There is a song that we sometimes sing in church, “Great Things Happen”, but this past weekend in Springfield, Missouri amazing things happened! This past weekend Steubenville St. Louis Mid America Youth Conference 2005 was hosted on the campus of Southwest Missouri State University in Springfield, Missouri. Over 2000 teens and chaperones came by bus, car and van to meet with a very special friend. And how special it was!
The staff of the Office of Youth Ministry arrived on campus on Thursday morning and saw the calm of the streets, heard the quiet of the theatre, and felt the excitement in the air. Yes, even the air held the excitement to come. As a team we gathered with the Young Apostles at Mass to pray for the conference, for the teens, the chaperones and all connected with the upcoming conference. Even the pastor from the local church we attended felt the excitement in the air and expressed his prayer for the conference attendees.
Then on Friday, the busses, vans and cars started arriving. The registration room became a buzz of welcomes, hellos and hugs as groups met groups and staff welcomed participants. Our long hours of work were ending and the Lord’s work was beginning. For not only was He working in our youth attending, He was working in our staff, volunteers, speakers, religious, priests and deacons. His supreme love for us was everywhere. He met us in our brokenness, in our insecurity, in our unworthiness and did what He does always, LOVES us.
This was my seventh year as local coordinator for the Steubenville St. Louis conference. As always, it was a challenging and rewarding weekend. But something more this year, for the first time, I let go! I so often get bottled up in what has to happen and all the details of running a conference I lose sight of the real reason we are gathered, but this year was different for me. I gave the conference back to God and let Him run it. Truly for me it was life changing. I met challenges head on, but did not lose sight of who was running the conference. For the first time in seven years, I attended not one, but both of the women’s sessions. WOW! When I surrender to Him and give it all back – He does amazing things! I have the fire of His love inside of me and I want to scream His love, I feel as if I could burst with the love He has for me. And really all I can say is WOW – great things really do happen when God mixes with us!
This year was for me, my most changing. Someone told me I need to be attentive to others, for God can work through them to me. I have never looked for the small signs from Him that tell me He hears me, so when I take the time to listen and the words they speak, I realize it is from Him, it shakes me. To get that sign so insignificantly from out of the blue can shake you and it certainly shook me. Driving home last night from Springfield again filled my heart with His love and I realized again and again how much He does love me. His love is more than mountains, oceans and people. His love for me, realized can only change me. WOW – amazing things happen when God mixes with us!