May 19, 2016
It was finally the first day of our conference, and my nerves were high. Not because I was nervous to speak in front of people, but because for the first time in my life the content I was presenting on had potential to completely change a life. We arrived at the conference around 9:00 in the morning, and there were already pastors anxiously waiting for us to begin. Before the conference started, everybody started singing and worshiping the Lord. Their energy and passion was unlike anything I had seen before, and after everything we had seen on the trip so far, I lost it. I broke down and cried for the first time in 4 years. I could not handle the amount of joy I felt. Here are people who are struggling to feed their families, who are living in conditions unimaginable, and at the same time are jumping and clapping and lifting their voices praising the name of Jesus. God is a powerful God and works in ways I nor anybody else can understand. After singing songs of worship, Richmond had everybody go outside to dedicate the land and pray over it before we started.
However, the real reason we did this was because we had already reached expected capacity, and had to call an audible. We removed all of the tables under the tent to increase space for more chairs and more people to join. After successfully cramming everybody into the tent, we began speaking. Our leader, Jason MacGregor, began the conference by talking about finding glory and peace in work, followed by Betsy Arce and Brian Waryck talked about having a business idea vs. having a business opportunity. Ruth Watkins, Taylor Foster, and Derwin Friensen presented on Internal Controls, and how having security in your business can have a big impact on success. They talked about the dangers of hiring family and taking money from your own company, both which were extremely foreign concepts to the audience. After them, Jenna Fischer and I had the opportunity to present on decision making, and how to make well informed decisions. I did not think our presentation went as well as it could have. However, afterwards we had countless people coming up to us and telling us how much our speech would change the way they think and how impactful it was. It was a really encouraging moment, as even though we did not think we did well, God still used our words to influence those who heard them. After us, Josh Flemmer and Chelsea Raburn gave a presentation on the balance sheet.
We then had lunch around 3:00 in the afternoon, and afterwards saw a bunch of neighborhood children who had come onto the property. We decided to give them the leftovers from our lunch, and they were extremely grateful.
With that day one of the conference concluded, and we were exhausted. Pastor Richmond invited us to his home afterwards, where we had a nice, home-cooked traditional Ugandan meal, and watched the Princess Bride while eating. It was nice to relax for a little bit after a very demanding day, and also to spend more time bonding with the team, as throughout the day we spent most of our time talking to African Pastors. When the movie concluded, we went back to the hotel to prepare for day two of the conference.