Christmas, New Year and NO SCHOOL. As the fall semester finished up, staff members traveled back home for the break. However, just because school was on pause doesn’t mean growing relationships were. Despite being all over the map, staff members made an effort to make intentional plans to serve the Lord, build relationships and prepare for Ignite together.
Session 2 co-chair Taylor Jerding and prayer team leader Caitlin Silvus attended Passion Conference 2019 together.
Passion is a 3-day Christian conference for 18-25 year olds. Each year there are speakers from all over the world to lift up the name of Jesus and encourage and teach the young adult generation. Featured speakers at Passion 2019 included Louie Giglio, pastor at Passion City Church in Atlanta, Georgia and Matt Chandler, President of the Acts29 Network. Worship leaders this year included Hillsong, Crower and Kari Jobe. This year Passion was held January 2-4.
“It was such a wonderful way to start the new year,” Jerding said. “Caitlin and I decided to go to Passion together because she had gone the year before and really loved it. We actually didn’t have tickets and it was sold out, but we found super cheap tickets the week before and it worked out perfectly!”
Post from Taylor’s Instagram about Passion 2019.
“His name is a light that the shadows can’t deny. Passion’19 was so refreshing and it was wonderful to hear Jesus speak so clearly and beautifully!!! Also can’t wait to party with Jesus on NYE this year in Georgia #passion19 #andymineoSTAN” -@oneneatlady
Passion Conference was founded with the verse Isaiah 26:8 on their hearts, specifically the last phrase, “For your name and renown are the desire of our souls.” Passion Conference focuses on God’s glory and teaching that God is most glorified in us when we live lives that are fully satisfied in Him.
“Something I learned at Passion is that one of the best ways to glorify God is by being fully alive and not getting caught up in guilt, shame, and anxiety,” Jerding said. “This will help me in Ignite to not worry about failing in my position as co-Chair. Instead, I’m going to focus on being present and loving my counselors and campers to the fullest extent.”
“My favorite memory from Passion was definitely Andy Mineo’s performance. I didn’t know that I was such a big fan of Christian rap until I saw that man go off,” Jerding said. “It was really funny because I was jumping and dancing around and there was this older dude sitting next to me standing so awkwardly. Later during the lunch break he was like “Wow, you youngsters really like Andy Mineo!”. It was so funny.”
Prayer team leader Tanya Van Zante, co-chair leader JT Dahill and media team members Illiana Parker and Caroline Betik went to Canada to volunteer with Redfrogs.
Red Frogs is an organization that originated in Australia in 1997 and soon spread to Canada and other countries around the world. According to the website, Red Frogs mission is to, “provide positive peer presence in alcohol-fueled environments where young people gather, educate them on safe partying behaviors, and promote and provide non-alcoholic and/or diversionary activities that engage them in these environments.”
During the trip, the team of volunteers were assigned to attend 17 parties and spent most of their time in clubs surrounded by party goers serving water and granola bars and fostering relationships that revealed genuine care and concern for their wellbeing.
Session 2 co-chair, JT Dahill said one thing he learned from the trip was the importance of being spiritually rooted in Christ to be prepared to handle unpredictable circumstances and efficiently work and support each other in prayer at all times.
“Our team went to some very dark environments that are very troublesome places to be for Christians,” Dahill said. “Starting off spiritually rooted helped our team bond immediately and enabled us to be very cohesive from the start because of our shared identity in Christ.”
Because Red Frogs come to serve, it often creates opportunity for questions, especially with a team from hundreds of miles away.
“You must not be having a lot of fun at these parties sober, huh?”
“What do you think about all this? You must be hard core judging us right now?”
“You’re from TEXAS? Why are you HERE? Are you getting credit for this or something?”
All of these questions provided an excellent way to share the gospel and show them how much the team and God cares for them.
Post from JT’s Instagram about the trip
“I can’t thank God enough for the opportunity to serve the people of Canada with this amazing team.” -jtdahill_98
“Over time, word got around to the students that we were from Texas and they wanted to know why we came all the up to serve and care for them,” Dahill said. “We told them we were there to share the love that Christ has for them and some of us even had the opportunity to share the gospel and keep up with them after the trip.”
Dahill said he can hone in many of the things he learned, including remaining rooted in Christ and sharing the gospel, to lead his camp in a God centered way that will help everyone become closer to Jesus and to each other.
“It can be very scary and dangerous for a believer starting off at college to not have a spiritually rooted community to support them in their first semester,” Dahill said. “The Lord has given me the opportunity to lead a strong Christ centered camp within Ignite Texas and I look forward to supporting my camp with the lessons learned during our trip.”