IBCT First Women’s Conference – Beauty from Ashes
The last night the team was in Thailand, we held a Women’s Conference at IBCT. It started at 4:00 pm and ended at 9:00 pm.
The Thai women of the Church dressed up in Thai traditional clothes and looked absolutely stunning with their hair up, makeup, and jewelry. To start off the conference, they came to the front dancing a Thai traditional dance to welcome all of us. It was so neat to watch! I know they put a lot of time and practice into making that special for us to enjoy.
Next – door prizes were given, Emily and I led worship with Jennie on the guitar, then Sara shared God’s Word. It was so powerful. She handed all the ladies glow sticks and told them not to move them. They each represented their own lives. She shared her testimony and showed the ladies that if we get broken (bend the glow stick) and hurt in life, we can still shine in the midst of our brokenness. God will take our ashes and turn them into something beautiful for His glory. Since it’s something so tangible, this is something these ladies will remember for the rest of their lives.
After that, we broke away to eat. The food was absolutely delicious as they grilled some chicken and pork, along with Pad Thai Shrimp, Papaya Salad, and had a huge bowl of sticky rice! We even had mango and sticky rice for dessert.
We then went back into the Sanctuary where Kristine and Melissa each gave their own testimonies. Even though they were both nervous, they both did such a good job! On a side note, it’s hard for people in Thailand to believe that people in America go through hardships and struggles. I hate to say that but that’s how their mentality is. They just automatically think since you live in America that you’re rich, you get a lot of food, good education, awesome paying jobs – then what possibly could ever go wrong? Life is perfect. It’s sad, but true. It was so good to let these women hear that women in America struggle just like they do in Thailand. We are all human and even though we might have different struggles, we indeed each still have them.
We have all been broken sometime in our lives, some even more than others. But it’s amazing how God uses each story to help His children. We aren’t meant to keep silent, but share our hurt and our hearts to encourage others that His love and light can shine through our broken lives.
Something so beautiful was that Emily’s Pastor’s Wife, Ronica Smith, handmade a necklace stamped out on metal that says, “BEAUTY” with a cross and little jar of ashes for every woman to wear. Their Church also made goodie bags and sent them all the way from OH for the ladies to have something special to take home. We then ended the night by making bracelets with everyone letting them design whatever they wanted!
I just thank God for this wonderful day we spent together in the Lord. To all the Christian women that were ministered to at the conference, I pray that they now know they aren’t alone. To the Buddhist women at the conference, I pray that they felt the presence of God that night and realize that God made them for His purpose. And to all the women at that conference, He truly does make beauty from ashes.
“He will bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes the oil of joy instead of mourning and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.” Isaiah 61:3