Byline: Hugh Aynesworth, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
BELLS, Texas - At least 25,000 young Christians sprawled out over much of a 400-acre ranch here during the weekend to pray, listen to spiritual guidance and share their religious beliefs.
One area man said the convergence of OneDay03 on this small town 70 miles northeast of Dallas seemed "sorta like Woodstock, without the drugs, sex and deviant element."
"I couldn't have enjoyed these young people more if they were my own," said Charlie Stephens, a volunteer from nearby Denison who helped with crowd control.
After a heavy, lightning-filled opening-night storm Saturday, the youths, mostly 18 to 25, spread across the rolling pastures of Willowood Ranch yesterday to hear the famous and the inspired motivate them toward Jesus Christ.
They sat on the ground, in portable chairs, at the doors of their tents many of them with a Bible and a container of bottled water nearby. There was no evidence of alcohol, not a cigarette in sight and but a handful of cell phones.
Gregg Matte, director of the Breakaway Ministries at Texas A&M University, spoke about the importance of understanding Isaiah 26:8, one of the tenets of a vision called "The 268 Declaration," which was a theme of the conference.
"You will never have a desire for God greater than His desire for you," Mr. Matte said.
He told the young Christians that they must search out those who need to find Christ.
"If you get nervous when you are around people who curse, you aren't around enough people who curse," he said. "If it bothers you that somebody pulls out something that isn't A&W Root Beer, you aren't around enough people who drink."