Values That Shaped Destino Winter Conference
” The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Luke 4:18-19
Libertad. I remember talking as a conference team last Spring about these verses being the focal point of our time together. When we all talked about our different movements around the country, there was a common need for students to experience real freedom from areas of sin that had them stuck in their relationship with God and with one another. We really believed this was the moment we were in as a movement and what we wanted to drive at during the conference.
After months of planning, it was so gratifying to be at our Destino Winter Conference last month and see that vision lived out in the few days we were together. Several highlights for me were connected to some of the things I heard non-Destino staff express that they were learning and experiencing from their time with us. I wanted to share some of what they were picking up that weekend because I think it captures well who we are and what we value. I loved that they intuitively sensed these things rather than anyone explicitly stating them. I think thats how culture and identity is ultimately formed- it is felt and experienced.
- There is a strong use of story and vulnerability in Destino. Novelas are popular in the Latino community for a reason. We love learning through story. Every speaker and many of our seminars connected and weaved their own personal stories into their talks. We heard student testimonies of God liberating them from addictions, wounds, and hidden sins. Our keynote speaker, Dr. Adam Saenz, shared openly and honestly about his life, and invited our students to do the same in genuine community.Vulnerability and story really permeated every part of our time together.We often talk in Destino about how we want to be a place that reflects “redemptive familia”. Familia is already embedded in the Latino identity, but the redemptive part represents how the Gospel shapes that very identity. I saw and others saw how our conference reflected that theme.
- Destino focuses on the whole person in discipleship. Because the spiritual life isn’t disconnected from the rest of life, we don’t disconnect them in our discipleship either. Our conference displayed this holistic approach and it was encouraging to hear non-efm staff express how much that mattered to them. We talked with students about things like finances, academics, ethnic identity, and morality. All of these are intimately connected to our relationship with God and our overall maturity in the Christian life. Destino is a movement that addresses the whole person.
- Space for the movement of the Spirit is more important than a schedule. This is one of the things that I’ve most noticed causes major stress in non-Latino staff. There is more flexibility in the schedule at our venues than what most Cru staff are used to experiencing. Many of our meetings this conference started late and ended late, testimonies went long, speakers went over in their time, and worship went until the students felt like being done. Nothing was rushed or forced. The best word to describe this was, “space”. There was space for whatever the Sprit was doing in any given moment. This value is part of what I love most about who we are as a group of believers. We love to listen to the Spirit and move with him. It can cause anxiety in people that value tightness in a conference, but it is something many come to appreciate and enjoy over time.
- Destino is a safe place for the marginalized. We are always very clear with people that we are a movement that advocates for the marginalized. For our community this includes the undocumented students in our midst. At the conference we had students openly sharing that they were “DREAMers” (undocumented students that would benefit from the dream act bill). Many of the students we had on stage leading were undocumented as well. God is using these students in significant ways in our movements and we have worked hard at creating an environement that communicates to them that they are wanted. While the rest of society villainizes them and calls them “illegal”, we in Destino call them family and stand with them as our own. One of our speakers, Father Virgilio Elizondo, described the way US society treats the undocumented as, ”A crime whose cry goes straight to the heavens.” No one could have attended the conference and missed out on this very important Destino value. It is an integral part of our identity.
Overall, I really felt like our students walked away from their time with us having experienced true freedom (Libertad) in Christ. I’m also so thankful for what that time revealed to others about who we are and how God is at work in us and through us in Destino. Two students recently blogged about their experience at the conference too. I encourage you to read their stories and celebrate with us what God is doing in the Latino community:
My Story: Destino Winter Conference 2012 by aliceivette
May we continue to invite people into this beautiful familia.