Editor’s note: Evan Hostetler, a Mosaic youth, attended, with other Mosaic youth, MennoCon21 (July 6-10) in Cincinnati, OH and participated in “Love Where You’re At,” a Mosaic-sponsored youth service week (July 12-15) in eastern PA.
In order to fully understand my convention experience, you need to realize that this is the first convention (Mennonite or not) I’ve ever been to … period. For me, walking into my first full day of convention was rattling. It was not what I expected. I had always heard that people went to convention, but I never knew what the scene and day consisted of.
The energy was welcoming and overpowering. The seminars were engaging and impactful. The worship was freeing and uniting. This convention blew my world away. Though I was told how downsized this 2021 convention was, it still felt like something to behold.
I appreciated how I could read what a seminar would be about in the convention program and pick the one that interested me. Almost every seminar I chose offered new insights. The ones designed for youth allowed our respective tables to engage in conversation about our views on the topic at hand. That was something I hadn’t done in a long time. I made new friends at these seminars, as our thoughts mingled.
Meeting people in the recreation area was also a blast. There were some intense games of ultimate frisbee, as well as some chill games of pickleball. Everyone I met there was friendly and welcoming – a pleasant Mennonite atmosphere. Of course, I didn’t just meet awesome people, but traveled with them as well. The relationships forged will be treasured memories, and hopefully will continue beyond.
At the end of the day, groups filed out of the Duke Energy Convention Center, and we all made our way to bed. Psych! We all met up in my hotel room and stayed up not too late because I eventually kicked them out. My sleep is precious.
But each fun-filled, productive day left out one very important exercise… reflection. Regret. I loved each seminar I attended to the core, but I can barely remember them to this day. Nevertheless, it was still an excellent experience that I will write about in my college essay.
After attending MennoCon21 from July 6-10, youth from Zion (Souderton, PA), Salford (Harleysville, PA), and Deep Run East (Perkasie, PA), participated in Mosaic’s “Love Where You’re At” youth service week (July 12-15), which comprised of local service projects, worship, and group activities.
Service week was initially less exhilarating than convention. The issue was – I kept comparing it to convention and it just didn’t reach that bar. That was initially the case … and then Pastor Scott Roth (of Line Lexington (PA) Mennonite) appeared.
On day two, the Salford youth group volunteered at Bike & Sol, a Conference Related Ministry, where Pastor Scott Roth is Director. I gobbled up the opportunity to serve. During lunch, Pastor Scott gave an excellent, interactive speech challenging our beliefs about God and service work.
Fortunately, I got to see Pastor Scott later in the week. He spoke at Zion for one of our joint worship sessions. After his second talk, I approached him, and had a nice, long conversation about seeing and interpreting God in our daily lives. I learned a lot about myself and God from Pastor Scott that week. The other speakers from the week were also superb, as were the group activities.
I hope you got a sense of how impactful convention and service week were for me this summer.