Urbana Stories

Below are just a few of the life changing stories from Urbana. What has God done in your life through Urbana? Let others know.


I am so happy that Geri Rodman’s message at Urbana 2003 is on the website!! I went to Urbana 2003 and it totally changed and is changing my life! When I heard Ms. Rodman’s message God confronted me with what were my idols at that time, relationships, work and school. God also confronted me about who my idols were going to BE and how would I respond to his challenges in my spiritual life. Please don’t miss Urbana 2006 for nothing!


Through the messages at Urbana 03, I was impacted with the truth that I didn’t have to change who I was for God to use me. Then through the display booths I found the perfect organization to use who I am for God’s glory this summer!


In 1976 I was invited to go to Urbana ‘76. To this day, I do not know why I agreed to go. I was very resistant to the idea of going overseas for missions. God and I were in battle the whole week until Billy Graham gave the invitation on Thursday night. I finally surrendered to the Lord. Two years later, I was in Eastern Europe for a missions internship. Today, I am in campus ministry and have taken students all over the world on mission trips during the past 11 years.


What can we say about Urbana? Well I can say that it was like heaven on earth. The message was so awesome. That we sang in all kinds of languages was more awesome because you can worship God in every language. A lot of people renewed their faith, including me, and a lot of people came to know Christ. Alot of people pledged to do missions work for the sake of the gospel, including me. Think of it: 20,000 brothers and sisters making a change for the Bible - awesome!


My grandparents were missionaries, my parents are missionaries, and I was always told that I was going to be the third generation missionary. At school I am a missions advocate and my upbringing gives me a lot of perspectives that others don’t have. Because of these factors, I had an expectation of a call to missions, but I came to Urbana not really knowing what my “call” is. BUT, I felt an overwhelming calm that God does not want me overseas, but he wants me right here, in the US.

Joy, Urbana 57

In Urbana '57 I made a decision to read missionary biographies. I also felt the Lord leading me to work for IVCF. They had been instrumental in leading me to accepting Jesus as Savior and I wanted to serve them. It was at the office in Chicago in 1960 that I realized God was calling me into Wycliffe. I met my husband at my second summer of training and we have served in Wycliffe for 46 years now. It has been a wonderful career and the more I toss my problems and cares on Jesus, the better it gets.


I attended both Urbana 76 and 79. In addition to great memories, I have some of the materials from those events—notes, Urbana 79 Bible, hymnal. I will never forget taking communion with 17,000 people! The worship and teaching were awesome! I can still hear John Stott, "Our God is a missionary God!" I didn’t go into mission work but my experiences helped me appreciate mission work. A co-worker and I recently discovered we were both at Urbana 79. She came from NC and I from MI. Perhaps my kids will attend Urbana 2009 and follow God’s call to mission work.


I thought I’d be the last person from my team last summer to return to Mexico City with Latin America Mission. However, during Urbana 06, God told me to return. The decision is harder than anticipated. The timing is horrible; financial resources are low; and my Spanish needs a touch from God. But, one thing is sure: God called me and I must go. My frustrations still exist, but through them, God has given me an excitement and passion for His plans. All I can do now is walk by faith and not by sight. I surrendered all…and He took it.


Before I went to Urbana I thought my life was okay, but my attitude changed. My life isn’t just about what job I have or what ministry I’m a part of its about what makes me come alive, what fills me with great passion. It’s learning about who I am and will become. I remember Broken Walls performing “Rise up Mighty Warrior.” I realized that we are all warriors in life. I learned that I need to rise up on the inside so that I can live the life that God wants me to have.


I first went to Urbana in ‘93. It radically chanaged the way I saw God and his love for people. The seminar on ministering to the Homosexual gave me the courage to minister to many brothers who I had not even known were trapped in the secret of this destructive life style. Urbana helped me Boldly going where few staight christian males have gone before!


Urbana was the most amazing experience of my life. I made my choice to come very reluctantly but am so glad that I chose to come because when I was walking through the Global Missions Center I found the organization I needed, I’ve never felt a faster calling in my life! It was incredible and now I’m on my way to working with orphans this summer in the Dominican Republic and I am so excited! God has huge plans for my life and I know that now, all because of Urbana!

Neo, Urbana 2000

I attended Urbana 2000. The experience was overwhelming. To see for the first time in my life 20,000 people gathering together for time such as that! It is an experience I longed to see and experience again, especially in my own country (South Africa). Freezing as it was I enjoyed every single session, especially worship services. I looked forward each day to hearing the song


I am not the typical attendee because I am one of the many volunteers to help at these Urbanas. This will be my fifthUrbana and the one remark made at the 1996 gathering made all the difference in the world. It was outside the Assembly Hall after it was all over. Though I don’t recall whether it was a young man or lady, I do know that the remark made that stated, “thank you volunteers” made a difference for me. So if I hear another one again it will be a blessing.


