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Follow. Then Go. Last Thoughts From Urbana 2015

Faith Today ran a contest to send a student to Urbana 2015. Jeanie Qiu, a University of Alberta student, was chosen to attend North America’s largest student missions conference. She shared her learnings and thoughts during the conference, and now wraps things up for us. Thanks Jeanie!

by Jeanie Qiu

I can’t begin to describe the experience Urbana was for me.

Jeanie Qiu and her friends found Urbana to be all that and more!
Jeanie Qiu and her friends found Urbana to be all that and more!

Looking back, it’s amazing how much God taught me in those five days. To start, I have to be honest that during the few weeks before I left for Urbana, I didn’t fully feel prepared- in fact, I felt like something was holding me back from opening my heart to listen and experience Him.

So I prayed, knowing that God was greater than what was holding me back, and He answered.

On the first night at the hotel, God addressed the problem I was facing through a conversation with my roommates that came up unexpectedly. I know that was His way of telling me that it was time to let go and give up my control of that aspect of my life to Him. Through this, He prepared me for the next few days of sessions, worship, and seminars.
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Announcing Faith Today’s “Send a Student to Urbana” Contest Winner

Urbana 2015 is North America’s largest student missions conference, hosted by InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. And this year Faith Today is sending a Canadian student.

In June Faith Today ran a contest, asking students to tell us why they wanted to attend Urbana 2015. We offered to pay for the winning student’s registration fee, and that person would share social media posts from Urbana.

Our winner is Jeanie Qiu, who grew up in Calgary and now attends the University of Alberta. Back home in Calgary, she attends South Gate Alliance Church, and when she’s in Edmonton, she attends South Edmonton Alliance Church. We are so happy to be able to help make Urbana 2015 a reality for Jeanie.

Jeanie Qiu is the winner of Faith Today's "Send a Student to Urbana" Contest. Congratulations Jeanie!
Jeanie Qiu is the winner of Faith Today’s “Send a Student to Urbana” Contest. Congratulations Jeanie!

Here’s a question-and-answer with Jeanie, for Faith Today readers to learn a bit more about her:

Why do you want to attend Urbana?

Ever since I was really young, I knew that I wanted to be a nurse and that I wanted to work overseas one day. As I grew older, God affirmed my calling to be a nurse as well as my passion for global missions work. When I first heard about Urbana a few years ago, I was instantly interested in the idea of attending a global missions conference as I knew it would provide me with people and resources that would inspire and educate me in regards to how I could be involved in missions. Several months ago, I heard about the conference again after a few friends of mine from my new church in Edmonton told me they were going to attend Urbana 2015 and suggested I pray about going as well.

 What are you studying in school right now?

I’m currently heading into the second year of my bachelor of science in nursing degree at the University of Alberta.

The tag line for Urbana 2015 is “Find Your Life.” In what ways do you hope Urbana will help you discover God’s calling for your life?

When I was contemplating whether to apply for this contest or not, I remember praying that if God wanted me to go to Urbana and if His calling for my life is still to work in missions, that He provide me the means to go or simply reaffirm that calling. This contest has been a direct answer to those prayers, and I know that through Urbana God will work in my heart and continue speaking to me about where he wants me to serve in the future.

 Name one person in the missions field, past or present, who inspires you.

The pastor of the church I attend in Calgary, Pastor Perry, and his family were mission workers in Russia for several years. I’ve definitely been inspired by his sharing and testimonies, as well as his continued faithfulness in loving and serving God and others.

What do you hope to share with Faith Today readers about your Urbana experience?

I hope that I can share my experiences of Urbana including how God speaks to me, what I learn from others, and how this conference changes me and helps me grow. Hopefully my experiences will encourage Faith Today readers to learn more about the missions work that is being done around the world and perhaps by mission workers sent by their own churches, and to be encouraged by God’s work or even inspired to become involved in missions.

And finally, how did you hear of the Faith Today Urbana contest?

 I heard of the Faith Today Urbana contest through the pastor of the church I attend, who posted about it on our fellowship’s Facebook group.

At Faith Today, we are thrilled that Jeanie can now attend Urbana. We will be supporting her in prayer and eagerly awaiting her social media posts. Watch the Nov/Dec Faith Today for a primer to Urbana. You’ll be hearing more about Urbana 2015 in the months ahead.


Heading to Urbana

by Karen Stiller

In 1993 my husband Brent and I travelled to Urbana, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship’s student mission conference that happens in the snowy days between Christmas and New Year’s every three years.

Worshippers gather together at Urbana (www.urbana.org)
Worshippers gather together at Urbana (www.urbana.org)

Back then, it was still held at Urbana-Champaign. We went to represent Regent College, where I worked as admissions officer and my husband studied. We stood  in the huge hall where exhibitors provided information to eager students contemplating what God was calling them to in their young lives.

I remember the halls packed with worshippers. I remember the best worship music I had yet heard in my Christian life, and I remember being blown away by Ravi Zacharias, one of the many excellent speakers.
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