Staff prepares for Missions Conference

Volunteers prepare themselves and the school for the 83rd annual Missions Conference.


Jessica Lindner

The SMU Missions Conference staff is gearing up for this years conference. The theme of the event is called “Consume.” | Jessica Lindner/THE CHIMES

Heather Leith, Writer

The SMU Missions Conference staff is gearing up for this years conference. The theme of the event is called “Consume.” | Jessica Lindner/THE CHIMES

The focus of the Biola community will soon shift from assignments and all-halls to evangelism and eternal perspective, with the 83rd annual Missions Conference coming up March 14-16.

Last April, conference co-directors senior Kyle Donn and junior Malia Flores-Lacangan received strong instructions from their predecessors.

“Literally the first thing they said was, ‘Today you start praying,’” said Donn, an intercultural studies major.

Agreement of vision

Although Donn and Flores-Lacangan, a nursing major, were in separate countries on mission trips over the summer, they both took that advice seriously. As a result, the pair came back with a similar vision of what the conference should focus on. Together, they picked the theme of “Consume.”

“We searched throughout Scripture and the people who are most passionate for God are people who talked with God, people who met with God face to face,” Donn said. “… As Christians, we’ve had an encounter with Jesus, and that should consume our entire lives.”

And ever since that realization, the 102-person staff has been focused on creating a unique conference that creates such a significant encounter with God that students can’t help but respond radically.

Christ’s mission is our mission

Donn speaks with passion when saying that the role of a Christ-follower is to have the same mission as Christ, who came to seek and save the lost. If one wants to reflect Christ, Donn says, he or she must be yoked with him, yearning to save the lost just as Jesus did. It is that vision that must consume believers.

“It’s like we have no choice,” Donn said. “It’s so real and so heavy on our hearts that we reach out for the nations, because our dad, our Father, has said, ‘Go into all the nations,’ and so we hear that call, and the summons is so much more serious and urgent. … God is in longing for the nations to know him.”

That longing of God should line up with believers’ desires, Donn said, and he hopes that the conference will awaken a passion in the attendees’ hearts to go wherever God sends them.
Because Donn and the rest of the staff have such a strong vision for what will happen over the span of the conference, they felt compelled to take radical steps to prepare.

Staff fasts in preparation

Part of the staff’s preparation has been partaking in a 21-day Daniel fast, a biblically based diet of fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes, and whole grains, specifically avoiding all processed or artificial foods.

“The reason why we do it is because we want to prepare our hearts for what God’s going to do over the conference,” said Alex Nassar, a sophomore journalism major in charge of sessions. “Missions Conference can totally change a person’s heart in terms of missions and how they see the world, and I think that our responsibility in being on staff and putting this together for the students [is] to be seeking the Lord, and this is just one way that we can do that.”

Fasting has been an encouragement to the staff that God is the one in control of the event that they have put so much work into.

“It made me realize how strong my God is,” said sophomore journalism major Dylan Pruchnic, a member of the logistics team. “My God, who doesn’t need this world to sustain him, who is completely sufficient, is taking the conference into his hands.”

Necessity of God’s working

The team echoed this desire for God to guide their efforts and do his will during the conference. They feel strongly that without his intervention, their actions will be fruitless.

“We can put on a great conference and it can be wonderful,” said interactions coordinator K.C. Medley, a freshman psychology and intercultural studies major. “But if God doesn’t move, nothing will happen.”

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