12) The BackPage: A Penny for Your Thoughts about Urbana —

When I was just getting started, I (like everyone else?) attended an Urbana Missions Conference (1984, if I recall). We had been involved in missions for 2 years and I had heard all about Urbana and was hungry to go. About 2 weeks before the event, I strained my back big-time. Pulled it totally out of place. But wild horses couldn’t have kept me from attending. My wife drove and I laid flat on my back the whole trip there. And I didn’t regret it.

For this week’s “BackPage Editorial” would you mind sharing a synopsis of your favorite Urbana story? Some have said that this one conference has done as much as anything else to ignite a new generation of worldwide witnesses If that’s the case, there should be some great stories out there. Was it there that you came to decide for sure that missions was going to be your ‘thing?’ Did you meet your future spouse there? Do you have a story about not having the money to go… then suddenly at the last minute, the provision came through, but only after you prayed & fasted? Are you a former *speaker* at Urbana? Tell us what it’s like standing on the platform, looking into the eager eyes of 18,000 students hungering to change the world? Let’s sort it out and get ready for Urbana 12. Just click on the “Comment” box below to share your story, anonymously or otherwise. Learn more about Urbana at…




4 Responses to 12) The BackPage: A Penny for Your Thoughts about Urbana —
  1. Peter Bowers Reply

    God used Urbana ’87 to call me to my eventual place of ministry.

    I went knowing I intended to go into missions full-time but I had no idea where. I attended an afternoon workshop on Creative Access countries (maybe by Caleb Project?) and at the end they handed out cards featuring the information on a given Creative Access country, encouraging us to pray. We had just heard about all these countries with depressingly low statistics wrt their exposure to the Gospel and then I received a card for the country of Albania. On the card it explained that there were no (zero, none) known Christians in the entire nation. I still remember the emotional “punch” of realizing there could be a nation with *no* witness.

    I prayed for Albania for nearly a decade and then went with my wife in ’96 for a summer, returned in ’98 and we’ve been serving here ever since.

    I don’t have enough good to say about Urbana!

  2. Shirley Wilbers Reply

    I went to Urbana 90 (not sure exact year) and I can remember the chills singing with thousands of others “Shine Jesus Shine” . At the time I was interested in getting involved in Deaf Ministry. throughout the entire conference there was no mention of the vast need of unreached Deaf. There was a small group of Deaf there but I don’t remember any workshops or events for them. That bothered me. Several years later my husband and I started the Deaf Ministries List. Remembering the lack of awareness at Urbana I emailed just about every major mission org make them aware of the need and the opportunities. Few of them even had a clue of what I was talking about. Today a large percentage of the worlds nations have at least one Deaf church and most are growing at a rate faster than an average church in America. Most major missions and denominations now have at least one Deaf staff person or couple that are doing Deaf Ministry. I never went overseas or did personal Deaf Ministry BUT I know that I was instrumental in making it possible for some Deaf people in other countries to understand the Gospel.

  3. Marge Krikorian Reply

    I guess I could say I was a speaker at Urbana around ’68 . My husband and I were serving with Wycliffe in Lomalinda, Colombia when I was interviewed by Paul Little from Urbana via two way radio.

    Reception was unpredictable. When we arrived at the home of the radio operator he looked gloomy. “There’s lots of static..I don’t know how this will go.”

    Well, our miracle was that the airwaves literally opened like the red sea, we had a marvelous interview, and the static closed in just as we signed off.

  4. Laura Fouser Reply

    I went to Urbana ’81 as a senior in high school, because the children of my dentist invited me. Coming from a church in rural Illinois that rarely saw missionaries, it was a real eye-opener for me. God used that conference to show me the vast world of not only the needs, but also the opportunities out there. The speaker who most impacted me was Marilyn Lazlo.

    As a sophomore in college, I took two friends with me to Urbana ’84. I loved being in the choir that year – it was a glimpse of what it will be like in Heaven, singing before the throne. God used the conference that year to call me into missionary service. I don’t remember which speaker said it, but I remember what he said: “Instead of being willing to go, but planning to stay, why don’t you plan to go, but be willing to stay?” I have now been on the field as a full-time missionary for 18 years. And as to my two friends, one of them served as a missionary for about 10 years, and the other generously contributes to my support, and the support of many other missionaries, and serves on the board of “Keep Believing Ministries”. Praise the Lord!

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