I went to my first conference in November 2015, after having studied the Bible only twice for 10-15 minutes each time. I didn’t know my shepherd’s last name, or even where we were going. When I realized we weren’t going to be using phones at all for a weekend, I was definitely scared. But just for me to be in the car was a miracle. I had never left my husband and three kids alone for 3 days before, so I expected my husband to say no to me going. That would be a convenient excuse for me. But to my surprise, he said, “Yes, yes, sure,” and even gave me the money for the registration fee, plus $10 extra. This was so weird, especially since it would be Thanksgiving weekend. As for me, I was left without my excuse. I clearly saw that God wanted me to go to this conference, so I called my shepherd to tell her I could come.
I closed my heart on the first day there – I had coffee withdrawal, no nap, no break, complaints continually. I even skipped one service just to sleep. But the second day, from the first minute, God did not stop talking to me personally. “I did this for you. Do you see the cross? Do you see your sin?” I said, “My life is clean, what are you talking about?” He did not accept this, but said, “Do you live for me?” Then He asked, “Do you love me?” And I cracked. I saw my life like a movie – I had done everything for my name, and nothing for Him. I was working so hard to build my money, with 3 languages, 3 jobs, big house, brand new car. Nothing to glorify God. Everything for me. When He asked, “Do you love me?” I bawled, and could only answer, “No, I think I love me.” And He said, “Follow me.” If anyone else heard my answer, they should say, “Go away. Repent.” But to my answer, He said, “Follow me.” I completely broke apart and cried and cried all Saturday night, all day Sunday. When I stood up to share my testimony, I couldn’t say a single word without tears. In my heart, I promised Him one thing: I will remain in you.
After the conference, my shepherd asked me to come to Friday testimony sharing. The only way to do this was if I quit one of my three jobs, so I quit one just to come to Friday night. I understood that the word “remain” means “to stay.” I promised Him that I would come here no matter what. Since then, challenges have happened, bad stuff, good stuff, the devil tried to kick me out from this church with all his power. But with God’s grace, I kept going, even if I didn’t always do a good job. I am still here. He invited a 35 year-old woman, who was already married with three kids, to a ministry that focuses on college students. If God wrestled with me this much just to get me to meet Him, it was really God calling me here.
One thing has stood out to me for all this time: no one remained from the conference except me. The conference had 43 new students, 42 didn’t show up again (two returned later). I was the only one who remained from that conference, which means that from A to Z, this conference was made just for me. God made me feel so precious, to the point that He had 46 shepherds working for me for 3 days nonstop, with 40 nights of prayer before it, just for me to remain. I was the queen of the conference. Because of this, I am determined to never go back to my old life. The way God called me, preparing my salvation, was very real. His love was there, and He was there talking to me personally. God looked for me like this and worked so hard to get my heart. Why should I ever leave the place where He called me back to Him, and where He keeps talking to me? With no doubt, He is using this church to clean my heart and bring me closer to Him. God Himself is the one who prepared all of this for me, and I couldn’t ask for anything more.