Photo courtesy of Krista Standford
by Jayme Lowe
Over 20 Concordia University, Nebraska students joined students from other Concordia universities from Nov. 3-5 at the Beautiful Feet Conference in Portland, Oregon.
The theme this year was “Beautiful Feet—Messy Hands,” based on Matthew 25:40. The conference took place on the campus of Concordia University—Portland and two nearby Lutheran churches. All of the participants arrived on Thursday afternoon, and the event started that evening at 5 p.m. with opening worship and an opening speaker.
The main focus of the Beautiful Feet conferences is to help mission-minded students find resources, make contacts and be inspired by others. It brings together service opportunities, speakers, breakout sessions and worship to provide a memorable experience..
Since it is a missions conference, service projects play a large role in the plans. In Portland, the participants volunteered at seven different projects: Bethesda Lutheran Communities, Faubion School, JOIN, L’Arche Portland, Portland Rescue Mission, Ronald McDonald House and Union Gospel Mission. These college students helped the homeless, people with intellectual disabilities, children struggling with poverty and more.
The breakout sessions are another highlight of the conference. Speakers come and present from dozens of mission organizations like Lutherans for Life, Ministry in Mission, Mercy Medical Teams, Can-Do Missions and the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod Office of International Mission. There are also presentations by study abroad groups like Veritas.
The speakers at the main sessions are seen as the highlights of the conference. This year, there were four main speakers: Marshall Snider, Pastor Dominic Rivkin, Tracy Evans and Pastor Bo Baumeister. All of them spoke about what brought them to missions, what they do now and how the conference attendees can help.
Besides all the fun at the conference itself, the attendees also got time to explore Portland and the surrounding area. With Mount Hood in the background, the participants saw mountains, waterfalls, forests and the always-popular Voodoo Donut shop. The “Keep Portland Weird” sign was a common photo background. The International Rose Test Garden was also a popular spot.
Sophomore Tiffany Smith attended the conference after participating last year when it was at Seward and had another amazing time.
“I think the highlight was Friday night. We had the “praise” (worship) section, and we sang a bunch of songs, and everyone was just feeling it… and we immediately went to dinner, and it was carnival themed so there were games and fun stuff after dinner… it was a bunch of Concordias coming together and just partying,” Smith said.
Next year’s Beautiful Feet Conference will be at Concordia University, St. Paul. For more information, contact Julie Johnston Hermann at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Global Opportunities Center.