Six years ago in the Fall of 2010, I was in Lexington for the National Missionary Convention (now International Conference on Missions). I had never been to Lexington before that convention I was not married. I was justing finishing up my first semester at Kentucky Christian University. I had a few new friends who were passionate about seeing God work in their lives and in the lives of others. They told me “you’re going with us.” I had no option. The two people I remember I rode with were very authoritative. I did not want to go to the National Missionary Convention. I wanted to go home. I wanted to see family and friends and eat pie. I wanted to process my first semester in my new calling to ministry. I did not want to attend any boring missionary thing.
However, my friends knew what they were doing and they were persistent. Sure enough, I ended up in a car on the way to Lexington. Little did I know at that time what I would experience at the NMC would change my life forever. I am thankful for those who were willing to meet my stubbornness with grace and force. I am thankful for those who had enough courage and conviction to take me despite my uncertainty.
As soon as I walked into Rupp Arena in 2010 I was caught off guard. I could not fathom what I was going to experience. No, it was not because I was in THE Rupp Arena because I had no concept of UK basketball yet. I do not know If I would have believed anyone or even understood them if they had described it to me. Missionaries, organizations, and networks blanketed the entire convention center. Thousand upon thousands of people from all nations together worshipping One God for the purpose of His Kingdom and His glory.
Soon I was immersed in missionary booths and workshops with information I did not even know I needed or desired was made accessible to me. I loved every minute of it. I had no idea the Church was that big. At ICOM, for the first time, I really experienced something I had never before. I saw those who were invested in the global church.
Eventually, I connected with an organization called Christian Missionary Fellowship International. I heard about their REACH summer internships. One, in particular, caught my attention—Turkana, Kenya. There, interns had the ability to participate in digging water wells for those who did not have access to clean drinking water, along with teaching bible studies and sleeping outside under the stars.
The previous year, I had learned that many people throughout the world do not have access to clean drinking water through an organization called ActiveWater. Through the help of my home church, I had even raised money for clean water filters and water wells for those in Zambia. I could not let the opportunity to actually go dig wells pass by.
Sure enough, that next summer I was sweating it out in Kenya. That summer rocked my world. It was my wilderness experience for a lot of junk I was personally working through. After the summer, I had a new outlook on life.
In the lead up to this event, I had shared with many college students that they should come and even that they needed to attend ICOM. I often got puzzled looks and uncertainty. They wanted to go home. They wanted to see family. They wanted to take a break from the gauntlet of the semester. However, after some grace and force, several students took me up on my plea.
So today, once again, I sit in Rupp Arena and the attached convention center, now working for KCU. It is the first full day of ICOM 2016. It seems that life has come full circle. I am hopeful for God to work in the lives of the college students who are attending through KCU. I am overwhelmed with emotion. I am overwhelmed with the thought about what God may do…actually, what He will do.