I DIDN’T GO TO GENERAL CONFERENCE SESSION THINKING I WOULD
receive a spiritual blessing. That sounds horrible, I know. So let me explain.
This being my first session working for the Adventist Review, I was well briefed beforehand about how much work our staff traditionally cranks out during a session. Churning out seven daily editions of a magazine during a 10-day period is no joke. So I went to Atlanta—minus my husband and children—believing that I was there to work and work alone. Fellowship, inspirational music, and messages were not for me, but for the “visitors.” My job was to write, edit, photo blog for KidsView, meet and greet at our booth, and produce video stories for our Web site. It was all work.
But here’s what God said to me: “W, how little you know of the many ways I can prove My care for you and remind you that I am everywhere and you are Mine to bless in a million different ways.” And then He went and proved that, and here’s how.
1. Knowing that our workload was going to be intense, my family planned to join me in Atlanta for the last weekend only. However, my daughter desperately wanted to go to summer camp and the days of her departure and arrival didn’t mesh with our GC plans. So three Karimabadis remained planted in Maryland, and I went to Atlanta for two weeks by myself.
I cried all the way to the airport and was sick to my stomach to be separated from them. But once I got to Atlanta, God provided for my sadness in the form of my colleague Kimberly Maran who was also there alone. As the only staff members there by ourselves, we kept each other company through meals, work, precious moments of free time, and managed to laugh—a lot.
2. One afternoon, before the meetings officially started, Kim and I took a break to take the train to Underground Atlanta so I could buy a pair of sunglasses. I found some in the first shop we looked in, and after surveying the rest of the place quickly, we headed back to the dome. A few days later, Kim and I decided to catch the train to another shopping and dining area. To my horror, I discovered my card—the one connected to my bank account—was missing. I hadn’t needed it for a couple of days since buying my sunglasses so didn’t notice it was gone. Long story short, I had left the card at the sunglass store, and the people there kept it safely for me until I was able to get it back. Moreover, not a penny was missing from our account.
3. A few days before the end of session, I got really homesick and started feeling apathetic as to why I needed to be there. The initial excitement of the first few days had worn off and I just wanted to go home. Going to my hotel room at lunchtime, I prayed, asking God to fix my attitude, but also to tell me why He wanted me there for that particular day.
That very afternoon, while working in the exhibit hall at our booth, I met the Patiños—subjects of a cover story I had done in Adventist World a few years ago. Apparently, as a result of our coverage of their ministry, many doors have been opened for them. And if that weren’t enough, a few hours later, because I got a call to go back to the booth to check on a delivery we’d been expecting, I ran into the singers from Amanecer Vocal Group—the subjects of my Adventist Review cover feature from one year ago. The group had come to Atlanta to sing at GC session—a first for them.
To me, if you are a believer in God and trust Him to guide every last detail of your life, nothing happens “just because.” He showed me that—homesickness cured, theft averted, and connections made with special people.
I am reminded of a statement someone shared with me years ago: “If God calls you to do something, He takes care of all the details.” He proved that to me in Atlanta.
Wilona Karimabadi takes care of KidsView, Adventist Review’s magazine for children.