Wednesday, December 21, 2011

His Will Be Done in Everything

Speaking this week of God’s will, I am beside myself with excitement about the San Antonio Catholic Homeschooling Conference I am co-chairing this May! We hope this conference will be the “First Annual” and will start official publicity soon. So, this little post is unofficial publicity.

The whole thing started with a casual conversation. My co-chair and I were just acquaintances, and a small group of moms was chatting at our Catholic homeschooling co-op about the upcoming conference season. We all agreed there really should be a conference in San Antonio, as there are ones in Dallas, Houston, and Austin. The only question remained who would initiate such an undertaking?

Well, the conversation just kept going from there, and we agreed to pray about taking on the project. In fact, we very specifically agreed to pray that God’s will be done. We were (and continue to be) confident from the beginning that the Lord will lead us if we trust in Him.

Through prayer, we both felt that the timing was right, and after discussing it with our families, decided to begin researching how to put on a Catholic homeschooling conference. We put out a survey to as many local Catholic homeschoolers as we could to ask them if they would support a conference and to share ideas for our planning. The response was very positive with over 80 individuals saying they would like to attend!

Pretty soon, the Lord inspired a friend to mention the idea to a friend who mentioned she had just spoken with the principal of a local Catholic high school who was interested in collaborating in some way with homeschoolers. Still believing that God would open doors if we were on the right track, I contacted the principal who promptly offered us the entire school for free any weekend of our choosing for our conference. This was an absolute confirmation to us to proceed, and so we chose a date and began to assemble a leadership team.

Those who responded to the survey were asked if they would like to be on the leadership team, and so our team began with a few of our friends and some remarkable new friends, all very talented, motivated, and devoted to the vision and success of the conference. In fact, as we continued to pray for God’s will, each person that stepped forward to join our team perfectly filled a needed role from website design to hospitality needs.

Soon we had chairs for the vendor, speaker, and registration committees and a volunteer to chair a fundraising committee, which we had originally not planned to have. We had additional volunteers serving with these chairs and only lacked chairs for the publicity and hospitality committees.

Meanwhile, my love of books urged me to put together a used Catholic homeschooling curriculum sale to benefit the conference and give us a little seed money. It was a remarkable sale where many families donated books for us to sell and others allowed us to keep a commission of their books that sold. Once the sale was over, I posted the unsold donated books online, and in the end, we made almost $1000 to benefit the conference. Another confirmation we were on the right track!

At this point, we felt it prudent to seek approval from the archdiocese, given that we are a Catholic organization operating within the archdiocese. Again, our entire team prayed fervently for God’s will. Although the prospect of the meeting was intimidating, we had a very fruitful discussion with a Bishop, and he approved our plans, promising to share them with the Archbishop and wishing to continue our relationship.

With a still very limited budget our first year, we knew we would have to invite almost exclusively local speakers or those willing to waive their speaker fees. Another casual conversation among mothers at co-op about this limitation resulted in one mom stepping forward and offering to donate the speaker fee if we could get someone really well known. She invited us to dream big and within a few weeks we had confirmed Dr. Ray Guarendi to be our keynote speaker thanks to her anonymous generosity!

God continues to surprise us as we move forward. We have one family donating hotel rooms for speakers and two other families donating frequent flier miles to fly in speakers. A couple stepped forward to chair our publicity committee, and a dear friend accepted our invitation to chair our hospitality committee. Our meetings are always professional, and our team has been outstanding in completing the tasks assigned. We recently gained the support of a holy young priest to say our closing Mass and give an inspiring talk. We have been truly, remarkably blessed!

I share this lengthy story to point out that even in such practical matters, if we continually seek God’s will and give Him our fiat, He will provide. When we officially announce the conference, I will be sure to post it here! Please pray for our efforts and pray that God’s will be done! Our primary goal is to glorify Him.


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