Sand between my toes: ELCA World Hunger Leadership Gathering day 1

Despite the fact that I don't mind winter and love snow, I am pleased to be writing this post from sunny & warm Fort Myers, Florida! I am blessed to have been invited to attend the 2012 ELCA World Hunger Leadership Gathering. I am hoping to learn much and to gain energy about important issues of hunger, health, and poverty across the world.

I flew out of Chicago this morning. It was cold. And early. (got up at 4:15am to make a 6:45am flight!) And I landed in 75-degree weather, with sun warming my shoulders as I waited for the hotel shuttle to come get me from the airport.

There were no official events until the evening, so I had made plans to meet up with some family who live near Fort Myers. They made my day by driving me out to Fort Myers Beach, so that we could eat lunch together and then walk on the beach. It has been a long time since I've walked on such perfect, powdery, silky, white sand. An amazing feeling to be walking on the beach in bare feet in mid-February! I had to document it, of course. Pardon the really bad cell phone pictures:

The Gathering began this evening, with some orientation and learning about ELCA World Hunger as an organization, and then continued with a yummy reception, lots of mingling, and even spending about 15 minutes talking to Dave Scherer (that is...the rapper Agape) without even realizing it was him. :)

We spent some time "speed dating," which means that we got to introduce ourselves to about 15 people in rapid succession and learn a little bit about one another. I had a lot of fun talking to people from all over the country, all ages, all manners of pastors and synod staff and lay leaders.

But let me tell you...it feels good to be back in my room, getting ready to sleep off a long day in a comfy bed with great pillows. Tomorrow is going to be a very full day, and so I am excited to see and learn.

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