Jan. 2-5 marked a special time in over 45,000 college students’ lives. The Passion Conference, a Christian conference for college students held in Atlanta, changed the heart of many Shorter students.
“Passion changed my life because God opened my eyes to see just how beautiful the day will be when millions of people stand together and praise His sweet name all at once,” said Beau Dahlke, senior accounting major. “I realized that God’s grace is more than I can comprehend and its quantity is literally countless, and I should be rejoicing in every aspect of my life.”
Students believe the Lord opened their hearts and minds through speakers such as Louie Giglio, Francis Chan, Beth Moore, Christine Caine and John Piper.
“I think what I loved about Passion and the speakers was not who the speakers were and the awesome things they said, but how God used the speakers to speak through them to everyone at Passion,” said Erine-Fay Dennis, junior early childhood education major.
The worship leaders included Chris Tomlin, Christy Nockels, Kristian Stanfill, Matt Redman, David Crowder Band, Lecrae, Charlie Hall and Hillsong United. Though the late night concerts were fun, the students believe God’s presence was made known during worship.
“The worship at Passion cannot be described. It’s almost unreal in a sense that people from all over the nation show their love for the One who saves us all,” said Quay Boddie, junior sports management major. “The world tells us we don’t need Him and we can make it all on our own, but the truth is we need Him and all He has to offer, so I just thank God for the experience to not only learn more from Him but fellowship and worship with my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.”
This year’s theme was “Freedom,” which focused on human trafficking. According National Geographic, 27 million people are enslaved today, which is more than any time in human history. The Do Something Now portion of the conference puts together a station where students can give donations to help fight against modern day slavery.
“Around the world, 27 million slaves are working against their will. Passion did a great job of informing the body of Christ about this enduring evil,” said Charlie Gillis, sophomore biology major. “Not everyone can physically go rescue the ones in need, but Do Something Now gave some 40,000 college students the opportunity to give and have a part in changing the world for Christ.”
Not only did the conference open students’ eyes to human trafficking during those few days, but many Shorter students came home with a desire to continue fighting slavery.
“When I got to Passion, the Lord revealed to me that for the rest of my life I would be loving on people that are bound in slavery, whether that be physically or spiritually or both,” said Rebekah Detweiler, senior early childhood education major. “He opened my eyes to how blessed I am to have the freedom that He so freely gave!”
According to the Do Something Now station, every minute, two children are sold into slavery; 2,500 women and children are sold into sexual slavery each day and the average age is 14. Currently, there are over 200,000 slaves in the United States, and Atlanta is one of the major hubs of human trafficking and child sex exploitation. Students were heart broken when they found out that not only does slavery still exist, but in a city just an hour away.
“God just opened my eyes to how big of an issue human trafficking is today and I really want to help raise awareness on campus and not just for the cause itself, but also the issue of spiritual slavery that actually exists on our campus,” said Holly Curry, junior early childhood education major. “We can do something about it by boldly reaching out and loving the nonbelievers around us with the love of Jesus.”
Shorter students are taking a stand and saying “no” to injustice.
“Like the song said, ‘We’ve got to rise up, open our eyes up, be her voice, be her freedom, come on, stand up.’ We can’t sit back and let Satan have his way in this world. We have to fight and be the hands and feet of Christ,” said Gillis.
Many organizations were represented at the Passion conference in hopes of raising money to rescue victims of human trafficking. This year the students raised over $3 million to fight against slavery. If you are interested in helping to fight against modern day slavery, visit https://secure.268generation.com/dosomethingnow/give/freedom .
If you would like to know more about human trafficking, visit http://268generation.com/passion2012/#!/freedom/.