After spending time with family in St. Paul during Christmas, I had the opportunity to go on a partial road-trip. I went down south to Atlanta, Georgia for an an African-American faith building conference for college students. It was called Impact, which was a African-American Campus Crusade for Christ spearheaded event.
I went along with 2 African-Americans from the Twin Cities, whom I didn't know until the day we went by car to Milwaukee, WI. I met them through a connection through the Alpha & Omega in the UofM-Twin Cities campus. We were going to join a group in Milwaukee with some others from the Twin Cities. From there, we were going to ride the Greyhound and pick-up more college students along the way to Atlanta, GA.
The 2 guys that I went with picked me up from a local gas station by my parents' house in St. Paul. We then drove all the way to Milwaukee the day after Christmas. One of the guys went to Bethel College and the other goes to the UofM-Twin Cities campus. It was an experience itself just going to the conference.
On our way to Milwaukee, we had a chance to get to know each other more. We shared what God is doing in our 3 different college campuses. They guy from the UofM-Twin Cities like to rap freestyle. He taught me how he would call his "brothers"-'cat", as a slang term. I have been gone from the cities too long after living in Morris, MN! They told me this has been a term they've been using for a long-time. I even had a chance to video tape him rapping in the car!
We got to Milwaukee and met more college students that were going to attend the conference. This is where I saw some familiar faces from visitng the A&O Twin Cities group a couple times when I visited earlier. We boarded the Greyhound and made ourselves comfortable.
In Chicago (Illinois), we picked-up more college students. I interviewed some folks on video, and one of the people that I'll never forget was "India". As I'm writing this after going on 3 years, I totally forgot the others' names. However, India was from Chicago, but attended school all the way in Iowa. Her mom gave birth to her, who a nurse from India helped with the pregnancy. That is how her name came about!
It was an awesome time meeting folks from different colleges and regions of the Midwest during this bus trip. I had a fun time just seeing the different scenery through Wisconsin, Illinois, Tenessee, Kentucky, and Gerogia. I got really tired of sitting in the bus by the time we reached Nashville, TN.
It was my first time visiting this big city in southwest of the U.S. I remember seeing the headquarters of Coca-cola, CNN, and the many other skyscrapers of many familiar U.S. corporations. The bus stopped at this beautiful hotel where the conference was going to be held at. We all stepped out of the busy, many tired, and registered at the hotel basement-lobby area. I then met the lady, Lorna, who told me about this conference. It was good to see more familiar faces at the destination!
As I remember my video footage, we stepped into the conference meeting area of the hotel, and the music was jamin'! I knew that this was going to be weekend conference of a lifetime! They had screens in both sides of the stage with the picture of the worship team-band playing when we went to our seats. People were filiing to the empty seats slowly as others that waited in the lobby got in. The place eventually got packed by the time the conference started.
There were many speakers, which I can give note by note of what they spoke about with my video and notes overall. The theme was "war" with the enemy (Satan), and I still remember the theme song "ooooh..oooh...he's (Satan) a liar, a cheater, a heart breaker.....I won't let him take...our family, our hood, our school" (something like this, it sounds cool when you watch the video!)
One of my favorite topics of this whole conference was on "missions". The speaker shared how many African-American youth are getting tempted by the "materialism" shown through MTV-rappers with fast-sport cars, gold jewelry, and almost "naked" young women. Instead of spending money on this, the speaker encouraged the mainly African/African-American youth to invest in the "Kingdom" by going on a mission trip. They were advertising Campus Crusade's mission trip to Nigeria, Africa.
To tapped the day off, they encouraged conference attendees to wear their international clothing (many African clothing-of course!). The speaker that evening was from Ethiopia, who shared his awesome testimony on how God called him from going to school in the U.S. to go back home as a missionary to his homeland. His father gave his life to Christ after missionaries from the U.S./Britian gave him a Bible, which he couldn't read. With God's power, he was able to read-only literature on God-after praying to Him!-cool huh!
Tour of Atlanta
During the conference, we had some break times to go throughout the city of Atlanta. I had the life-time opportunity to visit places where Martin Luther King Jr. set his foot on. For example, after visiting (more on this story) the MLK Museum, I went with some folks from the UofM-TC Campus Crusade for Christ to Ebeneezer Baptist Church (Martin Jr.'s father was a pastor here). Later, I had the chance to visit Atlanta's underground shopping mall!
Inner City Outreach
The best experience touring Atlanta was going to the poverty stricken neighborhoods of this city. Towards the end of the conference, after hearing all the "impacting" messages from the Gospel, we were sent in groups to deliver "care packages" (food, Bible, and other "physical" necessities). We went door to door with these, which we gave them "soul" food too! Before giving these material "care packages", we gave them the opportunity to respond to the "salvation" invitation. God really moved, as many (numbers?) did respond! It was a lot of fun to just meet the people in this neighborhood, which taught us that we can do this in our own neighborhoods back at home.
I remember during this outreach, the weather was very cold! We met at the neighborhood outreach center for the outreach briefing, and many of us tried to pay attention as we were freezing-shaking. After going out through this particular neighborhood, we met as a group (bus load size) again, and shared our different stories of this outreach. The group was a little more warmed up after getting excited to see what God did. One shared that, he/she heard a gun shot-it got their attention! Another group saw an ambulance that came into one house that a person was sick (?).
We gathered back at the ritzy comfortable hotel conference area, where they showed some video clips of other neighborhood outreaches. They then opened the mike to anyone in the audience to share some testimonies of their personal experiences.
There is soo... much to share, which I can't remember each detail. However, I have it on video, which makes me want to watch it sometime. I still have contact information of the people I met, especially the people I rode with to and from. As I'm writing this, I've seen the fruits of this conference-just through my personal life where God has grown me. I would love to re-contact each conference attendee on where God has brought them. If you happen to be reading this and went to the conference-God willing/divinely-please contact me. I would love to hear from you!
Where are the conference participants now?
Lambers, from UofM TC-Fuller Theological Seminary
Thank you for visiting my page at Angelfire. Please come back and visit again!