I Will Go

October 23, 2012
By caitlincity GOLD, Alton, Iowa
caitlincity GOLD, Alton, Iowa
14 articles 0 photos 1 comment

Favorite Quote:
"My thoughts are stars I can't fathom into constellations."

“Here I am. Send me.”

I stood up slowly, my heart pounding. You know how in movies there’s always that perfect part with the perfect music, and you end up getting goose bumps from it? That’s how it felt. That’s how I felt. It was perfect. And as I raised my arms and sang with the words, tears slid down my face.

They were tears of happiness, tears of Glory.

Here I am, send me.

I wiggled around in my seat. We had been sitting in this hot, sweaty van for over an hour now and I was really tired of being uncomfortable; I just wanted to stand up and get out of here. I held the smooth cover of the book I was reading in my hand. Everyone was talking and laughing and having a good time, so I decided that I should probably attempt to join in.

“Smile!” Morgan said to me, and a second later a camera flashed.

I rolled my eyes at her and turned to look out my window.

“Welcome to Lincoln, Nebraska, everyone,” CJ said to us as we started to merge into a big city.

There was something about cities that I really loved. I loved how people were always going somewhere, how every now and then someone would be playing guitar in the park, and just the general, busy atmosphere of it all. We were staying at some really nice hotel, and then going to a big youth conference where there would be over 1000 other kids. I was a little nervous, to be honest. I had never been on a retreat before, so I had no idea what to expect.

After we dropped all of our stuff off at the hotel, we went to the event center where our conference was at. There were a ton of people there. Short kids, tall, skinny, bigger, brunette, blonde, glasses, braces; I don’t think I’d ever been with such a diverse group before. We all went inside, and it was like being put in a bubble. All I could hear was the buzzing of people talking and laughing, and I wasn’t paying attention to anything else. I could smell too much perfume, and a lot of BO. We walked up to our seats and time slowly passed as everyone meagerly went to their own seats.

The first thing that came onto that giant stage that seemed so very far away from me was Zane Black. He was one of the main speakers for Dare2Share. I leaned forward, extremely curious as to what he was about to say. He talked to us for a while about God and friendship, and cracked a couple jokes. I felt myself ease into this whole retreat thing. Maybe it wasn’t going to be so bad. The rest of that day went by in a blur, more talking about God, and eventually there was even a band. This band was called Starfield, and they sang beautifully. The lyrics to their songs came up onto a big screen they had set up, so we all got to sing along. It was kind of like being at a giant karaoke party.

By the end of the first day, all of the speakers had a skit for us. The event center went completely dark, and they began to act. There was dark music being played, and they showed someone in a cell, staring into a blank TV. Suddenly, fire erupted onto that TV screen, and darker, evil music played. I could actually feel myself become afraid, and the narrator explained how this was the devil. We were to ignore the devil. We were to not give in. Before we knew it, the lights came back on and they told us they would finish the skit for us the next day.

So far, I was pretty impressed. It was a fun atmosphere. Our “challenge” for that day was to talk to some stranger about God. Share the word and the gospel. My youth group decided to go eat at Perkin’s, where there was a woman at a table sitting by herself.

“Here’s your chance, guys,” CJ said under his breath.

What? Talk to a stranger about God? I swallowed. “I know we’re all used to Orange City and how everyone is so open about God and everything, but I’m sure it’s a lot different here. What if we offend her?” I said quietly, sounding like a coward. I immediately regretted saying it, but I could tell that everyone else agreed. They all nodded silently.

“Come on, it won’t be so bad. All you have to do is ask her how she feels about God, and then talk to her about the Gospel. You can all do that much.”

I looked over at the slightly overweight woman with short, stocky brown hair. I pursed my lips and took out the pamphlet, ready to walk over to her. But before I left the table, our food got there. I looked at CJ, then at my food, then at the woman. “God will still be here after we’re done eating, right?”

He nodded, and I could hear the sigh of relief from everyone that we didn’t have to talk to a stranger. I took a bite of my scorching eggs so fast I couldn’t even taste the cheese.

Internally, I felt the sigh of disappointment from someone higher up.

The next day went by even faster than the first day. There was more singing, more talking, more sharing, more laughing. The speakers had a task for us.

“I want you to all close your eyes and clear your minds. I don’t want you to look at anyone around you when I ask you these questions; I just want you to raise your hand. How many of you believe in our Lord?” I raised my hand, keeping my eyes closed. It was completely silent, and I wondered how many hands were actually raised. “Alright, now, still with your eyes closed, how many of you don’t feel like you have a connection with Him? You feel like you’ve never really known Him?” I hesitated, but raised my hand anyway. My eyes were shut tight. “For all of you who rose your hand, open your eyes.”

I opened my bright blue eyes and looked around. It wasn’t just me, it was half the people in the stadium. Other people felt the same way I did? Zane, the speaker, just watched us for a couple minutes. “I want you to all make a promise to yourselves.” I looked at him. “Promise yourself-promise God-you’ll make that connection. You’ll find Christ and believe in Him and love Him. Close your eyes; talk to God. Maybe you won’t make that connection tonight, but you will. You’ll meet Him and it will be glorious. If you’re the people with your eyes open right now, pray. Ask Christ into your heart right now. Accept Him.”

I bowed my head as an instinct, and shut my eyes. Dear God, I’m not the best at coming up with my own prayers. But I accept You. I accept Jesus into my heart and I love You. You are my Light, my Savior. Come into my heart and save me, please. Please.
I felt a weight lifted off of me. I wasn’t really sure what burden I was even carrying, but suddenly it was gone. Suddenly I felt okay.

After that, they started the skit back up. More devil. It was terrifying. It was dark, they turned on the scary music, they wore nothing but black. I sat at the edge of my seat, feeling excited about how it was going to all end. One of the actors stood up, this time wearing white. He started speaking to who I would assume was God.

“Here I am, Lord. Send me!”

Out of nowhere, in the crowd, some kid held up a sign that said the exact words this actor just said. “Here I am, Lord. Send me!” Starfield started playing their music. “To the desperate eyes and reaching hands, to the suffering and the lean, to the ones the world has cast aside; where you want me I will be.” Soon after, another person held up that sign. And another, and another, and about 15 people randomly around the stadium were holding up that sign.

We all started to stand up, and I felt a chill. I felt powerful. I felt okay. I felt God, I felt His presence. It was so much, too much to handle, and I couldn’t breathe. It was a good feeling, though. As the music got louder, I felt tears building up. They were happy tears. I lifted my arms in praise to the music, in praise to our Lord, my Lord. I, and almost every other person in the stadium, sang along with Starfield when the chorus came.

“I will go, I will go, I will go Lord send me

to the world, to the lost, to the poor and hungry

Take everything I am, I’m clay within your hands

I will go, I will go. Send me.”

My tears burned my cheeks, a smile on my lips. God was in the room, God was here. God loved me and forgave me for everything, and I knew that. I knew Him and I loved Him. I sang as loud as I could, and it didn’t matter that my youth group was staring at me for crying. It didn’t matter that I was an awful singer. It didn’t matter. I looked around the room at all these kids, and I felt proud of my faith. I sang my heart and soul out to God.

“Here I am, Lord. Send me.”

The author's comments:
I went on a youth group retreat a couple years ago, and was asked to write a descriptive paper on it for English. I did really well, so I thought I'd share it with Teen Ink!

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