Greetings! Its been a while but lots of exciting things have been happing. First off, I just got back from GA, from attending the Catalyst Conference and I had a blast!! I had to compile a portfolio from the conference and will be posting each section separately. I think you all will really understand how amazing this experience was for me.
Catalyst Conference changed my life. Before Catalyst I was walking alone in the desert, lost and thirsty for God. I felt like He just wasn’t around any more. I have been in two car accidents, been sick, missing classes, and just haven’ been myself. The weekend before we were supposed to leave, I got in my 2nd accident. After dealing with the repercussions of that and disappointing my parents once again, I hit rock bottom. I gave up. I threw my hands up and said, “God, I can’t take this anymore. I give up.” My heart had turned to cold steel, never mind stone. I walked onto the airplane with not a bit of hope, happiness, or joy. I realize now that I had to be broken in order to get what I did out of Catalyst.
My first impressions of Catalyst were that it was so big and being around 1300 other believers was amazing! The first day I was just really overwhelmed and since I had a bad chest cold I felt pretty out of it. The best part of the first day was meeting Christine Cain and worshipping. Christine Cain was amazing. She was relatable through her personal stories and experiences. She has such a passion for youth and the future of their role in the church and encourages them to stand up and become strong leaders for Christ. It was refreshing for me to hear an adult care so much about a generation that feels abandoned. Another thing that was such a blessing and something God wanted me to experience was worship. I come from a congregational background and we usually sing hymns. I fell in love with the different interments and new songs that hit my ears and heart. I really loved worshipping with everyone. I felt like I could just worship however I wanted. It did help that I would never see most of these people again and since our class is tight I wasn’t as self-conscience. I could raise my hands, which I’ve wanted to do for a while.
A few critics about Catalyst was for the lab day the breaks were way too long, fifteen minutes would have been enough time but I do understand they wanted us to network and have ample time to do so. Also, after hearing about all the different organizations and major issues like sex trafficking it was hard for me to not feel discouraged. I was upset at the fact that I did not know about these issues as deeply as I thought. I was discouraged for a moment because here I was with all this information and being all fired up to go out and change it, but in reality I felt hopeless and lacked the tools to be able to roll up my sleeves to fix the problems of the world. It’s a daunting task we were handed. I talked with Lindsay and she said that it was good that I was so moved by this new information and reminded me not to be discouraged, that I can take one of the issues that stirred in my heart and take action. I felt a lot better than what I thought was an impossible task. I learned that I cannot save the whole world but I can help in small ways and pray for guidance of what or whom God is calling me to help. I prayed that night for God to let me know which organization to donate my time and money to.
The next day Compassion did a presentation about this guy who sponsored a boy from an impoverished country and how last year both of them finally got to meet each other. It was so emotional but and does not stop there. The boy from the impoverished country decided to sponsor a young girl from Haiti and this summer he got to visit her. To see how one act and inspired so much I felt convicted to sponsor a child. They came to Gordon College when I was a sophomore but I was not ready, not spiritually or financially, but this time is different. I felt so convicted. I wandered over to the table and looked at all the kids that needed me. Of course I wanted to sponsor them all but I knew that one would be a good start. When looking I knew I wanted it to be in a place that would be semi-easy to visit. With that in mind I found my girl. Her name is Gabriela and lives in the Dominican Republic. Right when I picked it up I knew she was the one. I felt good but nervous because I’ve been not good with my money lately, but this was so important to me and is God’s hope so I knew that God would provide and help me help Gabriela. I have full confidence and hope that one day I will visit her and experience her world. I am excited to see where God leads me through this new relationship.
Overall, Catalyst will stay with me forever. What I have learned, experienced, and the people I have met and spent time with made all the different in helping me escape the desert. I know now that God needed me to be broken, dried up, and numb in order to reach me that this point in my walk with Him. It has made all the difference. It has made me realize the importance of leadership for youth, for churches, and for those who need help. I believe because of Catalyst I will be a better youth pastor and inspirational speaker. God brought me out of the hot sands and although there is still some debris in my pockets, shoes, and hair. I am better for it and those whose lives I will touch will be as well.