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Opinion: Passion 2018

Photo by Emma Kaney

Photo by Emma Kaney

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From January 1 to January 3, thousands of people (ranging from 18-25 years old) gathered in Atlanta, Georgia and Washington D.C. for a Christian conference known as Passion.  The conference is available for seniors in high school to seniors in college. Among the giant crowd in attendance was a group from Adel, Iowa.

December 31 around 5:30 pm is when we piled into cars in the New Hope Church parking lot.  We already knew we were in for a long night when, before we even left, Jordan Hook realized her phone was nowhere to be found.  After many phone calls and Find My iPhone attempts, Jordan’s dad agreed to meet us just off the highway to give us her phone – which she had left in his car.  While stopping to retrieve the phone, the second car with Passion-goers tried to pull off the side of the road to wait, only going a little too far into the ditch.  Everyone from all three cars piled out to push the car out of the snowy ditch.

Once on the road again, we drove to Des Moines to meet our charter bus.  We boarded the bus and realized this was our new home for the next 17 hours, where we would eat, sleep, and, yes, go to the restroom.

We had been on the bus for four hours, ready to sleep, when the bus leader decided it was time for everyone to get to know each other.  Under any other circumstance, no one would’ve minded, but we were all tired.  After a consecutive hour of talking to strangers and learning about their life stories, we stopped.

Since it was December 31, New Year’s Eve, we had a little countdown on the bus and once January 1 was upon us we all crashed.  Sleep was difficult.  The bus was bumpy, seats weren’t the comfiest, but the company was great.

Over the span of the next 17 hours, we made bracelets, played Catch Phrase, and talked about a lot of random stuff.  Finally, around noon on January 1, our bus had arrived in Atlanta, Georgia.

Once we got off the bus and to our hotel, everyone plopped down on the lobby’s couches because our rooms were not quite ready.  Let me clarify, for FIVE HOURS our rooms were not ready.  So, during that time, we slept on the lobby furniture.  When you think of Georgia you probably think, “Oh, it’s close to the coast, it’ll be warm.”  Eh, wrong.  It was a solid 20˚F to 30˚F every day, which was rough because our hotel was within walking distance from the arena, only it was a much colder journey than anticipated.

Once all ready, we headed to the CNN Center to get in line for the conference, and WOW, it was packed in there.  The anticipation of Passion was building up in everyone, and when the doors were open, cheers erupted from the crowd.

Getting to the front of the line, finally, we were supposed to go through security, although, we managed to bypass it during all the excitement, and go through a side entrance.  We got our tickets scanned and got lanyards with our Passion passes on them, and then… we were in.

We found our seats and gazed in awe of the number of people in Philips Arena.  There was an energy like nothing I had ever felt, and that’s exactly how it was for all three days: people on their feet, singing as loud as they could, praying, and loving life.

The speakers at Passion opened our eyes to understand, the artists at Passion opened our mouths to praise, and the people all around us taught us to open our hearts.

Whereas the bus ride was long and not the most comfortable, Passion was still a journey like none other.  If you love Jesus or love new experiences, keep your schedule open in January of 2019.

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Opinion: Passion 2018