First off, thanks again for your super generous contribution to our Urbana Conference fund. I’m not sure it could have been done without you. Urbana was a phenomenal experience! There were so many people, 16,000! It was crazy, but so, so good. I’d love to tell you about my personal experience, what I learned and what I think Fox has to gain from our experience.
From the moment we enter into St. Louis I was filled with excitement. Up to that point I still didn’t know quite what to expect from this experience. I was going in as a clean slate, expecting to hear from God in big ways. It was stretch for me because I’ve never been to something so big and with people I didn’t know all too well. What I was hoping to gain from Urbana was the building of friendships and a new look on the world of missions and the opportunities God was offering.
Urbana proved to be a great experience for me. It was great getting to know my teammates and really bonding over our love for missions and the heart of God. During the week of the conference I connected greatly with Simon-Peter and the passage in Luke that we inductively studied the first morning. It was the passage where Jesus jumps into his boat, takes Simon out to the deep and calls him to become a fisher of men. In response to Jesus’ great miracle and catch of fish, Simon replies, “Go away from me, Lord. I am a sinful man.” And the Lord replies, “Do not be afraid.” I identified with Simon’s reaction. He was to give his whole life to the Lord but he was utterly afraid. He must give up everything to follow Jesus. His family, the huge catch he just received, everything. God is calling him deeper. As well as, He is calling me deeper. Throughout this conference, I felt that was God major message to me. I need to lead a life of discipline and full commitment to the Lord--whatever that may look like. It’s a truly frightening thought to have to give up everything in my life and walk with completely open hands, but I know that it is ultimately worth it and God has SO much more in store for me that I could ever imagine or gain on my own. Urbana was a great venue for me to explore this call.
In regards to what I think Fox could gain from our Urbana experience, I would say just a new heart and passion for loving Jesus and leading our lives in a manner that honors God. Because this conference is sponsored by Intervarsity, we got the chance to hear some awesome testimonies about how God is working on campuses around the US. It was so inspirational to hear the stories of students living obediently to Christ and gaining more sons and daughters for His kingdom. It ignited a desire in me to see that on our campus. For students to be on fire and to be constantly and eagerly in search for more of God, more of His Holy presence-- in own personal lives but also as a community. I am hopeful for the Spirit of God to move on our George Fox campus.
All in all, you can tell, Urbana was an exceptional experience and I am so, so grateful for the opportunity to go and seek and learn. This was a once in a lifetime thing and something I will hold onto forever. Thank you, again, for making this possible.
Many blessings to you!