A Letter to Urbana 22 Participants, One Year Later

Dear Urbana 22 participants,

Many of you may not know this, but my road to Urbana was marked by trauma.

I remember the moment right before the first opening session of the conference. The worship team just finished their set and invited the crowd to be seated. My heart was pounding as I awaited the signal to step into the spotlight. Nervously, I glanced down at my meticulously drafted and redrafted script. Then I began to pray.  

A supernatural peace washed over me. I sensed the Holy Spirit telling me, “Anna, you have done harder things than this.” 

Before the conference, my hopes seemed extinguished. I was caring for my critically ill mother who would die three weeks after Urbana 22 ended. For whatever reason, God chose an emcee with nothing left to give but empty hands. I relaxed my tense body and prayed the prayer the Holy Spirit granted me during that traumatic year, “Lord, I trust you.”

As this year ends, my prayer discipline continues to be relinquishing my empty hands to God. I want to encourage you to do the same.

Remember what we learned at Urbana:

1. Prayer is the root system of any fruitful life of mission.

Whether our mission is on campus, at home, or across the world, our prayer discipline connects us to the only one that can truly restore us and energize us for the task ahead. Take time this holiday break to find rest in Jesus through prayer. 

2. Surrender is a key aspect of prayer.

That simple prayer, “Lord, I trust you,” can sometimes feel impossible. But when we enter that challenging place of surrender, we discover God’s truth, justice, beauty, and holiness—his true character. Surrender your plans to him as the one who created you, loves you, and has greater plans for you. 

Whether your hands are full of trouble or joy, I pray that you can surrender them to our good Father as an act of worship. May you grow in deeper trust in 2024. 


Your Urbana 22 emcee,

Anna 阿姨


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