I expected the Gathering to be more textbook orientated. To sit down and over-analyze the Bible and all cry when someone takes John 3:16 to a whole new level. The minute I stepped into the Conventions Center those expectations flew out the window. To see actual games you can play! I mean you could actually play volleyball! Hockey! Ping Pong! I think my jaw dropped for that moment. Exploring the center some more, we found there were really cool exhibits about issues that needed attention. For instance, trafficking. Reading real stories and seeing statistics just made me want to do something about it. At the end of the exhibit, you can write on a post-it saying what you will do now that you learned about it and I was tempted to write everything. And the gatherings at the Superdome, they were filled with energy and spirit that can only be given to us by God. The speakers were amazing and really got my attention in ways I as a kid could relate to.
I saw God almost everywhere this week. I saw God in all the youth who were so willing to put forth their time and effort towards people they never even met before. To me that is the real Christian. I saw Him in the songs we all sang as we were sloping back to our hotels in the rain which happened many a time. I saw God in the adults as they had to put up the songs and the unending energy of the youth. But most of all, I saw God in the speakers as the farther into their speech they got, the more passion we all saw; in their face, in their voice, in their movements. Just to see God in that many places fortified my faith and pushed me toward devoting more and more of my life to Him.
The Gathering changed me in so many ways. I can walk around with my back straight and say: "I know there's a God. I know he exists. I saw at New Orleans 24/7." I used to think no other young christian took their faith as seriously as me. And because of that, I was afraid to show it. But now, I know that's not true. I saw 33,309 youth who were as committed to God as much as I was. So there has to be more. That changed me so now I am confident and unashamed to show my faith, because I know that at least one person in the crowd will agree with me. And that's all I need.
- Naomi Krizner