By Hannah Keziah Agustin

Fall Conference & the God of Faithfulness

“Behold, I make all things new.”

The words of Jesus rang in my head as I drove into the winding road to Green Lake Conference Center for Fall Conference 2023. The lake was vast. The leaves were changing. The foliage formed a tapestry of gold and auburn. Its beauty was characterized by the shedding away of the old things, much like how Jesus paves the way for new things in moments of change. Fall Conference is a space where this transformation happens. It’s a weekend for students in South Central Wisconsin to intentionally nourish their souls with spiritual food as they gather to study Scripture, pray, worship, and fellowship with their chapters. They come hungry for Jesus and community.

The last time I was there was four years ago, as a freshman at the University of Wisconsin–Whitewater. Fall Conference 2019 was my first huge InterVarsity event. As I watched students walk to their track time, I remembered what it was like to experience God’s beauty manifested in manuscript Bible study, nature walks with the women in my chapter, and large group multiethnic and multilingual worship.

Fall Conference formed my understanding of what community meant, grew my passion for God's justice, and showed me how manuscript Bible study allows us to look at Scripture in new ways. It was the beginning of my journey to later becoming the leader of our Asian American InterVarsity small group and the worship coordinator for our large group gatherings. Fall Conference was where God prepared me for years of serving my campus. I knew that he was going to do the same for the eager students who showed up in 2023.

Growing with Community

“I knew that coming here would be a great opportunity to dig into the word and have deep conversations with the people in my chapter,” said Mariah, a student from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. This was important to her because her first semester on campus was Fall 2020, when her InterVarsity chapter did most of their events online. This didn’t hinder Mariah from feeling welcomed by her InterVarsity community.

Aidan, a senior Accounting major from UW-Whitewater, came to Fall Conference for the first time this year. “I felt God call me to attend this year so I could be in community with Asian American InterVarsity students from other schools,” he said. Making friends from different chapters was the highlight of his experience. It gave him a broader understanding of what it means to be a part of a movement that reaches every corner of every campus. Aidan attended the Lordship of Jesus track, where he learned how to surrender all aspects of his life to God and  live that out on campus.

Growing Missionally on Campus

“This is God’s work. We are simply joining in it,” said Lacey, InterVarsity staff at the UW–Stevens Point. She taught students how to start spiritual conversations with friends through an exercise where she challenged them to use random objects to share the gospel. If a friend was eating an apple, for example, a student could transition into talking about spiritual food. Students were encouraged to remember that we don’t do evangelism alone. We are a cloud of witnesses, sharing God’s love as a collective.

“I want to grow in reaching out to everybody regardless of their beliefs” said Kia, a senior finance major from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Even though it was his first time attending Fall Conference, he went back to campus with a renewed sense of calling, eager to partner with God in evangelism and outreach. In the Discipleship Making track, students like him learned how to invest in the people around them missionally.

Growing in Love for Jesus

Fall is a season of transformation. Jesus says, “Behold, I make all things new.” To this, students responded with a resounding yes. They said yes as they dug into the Gospel of Matthew, engaged in musical worship, and prayed for our sister movements in the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students (IFES). Students, wherever they are in their faith journey, have opportunities to grow closer to God at Fall Conference. This is where we see Jesus change their hearts to be more loving and, ultimately, more like him.

Many things have changed since Fall Conference 2019, and many things have not. God is still faithful.  Students still love Jesus and community. Some of them even came up to me, thinking I was a student, to ask me where I was from and welcome me. These are the next generation of kingdom witnesses on campus. It’s a blessing to know that, for many, this is only the beginning of God’s work in their life.