SOLD at Justice Conference 2012: Day One
SOLD friend Jesse Mojica represented SOLD last weekend at the annual Justice Conference that took place this year in Portland, Oregon. Jesse is a photographer and graphic designer that volunteered her time in Thailand one year ago, and we are proud to count her as a friend!
The Justice Conference was an amazing weekend spent with over 4,000 people working in many areas of justice, one so filled with emotions and thoughts that it is hard to get my experience into a blog post. But hopefully you can follow my thoughts enough to read through to the final message. Special thanks to Rachel and Michael for supporting me all the way through this weekend and reminding me why we do what we do. It’s for the kids, those beautiful love filled kids.
It isn’t very often I see the sun rise over my city. As a server and freelancer, I tend to run on a 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. schedule most days. But today I wake when it is still dark, then turn the shower on to warm up from the winter chill that is outside my cocoon of blankets. Usually I would groan a bit, having to rise this early. But not today. Today is a special day.
Eggs and french-pressed coffee for breakfast. The sun is starting to filter the clouds and all I see is pure blue out the window. An unusual day for Portland at the end of February–a blessing. I tote myself down to the train stop with what has been dubbed by my friends as “the old lady rolly-cart” filled to the brim with flyers and t-shirts and photos of darling little ones that I met in Thailand what seems like a lifetime ago. Dawn fills my vision. I stop to capture a picture. A clear, crisp day filling with God’s light. Suddenly I am not tired anymore.
Over the next 13 hours, I shake more hands than I can count and meet people from across the nation. We converse about the kids at SOLD’s Resource Center and the importance of SOLD’s presence in Chiang Rai. We talk about the delicate dance of American and Thai cultures. We laugh over stories I share from my visit with the SOLD staff and students. We cry over the reality of what SOLD is fighting against. During the slower times at the booth, I laugh and get to know the new staff of These Numbers Have Faces, the international non-profit we are splitting the table with. [Jesse used to be a TNHF intern!] I am thankful for their presence to raise my morale and, at the very least, allow me step away to refill my caffeine tank. By the end of the day, my mind is exhausted. However, in a very fulfilling way.
There is a buzz that is growing at this end of the Oregon Convention Center. A buzz of evolution, of change, of hope. And there is still tomorrow.
Come back on Friday to hear about Day Two! Until then, you can read more about Jesse’s time in Thailand here.