The day after Christmas, my parents, Jim and Calvin Pitman and I took off for the Urbana Student Missions conference in St. Louis. While we had to deal with blizzard like conditions in Western Pennsylvania, we made it to our first stop safely in 11 hours rather than the 8 we had planned.
The Urbana Student Missions Conference has been a pivotal event in my family’s life and our CLC ministry for many years. In 1973 my father represented our mission and felt a definite call to pursue an opportunity on the island of Trinidad where my family ended up serving as missionaries for the rest of the 1970s. Over the years, a number of key people in our ministry first heard about CLC at Urbana and began their journey of missionary service.
Sponsored by both Intervarsity in Canada and the USA, Urbana is held every three years and draws students from all over the world. This is my third time to attend (I came in 1987 and 1996 before this) and boy a lot has changed. While it retains the name “Urbana”, it is no longer held at the Urbana campus of the University of Illinois as it has been for decades. It 2003, it was moved to St. Louis and all the activities basically take place under one roof.
Despite the location change and the significant increase in the use of technology and the inclusion of the arts in the programming, many important things remained the same. An intense focus on the word of God and its power, a passion for the nations to be reached with the message of the gospel and a desire to see college students commit themselves to a purpose far greater than their own comfort and safety are at the heart of everything that has been done. Here are some pictures from my week so far to give you a taste of what it has been like.
This massive event, hosting over 16,000 is being held at the America’s Center and the Edward Jones Dome where the St. Louis Rams play football (American Football that is)
My parents are still going strong as CLC’s primary recruiters and missionary mobilizers.
We are meeting people from all over the world and were delighted to meet Matthew from Sierra Leone who knows our ministry very well and has been helpful to CLC in recent months and is a good friend of our team leader.
Our T-Shirts have been a hit and have opened up lots of conversations about the CLC Ministry around the world.
One of the highlights of the conference for many attendees is the massive missions bookstore sponsored by Intervarsity Press
We were greatly encouraged that five of our books were chosen to be featured in the bookstore including our new book, Hazardous.
We are praying for divine appointments this week and God is answering our prayers. May He once again use this event to draw students to Himself and to consider the possibility of missionary service with CLC in the years ahead.