Ruth Padilla DeBorst, a Christian Reformed World Missions missionary in Latin America, will be one of the keynote speakers for Urbana ’09, Intervarsity Christian Fellowship’s biennial student missions conference.
Set for Dec. 27-31 in St. Louis, Mo., the conference is expected to draw more than 20,000 students from around the world. Padilla DeBorst, who is also general secretary of the Latin American Theological Fellowship, will be one of seven main speakers at the event.
Kathryn Shane, placement coordinator for CRWM, said, “We’re really excited about this and hope to have some great ways to connect all of the CRC Urbana attendees this year,” perhaps by holding a special CRC event at which Padilla DeBorst will speak.
Retired missionary Gordon Buys says that when he worked as a missions recruiter, “it was important to move among persons whose lives were consumed by a passion for fulfilling the Great Commission. I always felt inspired and renewed by the plenary sessions . . . and by a venue filled with nearly 20,000 persons, mostly college-age students, who were honestly wrestling with God’s call on their lives, expressing themselves in heart-warming praise and worship!
“For me, each time I went was a little bit like what I expect heaven to be. For students it was a bit like drinking from a fire hydrant with a straw, trying desperately to take in the seminars, workshops, and plenaries, visiting the hundreds of mission displays offering opportunities from Capetown to Calgary, Beijing to Buenos Aires, and getting enough sleep to face the next day of similar activities.
“I encouraged my kids to go, and now my grandkids are at that stage and looking forward to participation as well,” Buys says.
Several Christian Reformed Church agencies are offering grants to assist with travel expenses for Christian Reformed youths to attend the Urbana conference. To apply for a travel scholarship, visit www.crcna.org and look for the Urbana link. Applications will be accepted through the end of November.
The theme of this year’s conference is “The Word Made Flesh.” For more information, visit www.urbana09.org.