By Heather DeRosa, Class of 2014
Starting December 27 and lasting until New Year’s Eve, a group of George Fox students will head to St. Louis, Miss. to partake in Urbana 2012, a missions conference for college students. I caught up with Nick Largusa, who just graduated on Saturday, to hear about his expectations for the conference.
“Urbana is a missions conference that happens every three years,” Nick explained. “It is run by Intervarsity. It’s a Christian fellowship. There are hundreds, maybe even thousands of different mission organizations. There’s different missionaries that come to speak – the big names in the missions field – all to get people fired up.”
Nick also shared what he hopes will come from Urbana and how it will impact his future. “I’d like to explore all of the different missions opportunities there are. I have a pretty good understanding, but I only know the tip of the iceberg. Urbana makes it so easy to get to know all these different organizations. I am trusting that God has something to show me. It’s going to be interesting because we will be representing Fox.”
Nick gave the perfect analogy: “I feel like I live in somewhat of a dream, where it’s a really cold day and the windows are fogged up. I’m in a nice warm spot. I brushed away a little patch of the condensation and I can see outside. But, I know brushing more away, it will get colder. I don’t want to get my sleeve all wet and get uncomfortable, but it needs to happen. I need to see the bigger picture. I have a nice small little window to peak through, but I’m hoping to come away from Urbana with the big picture. To realize that I’ve had such a shallow view of the mission field.”
He continued by saying, “In my 21 years of living, I’m pretty malleable. I can take pretty good hits and be ok. I’m emotionally malleable. I can take emotional hits. The thing is, I’m not doing any of this alone – I have God with me. I do believe that if I was alone, I wouldn’t be doing any of this. There’s no way God isn’t with me in any of this. Hearing about the things that break my heart, I don’t just sit in the brokenness. He picks me up and says he can use me. I’m going to Urbana, where the whole conference hall will be full of booths, each booth representing a ministry. Each booth representing broken people, people that are hurting in violent ways. I get to look at this conference hall and look over at these booths and see a lot of hurting people. Being able to take that and utilize that; instead of being overwhelmed, taking that and being called to it. This is the valley of the shadow of death. I start getting tunnel vision, but I can’t let it get to me, because he is with me. It’s unbelievably comforting that it enables me to go and learn about this stuff and let it affect me.”
In terms of fundraising, the team was getting rather discouraged about how much this trip was going to cost for the whole group. “ASC was a blessing to us, and stepped up and offered to sponsor us,” Nick said.
We can hardly wait for this team of students to return (or in Nick’s case watch from afar as he will be graduating and going on to bigger and better things) and to see how they can apply what they’ve learned at Urbana to the world.
To learn more about the Urbana 2012 missions conference, visit urbana.org.