{choaked sob} “You’re…my…hero!”

This weekend, Derek and I attended one of our favorite things of the year – Desiring God’s National Conference (NATCON). The title of the conference this year was “Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God,” with speakers Rick Warren, R.C. Sproul, Thabiti Anyabwile, Al Mohler, Francis Chan, and John Piper.

There is hardly a thing not to love about these conferences – 3,300 people gathered for powerful worship, life-challenging messages, great fellowship with new and old friends, refreshing your personal library and getting Christmas gifts at the incredible DG bookstore, and now we even get to drink coffee during the sessions!

Well, it was a few years ago at the “Stand: A Call for the Endurance of the Saints” NATCON that I met my hero – Dr. Helen Roseveare.

She was a missionary doctor in the Congo, and I first learned of her when I was in Zambia and read her book “Living Sacrifice.” There was something about her – her honesty, her love for Jesus, her love for Africa, her medical background…I remember thinking that I would have loved to meet her before she died…until I found out that she hadn’t died at all! She was still alive!

So, I began plotting ways that I could get to England to meet her before she did die (after all, she was 80 at the time). Then, it happened. I found out that she was going to be one of the main speakers at DG’s 2007 NATCON!

So, being the fairly uninhibited and determined person that I am, I first looked into the possibility of picking her up from the airport, hosting her, chauffeuring her, having lunch with her, carrying her purse for her, anything. To no avail. But that did not deter me.

The conference came, and during one of the breaks I seized my moment. There she was – just sitting at the front of the auditorium. I made my way to the front and waited nervously in line to meet one of my heros. What will I say? How should I act? Emotions and nerves were building in me as the person in front of me turned to walk away. My hands felt cold and clammy. As I knelt down in front of her (she’s very short and was sitting down), I looked at her and tried to form words out of the lump in my throat. I had to say something, but I knew that talking would release the dam holding back my emotions.

“Y…{voice cracking}…you…{dam breaking and sobs starting}…you’re my hero!”

Helen Roseveare was so gracious and told me to keep Jesus as my hero. We exchanged a few words, and I asked her to sign the pocket Bible that had been my lifeline while working with street kids. In the front cover, she wrote “Philippians 3:10-11 – With love, Helen Roseveare”.

Helen Roseveare and me

“That I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.”

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