For the majority of my Chicago trip, I spent time at Judson University. When I attended the University of Oklahoma (BOOMER!), I couldn’t wait to graduate and be in the real world. Now that I’m in graduate school, all I want to do is go back to OU. While at Judson, I was able to live the college life again – attending classes, eating terrible food, staying up way too late, and sleeping in way too long. An added bonus was getting to live the college live without having the homework. Now that is the life! If this life were possible in reality, I would become a lifetime student.
While writing out the stories from my week at Judson, I realized I had quite a few. So instead of writing a novel over the week (like I did with my story about traveling to Chicago) I decided to break it up a bit. I’m going to start with Missions Week.
Kaitlyn told me I chose the best week to come to Judson, because it was Mission Week. I didn’t strategically plan this week, it just happened to be my fall break. But, she was right! It was perfect timing. The first night at Judson, we attended ‘A Taste of Judson,’ which was an international potluck dinner. Students from all over the world brought their favorite home cooked dishes from their own countries. Of course the food was delicious! Bread and fondu from Greece, fried mo mo’s from India, beans and rice from South America, and coconut cake from Burma. I met so many amazing students from places I would love to visit, each with their own inspirational stories and life goals. I could have spent hours talking to each and every one of them about how God has moved in their lives and the ministries they long to be a part of to help change the world.
I was able to attend a lecture from a media missionary photographer, which if you don’t know is my dream job! He freelances for several missions organizations and travels all over the world. He is a Dallas, Texas native, who majored in accounting. One day he quit his job and moved to Africa where his ministry started. His work is breathtaking. He is the type of artist I aspire to be. And his love for people is what stood out most during the time he shared.
I shared more amazing conversations with Kaitlyn’s roommate Sarah. She is an adopted daughter of American missionaries in Turkey. Her and her brother are both Turkish. The family serves through Frontiers mission agency. She was able to give me a missions perspective from a different mission agency, as I only have experience with the International Mission Board. Sometimes I forget there is a world outside the Southern Baptist Convention, because that’s the bubble I find myself in. Yet, there are so many others working toward the same goal of glorifying Christ all over the world. And Sarah gave me a taste of that. Plus, she took some pretty amazing pictures of me!
Not only did I talk with mission minded students, and hear the testimony of a photographer, the entire week of chapels were centered on missions. We watched several videos (some created by Cooper, who is head of the Judson video team) of mission testimonies and opportunities to serve with local and international mission agencies. Students shared their experiences of past mission trips, the chapel guest was a missionary from the Dominican Republic, and Judson announced it’s upcoming mission trips for 2012. I felt like I was at Lifestream Mission Reveal Night!! (Lifestream…which I also miss) Judson has wonderful opportunities available for students to serve in Chicago, Alabama, Dominican Republic, and Africa. My heart was dancing inside my chest as I listened to the opportunities of a lifetime. I would go anywhere and serve. Times like this I am assured of my calling! I tried to talk everyone I saw into going on one of the trips, or letting me take their place and go for them.
No one I met at Judson had small dreams and I loved that about them. It encouraged and challenged me to do and be more, to continue thinking and dreaming outside the box. That environment is one of the things I miss most in life. Everyone told me that I was so friendly, but they had no idea how much hope and joy they were filling my heart with by allowing me to hear their dreams and stories.