The annual Northstar conference, held in Alpharetta, Ga., invited IJM leaders from different schools across the country and approximately 200 student leaders from different schools attended the event from 23rd-24th October.
Covenant’s IJM President Victoria Yang, alongside prayer coordinators Anelise Marshall, Pooja Pall, and freshman Grace Holbrook, attended the conference.
The two-day conference began on Friday evening, with a time of worship, prayer and the first session covering the work that International Justice Mission (IJM) does around the world. Later that evening, Covenant leaders got a chance to meet other student leaders from the IJM chapters in their schools.
Day two of the conference was filled with different sessions on how leaders could be engaged in the work that IJM does and internship opportunities at the D.C. Headquarters or in the field. The IJM team from D.C. led the conference, and several interns shared about their experiences interning with IJM.
Greg Darley, one of the IJM staff who led the conference, talked about how it took IJM and the local police seven times to rescue a girl from India who was raped and later sold into a brothel. He said the task at hand was not easy but the team he worked with trusted that the Lord would intervene at the right time to save this girl and punish the offenders.
The weekend theme was reinforced with the message of the song “You Make Me Brave:” “You make me brave. You call me out to the shore into the waves.” Jaclyn Toscas, one of the IJM staff that spoke during the second session said, “God is not sending you a lifeboat, he is making you walk on water. He is teaching you about fear and bravery.”
Jaclyn asserted that God is working in us and through us to bring about his work. He uses difficult situations and difficult circumstances to reveal himself.
Anelise Marshall ’18 said, “It was amazing to be able to hear from incredible speakers from IJM who encouraged us that God doesn’t ask us to stay in our comfort zones but to go out into the world and fight the mess and walk alongside people who have been in unjust and horrifying situations.”
One of the sessions at the conference focused on burnout and how to handle situations that can be physically, emotionally, and spiritually draining. IJM leader and staff member Ed Downing shared some of the ways God responds to our desperation by gently refreshing us and rejuvenating us with grace and patience.
Downing used Elijah’s story from 1 Kings 18 to emphasize that rest is important and that “we can hardly get stuff in our daily lives done without seeking the Lord’s help.”
The team that went from Covenant said that they felt spiritually and emotionally encouraged. Victoria Yang ’17 said, “It was encouraging to gather with other like-minded student leaders from all across the U.S. I loved hearing the wisdom of the IJM staff, especially as I think about how to serve as a leader on campus for IJM.”
If you would like to know how you could be more involved with the IJM chapter at Covenant, visit the Facebook page International Justice Mission Covenant College or feel free to come to the prayer meetings every Monday night at 7:30 p.m. in Brock 118.