February 05, 2018 | Hannah Ebeling

The annual student-run Faith and International Development Conference attracts hundreds of students from across North America and beyond.

From February 8-10, 2018, Calvin will be hosting the 13th annual Faith and International Development Conference (FIDC). Attendees will be encouraged to fearlessly apply themselves to being God’s homemakers on earth. The three-day conference is open to the public and seeks to educate, inspire, and equip individuals across the country to pursue Christ-centered development. We sat down with student directors, Lillian Jeltema and Lyric Floria to hear more about what exciting things attendees can expect at FIDC this year. 

What is the theme of the conference this year?

Jeltema: “Home, restoring our dwelling place.” Everyone has such a different idea of home. For some home is a safe place, but for others, whose homes have been torn apart by things like environmental degradation or war, it can look very different. This year’s conference is focused on how we can follow God’s mandate to restore our homes, keeping in mind the verse, Isaiah 58:12, that emphasizes doing God’s work and bringing his kingdom here. 

What can people expect when they attend?

Floria: When talking about home, it’s hard not to get personal. Attendees can expect to hear a lot of personal stories from the speakers in both breakout and main sessions. I’m excited for that. Our speakers come from such a diverse range of fields and expertise and lifestyles and parts of the world. We can expect to hear a very different perspective from each one of them. I’m looking forward to hearing what home means to them.

We will be hearing not only from them, but at our event planned on the second night of the conference, we are planning an open mic session where anyone can share their stories from home. This is what I am most excited about. I am trusting that God will do some really amazing things during that time. The night will be free and open to anyone, including those not registered for the conference. We also have lots of fun activities planned and will even have a dance party led by the African American Student Association.

Why is it important that we think about being God’s homemakers on earth?

Floria: It’s very easy to allow our fears, misconceptions, and divisions get in the way of creating peace. When we interviewed people all last summer, when we asked people what home means to them, so many said safety and peace. Looking around we really thought this is a good year to focus on this theme, because those concepts of peace and trust are lacking; that’s not something that can be solved around a dinner table. When we realize that this world is our home and that God has mandated his children to lead the charge and restore relationships, we need to be obedient to that. We want to see God working in and restoring people’s lives, and there is no time like the present for that.

How is FIDC equipping students to pursue Christ centered development?

Jeltema: I think the fact that we try to be really intentional about bringing together students and faith-based organizations and nonprofits is very important. This conference provides an area for discussion, and is the perfect opportunity for anyone who is passionate about incorporating faith into development work. To be able to hear from others who have gone before you in the field of development is an important experience.

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