Last week I went to a women’s conference hosted by Lee Grady at a Russian Pentecostal church in Philadelphia. The women who attended represented several denominations and came from all over the place. The first night about eight women read Galatians 5:1 in their native tongue. We heard it in Swedish, Turkmen, Spanish, Russian, Ukrainian, Lithuanian, Romanian and, of course, English. It reminded me of Pentecost, when 120 believers praised God in different languages.
Passionate women preached about the importance of being set free from various encumbrances so that we can make a difference in our world. There were lots of altar calls and each time, women poured forward to receive prayer. They were released from emotional and spiritual chains and unburdened of years of hurt and brokenness. I arrived sleep deprived and came back home sleep deprived but the excitement of praying for women and seeing them set free buoyed me up and put wind in my sails. There are few things more energizing than seeing the Holy Spirit at work in people’s lives.
I also loved hearing people’s stories at mealtimes. One lunchtime I sat at a table with some women from Belarus and Turkmenistan. I asked them to share their testimonies and discovered that they all had heard the Gospel from missionaries in their home countries. They were so grateful to those men and women who took a risk and shared the Good News with them. They had joy in their eyes and a depth to their faith that warmed me. They knew they had found the Pearl of great price and they looked like it.
I’m so glad I went. Yes, it was great to have a break from housework, diapers and kid chaos, but mostly it was great to be reminded of how large, diverse and amazing the Kingdom of God is. It was like being transported for a brief moment to a mountain-top and given a panoramic view of something vast and wonderful. We can become so focused on our little spheres and cares that we lose sight of what God is doing in the bigger picture. We all need, sometimes, to get out, mix with other cultures, sing different songs, pray different prayers and remember that we are part of a vast company of God lovers. Hearing each other’s testimonies encourages us and puts life in perspective.
It’s only March. Try to make it a goal to go somewhere this year that will boost your faith and give you a bigger view of the Kingdom.