Learning to Ski in Tampa


Do you ski? Or have you ever skied before? Since I learned how to ski about 10 years ago, I have gone skiing once or twice a year to various mountains. Obviously, I am still not a skiing expert, but I enjoy and appreciate being able to do it. The reason I’m sharing with you about my experience of skiing is because the upcoming trip to Tampa reminds me of the first day of skiing--coming down the slope I never knew what things were going to happen!

This is my first time at General Conference, both as part of the elected delegation group and also volunteering as a monitor assigned by the General Commission on Religion and Race. I have been privileged to participate in two workshops with our delegation group in Portland, and to travel to Tampa in January for the monitoring training. Those trips were wonderful in terms of learning, but they have kept me busy thinking about how to deal with “Real Time.” It’s just like the day when I learned how to make “pizza” or “French fries” in skiing (some folks call it “gliding wedge” or “snowplow”--making a V-shaped position).

It is about three weeks until “Real Time”--General Conference. Now I feel as if I’m sitting on a ski lift going up fast to a mountaintop and looking down at many trees (details) and steep slopes (serious and delicate issues and agendas). I am saying to myself, “Oh my God! What am I doing? Are you sure that you want to do this?” Only I am sure that I will be shipped to the very place I am needed, and I’ve got to come down somehow. You know, I love mountains, especially covered with snow, but I am sure that it can be a different story if you are on the top in the midst of all that whiteness, when it is windy, and often snowy. You may barely see some trees and slope signs, but never know exactly what would be down there.

How did my first day of skiing go? You do not want to know the full story if you have never skied, but still want to ski someday. Do you know what? The good part was that it’s very fun, exciting, astonishing, and rewarding. The other side of the day was that, as you might expect, I fell down a lot, got hurt, and almost cried. Nonetheless, the funny part was that I went up to the top over and over again. The best part was that there was always someone behind me giving a hand to lift me up and even picking up my skis for me when I fell. No matter what happened to me, people were friendly and helpful.

In fact, I’ve never wanted to get hurt or injured when I went skiing. But now I cannot imagine myself skiing where are no challenges, no trees, no bumps, and no steep or wild slopes. I think this is why I am going to General Conference 2012 and how I see it. Above all, the greatest part of this upcoming trip is that I am going with a team who I can trust and rely on. Our team has a map that explains where we’re going. Even though we may each try different slopes there, we are on the same mountain working hard to learn. We will be enjoying the beauty of the mountain with various friends on many slopes. Once the day is over, we’ll call everyone on our team and make sure everyone is well. We will be loaded in the same car riding back home with tiredness, but also with good memories. And I’m sure the mountain will still be there no matter what happened on the day… and we will want to go back sometime again.

Pray for our safe trip skiing at General Conference 2012, especially some who are going for the first time like me. Have a wonderful journey through Holy Week and many Easter blessings to you in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior!  


John Go
John (Joung Youl) Go is a pastor serving Tabor Heights United Methodist Church in Portland, Oregon. He is a reserve delegate to the 2016 Western Jurisdiction Conference and will be attending General Conference as an additional reserve delegate and observer. John chairs the Conference Commission on Religion and Race.