I headed down to Southern California (more southern than where I am now) with Nadia, an EBC student, for a conference that Francis was doing in Bellflower. The housing was at Biola University, my Alma mater, and I was excited to go there and see some old friends.
Nadia had gotten engaged two days prior to this trip, so her mind was on her beloved Steve. It was fun to see her excitement, count the diamonds in her ring, and hear all about Steve. It was really cute to see her so excited about her engagement, and the thing that I really loved about the situation was that she was completely content just to be engaged. She didn’t know the wedding date, and at that time didn’t really care, she just was enjoying being engaged to Steve. I was so encouraged by her.
If you know me you know that contentment is one of my hobby horses that I talk about all the time. I just feel that it is so important to be content right where God has you NOW versus where you are going to be at any time in the future. God is calling us to be completely content in Him alone in every stage of our lives, and each of us need to be striving towards contentment to better glorify God with where HE has us. Nadia was a great example of what I am talking about. She was completely content with where she was and a great example of being content where you are not where you are going to be. It was fun to see her joy in true contentment with where God had her.
So we got to Biola and checked in. It was really fun to be able to move my stuff into Stewart, a dorm that I had never lived in. I ran into Randy, an electrician on campus who recognized me and greeted me by name (I graduated five years ago). It was great to see him and hear about his family. He would come up to Thousand Pines and serve up there, so I had a couple of connections with him. We got our stuff in the dorms and headed to Bellflower. We got checked in and started to assemble the EBC booth.
The conference is one that I went to last year, so I got to see some familiar faces: Dana, TK, Dave, and Ed Lewis were all there. It was great to see them all and reconnect knowing that I would see them in a month or two at the Momentum East Conference. This conference had fewer students attend and there were only about 300 students there total, about 100 of them being from Operation Barnabus (the youth service team from Momentum).
The conference started and was really great. Worship was led by Todd Proctor and Francis spoke the first night and the next morning. I feel so blessed to be able to hear him teach in so many different places. It is neat to see his ministry all over the country. I feel so blessed.
I got the opportunity to meet a lot of the Operation Barnabus leaders (college leaders for the high school service groups). It was so fun for Nadia and I to meet each of them and to have lunch on day two with Sarah and Stacie.
One of my favorite memories from this trip comes from one of the Operation Barnabus students. Dominque came up to me and was asking about EBC, she ended up finding out my age and about my singleness. She decided that because I was of a certain age and single, I would be perfect for her youth leader. She brought him over later and was not sly at all in her approach. It was pretty funny. I had never been set up by someone who wasn’t one of my kids.
I also loved meeting and hearing Mike Yankowski share his story of living homeless for five months in five different cities. It gave me a heart for homeless that I haven’t had before and I am still figuring out exactly how I can get involved. He wrote a book, Under the Overpass, and I would recommend it to anyone. It is amazing.
I know this is so long, but I did want to share about my time at Biola. I got to “go visiting” with Nadia to all of my old hangouts. I got to run into Mark Hooper, who I haven’t seen in awhile and talk to him a bit, and then go to Student Services where I got to reconnect with Nancy, Carolyn, and Beth. I was bummed to miss John, Roxanne, and Ruth, but glad that I got to see the rest of them. I loved talking with them and catching up. It made me feel real special to be remembered after all these years. I definitely miss them and it honestly felt nice to have them remember me. After leaving that office I cried for a bit just missing what once was. We went to Feinberg after that to visit the professors, they were all on vacation, but Val was there and it was really nice to catch up with her.
We left Biola and came back home…Utah is next….