(This update was taken from a friend and fellow epic staff from Oregon…with his permission, of course)
Thank you so much for laboring with us in your prayers for the EPIC conference [Feb 16-19]! It was so awesome to fellowship with about 150 students and 50+ staff from all over the country. It was such a momentus and historic time. And as you know, this conference was not without obstacles & opposition. Sherry Slaughter’s [staff woman] house flooded just as she was leaving to drive up and set up registration on Friday, Jaeson Ma [one of the main speakers] got intense abdominal pains on Saturday morning and almost headed to the ER instead of coming to San Jose for the conference, Tommy Dyo [Epic national director and speaker] (who was still recovering from fever/sick symptoms) delivered his first talk to the EPIC movement with incredibly loud and distracting party music next door making it nearly impossible for students to concentrate on what was being said, Sunday morning we woke up to find some kind of convention next door to our main meeting involving tarot cards, sensual dancing, palm reading, & the like. Strange things were happening, and indicative of the spiritual warfare & deep strongholds that are engrained in AA communities. But despite all this, the reality of spiritual warfare brought people more to their knees in prayer and more proactively attentive to what God was doing in our midst. We prayed and were reminded that He who is in us, is greater than he who is in the world.
Students were challenged by Vivian Mabuni (who saved the day big time and delivered the first 2 talks when Tommy was sick), Tommy & Jaeson to connect with our Father in an entirely new way unlike how they’d been treated by earthly fathers, to realize our uniqueness of being bi-cultural & how God wants to use us to reach out to others through this new understanding of our identity, and to be committed to prayer & a passionate love for God. Students were challenged to take the gospel to our partnerships throughout the world on summer projects, STINTS and internships. Students were trained in seminars to walk in the power of the Holy Spirit, to make wise/godly decisions for their futures, to plant spiritual communities, and more. Students who had never been hugged by their parents received hugs from their “spiritual” family during a powerful session Sunday night, which then ended with an awesome last worship set with students literally rushing the stage to dance, jump, and shout out in praise to our Father. Students & staff celebrated the Lunar New Year with a festive party filled with egg rolls, rice crackers, karaoke, boba tea, Asian candies, & more.
On our day of outreach, we went to the Vietnamese New Year festival (which was expecting over 60,000 people & represents the least reached subculture in the Bay Area) and saw:
323 spiritual conversations/exposures initiated
164 shared the gospel with
16 people accept Christ
81 people prayed on the spot for
8 people rededicated their life
Jaeson Ma said that we can’t be passionate (& in love) with God until we realize just how much He is passionately in love with us. We love because He first loved us. What a great take away for all of us as we leave this conference. Please continue to pray for our EPIC students as the story is just beginning for many of them.
– that the things the students learned will take root in their hearts
– that many of them will decide to be on a summer project
– that many of them will go back as missionaries on their campuses