I first attended Urbana ‘93. God moved me there and opened my heart to serving overseas for His glory. God led me to Cup of Cold Water Ministries who were looking for people to go to Bolivia, South America on short term missions trips. My wife and I matched perfectly with who they needed! We’ve been down to Bolivia 3 times since then and are planning a 4th trip this summer as team leaders. The experience has been life transforming and beyond my greatest expectations (with a few surprises too). Praise God! Gloria Adios!


As a dorm convert at UC-Riverside I heard the call to Urbana. After some failed attempts I did go in 1993. Urbana affirmed my love for IVCF and college students. I regret not going to Urbana sooner. The 1996 convention affirmed my call to Racial Reconcillation and not letting my ethnic background-Latino, get burried away. Thank you IVCF for impacting my life as a student, Volunteer and now Alumni/Donor.

Sarah part 2

I thought i would not run into people I knew there by chance because I was only going to know my friends from Philly. EVERYDAY, God brought me 2-3 people out of 23,000 people to me… even a girl I sat by on the airplane on the way there (who I didn’t even know before). God told me to “Expect the impossible”!!He is teaching me to pray prayers worthy of Him.. Big miracles because He CAN do anything!! God gave me the gift of healing and I am expecting God to heal AIDS!!


When I attended Urbana in ‘03, I was struggling with an eating disorder and did not want to give them up to God. Finally, God got my attention and I tried to give it over to Him but found that I couldn’t. Finally, I prayed, “God, I want to give this to you, but I can’t, so if you want it, take it!” He did—completely! For the first time in years, I am free from the depression and sin that has bound me. I am free to serve God and am planning on becoming a missionary after college graduation.

Chara part 2

In Oct. or Nov., I applied to go with Youth for Christ. At Urbana, God really laid working with youth specifically. The speaker on the Church in Latin America (one of the sessions) was a Guatemalan national. He said that .02% of the youth in Latin America know the Lord as their Savior. I went to talk to Campus Crusade for Christ International that day, and there was a guy there who had been to Guatemala for 3 months with a ministry (CrossRoads) that I now want to work with full-time someday.


I was engaged to be married, and my fiance and I attended Urbana 80 a few weeks before our wedding. We both felt God’s call to world missions and made that committment. One year after being married, we were sent for a summer in Haiti to “test the waters,” and returned to Haiti for 3 1/2 more years! Since then, we have worked in Ecuador and Israel as health missionaries. Now 2 of our 3 teens have gone on summer missions trips - to Mongolia, Ecuador, and Bolivia. God has multiplied many times over the seed He sowed at Urbana ‘80!


Urbana 2003 was life changing for me. I cannot express how thankful I am to the Lord and IVCF for helping me see so much clearer the need for the gospel to penetrate the nations.


I attended Urbana 93 and 96. Since then, I’ve volunteered for HCJB, in radio ministry for 10 years, then Adventures in Missions for 2 years, and then the Lord called me to North and South Carolina. I’m now a servant, and thanks to Christ using the Urbana conventions, I’ll see alot of people in heaven.Godspeed


I became a Christian on May 4, 1972 at Kent State University. I travelled to Urbana 73 on a Greyhound bus by myself. I knew no one. But Urbana was the ULTIMATE. There were people there who thought like I did! 10 years later my husband, myself, and two little boys landed on Thai soil with WEC Int. Two things: 1)Urbana was the impetus. 2)Be patient! Perhaps a long & winding road (in our case we did not have a Biblical childhood upbringing NOR a Mission minded church) but with the Lord and perseverance it CAN be done!


I went to Urbana with a calling for the youth of America on my life. The Global Missions Center caused me to stop in that pursuit momentarily, God broke my heart for missions as I asked Him to. Then He more clarified my calling in life. He showed me that my calling is to motivate others into ministry and missions as well as share the gospel with those that other may not want to befriend here in America. Youth in particular.


I attended Urbana 2000 because it sounded fun and I regretted having not prepared my heart for what God offered me. I’d seriously considered doing missions, and certainly nothing short term! But God spoke to me. I ended up in Bosnia for 10 weeks in 2001. Rather than return to university to be a teacher, I went to Bible College to begin formal training to do long term missions! Global evangelization is something that I pray and long for. It was at Urbana that God lit that spark of passion.

Felix, from Puerto Rico!!

This was my first time at Urbana and it was really exciting, challenging and eye-opening!!The topics about Racial reconciliation and Justice were so good for me and in my decisions I’m comitted to share this topics with my local church and campus fellowship and to get involved in a cross cultural mission!!! love in Christ, Felix, from Puerto Rico!!


Urbana 2000 was a time of renewing of spirit, mind, body and joy in the Lord for me. God laid a burden on my heart for the lost on my campus. Upon returning, God impressed upon me how He could use me in contact evangelism. I have been out twice and God has been so faithful in providing the strength and boldness needed to approach strangers evenwhen they look me in the face and say I am a fool for believing in Jesus.

