This weekend more than 1,500 people spent over 12 hours learning from some of the most effective missionaries and theologians of our day. The sessions at TGC’s Missions Preconference ranged from sermons on the Great Commission by David Platt to a discussion of evaluating a call for missions by Noel Piper.

The conference also highlighted the testimonies of several missionaries serving in the field including a woman named Victoria who shared on Sunday morning about how the Lord sought and saved her. Victoria went to university in Dubai, UAE, where she became a Christian while attending a student ministry. Emily Brewster, 26, said she came to the conference just to hear Victoria share her story. Surprised by what the Lord has been revealing to her, Brewster says she’ll be leaving the conference with fresh desire and motivation. “I feel like I keep hearing God ask if I’m willing to suffer for the sake of the gospel.” said Brewster.

Brewster is a student at Southern Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, studying to get her Master of Divinity with a concentration in Bible translation. Beginning in 2010, she spent two years serving in Honduras teaching English and doing ministry work with her parents.

Though she isn’t on the mission field now, she feels the conference helped reignite her desire for missions work and is eager to engage in missions within her local community.

“This semester with classes I feel like I’m doing class work but not ministry. There are definitely opportunities but I’m not doing them because I’m mostly reading,” says Brewster. “I want to go home and find a balance. I feel like I need to minister to the people God has put in my life.”

Another Southern Seminary student, Kristina Enns, 29, says she came primarily to receive credit for her seminary studies as she pursues her Masters of Theology. But like Brewster, Enns is leaving with new insights.

“Having grown up with an awareness of international missions, attending the conference is a reminder that not everyone has,” says Enns. “Others gaining this knowledge is important.”

Enns is a daughter of missionaries and grew up in Ecuador. She spent the last two years teaching English in Central Asia. When asked what she wants to do with her seminary degree, she replied, “Learn more about God and be able to glorify Him wherever and whenever he sends me.”

Sessions from the Missions Preconference will be available on the TGC website within the next few weeks.