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Photo by: Victoria Orozco 

Missions Conference started on Wednesday, March 14, 2018, but it really began months before. Intentional planning and consistent meeting went into the largest student-run conference dedicated to mobilizing students to local and global missions. More than that, however, prayer was poured into the way Missions Conference would impact and connect students, faculty, missionaries, and individuals from different nations and tongues.

“Missions starts on our knees.” Those were the words that essentially began the conference with the first session from speaker and pastor Bryan Loritts. He emphasized the power in persistent petition to a God who is more than enough to not only listen, but to actively illuminate. When our knees hit the ground, the ground shakes and movement happens. Beginning with establishing prayer as the beginning of every good work softened and solidified the ground for the rest of Missions Conference 2018: Luminous.

Missions starts with where we are with our relationship with God, then that branches out to our community, then extends to the world. Illumination happens similarly: when the Word of God, all that is true and beautiful and good, strikes the core of who we are, we are then able to penetrate the darkness of sin and corruption and wickedness with the light that compels and carries us.

Pastor Bryan Loritts ended by asking, “If God answered all of your prayers - from the last 12 months - would the world change or would your world change?” Did that change your view of the purpose of prayer? Prayer is neither a checklist or task but rather it is a conversation between creation and Creator. Prayer illuminates by piercing into the dark.

“Missions is the heartbeat of God. People are the heartbeat of God,” said speaker Suresh Kumar. He entered into a session of reorienting the way missions is only partly viewed: not just about the subject of the call, but about who called who. Missions is the Kingdom work that we are called to do because of the work or the construction or the extra hands that are called to lay cement, but to cement the central truth that Christianity is a relationship between us and God. Suresh Kumar urged us to “Fix [our] eyes on what is unseen,” because as beacons of His light, we are called to those who need and lack light. We are called to the dark places. We are called to the cracks and crevices of the world, and even then, does the light shine through. That is where God’s heart is: with His people.

As the conference commenced, we weaved through main sessions, breakout sessions, worship, prayer, marketplace, missionary fair, global awareness, parade of nations, and so many more scheduled stations that were not only there as forms of the conference, but each as lights, meaningfully placed to guide our steps towards the Light who shines upon our path.

We are called to more than the circle of ourselves; we are called to the interwoven Kingdom that continues to grow as our hearts, minds, bodies, and souls are illuminated with Truth that surpasses all understanding. With this light, may we find the courage to go into the dark, unseen places with eyes that are sharpened to see truth, goodness, and beauty where the world cannot see any.

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