Hannah, a first time attender of World Mandate West 2016, shares what her expectations were of World Mandate West and what became her eventual experience of the conference. This is a great read for anyone that is still wondering if World Mandate West is for them or looking for a way to encourage a friend or family member who is still undecided about attending!
Another conference? That was my thought last year when I heard it announced. Maybe you’re a lot holier than me, but I just didn’t get that excited at the thought of sitting down all weekend and hearing from people I’ve never met.
Somebody pray for this blogger! But thankfully, I am also wise enough to know that if you get around inspiring people and give any time, or open yourself up at all, God can work with that. So a few clicks later and I was registered.
Let me also start by admitting that I have spent most of my life a little self-focused. I am not one of those people who has always dreamed of being a missionary in Africa. I just like to be a little more in control than that permits! (Plus I have a minor addiction to chocolate, so I’d prefer to live near a good selection of that, please God.) So let’s just say a ‘missions’ conference wasn’t necessarily on my bucket list.
Walking in, I was so impressed at the amount of students and families in the room. Our generation is notoriously selfish – sorry, but it’s true. Our idea of a crisis, is a low battery when there’s the perfect instagram moment, or surviving a wifi blackout. I was also quite new last year and I wasn’t sure whom I’d sit with or what it would be like. This is making me seem quite wimpy, but let me just add I am also someone who wants to be ‘all in’, and that means pushing through that awkward ‘getting to know you’ stage, into being relaxed and having a history with people. Seems like this was the kind of weekend to make that happen.
I was immediately struck by the normality of the speakers, people who’ve given up everything to live in remote areas, to love unreached people for Jesus, surely should look special! I don’t know, maybe glowing faces, or some holy awe! But, they were just so real that it put my life in perspective. I’d come to World Mandate struggling with anxiety and loneliness, to the point where, that was my world. Suddenly I’m hearing about places, and people and miracles that reminded me, that, is the actual world I live in. It’s beautiful; it’s big; God’s in control and it’s hungry for people like me to get up and go! That weekend God helped me see just a little from His perspective, and it was far better than everything I’d been stuck looking at.
There’s something about giving a few days to God that really does get you unstuck. With each session I felt myself lighter, and more ready to be who God had called me to be. I got to worship my heart out, and yes I met a lot of people and started making friends. Friends who are now in my Lifegroup, or getting ready to plant churches in other nations or graduating college and living their calling. Some of those people are now part of the story God has been writing for a long time, I just hadn’t gotten to that page yet…
Register for World Mandate West here!