Bryan Van Wyk currently lives in North Philly with his wife Rhonda and son Keithon. He’s originally from Cape Town, South Africa. They are active members in the Oxford Circle Mennonite Church. He sees himself as a passionate Anabaptist who seeks to promote a Galatians 3:28 community — one in Christ irrespective of people’s race, class and ethnicity. One way to connect and engage with him is to show up with a scrabble board.

It’s good be around people who are seeking to understand more and more the implications of our faith. Our faith is a gift (Ephesians 2:8) and it needs to be accompanied by works (James 2:17) if not it will be dead. There’s definitely visible active faith here at the convention center his week; seeing people walk everywhere either to attend a seminar or to volunteer at an exhibit booth. The sense that I get it is that people are here to increase their faith (Romans 10:17).

If Sarah Bixler never asked me to consider joining the adult worship band, I’ll be honest, I would have never been here this week. So I’m grateful to see, hear and feel the faith of others.

It has encouraged my faith to see women in leadership being celebrated as part of the theme this week. I’ve been filled with hope to hear people’s stories, like a community garden in Texas that helped start relationships among locals and immigrants. And finally, interacting with the prayer team was probably a highlight to me. We can’t pray enough, our faith needs to be fueled, praying the scriptures starts the fire within us.

The two worship bands had a worship retreat on Monday. It was amazing. We not only prayed for each other but we took time to share our hopes and our fears for this week. We had the opportunity to connect with each other a personal level. To me that created a space for people to join together, embracing our challenges for the rest of the week.

I believe God created a space for us this week to embrace the truth that Love is a Verb. While in conversation today, I experienced the love that we are celebrating this week. Even through disagreement, we listened and respectfully disagreed. Allowing others to share their point of view even when it differs from yours is important. Being listened to, being respected and others being aware of you just makes your day worth it.