This weekend was well spent in spite of being away from home and family! It's been my first at the famous Arco Arena, my first at the Women of Faith, my first to spend an extended time with some Cornerstone Women, and many more that I won't list here.
Fellowship and Friendship
Best of all getting to know some of the girls in church is really special. We tailgated in the cold and dark parking lot of Arco Arena. Gayle was very kind to prepare yummy food for us all. Unlike the traditional fattening tailgating foods like hotdogs, hamburgers and chips, we had healthy chicken salad and huge cookies. Unlike your normal carefree tailgating, we had every thing a lady needed from flower-printed napkins to brightly colored cloth lap covers. We actually looked funny. We stayed inside the Kris and Sue's vehicles with the heaters on till the arena opened for the evening sessions.
We were together for a long time without any agenda in mind. We were free to talk about anything and discuss about what we've been getting and enjoying from the conference. These ladies (Nancy Wroblewski, Carol Kay, Bernadette Cranmer, Christine Church, Sue Ogrey, Kris Morphew, Shirley Horne, Chris Matassa, Gayle McKenzie, Ellie Retallack) are very nice and there's a lot of learn from each of them. We also got to see one Superstar in the big screen that made us so proud...Denise Danberg! She was there with her sister in a different section of the arena. Paula Armor was also there with her daughter. Bernadette also came with her mom-in-law and Shirley came with her sister during the second day. It was really a time to fellowship and reconnect.
I must say that I am culturally uninformed. This conference contributed to my cultural education to some extent. For example, everyone knew who Mandisa was but I didn't. She was there and performed for us. I thought that she not only is a great singer she also has a tremendous potential as a speaker. She spoke more smoothly and with a clearer and more direct point than some of the featured speakers. She has a story to tell. That night, she said, was the realization of a dream that she held onto for a long time since she was a little girl growing up in Citrus Heights. I liked her because she seemed humble!
I knew the song "My Redeemer", but I did not know who sang it originally. Nicole C. Mullen was there on both days rocking the whole Arco arena but I didn't know anything about her. I was impressed by her but it wasn't until the emcee, Mary Graham, commented that she writes all the songs she sings that I became curious about her. I came home shared my stories with my family and my son, Brahms, showed me all the albums that we own of NCM. I was so embarrassed...but I don't pay attention to music if I don't like it. Don't get me wrong. I enjoyed all the songs they sang in the conference but not all of them would be the music that I choose to listen to.
For the other ladies, this conference had the reverse-culture lesson. World Vision for some reasons was highly advertised in this event. WV is an organization that helps children in need all over the world through individuals from the US sponsoring one child at a time. The condition of these children in those poor countries is a very vivid picture for me, having come from one of those countries. My friend Norma's cousin was a recipient of WV support. I've seen it with my own eyes. What little amount given to someone in need is a tremendous help. A lot of the women there were motivated to sponsor a child. Gayle, being a new child sponsor, was telling me that the support that she gave would be equivalent to one meal for two at McDonald's per month. That would be sufficient to feed, clothe and send a child to school. In my own heart, I praise God for those ladies who made a commitment to help some unfortunate children somewhere.
If I come to analyze the whole thing, the conference was intended to help women individually to get out of their own bondages. It's focused on transformation. The speeches and stories of the different speakers were intended to bring awareness and hope to each woman. They are not alone in their plight. Others have come out victorious and thus they too can. Different stories: rape; lost childhood; addiction; loneliness; threat of death; failed marriage; finances; etc. were represented by the stories of the speakers and performers. I was not extremely appreciative of most of the stories. On the other hand, I was just glad that World Vision was introduced there. It provided an opportunity to be generous or to think of other's much greater predicament. Otherwise, the whole thing would have been all focused inward. My problem. My problem. My problem. I believe that the root-cause to a lot of our problems is self-centeredness and selfishness. Do you want to get out of your personal problems? Then look away and see what you can do to make someone experience a more beautiful life. Look away and see what you can do to make the world better. Stop brooding over your own. Begin to be generous.