Every time a special occasion or a first is coming up, I never know how I am going to feel. This weekend I went to my first Steubenville youth conference since suffering my AFE. I had a feeling it would make me slightly emotional since I knew I would be sharing the great miracle with 3,000 teenagers!
I have spoken for the Steubenville Youth Conferences for about seven years. All the speakers travel to different locations throughout the US and Canada. I usually speak at two or three conferences each summer, and each year my locations change. What is most ironic about speaking this summer was that I was scheduled to speak at the same two conferences I spoke at the year before my AFE. So, in a powerful way I was returning to these same youth. I arrived in Springfield, MO last Friday and was greeted by familiar staff members who I have worked with before. Some knew what happened and some did not. I waited in the hotel until it was time to meet with my speaking team; all of whom I had spoken with in prior years. My team was made up of amazing speakers, and I was excited to be serving with them once again. (See team pictured to the left). It was a great homecoming!
On Saturday, I shared my story with these high school students. I could hear a pin drop. I spoke of the power of God and His ability to make all things new. I shared that if He could wake me from the dead, then He could surly cure their hurts and pains. Many youth came and shared how my story had impacted them! It was amazing to see how the Lord was using this story to move them towards changing their lives.
I had many unbelievable encounters with teens suffering from alcohol, drug, sex, and pornography additions. I counseled a young woman who had two abortions in the past two years, and heard from girls who said that simply, they never knew they had value and worth until I mentioned how unrepeatable God made them. It never ceases to amaze me how broken our youth are and how much they hunger for God, for truth, and for someone to just love them. Please pray for them, especially for those teens who have just attended these conferences around the country that they choose to become rooted in Christ!
One hundred copies of my book were made available in the bookstore at the conference and it sold out half way through the conference! I was really excited about that! The bookstore manager said she probably could have sold 100-200 more! So happy the teens are drawn to this kind of story about a miracle!
This was the longest I have been away from Doug, Brady and Ella all year, so that was a little hard, but I knew I was where I needed to be. My little Ella was taking steps here and there when I left and when I returned just two days later, she was a walking machine! It was great to come home to her walking like a pro! My baby is growing up too fast! Two weeks until her first birthday!!
Please pray for me as I embark on two more trips in the next two weeks. I will be in California just for the day on Friday and then off to Minnesota the last weekend in July. In addition, I will be having family stay with us, and throwing Ella her first birthday party. Life feels a little crazy right now!!
In addition, last week I wrote about a campaign to raise money for my friend Angela Faddis who has stage four colon cancer, and this week I am elated to tell you $20,000 has been raised in just one week! Praise God!! That is a great start for her to pay for advanced treatment, and I believe more people will give to get them to their $30,000 goal! To check it out, go to www.angelafaddis.com.
I added a page to this website with info on who is carrying my book (click here to see) and I also updated the testimonial page with feedback I have received from teens this past weekend. Feel free to check those out!!
I hope you all have a great week full of joy!