Naples Noteworthy Note: This special column is written by our 11-year old Junior Staff Writer, Alyssa Peck Waddell. While we don’t usually give bylines, we’re making an exception in her case, so that you can enjoy watching this young writer step into her calling.
The MOTION Student Conference 2014 in Birmingham, Alabama was the most amazing experience of my life–and no, I’m not exaggerating at all. Now, because of it, I will never be the same. It changed me…but in a good way.
I went to the conference with the Tree of Life Church Straight Up Youth group. (The Tree of Life was ranked #2 by Naples Noteworthy in our special feature, The Top 5 Non-Denominational Churches in Naples.)
I didn’t think it was possible to get any closer to God. But this conference took my relationship with Him to a whole new level. I’m closer than I’ve ever been before with God; our relationship is so strong, nothing can separate us! I can’t wait to see what God is going to do in my life, and I’m ready to serve Him. That’s why, when Naples Noteworthy asked me to write about my experience at MOTION 2014, I didn’t hesitate to give my testimony.
Every day of the student conference was completely packed with activity. Each morning we went to the arena and worshiped and then listened to a message by one of the speakers–Louie Giglio, Carl Lentz, Rich Wilkerson, Chad Veach, Chris Hodges, and Mark Pettus. They were all outstanding, though my personal favorite was Mark Pettus. Then we went to our community groups where we connected and engaged with other followers of God and met amazing pastors and group leaders. After lunch we went back to the arena for more worship.
The part I looked forward to the most every day was worship. In fact, during worship by Chris Tomlin, I lifted my hands up as high as I could and I yelled, “Thank you, God!” Then I fell to my knees. I must have cried out, “Thank you, God!” countless times, and I would have kept crying out my praises forever if I could have, because He deserves it after everything He has done for us.
There were times during worship I discovered parts of me I didn’t even know existed. We’re made to praise God. It’s only when we’re truly worshiping Him and praising Him that we really find ourselves. So to find ourselves, we first must find God. I’m so thankful for finding God. It’s wonderful to know He loves me so much and to know that I have a destiny and a purpose.
I think I’m already starting to walk in my destiny!