Urbana recap  

Posted by Rachel

From December 26 through January 1, I was in St. Louis (actually, I flew in the night of the 25th – it was weird to travel on Christmas day!) for the Urbana conference. Urbana is a student missions conference hosted every three years by Intervarsity Christian Fellowship, and Wycliffe had a large (and AWESOME) booth in the global expo center, as well as a few seminars that were hosted by various members of our team.

It was a good week… for a lot of reasons, and many of those were personal in nature. Prior to going, I wasn’t sure what to expect since it was work, yet also an opportunity to attend a great conference. But once I arrived, I very clearly felt the Lord telling me that it wasn’t about “expecting” anything or worrying about any specific outcomes. Rather, I very clearly felt God just tell me to focus on Him, which, go figure, turned out to be a really great thing.

My main job for the week was to work our booth during certain shifts, as well being available to stop to talk, answer questions, etc. for anyone I may run into that saw my Wycliffe shirt. I also did “help out” (more “attended”) at the Communications Arts in Global Missions seminar that our fearless leader Ruth put together and led.

So, since I was basically just supposed to be engaging with students and talking to people, I thought I’d spend a minute reflecting back on some of my more memorable conversations and experiences.

  • Talking to Jono at our booth. Instead of typing out a new version of this story, you can read about my encounter here on the Wycliffe USA blog.
  • The girl at Starbucks. I believe her name was Marissa, but one can’t be toooo sure about that. Anyways, I was waiting to meet Jillian (my Orlando roomie and I meeting for coffee in St. Louis might have been the most time we’d spent together in weeks!), reading or something, and the girl next to me noticed my shirt and proceeded to ask me if I worked for Wycliffe. Turns out this girl is an artist – interested in graphic design and other forms of art as well. She had TONS of questions for me about how marketing, art and design can be used in missions, and was so excited that I was able to answer many of those questions from firsthand experience. So Marissa (?) and I talked for close to 30 minutes, and I was overjoyed to see her face light up as she learned about how marketing and ministry can go hand in hand. It was a really sweet moment to be able to pray together before she had to go.
  • The line for dinner the first night was RIDICULOUSLY long. So, as my cousins (Charissa and Pete) and I were making our way through line, I again had someone notice my shirt and stop me to talk. This girl's boyfriend pointed my shirt out to her, saying, “Hey, look, she’s with Wycliffe!” Apparently allll day long people kept pointing her to our booth, but she had yet to make it over for a visit. The reason for all those referrals? She is PASSIONATE about linguistics and languages. What a gift to have – and a perfect fit for Wycliffe! So, again, as a result of simply wearing my shirt and walking around, I was able to have a very significant conversation with someone who was extremely interested in our work – in a place I was not expecting that to happen. I mean, Ruth told us if we wore our shirts, we needed to consider ourselves “ON” but I just didn’t know how true that would be!
  • Not everyone that came to the booth was a future Wycliffe-ite. Some of them were simply meant to be Bibleless People Prayer Project (BPPP) partners, and one of my favorite conversations at the booth was with someone just like that – a kid named Adam. Adam is passionate about the ideas of urban ministry in LA and has plans to move there soon. He has a plan that he feels the Lord has called him to, and I was able to rejoice in that with him, even though it isn’t “with Wycliffe”…we just want him to be where God wants him! So, he and I still had a great conversation about prayer, and before he left, he joined our BPPP list and was really jazzed about the idea. Just in the other times during the week that I was at the booth (not counting times I wasn’t there), I saw Adam bring at least 4 or 5 other friends back to the booth to get them signed up to pray for a people group as well.
  • After the communications arts seminar, which happened to be on the last day of the conference in the very last seminar time slot of the day, I had a girl tell me that she felt like God had spoken so clearly through my colleagues who shared. She expressed that for the first time in her life, she was able to clearly see how God could and WOULD use her gifts in graphic design to further His global mission. She had never had someone explain that possibility before, and had been trying to figure out where she could be used by God. Man, do I get excited when people that are passionate about art and marketing finally see the connection between those passions and God’s heart. LOVE IT. Do I believe that you HAVE to be working for a ministry or mission of some kind do be using marketing or design or the arts for His glory? Absolutely not. But, I do want to be sure people realize that God can use ANY of our passions and gifts for missions or ministry IF that is where we feel called.
  • One girl named Katherine came by the booth repeatedly and the phrase she kept saying that stuck with me was “It always comes back to Wycliffe for me. It’s always been Wycliffe.” She still doesn’t know where she’s supposed to go or what she is supposed to do after college, but I do believe that if she continues to flesh out the idea of “It always being Wycliffe,” I may not have seen the last of her.

After graduating college and realizing that it is not exactly the purely euphoric experience that it is cracked up to be, I have become pretty passionate about helping students process through what God may be calling them to in life after college, while being honest about the difficulties that come with that process. It isn’t always easy, but our God is always faithful to provide.

Just today, I wrote a few cards to students that visited our booth to let them know they were being prayed for, and the verse that came to mind to share was one that meant a lot to me during my senior year of college, Colossians 1:9-10: “For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God…”

Still applicable today.


PS - Visit http://www.facebook.com/WycliffeURBANA09 to see photos!

This entry was posted on Wednesday, January 6, 2010 at Wednesday, January 06, 2010 . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


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