life: new year's

happy new year!
if you've noticed my absence, it's because over the past six days i've been staying in st. louis, missouri for a spectacular christian college-student conference called urbana. it's central theme being missions work, we were allowed the opportunity to listen to seminars by pastors and missionaries from all over the world give their testimonies and teach us better ways to spread the gospel. it was an intense six-day trip that moved my heart and restrengthened my faith, and i am happy to be sharing this experience on my blog. christianity is a large part of who i am, and after debating a long time whether or not to share this side of myself on here, i've decided it would be wrong if i didn't! i had such a great time, it'd be a shame not to.

here's a video i made documenting our trip and my group sharing their thoughts about the conference.

flying was uncomfortable, as it typically is for me. on an airplane designated for domestic flights, the seats were small and cramped and the entire plane shook while in the air. after surfacing over the dark rain clouds that had gathered in new jersey skies, the sun prettily shown and cast wonderful shadows and slivers of light inside the cabin of our plane.

this group of kids are friends whom i've grown up with in my home-church since i was young. to attend urbana with them was all that i had hoped, and more. we laugh so much and it is almost like we are children again whenever we gather together.

 falling behind in sleep, we shamelessly have taken naps in public places, and even partake in a birthday party consisting of surprise cupcakes and singing in one of our hotel rooms.

music worship is breathtaking at urbana; emphasizing the importance of learning about different cultural backgrounds and traditions, we sing praise songs in english, chinese, korean, spanish, french, hindi, and of african culture! i am inspired by the 18,000 of us singing in the stadium accompanied by amazing musicians. when we sing acapella, i get shivers, i've never heard so many people sing together before.
during expositions, testimonies, and seminars, we commonly take notes. there is so much to remember. we listen to powerful speakers like kenyan senior pastor, calisto odede (pictured above), alabama megachurch pastor, david platt, tiananmen square massacre past student leader, chai ling, and many, many otheres.

communion is taken on new year's eve, right before midnight. then we count down and sing more songs, the energy in the dome more lively than ever. we greet the new year with hands raised up singing,

"holy, holy, holy,
is the lord god, almighty,
who was and is and is to come".


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