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Just Claiming It! (Continued...)

April 4, 2007

On Sabbath, I was circulating the 8,000 people jammed elbow to elbow in the lobby of Exhibit Hall F. Michelle had instructed me to find someone to do a man-on-the-street interview with so I smiled while I scanned the crowd for an eager face. I hoped that there would be a story—a really good one—behind it. Then, I saw Israel.

He had stopped by the booth every day during the five day conference. He made chit-chat with Michelle and me and went out of his way to say hello and give me a hug when I passed him in the Convention Center.

“Hey! Want to do an interview with me? You’ll get to be on our website,” I greeted him.

He had interrupted his conversation with another Just Claim It participant to say hello.

“Sure, just let me finish up here.”

They seemed to be almost finished talking anyway, so after hands were shaken and hugs given, I started to inch away. I anticipated that this was the end of the goodbye. Instead, Israel extended his hand to his friend and, holding his friend's shoulder, he started praying aloud.

The sight gave me chills.

I mean, I’m all about praying for my friends, but just this morning, I went to the early Wednesday Prayer Meeting at church so that I wouldn’t have to get up and give my testimony in front of the 200-300 people who come out for the evening service. My prayers are usually done in silence, small groups, or at church. Never have I put my hand on a friend in need and started praying aloud in public. Not to mention in front of thousands of people.

Little did I know that Israel would go on to tell me about his street ministry where he gets up and preaches extemporaneously to strangers! Talk about being on a mission for God! I’m petrified to share a testimony in front of a church family that knows me and supports me and Israel preaches on street corners all over Texas?

Israel was just one of 8000 amazing young people who attended Just Claim It, though. We heard from youth who witness in their schools, at their jobs, and even in their churches. None of them were afraid to pray; all of them had a story to tell.

As my interview ended with Israel, the same thought that had been circulating in my head all week returned. This time, though, I acknowledged that I obviously misjudged Texas. The prayers, the blessings, and the sincerity of the young people are all much bigger too.

Keep an eye out for my interview with Israel! It’ll be posted here later this month. If you have pictures from Just Claim It that you'd like to share, email them to me at and I'll post them in this blog!

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