Monday, October 11, 2010

RUF Fall Conference

Last weekend was the RUF Fall Conference. It's where all of the Florida Universities (those with RUFs) come together to camp, hang out, learn about God's word, and worship. There were 6 schools there: JU, UNF, USF, UCF, FSU, and UF. UF (my school) had by far the most people.

We drove to Florida Bible Camp which was about 45 minutes away. My car happened to get a little lost but that was mostly because we didn't go far enough down this very bumpy dirt road. So we turned around, still didn't see it, turned around again and went back, then finally found it. I'm surprised Cecilia (my car) survived. I half expected the engine to fall out or something.

We got checked in - got the schedule, small group assignments, and our awesome new T-Shirts. I got all of my stuff settled in the tent and set off to find friends. We all hung out and chatted, mostly around the candy bowl =).
Beautiful Senior girls on the left and again on the right with Steve, our campus minister. =)

Then it was time for the first large group of the night. Our speaker was John Stone - if you're familiar with RUF, you should know that he is pretty high up in the organization and we were very blessed to have him ALL WEEKEND! Steve, my campus minister, went to college with John so we had the "in" which was great!

Steve, of course, spoke very highly of him. I didn't know how accurate these words of praise were until that Friday night. I was floored. The mini sermon series for the weekend was on Incarnation: Living like Jesus. I can't even aptly explain how well he flipped the gospel on it's head and made it seem new. It seems silly to be so floored considering he spoke on Luke and Daniel - two books I've read before and have had taught to me. I highly recommend checking out the recordings if you get the chance. Maybe it will rock your world, as it did mine.  (Don't forget to check out any other recordings on there, too. They're all great!) God was really working in my heart all weekend.

My small group was wonderful. We had a good group of girls - a mix of quiet and talkative. There weren't too many awkward silences which is good - those always make me nervous as a "leader." We had some good conversation, delved into some deep discussion, opened up about our lives, and enjoyed each other's company. It was beautiful.

Next was a good old fashioned square dance! We even had a real caller - a really old guy who was baffled at just how bad college kids are at listening to directions. We were all just too busy laughing and having fun to take it too seriously. At one point I was laughing so hard I was crying. Do you know how ridiculous line/square dancing is?!? My partner at that point in time - a guy whom I didn't know, from another school - probably thought I was crazy but lead me through the weaving dance without getting too many toes stepped on. I'm thankful for that.

My beautiful friend A rockin' the overalls and braids look! 
Free time ensued as we all became tired and worn out. That much goofy-ness takes a lot out of you! A bunch of UF kids grabbed some snacks and played mafia in the gazebo. I'm a huge fan of that game and love playing it but on this night, I just wasn't into it. When I got killed off I just chatted with a new friend.

My new friend, C, and me.
At some point after mafia and chatting I got ready for bed, climbed into the tent, and crashed. Saturday morning was chilly, which was AWESOME! Breakfast was scrumptious - thanks Craig Carter! I helped with worship team which was fun - I don't usually do that. It was definitely a God thing because I didn't even get stage fright! The message, again, was ground shaking. Can I reiterate that God was really just working in my heart all weekend!

The weather was beautiful so many of the senior girls spread out blankets and took a nap in the sun.

Love God, love friends, love life!

In the afternoon a sister of an FSU student came and showed us the documentary she made about child trafficking in Benin, Africa. It's called Shed No Tears. She worked through the organization, Unseen Stories. It gave me goosebumps and made my heart ache for Haiti and the restavek children.

After the evening service, the UF/'Bama game was on. It was a sad excuse for a game on our part. It's hard to to have a rough rebuilding year after so many years of awesome football and national championships. It was a little unfortunate, also, because we were watching the game with students from other schools - schools that typically don't like us for beating them in football year after year. There were some belligerent students who blatantly cheered against UF but we took it in strides.

There was a bonfire outside during/after the game and I enjoyed chatting with some friends. I was going to hit the hay relatively early but in the tent I ended up sitting up talking with another friend. It was a Christ-centered conversation with a cherished friend so I don't regret staying up way later than I had intended.

Sunday morning we had our final service. We cleaned up the camp - I swept the "mess hall" room. So. Much. Sand. Then all of the schools took group pictures and hit the road. It was bittersweet, knowing this was my last Fall Conference of my college career.

Fall Conferences all four years!!

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