I'm back from the TCX Awaken Conference in Minneapolis and I experienced my four most emotional days of my life!
This video was kind of a trailer for TCX 2010 so the pictures are from last year, but it shows the Hilton Hotel where we stayed very good and also what we did. So just to give you an idea:
I headed down there on Tuesday together with Tracey, Brenda and Yuna from my Bible Study Group at SCSU and we arrived at about 3.30pm (I think...!).
|Tracey driving to Minneapolis :)|
While Tracey parked the car after she dropped us off at the hotel, Yuna, Brenda and I already went upstairs (17th floor) to get our stuff to our room.
|The hotel - see the arrow? I think that's where our room was|
|I know, we didn't really clean up|
When Tracey arrived at the hotel we all went downstairs (3rd floor) to register and explore the hotel - that was at about 4pm. After exploring we walked (!) back upstairs because they were too many people with luggage arriving who needed the elevators. Yuna, Tracey and I stayed in our room for a while where we ate, talked and I took picture from the view out of our hotel room.
|Isn't that a very cool house?!|
|The window was a little dirty :(|
We had our first main meeting at 7.30pm and the doors opened at 7.15 - we headed down there at about 6.40 so that we could get good seats :) Right after that we had Campus Time where we played a very fun game: We were all sitting in a circle and had to say our first and last name, now the hard part: you had to repeat the names of the people who were sitting 'before' you. We had approximately 40 people there and I was more than glad, that we started over about five seats before it would have been my turn :P
After that (~10pm) we had the rest of the day free time and that's usually when we hang out in the hall ways and talked about all kinds of stuff. I went to bed at midnight :)
The next day I woke up at 7.10 and took a shower and ate breakfast, before I went downstairs (we were able to use the elevators by that time) with Yuna at about 8.15am. The second session started at 9 so we just waited in front of the doors with the other students from SCSU.
We had lunch break from 11:45 to 1:30 and that's when Yuna and I went to Target where I bought some food for the rest of the week (I know now that it's a bit too much :P) and to Walgreen's because I got a cold and my throat was very sore :(
The first Equipping Seminar started at 2pm and ended at 3pm, we then had a 30 minutes break and the next seminar from 3.30 to 4.30. I attended 'How to Lead a Small Group That People Want to Attend' and 'How to Share Christ - Rescue Your Friends and Conquer Your Fear' and at 5.30 I went to a seminar with information about Keynote (focus on the Summer Project).
Then at 7.30 we had our third main meeting: The Bema
After that again free time where we played some games and talked :)
The next morning the fourth main meeting started at 10 where we had to bring our coats and all that stuff because we spread out for the Outreach that day. We met with our Campus right after the meeting where we split up in groups of 2-5 people and got instructions to the Church (each Campus worked with a different one). We then went out to get boxes of food and once we got those, we went to our cars to drive to the Church: Greater Friendship Baptist Church. Unfortunately there were only five people who opened the door for my little group (we were three and the pastor of the church joined us).
|Get some food and hot drinks in the Church after the Outreach|
But later at the meeting at 7pm back in the hotel we got to see how many conversations we all together had. There were more than 1000 conversations and more than 70 people accepted Christ that day, isn't that super awesome! I had tears in my eyes when I saw all the names of the people who were saved that day (staff members wrote them on boards on the stage).
During that meeting we also talked about the situation in other countries Australia, East Asia, 4th Journey, France, Ghana and Uruguay. After the main meeting we had seminars about these countries/regions and I attended the one about France, hoping that I would get more information about what I could do when I go back to Germany since they are very similar.
All these information on just one day really messed with my emotions. I was so sad about the fact that they are so many people out there who are lost and never heard the Gospel before. But then I realized that I was one of these people just 4 months ago - I mean I knew that there's a God, but nobody ever told me that Jesus died for us to cover our sins. Once I realized how I went from the darkness into light during the last four months my whole body was filled with joy and when we started worship with Happy Day right after the main speech I started crying and got goose bumps.
I was so incredibly happy and grateful you don't even have a clue!
