My Top Five Favorite Things from the Christian Alliance for Orphans Conference

by Makenzie Magnus
CRBC Minister to Missions

A couple of weeks ago, Carisa Wilsie and I were able to attend the Christian Alliance for Orphans conference in Kentucky. It was an amazing conference, and there were so many things I loved. Here are my top five:

  1. The theme of Beauty and Brokenness. Not beauty from brokenness, but beauty and brokenness co-existing in the same life and same moment. I have been thinking about this a lot lately as I typically like to put these elements on opposite ends of the spectrum. But it is rarely ever reflected that way in life. Faith and doubt exist in the same breath for me. Joy and pain often happen simultaneously. My head knows one thing to be true, but my heart tells me the opposite.

 So often we have trouble holding these seemingly opposite elements in one hand even though the Bible is FULL of this tension, and our experiences attest to it. Following Christ means stepping away from tepidness and stepping toward suffering, joy and purpose.

“One of the deepest truths on this side of heaven is that the most vibrant, holy places are often places of intersection. These places are rarely calm, soft or easy, but they are vibrant and teeming with life and full of wonder.” - Jedd Medefind, CAFO President

2. Seeing Carisa speak at the Lifesong dinner. Lifesong is the organization that handles our Karis Adoption Fund in addition to many funds from all around the world to help families adopt. There were audible gasps when Carisa shared about our Karis Fund helping 118 families to adopt. There was another audible gasp when she shared about The Gift Goes On and how we brought in $77,000 last year from that event alone. We had many people coming up to us afterward to hear more, so maybe we will see The Gift Goes On bless more adoption funds in more states!

3. My break-out session from an IJM (International Justice Mission) spiritual formation director. The break-out was titled: “Engaging Brokenness with Increasing Resilience and Deepening Spiritual Maturity.” It was very good. Here’s something that stuck with me: this prayer that Jim uses when a Special Forces team returns from a mission. They look at him for spiritual guidance at 3 a.m. after going from brothel to brothel gathering information about underage workers for later rescue missions. Can you imagine? Read the prayer in that context, and it will be hard to forget.

4. Meeting up with some of our partners (like Chris Campbell from Care Portal) and making new friends who are friends with our partners “Make Your Mark” in Ethiopia! It is a very small world sometimes.

5. Because dreams do come true, we had a banana pudding dessert one night that took 45 minutes to make and came warm with fresh meringue on top. This doesn’t have much to do with the conference, but I will dream of this dessert for many years to come and may just make a special trip back to Louisville to have it again.

Next year’s CAFO conference is May 6-8 in Dallas! Mark it on your calendars because we would love for more Council Brodies to go next year.

Makenzie Magnus