1st Salt Conference Recap: Orange, California
11/9/16 marks the 7 month anniversary of our first Salt Conference! It truly is crazy what the Lord can do, when you surrender everything to him. Take a look as we walk down memory lane and recap the amazing moments of that day!
The Salt Conference – April 9th, 2016
It was 8:00am on a Thursday, as five women sat around outside on Mexican blankets, drank tea and coffee, talked about life, and planned the Delight meeting (college ministry) for that following week. It was a morning like any other leader meeting morning, except this morning ideas and dreams
collided and a spark was lit. It was that day when I had the original, humble idea to bring together all of the Delight chapters in the area for a big gathering as the founders were going around to visit all the chapters. A simple idea involving max a few emails and phone calls, quickly morphed into what happened on April 9th, 2016 in Orange, California.
The blog was launched on February 1st, and between that and the event was a lot of hustle. An Instagram quiz was created, giveaways and collaborations happene
d, campus visits occurred, dorm room Easter Egg hunts happened and so much more. To throw out a few fun numbers, we purchased 15 pounds of salt water taffy, 1,000 Easter eggs, and printed 3,000 flyers to hand out at all the various campuses in the area all in an effort to spread the word. We worked hard, and were diligent in our work and the Lord rewarded it. Slowly the ticket sales started coming in, and as the number of days lessened as we came closer to the event the ticket sales increased. Before we knew it we had sold over 200 tickets, and more tickets were still being sold.
It was during this time, that it really became evident that the Lord has his hand in this entire vision. How can a ministry just start, and within 2 months of launching sell close to 300 tickets to an event? It is all Jesus.
The day before the event, dozens of people gathered in the Orange Packing House, home to Friend’s Church Orange, to help set up and get the venue ready for the big day. There were people stuffing canvas bags with goodies, giveaways and print material. There were people arranging baby’s breath and eucalyptus around the stage and on tables. There were people setting up the merch table folding tank tops and blankets, stacking up books, and fanning out stickers. We had people playing with the sound, lighting, and projection system. We had people hanging up swings and signs with power tools. And the biggest troopers, were the ladies outside cleaning and drying over 400 mason jars in order to get them ready to drink out of. The true MVPs. We were playing music, and everyone had the biggest servant heart to help.
Excitement was in the air as we were all giddy with the fact that 300 women from San Diego all the way up to Los Angeles would be gathering together in that very room in just a short few hours.
There were definitely a few nerves as well, as this would be the first time I stepped on stage and told my story in front of so many people, and MC and guide them through an entire day and events.
After set up was complete, and people’s stomachs were growling for real food- no more goldfish, pretzels, or Costco muffins, they all cleared out. Praying and in eager expectation for what the Lord was going to do the next day. Once everyone left, I found myself standing at the middle of the back row of chairs praying and visualizing the day.
Praying God would touch every person who walked through our doors, and sat in these chairs. That they would have an encounter with God’s love, and walk away knowing who they truly are in Christ’s eyes. I ran through what I was going to say a few times, then took a quick cat nap on the stage before my friends came back from dinner for the final run through… the literal hour countdown was on
Just before “There”
Then it was the morning, and the day had finally arrived. The day we had been planning, preparing, dreaming, and praying about for so long- it was finally here. With all of the BIG tasks completed the day before, the morning was dedicated towards checking on and finalizing the small details. We had to make sure all of our products were entered into our system for the store, that all the slides were imported and ready for the TV screens, that mics were checked and working, people knew what their jobs were for volunteering, the bathrooms were stocked and ready, and music was playing. Ideally, I had pictured this morning to be a little less frazzled and a little more organized, but what could I expect with this being the first time around? With big and little issues coming up all around (one of which being our ticket scanner not working), my timing for the morning was thrown off, but one thing we stuck too and did not waver on was the team prayer. This moment I will never forget, as I stood in a circle of 40+ people who had come behind this vision to support it and make it happen. It was a humbling moment. It was an exciting moment. It was the moment when it all hit me. Shortly after we said amen, women started to arrive!
They came in swarms of smiles and style. They walked through the door, were welcomed with excitement, and received a canvas bag stuffed with all sorts of goodies. Every attendee also got a “You are created for greatness” mug they used for water throughout the event to avoid excess waste with plastic cups. Before the conference began, women were getting name tags, claiming seats, buying Live Salted merchandise, ordering and drinking coffee, taking photos in front of a surfer van or sitting on a swing, and most importantly communing with one another and talking about life. There is something special when you are surrounded by other women who also believe in the power of Jesus, and you all gather together in His name.
