"I like it because of everything we can use," said 11-year old Jake Troxell. "Everything you need at the right time. And you get to see friends you only see once a year."
For Roger Troxell, Jake's father, this weekend's Jehovah's Witness Convention at Bell County Expo Center was an escape from everyday stresses.
"I always called it a spiritual paradise," he said Sunday. "As a man, it steps up my ability to be a good father or husband."
From families to former NFL players, more than 5,000 people gathered to learn to safeguard their hearts at the convention, which was one of 385 conventions held across the country.
"People from various backgrounds, various walks of life come together to worship," said National Football League veteran Jermane Mayberry, who was attending his 11th convention.
"It's also a chance to catch up with old friends," said the former Philadelphia Eagles offensive lineman.
This year's convention followed the theme "Safeguard Your Heart," highlighting biblical references to the heart, encouraging self-scrutiny and reflection, in a three-day examination of attendee's figurative hearts, according to a news release.
Sunday's "drama," an almost-hour long play, illustrated the advantages of not rushing into relationships and marriage as well as the possible problems that can arise from letting one's heart get the better of them.
Similar shorter skits were performed throughout the convention.
Family meetings to read scripture listed as the basis for discussions during the convention also made the Troxell family more excited to attend.
There will be one more English language convention July 27-29. Spanish programs take place Aug. 3-5, 10-12 and 17-19 at the Expo Center. Attendance is free and open to the public.
This year's convention also put focus on lessons attending children could relate to and use, said Roger's wife, Sheila Troxell.
"These are things that will happen in everyday life," she said, speaking of skits presented throughout the convention depicting good and bad choices regarding situations such as catching a husband flirting with another woman.Thousands gather at Expo Center for Jehovah’s Witness Convention