By Christopher Chan on May 27, 2012 | Filed under Featured | 2 comments
Last Saturday, while all the college staff were at Sierra Lodge planning for the upcoming year (and also having fun without us), a couple of the senior brothers and sisters had the opportunity to give an apologetics presentation at the San Jose UNISON Conference down in Sunnyvale!
The event was geared towards middle school and high school youth who were interested in developing practical skills as well as growing in their intellectual foundations through a range of seminars such as “Christians and Justice,” “How to Lead Praise,” and our seminar, “Answering Common Questions from Friends.” It was a challenging experience and on more than one occasion we felt very discouraged, but despite all the anxiety that comes with having to present on a tough subject to a crowd of unfamiliar and expectant faces, each and every one of us were moved as we experienced God using broken sinners like us to do His kingdom work.
In the course of the week leading up to the big day, our team of seven met almost daily to work on our presentations, pouring over and editing our material again and again as we strove to be as engaging as possible. Thankfully, midway through the week, we were rescued from having to fabricate completely new presentations when we decided to use the material from THRIVE.
(Shout-outs to Pastor Ed, Kelly, Pastor Daniel, and all the other staff who worked so hard on that material! You saved our lives!)
But despite the many hours we spent preparing, none of us felt ready enough to give our presentations and we were quite nervous as we drove down to Sunnyvale.
But when we saw the students trickle into the conference, our worries and fears began to dissipate as we began to feel burdened for them. We found out that many of the students were already having engaging conversations about Christianity with their non-Christian friends but had no idea how to answer the questions that they were asked. And what do you know! Here we were come bearing some of those answers! That realization really shook us out of our insecurities.
Our seminars went smoothly throughout the night as we covered topics that ranged from “Why am I affected by Adam’s sin,” to “Science and Empiricism,” and at the end of it all, we felt like we had just come back from a mini-mission trip.
Mikey’s words pretty much sums it all up:
For me, this [conference] was such an awesome privilege because, through it, I got to see a lot of the hard work and dedication from our staff, Pastor Ed, and Kelly that goes into things like Thrive. I mean, we spent a few days just trying to memorize the resource that was already given to us, so I can’t even begin to imagine just exactly how much effort had to go into creating the transcripts, lesson plans, handouts, etc. I also got to develop a heart for the youth kids as I prayed to God to prepare their hearts throughout the week leading up to the conference. It was extremely encouraging when I was talking to an 8th grader named Kenneth during the other group’s presentation because he actually understood the material! And it was helpful to him because he was at that age when his friends started to ask him questions about his beliefs.
I actually felt pretty sad the day after it was over because we were all done with the presentations! From this experience-along with the past SD Mission trip that I went to-I’m beginning to realize that this life of serving the needy, reaching out to them, investing my time, energy, and resources on them, and just trying to be a good representative of Christ is not only possible, but it’s so fulfilling.
We are all really grateful for the opportunity to spend our summer serving God and others instead of idly sitting around, and we were really challenged to bring this mentality into the upcoming school year as well!
Good luck to everybody giving presentations at home!
Post conference celebration!: