Last Thursday I had the opportunity to travel with my university to the Christian Association of Student Leaders conference (CASL). At this conference, there were representatives from various organizations from about nine different small Baptist universities from Texas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma.

For instance, there were people representing their school’s Baptist Student Ministry (BSM), Student Activities, Student Government, Greek Life, Welcome Week Committee, Resident Life, ect.

Casl

 

I attended CASL through the BSM.

All of the people from Not Hogwarts (my university) loaded up in five church-van-sized-vehicles Thursday morning, and began to depart. After my van bumped into a tree while we were backing up and part of the back of the van broke off, we had a non-eventful drive  to CASL.

We arrived in the town and settled in to our hotel rooms. I was rooming with three other Not Hogwarts girls, who also were attending CASL with the BSM.

The view from our hotel window

The view from our hotel window

After we threw our bags in our rooms, we loaded back up in the vans and drove to the university that was hosting CASL.

We registered and received our name tags, and then met up with the other colleges in a large auditorium. CASL had a beach theme this year, thus the following ship steering wheel was center stage. There were also a bunch of beach balls thrown about the room, and after being hit in the head several times, I think I’m developing a fear of beach balls :)

wheel

After we sang some worship songs, we broke out into our round tables.

The round table sessions were when the people from the different organizations met together in a room and discussed what was and wasn’t working for their organization. So, I attended the round table with all of the BSMers from various colleges.

At first, I was very overwhelmed. All of the students from the other schools were actually leaders of their BSM, whereas I just attend BSM events and Bible studies. In fact, I began to wonder why my BSM director even asked me to attend CASL in the first place. I didn’t think I had much to offer.

So, while the older people at my table were sharing where they lead in their BSMs and the different ministries their BSMs offer, another freshman from Not Hogwarts and I just kinda looked at each other, and then honestly admitted to our group that we are freshmen and aren’t positive about all of the details of our school’s BSM.

To my surprise, the other people were very understanding and kind to us. They didn’t look down on us or anything, much to my relief.

After our round tables, we ate dinner in the university cafeteria. Several of the freshmen from Not Hogwarts sat with a couple older girls from a school in Dallas. They were very nice.

Then we had a worship/general session where all of us from all of the schools/organizations met back up in the auditorium to worship God and then learn from a speaker how we can be leaders.

Waiting f

Waiting for worship to start

Once that was over, we loaded up in our vans, and drove to a local movie theater for a late night movie.

The movie theater was. amazing. I seriously want to go back to this town just to go to the theater again!

movie

We watched an old Disney hockey movie, The Miracle, which I had never seen before. I really liked it.

The next day was really, really cold. So cold, in fact, that in the morning there was snow. Yeah, you know that white stuff that sometimes falls from the sky? The thing that’s really rare in Texas? Yup, we had that! It wasn’t sticking anywhere but my hair, but hey! It counts :)

The white stuff is SNOW, not dandruff ;)

The white stuff is SNOW, not dandruff ;)

Any who, this day was filled with worship/general sessions and round tables.

There also were a few workshops that we were able to choose from. I went to workshops about over-commitment and mentoring. Both of them were really interesting, and I learned several new things. I especially liked how the mentoring workshop speaker emphasized how Jesus is the best model for mentorship.

That night we had some free time after dinner. Some of us discovered that the university has a BOWLING ALLEY under their student union. How cool is that? I wish Not Hogwarts had a bowling alley…

Bowling

So a lot of us bowled for a while. It was really cool interacting with people from the different universities!

I also discovered this lamp post in the basement of the student union. It made me think of Narnia :)

lamp post

That night there was a Jimmy Needham concert. Five other students and I felt exhausted, so we returned to the hotel to rest, but I heard that the concert was amazing!

So, back at the hotel, two girls and I relaxed on a bed and watched Friends on Netflix. I had never seen it before, and they felt like they should enlighten me, so they did :)

The next day, we had one last round table and a closing assembly, and then we departed for Not Hogwarts around lunch time.

We stopped at Schlotzky's on the way back for lunch

We stopped at Schlotzky’s on the way back for lunch

Overall, the trip was a blast! I’m glad I went.

One thing I learned while at CASL…

I learned that I would have survived at any of the universities represented at CASL (and probably the ones not represented as well).

Knowing this makes me wish that I had been less stressed out last year when I was trying to figure out where I should attend college. God would be with me where ever I went, and so I shouldn’t have been worried.

Haven’t I commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD your God is with you where ever you go. – Joshua 1:9

 

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