For spring break this year I went with Campus Crusade for Christ to Panama City Beach in Florida for a conference called Big Break. There were about 50 students and staff from Madison that took a chartered bus all the way down to Florida for the week and we stayed in beautiful villas with about 6 people per villa. Big Break is a national conference with colleges from all over, so we had about 975 students from all over the U.S. for our particular spring break week. (There are 4 total weeks of spring break that the Big Break conference lasts for.)
The first few days were a bit overcast and rainy, but the sun came out full force on Tuesday and lasted through the rest of the week for us, so we were very thankful for that!
My typical day was waking about somewhere between 8 and 9, reading my Bible and praying while eating breakfast, going to the large group session at 10 to receive encouragement and training for the day's outreach. We had 3 awesome speakers - one who had lost his 23 year old son 4 years ago in the Iraq war. We learned a great deal about what it means to be a warrior for God and that we are constantly in a battle - not against people, but against the Enemy of this world. After this session we grabbed lunch at our villas and then headed out with our campuses to different locations along an 8 mile stretch of Panama City Beach. The craziest location was a night club called La Vela - it's actually acclaimed to be the largest night club in the United States. I have never seen so many beer cans in my life! Our goal at these locations was to approach people and ask them if they would take a spiritual interest survey. Most people were very receptive - I was only turned down three times the whole week by people who didn't want to take the survey, otherwise some of the other people who said no had already gone through it! By using this survey we were able to make a transition into sharing the gospel. Personally, I was able to share the gospel with at least 15 people the whole week. No one made a decision for Christ with me, but a lot of people told me that my conversation with them had been just what they needed and were definitely going to read through the information that I left with them about the gospel.
My most memorable conversation was with a girl named Taylor. One of the survey questions asks a person to choose three words to describe their life. One of the words that Taylor chose was "depressing." After I shared the gospel with her, I went back to this question and asked why she had said that. She told me that she had a habit of letting guys walk all over her. I looked straight into her eyes and told her that God loved her and respected her and that her worth came from him and not from any man. She told me that was a huge lift to her self-esteem.
This story is just one of MANY amazing things that God did this week! And I am excited to share that as a result of this week's sharing we have at least 640 new brothers and sisters in Christ!!
That was an incredible way to spend such a huge chunk of my day, but it was great to be able to go back to my villa in the evening and have dinner with friends and then have one more large group session to hear some of the day's sharing experiences.
Below is a picture of me and my friend Jen going through an outline of the gospel with some girls that we met on the beach.