I have to admit that I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with conferences. As a staff person with Cru, we do attend a number of them each year- a couple for us as staff to be trained and encouraged, and a couple for students that we help to run and attend with our students. What I love about conferences is that they really do provide little greenhouse moments for students to grow, and we get to be there with them and help to make it happen. I also love that we get to hear wonderful speakers that challenge us personally too. In addition, we get to continue to build friendships with other staff families, and the kids get to see their staff friends and play together. It is like our second family.
What is challenging about conferences is driving long distances with the family to then camp out in a hotel room, using our plug in skillet to make meals with, and keeping a busy schedule each day. Then inevitably, once we get home, someone gets sick (haha).
This Winter Conference was a particularly blessed time for me, however. First, we were able to spend some quality time with a few of the NAU students who came out. I love those girls very dearly, and it was so fun to have some heart to heart talks in person again. Second, Jeremiah was able to connect with and pray with several of the Davis students who went as they processed what they were learning from the great speakers, who shared on living for what is eternal, walking in the power of the Holy Spirit, and seeing and enjoying God in our daily lives. Third, I loved spending time with some of the other staff moms from the region, and laughed and cried with some of them as we talked about our children and the ups and downs of life and ministry. There are even a couple other staff couples involved in foster care in some way, which was encouraging to me.
Fourth, I had the great privilege of giving a seminar on “Living on Mission in Graduate School and Beyond.” Ever since starting law school, I have had a passion for encouraging and challenging students who are pursuing careers—particularly in medicine, law and academia—to grasp and embrace what it may look like to prioritize the Lord and live as His ambassadors while pursuing excellence in their fields. There is so much joy in dedicating our accomplishments to Him, surrendering our lives and desires over the course of a lifetime (not in an instant), watching Him transform our hearts and use us for His glory. I love to share my journey and what I learned about accomplishment, pride, brokenness, ministry and seeking the Lord in all things. I had a great group come to the seminar, and it was fun afterwards to have questions that went both to the practical ministry aspects as well as the heart issues we discussed. I pray that the students there were as encouraged as I was by the time with them.
We continue to pray for the many students who were impacted by the conference, that they will return to their campuses and both continue to internalize what they have learned as well as pass it on to others.