Why should I go to Urbana

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Chris and I attended Urbana 2003. It was one of few events that change my life. It's there where I get to taste what Heaven looks like as I stand together to worship God with 20,000 brothers and sisters in Christ from different parts of the world. If most parents dream is to attend their kids' graduation, to see them win medals or any awards; my dream and prayer is to be able to see my kids attend Urbana. Three years ago, I was overjoyed as I saw through the Urbana'06 webcast our younger brothers and sisters in Christ from church worshiping the Lord among the 20,000. I pray and look forward for the day when our kid(s) get the chance to experience it as well.
I asked my missionary friend and mentor, Dr. John Chambers to write a letter to answer the question: "Why should I go to Urbana?" and here was what he wrote:

Dear Friends,
I am writing to urge you to consider prayerfully the possibility of attending the Urbana Missions Conference in Chicago at the end of this year. This opportunity only arises once every three years, so its “once in a student life-time” for you. Is it possible just once to celebrate Christmas in America instead of with your family? Could you ask your parents to finance your attendance at Urbana instead of buying you a ticket home?

The reason why I am suggesting this is that the conference will provide you with a spiritual challenge like nothing else. You will be together with almost 20,000 other Christians all celebrating the eternal victory of the Lord Jesus Christ. Together with them you will be working out the implications of Christ’s victory in your own life. It will help you evaluate the purpose and direction of your life. It will provide you with some permanent values which will stabilise your emotional ups and downs.

It was great to meet so many new friends with similar interests eager to make an impact for Jesus Christ in their own society.The music is something else. The praise and worship sessions will give you a little taste of what it will be like in Heaven, when people from every tribe and nation with gather around the throne of the Lamb and give Him all the honor and glory. It combines stimulating Bible teaching to expand your understanding together with experiences which are very intimate and personal as you meet the Lord in fellowship. The book store will also provide an opportunity to stock up on good Christian literature which you can take home to enhance your ministry and help you communicate some of what you have learned.

A few weeks ago I was in Jakarta meeting with about 80 returnee graduates, many of whom are struggling to maintain their faith and witness in a very hostile environment. I wonder how different they would be if they had all attended Urbana and caught a vision of the victorious Christ. Such a vision does not solve our problems for us, but it empowers us to tap into the resources each day so that we are strengthened in Christ to overcome.
You may think this eulogy about Urbana is a bit excessive, a bit O.T.T.. Well, the only way to prove it is to go and find out, and then you can write me a letter and tell me why.
In Christ’s great love,
John Chambers.