Sunday, January 12, 2014

My Favorite Moments from SLS14

Gosh, what a whirlwind. From Tuesday, December 31 to Wednesday, January 8 I was living the dream as an event planner. SLS14 was incredible and I can hardly believe it's over. Since arriving home on Wednesday I have rested up and I think I finally know what day it is. 

So many incredible things happened at SLS. It's hard to pick just 10. But here's a quick list of moments I wrote down on the plane.

My 10 Favorite SLS Moments

1. The crux of SLS was what we called "Power Sessions." Students were randomly sorted into small groups and were supposed to teach each other the basic tools for evanglization that they learned earlier that day. It could have fallen a part so easily. So watching the Power Session begin to  actually work on Friday night was awesome. Everyone filed in, got into their groups, and figured out who was going to do what for the rest of the week.

2. Okay, great. They got into their groups...but would they actually teach each other? After all of my things were settled Saturday afternoon, I headed down to Marsalis Hall to see how the Power Sessions were going. I was not prepared for what I was about to walk in on. There in that exhibit hall were 1500 students teaching each other how to share and teach the gospel message with others. I was so overwhelmed. I could feel the grace pumping through the room. I teared up and thanked Jesus for these students who were open to learning how to share His love with others.

Image via John Paul Rudolph.

3. Did you know that Pat Lencioni and Matt Maher are good friends? Well, now you do. During the closing session, Pat was talking about Matt, and Curtis interrupted by saying, "Pope Benedict told me never to name drop." Quite the hilarious moment.

Image via EideCom.

4. Christine, Carol, and I went to see the beginning of Dr. Sri's keynote on Saturday. I was unable to sit in on the opening keynote on Friday night, so this was my first time in the main ballroom with all of our attendees. Steve Pries, our emcee, introduced Dr. Sri and the crowd went crazy! The students were standing and cheering - before he gave his talk! It was cool to be in there for that moment knowing I had helped make that happen in my own small way. Carol, who does our speakers and entertainers, loved that moment a lot.

Image via John Paul Rudolph.

5. John Paul let me listen in on the production com and watch production on Monday night during the keynote. It was crazy and fun to hear them count down the keynote and call different camera shots. 

6. While on com, I got to help our emcee, Steve Pries, and Matt Maher sneak into the audience to do an in-house interview before the keynote. It was so fun and the crowd went crazy. 

7. After Curtis keynote Monday night (a lot of these top moments happened Monday...), we launched SEEK 2015. The student's reactions were so great - one jumped up and yelled, "I'M REGISTERING RIGHT NOW!" Christina verified it over the walkie.

8. We ended SLS with series of short talks on what it means to be a Catholic Leader in the world. Pat Lencioni talked about what it actually means to be successful. He told the room full of students that if he had the choice, he would rather his kids grow up to be FOCUS leaders than anything else. It was pretty powerful.

Image via EideCom.

9. The high of SLS: Adoration/Confession night. I loved adoring Jesus from the balcony Sunday night and realizing just what was happening all around us. The incense, the spot lights, the worship band, the procession - it was all beautiful. I was overwhelmed each time the spots would hit Jesus and I would see students weeping. Walking through the ballrooms there were students being prayed over, a packed confession line was overwhelming. In this moment I felt so grateful to be called to this mission with FOCUS. I am so humbled that Jesus has asked me to bring others to Him through these events.

Image via John Paul Rudolph.  
Image via John Paul Rudolph.

10. As SLS drew to a close, all FOCUS leadership starting say that this event is a game changer for FOCUS. My favorite quote came from Jim, my team director from last year. Jim said,

"We will be talking about what FOCUS was like pre-SLS14 and post-SLS14. FOCUS will never be the same after this weekend."

Thank you to everyone who helped make this event possible!

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