Last week I attended this conference and left amazed at God’s gift to me through it. Going to Gideon wasn’t anywhere on my horizon, but when I felt a stirring inside as my friend Cheryl told me about it, I knew I needed to be open. Within weeks I was financially sponsored, and dear friends offered to watch my spirited toddler so I could attend. So it was set; I headed a few hours toward Asheville, not sure what to expect. Immediately, what stood out most was the caliber of spiritual passion among the folks there, and the genuine encouragement. It didn’t matter if you had published 40 books or just had an idea brewing around inside, most everyone I met took you seriously. It was so life-breathing. I pretty much devoured every film offered, though it meant late nights (around 1am) and early mornings (between 6 and 7am) for this pregnant girl… with very little down time in between. Worth every drop of sleep missed. Stand outs: T.C. Jonstone’s and James Kirk-Johnson’s documentary “Hearing Everett” (which I will blog about later), Andre van Heerden’s “Saving God,” R. Keith Harris’ “Harvest” and, to my surprise (I usually don’t go for anything scary, but this film was amazing), The Daws brothers’ “Dangerous Calling.” Many other great ones as well, but these spoke to me particularly. As for the faculty, let me just say Torry Martin is a champion. So many comedians use humor as a shield and a shell, masking whatever is real underneath, but Torry was one of the most genuine, surrendered souls I met. Eric Highland made me cry a few times with his passionate exhortations. Eric Wilson (accomplished novelist but you would never know by meeting him) impressed me with his down-to-earth lack of pretense. I could go on and on. Let me just say, if you’re interested in media arts in any capacity, check this thing out for next year. I hope to see you there.