let our feelings and thoughts be known.
Now how did I put the positive spin on it? Hey, I got to see the MERCI center, which is fine example of how well the church can respond to needs and keep responding, and grow to other ministries. I learned a lot about Disaster Response and case management that I will be able to apply when needed. I got to network, yep, that's always a good one. People who are working disaster relief in their annual conferences were there, UMVIM staff were there, UMCOR staff were there, other female clergy were there. (see what I mean.) I was with some good people and friends from our conference, my roommate and co-leader is a female clergy, Sandy West, who I respect. My good friend, Jim Robey, who has started The Attentional Growth Center in Gulf Shores, AL was there. Had some reflection time with others on lots of subjects besides Disaster Relief. Paulette West, who heads up the UMVIM for our conference, who should be running the conference was there. I believe we fixed our churches, the appointment system, small churches, the re-districting situation, the Conference, the United Methodist Church, the Church overall, the war, etc. (You know what I mean.) Doesn't it all feel better. Don't you all feel better? I do, don't seem to be carrying around so many of those worries anymore.