When I signed up for the convention in St. Louis in 1999, I had no way of knowing how it would affect the rest of my life. After all, I had attended these events many times before, both as child, youth and in my work capacity. I was working for Ten Thousand Villages, a program of Mennonite Central Committee, at the time and was helping to staff the booth in the Exhibition Hall. On the few off hours I had, I searched for other people near my age. While there I ran into several other young adults from Lancaster, Pa., where I was living. We all were bemoaning the fact there were not many things for people
in our age group to do at home. So we started hanging out together during convention and decided that when we got home, we would have get-togethers and introduce each other to our friends.
It was at one of these parties where Kendra Peifer caught my eye. She went to the same church as a friend that I had met at convention. I got up the nerve to call her and we began to date. As things got more serious, we both knew we wanted to go to convention at Nashville 2001. So we decided to plan our wedding for the week before convention started. After a trip to Niagara Falls and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, we continued our honeymoon by heading to Nashville. We enjoyed spending our week together – I worked at the MCC booth, while Kendra enjoyed convention activities and helped me out sometimes.
This set the stage for every convention since then. With the exception of Atlanta, where I attended without Kendra, we have enjoyed coming to conventions, worshipping, sharing and meeting friends both old and new. We took our oldest son to his first convention when he was eight months old and are looking forward to introducing our second son to convention this summer.
I am not suggesting coming to conventions because you might meet your spouse there! Although I know it does happen. I do encourage people from across the church to attend, even if you have no official duties. The experience of worshiping together, learning together, even struggling together is something of great value. We look forward to seeing you at Pittsburgh 2011!
Larry (Holding Carter), Kendra, (Holding Hudson) Guengerich
East Petersburg, PA