The day kicked off with myself sharing a little bit about my story and how Live Salted started, which quickly rolled into Robin Verner, our key note speaker, taking it away with a talk on finding our identity in the Lord. Robin is a fire cracker, full of metaphors and personal life connections with this ability to speak truth and freedom in the most eloquent way.
Following her talk, Matt Roden and the band lead us into worship- a time of reflection as we processed all that Robin has spoken over us. We sang “Good Good Father,” and “How He loves us,” both songs that could not have not been more fitting. After wishing we could keep singing for hours, it was time to welcome to the stage our panel of testimonial speakers- Rachel Brusca, Rachel Hengesh, and Rebekah Watkins. These women were open, real, and honest with us as they told us their stories and shared their successes and shortcomings that have lead them to where they are now in life. Live Salted is all about coming along side one another with where they are in life, and that is what we tried to express by hearing stories from women just like us. At the end, it was beautiful to watch women come up and speak with the different speakers asking about their stories and getting insight and advice on their own.
With that, it was time to break for “lunch (for a cause)”! This year we decided to partner with Love Does– a non-profit dedicated towards spreading the love of Jesus to people all around the globe. To raise money, we partnered with local eateries and boutiques who agreed to give a portion of their sales from our attendees back to us, in order to give to Love Does. So during this hour and half long break, that was exactly what these ladies did. They walked into historic Orange, and enjoyed lunch with their friends in the beautiful sun, all the while raising money to help support an orphanage of 9 amazing girls in Nepal, with dreams and aspirations just like us.
To kick off the second half of day, Joanna Waterfall, founder of the Yellow Conference, lead us through a discussion of our talents and gifts, and had us talk with on another about what is our “crazy awesome thing.” What is that unique calling the Lord has given you that you are created to chase after and do. Walking around during this time was one of my favorite memories as people’s faces were lit up as they talked about what they were dreaming about and wanted to do in the future, and the plans God has for them to live out.
To round out the day, Robin came back on stage to talk about defeating our doubts and insecurities and pushing into the truth and freedom that Christ has given to us with His death on the cross. Robin has a way with words, a gifting, and I can tell you that every eye and ear was tuned into her 100% as she walked us through the imagery of being a daughter not an orphan, and what freedom truly looks like as a daughter of Christ.
Ending the day with a loud, powerful, and moving set of worship with Matt and the band we sang “No Longer Slave,” “Oceans,” and “Amazing Grace.” The room was filled with the Holy Spirit and everyone’s heart was touched and had an encounter with the love of Jesus that day. After a few tears, and many thanks to everyone who came together to put this on, the event was over. A day that had been prayed and thought about for hours, had finally come and gone. But we knew that would happen. We knew the conference was only going to occupy a few hours of this world and then be over, the Lord reminded me of this while in the planning stages, but what will last forever is how the event touched lives and inspired people to pursue Jesus more deeply in their own adventures.
What Ladies Said:
- “I am forgiven. I am chosen. I am beautiful. It is okay to be a mess, we all are.”
- “The lies of the enemy are always against our identity. They are lies, the opposite is the truth. Even though we are tempted to compare ourselves to others because we as humans are attracted to what is excellent, we cannot get caught up in it because comparing is always LOSE-LOSE!”
- “God loves the girl I am, not the girl I think I should be. God gifts are blessings, but ultimately my identity is in Christ. Fear and love are from two separate kingdoms.”
- “I have nothing to lose by following passionately in the ways of the Lord!”
- “Don’t let my fears take hold of my life. Jesus has overcome the world, and He is the one that gives me strength.”
- “The idea about if someone has something that you have, then go get it really resonated with me. I think it is true that we live a life of comparisons and I’ve been working on not comparing myself to others anymore.”
- “The word “Glorify” has been reoccurring for me since the conference. It’s a great reminder and motivation that when we season the world, we glorify God! We glorify Jesus!”
There is this strange pattern to life, where we work everyday and we work hard, but the point of that work isn’t to ultimately accomplish a task or cross off a to-do list, that work is a means for you to get closer to the Lord and discover more of His character. Working and putting on this conference has been the best vessel to deepen my walk with the Lord as it has taken me deeper than my feet could have ever wandered, and taught me more than I could have fathomed. This has been a blessing, and my prayer is that there will be many many more in the future. Which there might be sooner than later – stay tuned ***