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About the Conference Theme

Yearning for Justice, Learning in Love:
A Dialogue on Fear and Hope

Welcome,

Thank you for looking into the 7th annual Faith and International Development Conference held at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The FIDC has been an amazing tradition and we are excited for you to be a part of it! The FIDC began as and continues to be a student run initiative. Every year the conference grows and it is our hope that it continues to improve as well.

This year the FIDC will feature over 25 Christian development organizations. We have five plenary speakers and over 50 breakout sessions. Our plenary speakers are Chris Heuertz, Jackson Kagurei, Kohima Daring, Shane Gilbert, and Alain Weaver. Each one of these individuals is a gifted speaker and all have given their lives to helping others fulfill God’s purpose and will for their lives.

Our theme is Yearning for Justice, Learning in Love: A Dialogue on Fear and Hope. In order to set a Biblical foundation for the theme of the conference we chose three Bible verses with hopes of triangulating the Biblical motivation behind this year’s conference. The three verses are: 1 John 4:19, “We love because He first loved us...”; Matthew 5:6, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.”; and Philippians 2:12-13 “Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.”

Our goal is to harness a Biblical understanding about the motivation behind international development. The idea of “Yearning for justice” is a sentiment desired by and held deeply in the hearts of many. “Learning in Love” expresses the importance of both passion and wisdom being tightly bound together. We are Biblically called to love our brothers and sisters. We learn both through love and because we are “in love”. We want to open up a discussion on the relationship between “fear and hope”. For many, fear may look like a lot of different things: Fear of leaving home, living in a different country or culture. Fear of not doing the right thing, messing up, or harming the people we aim to love. Fear of what God has in store. Giving your life to God, truly offering it to Him, in order for Him to use you for His good will can be scary sometimes. All this ties into hope and the belief that God has a plan for all of us and that His plan is good.

The desire of the FIDC is to create a space where the challenges, inspirations, doubts, assurances, and the good and the bad of international development may be illuminated and discussed in a context of faith. The overall purpose of the conference is to bring students and professionals from a wide range of backgrounds to share and explore the ideas and practices of development. It is our hope and prayer that the FIDC is a learning experience, an exciting revival, and a time full of opportunities.

Grace and Peace,

Sarah Clark & Jeff Bloem
Co-directors
Faith and International Development Conference 2012
Calvin College