compiled/edited by Paula Hemphill in Meet Other CAs
I think one of the most beautiful things in life is how unpredictable it can be -- how one seemingly unimportant decision can totally change your world and your life forever. I have had the privilege of experiencing a few transformational moments like that in my own life. Our child ambassador conference was one of them for me. I shared my story about it in a previous blog post. But since you've already heard that story, well, I want to tell your stories.
I'd like you to meet some of my friends and hear them tell their stories about conference. Each one of the people who shared is unique and a precious part of our team. And so are YOU. That's why we are all extending a warm invitation for you to join us at conference this year! Get the details and register here.
"Come away full..."
- Tamara Vazquez
"I felt a little like Moses as I came to God with my little list of excuses of why I couldn't go to conference. And one by one He took them away: My parents watched my son, I carpooled to the conference with another CA, I paid for the conference from my savings, and God is faithful to provide just as He always is. And in His faithfulness, He showed me that we need each other for this ministry and we need to lift up each other in prayer...
I came not knowing what to expect at all, I just felt like I should be there. I was excited about going to Seattle and meeting other CA's, but I was a little nervous too. But I made friends with other CA's I hadn't met before and I was inspired by the prayer team to pray more. (Now) I pray that God would use me to change lives. I pray for other CA's. I pray over the picture folders. And I pray for the events we participate in. For me, conference was life-changing -- it's an amazing experience. It is celebrating God's goodness and faithfulness as we do His work. So, if anyone is on the fence, I would tell them to come. Come with an open-heart, and you'll come away full."
"Conference is fuel for the soul..."
- Linda Stombaugh
"I definitely sat on the fence about conference for months. I came up with so many reasons why I shouldn't go. My family continuously encouraged me to go but it took a lyric from Matt Maher to really shake me: 'If anyone remembers my name, if I'm ever known for anything, let it be I ran into the night running with a firelight, firelight.' This made me examine what my purpose in life is. It shouldn't be to live a comfortable life, acquire things, and die. It made me ask myself, 'What impact can I make that will be eternal for the Kingdom of God?'
So, I went to conference and I discovered that conference is fuel for the soul to accomplish our God given purpose. Being a Child Ambassador doesn't simply change the lives of children and their communities. It changes you."
"Recharge, re-center, and connect..."
- Cari Conklin
"I registered for conference because I wanted to meet my heroes and learn from them. I also wanted to build relationships that would bring community. And I'm coming back to conference this year because I still have so much to learn and I want to see my heroes (now friends) in person! These are the kind of people I want to walk through life with. Coming to conference and being with them for a few days has taken what I knew I should do as a Christian and helped me move beyond it into a rich and joyful journey of faith. Conference is where the orange army comes to recharge, re-center, and connect to the larger mission we have as a team. This is not just an experience that is over when you leave. It is the start of many things beautiful, and growing, and good."
"I now have this clarity in my heart..."
- Candice East
"For me conference means a weekend surrounded by the Body of Christ in the most concentrated setting I have ever experienced. I was reassured by the LORD over and over that this is HIS organization-- doing the work of His hands and feet. God built this organization through the prayers of faithful followers and being a part of it that weekend completely fueled my ministry. As with all things in my life, once I know the LORD is in something and He reassures me of it, I am all in! The Lord used conference to do just that for me last year. I simply felt the Lord leading me to this ministry like never before. I now have this clarity in my heart, in my confidence, in my purpose, and it had not been this strong before conference!"
"It helped me know I'm not alone..."
- Beth Adkins
"I'm not really sure what made me decide to go to conference last year. I think I was disgusted with myself for not doing much as an ambassador. But I underestimated how amazing it would feel to be around other people who have the same heart as me for the people of the world. Conference was a great experience because of the orange army unity, but also because it brings you back to the heart of why you became a child ambassador in the first place. I got to reconnect with that right away. I invited my sister to attend with me, and she said yes. She had always had a heart for people before the conference, but she hadn't taken on sponsorship yet. The impact of the conference though, made her decide to not only start sponsoring, but to become a CA too! The heart of the conference helps to keep our WV heart beating and makes it bigger too. It helped me know I'm not alone, I'm not the only one who struggles with certain things, it reminded me of the first time I saw the work of World Vision, and the way it made my heart open. That bolsters me up. Conference is a great experience that is difficult to put into words, but has an amazing impact on your heart. Do it. You owe it to yourself to, at the very least, try conference once. If you want to be renewed as a CA, you have to try this. As far as the time and money are concerned, pray about it. Ask the prayer team to pray for you. I didn't know how I was going to make it there last year and the prayer team prayed for me and I made it. God even gave me an extra $100 as a gift from a friend!"
"Immediately and lovingly welcomed..."
- Shannon Legler (pictured back row, right side)
"By the end of day one, I was shocked and humbled to my core! I have never been around a group of people so accepting, honest, real, and devoted to doing good! ...I walked away (from conference) with connections to new friends that still persist strongly today. Before even touching on the topics covered and resources provided by the conference, the antendees themselves--the warriors in the orange army who immediately and lovingly welcomed me into their ranks--did a lot to restore my faith in humanity."
"I knew God was telling me to go..."
- Tercelina Matias
"I'm a very shy person. I really don't go out much. So, I asked my mom if I should attend my first conference two years ago and she told me to pray about it. I did and in my heart I knew God was telling me to go. I went not knowing what to expect. But I received a blessing. I worshiped, I met new brothers and sisters in Christ, and I learned new things about World Vision. But the best part of my first conference was that I won a stool from one of the mothers' in the Congo. It was an awesome experience. I love the people I met that year and I love everything about conference. Being there helped me to realize how many people in the world need help. My tears wouldn't stop when I saw so much need in this world. This knowledge gave me more motivation to talk to people about World Vision and their program. Also, it helped me to value what I have. For me conference is a BLESSING, a change of heart, a learning experience. The experience of my first conference brought me back the second year, and the experience of my second conference is bringing me back this year."
"The conference answered the spiritual concerns we had and also allowed us to know that we have a lot of support not only from the staff and team at WV, but also from the other CAs in our area."
- John & Tracey Miller
"A sense of belonging..."
- Rob Lebby
"The difficult part for me as an introvert is that I don't always feel well-connected. Being a CA gives me a sense of belonging to something much bigger than myself and it's a very worthy endeavor. That was why I decided to register for conference the first time. I was excited about being a brand new CA and I wanted to connect with the larger group of CAs. The second year, I came back because of all the new friends I had made a year earlier. And it's why I hope to be back again this year."
Greater Together is a collaborative blog written by volunteer child ambassadors for World Vision.