USA (MNN) — "It was the most focused experience I've ever had on understanding the state of world mission and my role in it," says InterVarsity's Greg Jao about his first Urbana conference. "It was profound for me as a college student to have to confront the reality of the world's needs, my opportunities, and the possibilities of how I could be a part of that."
Urbana 09 is a triennial missions conference hosted by InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. This year, the conference will be emceed by Jao, InterVarsity's regional director for New York and New Jersey. Jao first attended Urbana in 1987 and has been part of every Urbana conference since.
The purpose of the conference is to transform college students into world-changing, mission-minded believers prepared to go wherever the Lord guides them, spreading His love wherever they're sent. Jao encourages college students to take advantage of this life-changing missions conference in order to focus or refocus their attention on the Lord's work.
"Your entire education, every church experience you've had, every campus experience you've been to has largely been focused on satisfying your needs. Urbana may be the one place in the world where you can go and the program's not about you. It's about what God is doing in the world and for you to have an opportunity to find your place in it."
Speakers such as Egyptian Bible expositor Ramez Atallah, OMF international Director Patrick Fung, author Shane Claiborne, and Kenyan pastor Oscar Muriu will speak at the conference to introduce slightly nontraditional ways to do missions and ministry. Jao has met all Urbana speakers and acclaims each of them.
Urbana is mainly directed toward college students, but people of all ages may attended. The deadline for early registration ends December 1, so register yourself or your college student soon. The Urbana conference would be a worthy and life changing Christmas gift for anyone considering missions or simply serious about following Christ. To learn more about or register for Urbana 09, click here.
For anyone, who is not attending, please support through prayer. "I'm praying that this generation of students really captures how radical and how challenging the idea of the incarnation [of Jesus] really is in missions," says Jao. Pray for the Lord to work in the hearts of the students, staff and speakers in attendance.