Growing up, I guess I always knew that God existed. I remember my parents taking me to church when I was younger, occasionally attending Sunday school and somewhere along the way I learned to pray. After my parents divorced, the whole church thing kind of fell out the window though. Six years went by without knowing who my savior was and without having a church to call home.
Eventually my mom and I would end up attending a traditional, Hispanic, Pentecostal church. That’s where I learned all about Jesus, got saved and it was great. However, since the very beginning, I never felt like I fit in anywhere. I would try to get involved and make friends within the youth group by going to their services, bowling nights, hangouts, etc., but I just never clicked with anyone. I went to a different school than the other kids, I dressed differently, listened to different music, and even worshiped differently. All of these differences led me to believe the biggest lie the enemy has ever told me until this day: “You are the only one of your kind.”
I was 100% convinced that I was the only Christ follower that dressed like I did, had the music taste I did, and worshiped the way I did. And the Christians that I could identify with turned out to be “not-so-much Christians,” again confirming that I was the only one of my kind—at least in my mind of course.
After leaving that church and going to Faith Assembly for the first time, I slowly began to see that I could identify with the people and worship music and it gave me hope. I had heard about The Voice but had never been to the services because I lived too far away and I didn’t have a car or a ride.
Around this time I was battling some serious depression. Not the drug-taking kind, suicidal kind, or self-harming kind. It was the Christian kind that preys on your faith. The scariest part about being a born-again Christian battling depression is knowing God is right beside you, and that you are most certainly not alone but still believing you are.
By the time October of 2013 came around, God had yanked me out of the pit I had dug myself into. I was free from depression and had a more positive attitude, but I still didn’t have any Christian friends and I still felt pretty lonely. One Sunday morning, I looked at the little pamphlets the ushers hand out and my eyes fell directly on The Voice Conference advertisement, which was conveniently going to be held at the Rosen College of Hospitality Management, which just so happened to be the school I was attending. God literally gave me no room for excuses. I knew I had to go and ended up registering the last day before the $15 discount expired.
It was happening. I was finally going to experience The Voice.
I went to the conference by myself, and not knowing what to expect, I was extremely nervous. As soon as I walked in, I got complimented on my favorite sweater and the girl at registration complimented my hair, so we were off to a great start. I decided to sit in an aisle seat towards the front but not too close. I began scanning the room and to my delight I saw people my age that I could identify with—but I was still skeptical. Then worship started…MIND. WAS. BLOWN.
Sure, I was used to lifting my hands, singing, and moving around, but nothing like this. This was the first time I had really heard worship music in a genre that I truly listen to. I couldn’t tell if I was at church or a Christian rock concert of sorts, and I was totally okay with that. Of course the message that night was amazing too. Needless to say after the first night of the conference, I went home on a cloud.
The last night of the conference would go down in my little history book as one of the best nights of my life. I walked in feeling super cool in my LOUD t-shirt, still not knowing anybody but I didn’t care. I was happy. I was excited. Worship time came and I decided to worship up front for the first time. It. Was. Awesome. I looked around at all these college kids worshiping in this amazing way and thought to myself, “The devil is a liar!! Look at all these people just like me, worshiping just like me!”
As the night continued, it was time for altar call. I didn’t go up the first time, but the second call was for people who had come to the conference for something specific and hadn’t received it yet. I had come with the hopes of making friends, but there was something more pulling me forward. That was when an intern approached me and prayed over me. That night God revealed his purpose for me and I gained a lifelong friend in that intern.
On May 25, 2014 I finally attended my first Voice service and it was everything I wanted and more. To say The Voice has been a blessing in my life would be an understatement. The Voice is where God shattered the glass that separated me from the truth about being the only one of my kind. I am not the only one of my kind. I am not alone. YOU are not alone.
The conference changed my life, but it doesn’t stop there. God continues to work in my life through The Voice and has given me a place where I can be myself, belong, and serve among some of the most authentic people I know. I can’t imagine where I’d be had I never gone to The Voice Conference 2013. It’s amazing how one act of obedience to God can change your life forever
Adrienne Del Hoyo