Monday, September 8, 2008

Vancouver Passion Conference

I am SO excited!!!

I have the opportunity to go and help out at the Passion Conference World Tour stop in Vancouver, Canada- YAY! I’ve so enjoyed, and have been so incredibly blessed to help out this past year at three of their regional events in Los Angeles, Washington DC and Atlanta and to now be able to be a small part of this amazing World Tour they are doing… well, it’s incredible.

It’s difficult, if not impossible, to put my experiences with Passion into words. It’s an overall feeling you get just by having the privilege to be there and serve the students. You are able to visibly see an invisible God in everyone you come into contact with- from the students to the volunteers to the worship leaders to the speakers… everyone. As is usually the case when you volunteer your time, I’ve always walked away feeling almost guilty because I feel like I got more out of it than I could have ever given. Seriously. In L.A., I walked away from it with the certainty that God had specifically showed me that He wanted me to go to Pattaya, Thailand that summer; and, that weekend I came to the conference with doubts upon doubts with regards to the trip. In DC, I had the opportunity to witness students being the hands and feet of Christ when I helped out with “Do Something Now”, where the students donate towels and socks to be given to the local homeless shelters. The students had been very generous with their donations, but prior to the dinner break on the second day, the students were told that we were several thousand towels short of the goal they had wanted to reach. Those students went out to the local Wal-Marts and K-Marts and practically bought the stores out of their stock of towels… it was amazing… stacks upon stacks and garbage bags full of towels were brought back after dinner. I can’t remember the exact numbers, but it was incredible. And, finally, in Atlanta, I had the chance to see my Mom and sister experience the conference for the first time and God had me walk away from the conference with the gift of a new friend :-)

It really is an experience and there have been very few times in my life where I would say I physically felt the presence of God, but it’s happened at every single one of those conferences… again, impossible to explain, but you can just feel it. (now I’ve got DC*B’s “Can You Feel It?” song stuck in my head)

Each and absolutely every time- L.A., DC and ATL- God has cleared the path for me to go. For ATL, I was able to get a great airfare deal and was struggling with finding hotel/rental car that were reasonable; however, Orbitz was having a special and I was able to get the hotel/rental car combo for a cost that was far below what the hotel, alone, would have cost. And, DC… well, talk about a drop in airfare prices… I was able to get a non-stop flight from LAX to DC, taxes included, for $140 and came to find out that my uncle lived 15 minutes from the college it was being held at, so room and board were free, plus I was able to visit with my family and see the east coast. With Vancouver, I honestly had decided that I was 99% sure I wasn’t going. There were too many obstacles that were presenting themselves- ridiculously high airfare, no matter how you tried to book it, my job was having a college event that day that I was heading up, etc. I told God that it seemed that the doors were closing on me and that He obviously didn’t want me to go and I wasn’t going to try and go around Him and do it anyway, so I was fine with not going. Literally, the next day, the college event at work was delayed to a later date and I came to find out my friend, who I’m meeting up with, was actually flying into Seattle and driving into Canada- a flight that was $200 cheaper than the other ones I was looking at. Okay… now I was leaning more towards going, but, true to myself, I still wasn’t 100% on board because I had been so sure, previously, the doors had been closed. A couple of days later I was visiting my parents and still trying to make a decision when I read this prayer in a devotional that spoke about following in God’s will and asking for guidance. So, I prayed that God would provide me with that guidance and made the promise that I would trust Him to do so and I wouldn’t worry about it anymore. Right afterwards, I went with my parents to their church and had, honestly, completely forgotten about the prayer. The worship team comes out and they begin playing. At the fourth song I leaned over to my Mom and made the comment, ‘that’s funny, they just sang songs from Charlie Hall, Chris Tomlin, David Crowder Band and now their starting a Matt Redman song- those are all Passion people’. I turned back to face the front and my words literally just replayed in my mind, ‘those are all Passion people’. It felt like God gave me this push and my stomach felt like it dropped to my knees and my breath caught and I, then (finally) realized what I had just said and the prayer I had, earlier, prayed. I’m not a ‘certain’ person… I tend to lean on the side of doubting way too often, but in that moment I absolutely knew that I should be going. That night I signed up to be a volunteer, prior to even arranging my flight/accommodations, and just decided to take that step of faith that everything would fall into place, and it has been falling into place and I’m thrilled to say that I’m going!