This past weekend I had such a great time speaking at a youth conference put on by Steinbach Bible College called IMPACT. The theme of the conference was Exploring Hope, which I spoke about on Friday evening, Saturday morning & evening and Sunday morning. I also did a workshop for youth pastors and leaders Saturday afternoon called “Social Media and our Students”.
In the weeks leading up to the conference our whole family was sick with nasty colds and not getting much sleep. It was less than ideal timing because Claire, who has just starting sleeping through the night, was getting up a lot. And during the day, both kids were pretty miserable and wanted me all. the. time. As much as I love all the extra cuddle time, it made preparing for this conference a HUGE challenge. Fortunately Alex and my mom were able to watch the kids a few afternoons so I could sneak away and get some work done.
Going into the weekend I was excited and a bit nervous, as it was my first time speaking (other than online classes) since Claire was born. On Friday night I shared a bit of my testimony and encouraged the students to anchor themselves to Christ, rather than to other people and their opinons. I’ve spent so much of my life trying to please people and my prayer is that these students can learn from my mistakes, and learn to place their hope in Christ early on in life.
Saturday morning I spoke about how God has a unique dream for each of us, a role for us to play in bringing His kingdom, on earth as it is in heaven. I also talked about when we start to put our hope in this world, rather than in Christ, we lose sight of His dreams for us and life can become dull, distracted and drama-filled. On Saturday evening we explored what it looks like to hold onto hope in the difficult times of life. I shared about the life of Joseph and how from the time he first felt called to lead (at the age of 17) until that dream came to fruition (at the age of 30) he went through all kinds of challenges and trials. But through it all, he remained faithful and God blessed him. Even in prison, God gave him favor.
Sunday’s message was all about how our big dreams aren’t for our benefit, but for the benefit of those around us. Our world is short on hope and we are called to share the light and love of Christ we’ve been given. We are blessed to be a blessing.
Overall it was a great weekend, getting to know the students and sharing a bit of my story and God’s truth with them. One student wrote to me after and said, “Heather, I just wanted to say thank you so much for speaking at Impact, I feel blessed to have been able to listen to your sessions, although I didn’t personally get to talk to you or get to know you this weekend, I felt that after your first session I had gotten to know you on different grounds. I can’t say I have ever related to a session as much as I did to yours so once again thank you so much!” What a blessing to know that my humble offering can be used to bless and encourage others.
Some other fun news I found out this past weekend is that I’ve been asked to be a community leader at this years’ Influence Conference! If you haven’t heard of The Influence Network or the conference before, take a moment to head over to the conference page and check it out. I’d love to see you there!