Six years ago, in 2011, I was standing at the University of Alberta for my first conference: Armed and Ready. Six years later, in 2017, I found myself back at the University of Alberta, serving at a conference for the first time. If anybody told me that six years later I would be serving for conference that year, let alone serving for RAK Party, leading a mini praisefest and performing in creatives, I really wouldn’t know what to say. I was 14 years old at the time and I didn’t even know what the community was about, let alone how to serve properly. Conference was the first event I ever attended and I had no idea what was in store for me; but little did I know that the Lord was about to unfold a plan that changed the entire direction of my life. He really did call me to “be on guard” for what He had in store.
Because my first conference, my first event, was in my hometown Edmonton back in 2011, this year’s conference really had a special place in my heart. Being in the community for six years now, I’ve had my fair share of True North Conferences (TNC), Regional Youth Conferences (RYC), Youth Camps, Summer House Trainings, General Assemblies, Households, you name it, and this year it felt as if I was finally coming full circle with my time in the community. I remember hearing that conference was in Edmonton while I was still in Europe for World Youth Day the year before, and I couldn’t have been more excited to finally serve at a conference, let alone, one that was happening in Edmonton. In coming back from Europe, I was on a huge spiritual high, it felt like nothing was going to stop me from saying yes to any role. It wasn’t long until I came back to reality that the Lord used this conference as a humbling experience for myself.
In the past, I’ve had major roles as part of previous RYCs, and I couldn’t help but to expect more of the same for conference. I was prepared to say yes to a big role for conference and have a major part in the preparations that happen before hand. But as the year went on, I was able to find a full-time job for the upcoming summer and the reality of balancing a major service role with work became a tougher pill to swallow than I realized. By the time I was asked to serve for conference, I had to prioritize the work that I had and I knew that I wouldn’t be able to fully commit to my service for conference as I would’ve liked. With the way things worked out, I didn’t end up getting a service role at all and this really had a huge impact on my pride. All around me the brothers and sisters I was serving with were busy with meetings on meetings about conference and I wasn’t part of any of the planning. And funny enough, I would end up quitting the same job I prioritized. Unfortunately for me, that left me with nothing to do for a majority of my time and it made it hard to be excited for a conference that I really held close to my heart. It affected my pride that I wasn’t as involved as I wanted to be and I was hurt at the irony of my situation. It felt that God was punishing me for something and I didn’t really know what for. I was frustrated, upset, and disappointed.
SO WHAT WAS NEXT?
In the month leading up to conference, that’s when God started to work behind the scenes of my life. I never realized it then because I was still upset, but reflecting on it now I can see that He had a plan for me all along. What started off as a simple yes to being a part of Edmonton’s Senior Dance, led to many doors that allowed me to be a part of different creatives within the Production Team. The Lord then called me to be a part of the Secretariat Team to serve for this year’s Random Act of Kindness (RAK) Party. Slowly but surely, I found myself getting busier, but still I remained very upset about my involvement in the preparations for conference.
As conference drew nearer and nearer, God gave me a taste of what was to come during the weekend through all the business that I experienced throughout the week before conference. It was then when I realized how foolish I was being and how truly grateful I was for the opportunity to serve what I was called to serve in. I started to understand the significance of my “yes” regardless of what my role was in the conference and it became clearer to me that I would only be able to get through all the preparations and practices because of my love of God. It was this love that I had and remembered that allowed me to be able to serve the Lord’s people with all of my heart and strength. I really needed to understand the extent to which I let my pride control my thoughts and actions and humble myself to see the truth that God was showing me. It was this realization that gave me the strength I needed to sustain myself throughout the entire conference weekend. I never realized what I had said yes to, and had I not been reminded of the Lord’s love for me and my love for Him, it would’ve been so easy to burn out.
Throughout the conference, I found myself being heavily involved in a lot of the program. This meant a lot of waiting on stand-by, being on stage, helping out with competitions, or just practicing in the service team room, the Lord kept me busy. And looking back at the conference now, I can see that the Lord tested my patience, and I failed – but He remained faithful to His promise to me, nonetheless. He was able to remind me why I wanted to serve in the first place, and He reminded me of where my faith was rooted. He gave me the grace to serve His people and to love my service too. The Lord humbled me and let me take a step back while others prepared, while still allowing me the opportunity to serve. It just goes to show that God is God and I am not and everything is AND will be done in HIS timing. He is my Solid Ground, and He continues to remind me every day that though my faith is shaky, I can trust in the foundation that I have set in Him, and stand firm in the belief that His love will never fail.
We are a Catholic youth organization and the youth program of CFC (Couples for Christ) whose mission is to strengthen family life and values. CFC-Youth’s mission is described in the 4 F’s (Fun, Friendship, Freedom, and Faith) and the 7 Identities, which represent a holistic approach to following Christ and striving for excellence in all areas of life.
COUPLES FOR CHRIST CANADA MISSION CENTRE
CFC-Youth Canada has 46 chapters present in seven provinces, and is one of 127 member countries of Couples For Christ Global.