Tinea Rose

I am in Spain studying abroad, learning more Spanish. I went to Urbana 03 to look at the opportunities I could serve using my Spanish when I got back for the summer. I was at first overwhelmed, but God graciously opened the perfect door for me and I just got a job to be working and leading mission trips this summer in Peurto Rico! I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to go to Urabana and discover all the different ways I could serve with the gifts God has blessed me with. Praise His name!

U96 open mike testimony

“I’m the only student from my campus at this convention. God stirred my heart in a strange way. I started this week off with repentance and I prayed three times after that that God would break my spirit and mold me. And yesterday, I did something I thought I’d never do. I wept for the people that do not know Christ that I know.”


I attended Urbana 2003 while struggling with anorexia and cutting. While there, I started trying to give everything to God, but I couldn’t. Finally, I prayed out of desperation, “God, I want to give this to you, but I can’t! So if you want it, take it!” Immediately after that prayer, everything that I had been struggling with was gone completely. God continues to use Urbana 03 as a reminder when I start doubting His power to truly transform people.


I just wanted to thank you for your service and commitment to the call to serve Christ. I found your website yesterday, and have felt called to go into missions for a while now, but didn’t really know where to start.I am at a hard decision making point in my life. I value and appreciate the work you are doing to further the gospel. Thank you:)

Jim and Jill

The third day of Urbana, I was called to a Bible study leaders’ meeting. All my friends went ahead to lunch. When I finally arrived, I did not recognize a soul. Finally, I sat at a table against the far back wall and struck up a conversation with the girl to my right. Three hours later - everyone gone - we left to visit the sessions. Now, 27 years later, our daughter is at Urbana 06! Certainly, God leads in unexpected ways! We have learned to prepare as best we know at the time and leave the planning to him!

Jim, Urbana 61

I attended Urbana 61 to see if God wanted me to go into full time missions. The speaker who most spoke to me was Festo Kivengere when he described Jacob and his relevance to our lives. I came home having sought the will of God in career plans convinced that I was to serve him in a secular career. Today 45 years later, I still feel that was the correct path for my life. But I am forever grateful for the missions perspective that Urbana provided and continues to provide.


For me, Urbana 2000 was about seeing how God was working in so many people’s lives to fulfill His plan on Earth. As someone who already has felt a call to foreign missions, it was so exciting to meet missionaries from all over the world and to learn about how all types of organizations andministries work together. The seminars helped give me an understanding of what missionary work is most needed and what missions work will be like in the future.


When I was a young Christian, a friend who was an IVCF staff worker gave me Urbana 87 tapes. I got immediately turned on to missions. A few years later, I went to China then Vietnam. I went to Urbana 96 as an org rep (and my roomie shared her testimony with the 20,000!), went to grad school for an MA in missions, and now I’ll be going to this year’s Urbana and bringing a group of college students. God has used Urbana from beginning to end in turning my heart towards the world and missions.


I enjoyed the Urbana convention that I attended in 1993. I made a commitment at that time to be involved in full time ministry, or working towards it by 1998. In the fall of 1998 my wife and I were accepted by ACTION International as career missionaries. We arrived in the Philippines in February 2000 and are now in the middle of language studies. We will open a discipleship home for former street boys sometime in 2001. We praise God for His guidance through Urbana and other missions conferences we attended over the years prior to pursuing ministry full time.


At Urbana 2000, I made a commitment to use my accounting degree to serve God in missions. This year I was accepted as a member of Wycliffe Bible Translators and am currently in the process of developing prayer and financial support. Attending Urbana had a huge impact on my life, and the highlights video and the worship CD continue to encourage and challenge me! Thank you Urbana, and thank you Jesus.


Urbana 2000 was an awesome experience, from the moment I got there till the New Years Eve celebration.Ken Fong was amazing as a speaker and I toally re-found my devotional life, those books were just incredible.Congrats to the volunteers and especially Barney Ford for such an awesome Urbana.


during the break between the first and second half of the dec 31 evening session, i was in my seat, and saw a spotlight from the ceiling shining down at me. even though it probably covered twenty rows, i felt it was as thin as a pencil lead. god was shining the light at me for a reason. i took this to mean that he wanted me to take communion. i haven’t previously taken it for several years because of some old issues, but god chose to remove them.


Urbana 76 was one of the defining moments in creating my passion for missions. I can still hear Helen Roseveare sharing her story. Urbana sowed the seeds for my wife and I to become involved as committed senders of a missionary family from our church. This has included going on short-term trips and traveling as a family to visit them in Nepal. These experiences have equipped us to serve our local church with a passion for missions. Now our son is attending Urbana 2000! We look forward to seeing what God will do next - in all of our lives!


I attended as a radio producer for Moody Broadcasting and was personally impacted by meeting many of the speakers backstage for our radio program "Prime Time America." The depth of my respect for Luis Palau and Billy Graham was heightened by these off-stage encounters -- their transparency, vibrancy, and integrity stand to this day, testimony of lives well lived. Thanks, Urbana!