Yuna and I joined a group of people at about 10.30pm playing Signs. Our group soon included about 35 people and it was super intense but it's just so much more fun with many people :) I think we went to our room at around 1 and we went to bed at 2am :)
|Waiting for the doors to be opened|
|People with flags saving spots for their campus|
|Jo for SCSU :)|
And then was already Friday:
The Morning (Main) Meeting 6 started at 10am and we had lunch break from 12:15 to 1:15 where I bought More than a Carpenter in the bookstore Campus Crusade for Christ set up for the conference.
Life Skill Seminar 1 started at 1:30 and ended at 2:30, the second one was from 3 to 4pm. I first attended 'Sharing Christ with Those Closest to You' and then 'Darwin: Can You See He's Fooled You All?'.
At 4.30 the SCSU Campus met in the lobby and we all headed to a Church where we had our Campus Dinner. We ordered pasta and salad and shared what we learned during the conference.
We headed back at around 6.30 and attended the next and last main meeting at 7pm. After that we had Campus time again where we played the shout game: we were all standing in a circle and bowed our heads. Somebody said 'One, Two, Three, Look Up!' and we all had to look up and at somebody, when you had eye contact with somebody else because you looked at each other in the same round you had to scream and you were out. It's a very weird game but super much fun :)
At 10.30pm started the New Year's Party. It was so amazing to worship into the New Year and dance after it till 2am :) I went to bed at 3 and got up this morning at 9am, took a shower, packed the rest of my stuff and went downstairs together with Yuna, because we were supposed to wait for Tracey who wanted to get the car from the parking ramp.
We said we will meet at 10.30am and at 10.50 she called me and said that she couldn't find the car (she forgot where she parked ^^) It was pretty cold but I had my Christmas-Fleece-Blanket.
|Yuna with my blanket :)|
When Tracey arrived at around 11am and we put all our stuff (see picture above + the bag of Katie who wasn't there yet when I took the picture) in her car the door from Katie didn't close. Tracey said there's something in the lock so that made it impossible for a piece to fall down and lock the door. It could have also been that it was 'just' stuck, anyway it didn't work!
|There (circled green) was something wrong|
We tried to fix it for about and hour and there were other people from a campus from Wisconsin who tried to help but it just didn't work :(
It was very cold (~ 4°F/-16°C) and because it took us so long to find out that we weren't able to just fix it, all the other people from our campus were already gone. The two people from Wisconsin who helped us, Yuna, Tracey and I started to pray, that He would show us a solution. The students from Wisconsin then left and Yuna went to the hotel to get warm. We tried it again and again and there were already two other people who tried to help but we then decided to drive over to the Hotel since Tracey wanted to ask staff from the hotel I they had an idea - at that time it was around 12.15pm so we tried it for over an hour. On the way there Katie held the door and tried to close it over and over again when we stopped at a stoplight. I called Mitch and asked if he would be able to pick me up since there really wasn't anybody left who would drive back to Saint Cloud, he wanted to talk to Steph and call me back. When we stopped in front of the Hotel, Katie tried it again and ... the door stayed shut!
Praise the Lord of the Universe who answered our prayers! Tracey said, 'Lock it and never ever open it again!' :) I called Mitch to tell him that 'we' fixed the door and that I'd be home soon. Tracey got Yuna from the hotel and we drove home - 2 hours later than we planned to... :)
All these meetings and seminars were absolutely amazing and so helpful! As I said earlier, it was very emotional and I feel like I grew spiritually more in these four days than I did in the past four months. My faith got so strong now after hearing the Gospel five times a day - I thought once you hear it you understand in, but there's still always so much joy and gratefulness in me when I hear the Good News again.
I am very glad that we had so many different seminars to pick from so that I learned a lot that I can use once I'm back in Germany! I think it's still going to be hard, but I already started to pray and I trust in the Lord that he is going to use me to spread the Gospel, but He is the one that changes people's hearts! All I can do for now is praying :)
Thank you to everybody who made this weekend possible - Jess for encouraging me to go, Mom and Dad for allowing me to go and giving me the money that I needed for it, Steph and Mitch for letting me go, Tracey for giving me a ride and be there the whole time, Yuna for giving me hugs and being there the whole time too and everybody from the TCX/Campus Crusade for Christ staff for organizing this awesome conference!