By Bryn Younger, Asst. Life Editor
Forty-two thousand candles lit the night sky Jan. 5 in Atlanta as thousands of college students joined together at the Passion 2012 conference to end human trafficking.
Passion, hosted by 268Generation, is an annual four-day Christian conference for 18- to 25-year-olds. This year, the organization focused on gaining freedom for the world’s 27 million slaves.
The January event, which took place at the Georgia Dome, raised $3.3 million to prevent human trafficking and to rescue those enslaved by it.
Human trafficking affects millions, not only in foreign countries but also in the U.S.
“It opened my eyes to the slavery that goes on (around the world) and how I can make a difference,” said Jordan Wilson, junior accounting major.
Organizers’ original goal was to raise $1 million to fund seven projects, 268Generation’s website states.
The purpose of Passion’s “Do Something Now” campaign and the conference, by extension, is to raise awareness and funds for different causes.
Those causes could be anything from procuring clean water for Third World countries to starting underground churches.
Passion conferences also are known for the worship that goes on there. Thousands attend the worship experiences, often led by popular Christian artists such as Chris Tomlin, David Crowder and Matt Redman.
“It was a really good opportunity to see other believers our age from around the country come together to talk about the Lord,” said Anna Marie Deschenes, junior social work major.
“Being with 42,000 (people) all singing praises to God was an incredible experience,” he said.
All in all, those who attended got the unique opportunity to learn about slavery and about themselves at the same time.
“(Passion taught me) I need to be more conscious of everything that’s going on around me and not be so sheltered,” Wilson said.