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Urbana 2006 Testimony February 24, 2008

Posted by flashbuzzer in Christianity.
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Hi everybody. This blog will (hopefully) serve as a repository for my thoughts on various interesting subjects.

To start things off, here’s a slightly-edited version of the testimony that I gave at my church after attending the Urbana missions conference in 2006.

Good morning. I recently attended the Urbana missions conference in St. Louis, and today I’m going to share my experience at the conference with you.

Before I went to Urbana I wasn’t sure why I was going. At first I thought I was going because it seemed like every college-aged Christian I knew had attended that conference. Then I thought I was going because I needed to be the “eyes and ears” of our English ministry and take lots of good notes.

During my time at Urbana God slowly showed me why He wanted me to be there. The first person that I met at the conference was a student from Rwanda. We talked about the genocide that had ripped his country apart in 1994, and he told me that he longed for racial harmony in his country.

Later I found out that two of my roommates were also from Africa. I had some fruitful discussions with them, and I realized that I had some negative attitudes towards people of African descent that I needed to change.

In fact, many aspects of the conference helped me to see that God loves all ethnic groups. I worshipped in the convention center with people from 80 different countries. We sang songs in Mandarin, Spanish and French. Two of the best speakers at Urbana came from Kenya and Zambia.

Learning to love people from all nations wasn’t the only thing that God helped me with at Urbana. He also helped me to have a better understanding of His will for my life. One way He showed me this was through the key verse of the conference, which was Ephesians 4:1. Ephesians 4:1 says “As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.”

I had read Ephesians before but that verse never stood out for me until I went to Urbana. Then I noticed that every speaker encouraged us to “…live a life worthy of the calling…” and devote our lives to praising and honoring God through our actions.

There were many fantastic speakers throughout the conference, including Pastor Rick Warren, who you probably know as the author of The Purpose-Driven Life. For me, though, the most memorable talk was by an African-American lawyer from Chicago. Her dynamic speaking style was sufficiently attention-getting, but the main point of her message still resonates with me.

She discussed the Biblical story of Terah, Abraham’s father, from Genesis 11. She noted that Terah settled in Haran and died there. On the other hand, Abraham listened to God’s calling to go to Canaan, which was a strange and faraway land for him. Using this illustration, she encouraged us to not “settle” in life, but always be ready to hear God’s voice and obey His instructions.

Her message made a big impression on me and I thought about it over the rest of the conference. During my quiet times I struggled to understand what God’s calling for me was at this stage of my life. Why was I studying at UT? Why was I in Austin? Why didn’t He want me to stay in California?

It wasn’t until last week while I was back home that I began to have a better understanding of God’s calling for me at this time. I began to be convinced that God had placed me at UT not just to get a good education and earn some advanced degrees. He wanted me to reach out to other UT students and glorify His name on campus. I would be in a good position to make an impact for Him at UT as a student.

Then I began to think of how I could stop “settling” in certain aspects of my life. Some thoughts came to mind. For example, as a student I needed to try my best in my classes and research. Too often, I’ve “settled” for doing “good enough” when I could really maximize my potential.

Also, to really make an impact for God at UT, I needed to try harder in terms of seeking His will and direction for our English ministry. Too often, I’ve “settled” for just floating along and not asking God exactly what He wants for our ministry and our church.

These insights that God gave me made the whole Urbana experience worthwhile. Instead of viewing Urbana as some Christian rite of passage or a chance to be a scout for our English ministry, I was able to overcome some of my negative attitudes and see God’s direction for my life a little more clearly.

I would encourage those of you who are unsure of God’s calling for your lives to consider attending the next Urbana conference. Many of my friends told me that they enjoyed their experience and now I can say the same for myself. If you desire to “…live a life worthy of the calling…” and aren’t sure exactly how to do that, Urbana will help you take the first steps on the journey that God has prepared for you.



1. Unity in the Body of Christ « Ringing In - May 12, 2012

[…] verse was actually the theme of the Urbana conference in 2006 that I attended and blogged about. It has been more than five years since I went to Urbana, and I must admit that it has been […]

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