This weekend, the Women of Faith conference was in Portland. If you’ve never heard of Women of Faith, you can go here. I had actually never heard of it until a World Vision Child Ambassador event last January. Then, a few months ago when World Vision asked for volunteers I signed up. It sounded interesting to me, and I always love an opportunity to help get kids sponsored.
I didn’t really fully understand what I was signing up for, but I would do it again in a heartbeat. I’ve spent about 18 hours out of the last 30 volunteering for the event. About 23 hours if you count transportation to and from the event. I’ve been on my feet most of the time, and I only got three an a half hours of sleep last night.
330 kids were sponsored during the event (about 25 or 30 of which I personally helped sign up – I lost count). Seeing the precious faces of these children go home with excited women was inspiring.
I did get to watch some of the speakers at the conference. The women who spoke have amazing stories to share, and they know how to preach, to inspire, to share the gospel. I felt some of those evangelical heartstrings that developed back when I was in college stirring. While I may prefer a more liturgical style of worship, the ladies really know how to get to the heart of Christianity and God’s message for us.
The night before the conference Nathan asked me what it was going to be like. I answered, “I don’t know but there are probably going to be lots of flashy lights and people shouting ‘Jesus!'” I was right on both accounts. Worship at the event was interesting. The musicians were very talented. But to me, it felt like more of a rock concert than worship. Lights flashing everywhere. Shallow lyrics. Music so loud I could feel vibrations in my chest. Spot light on the stage. I believe worship should be focused on God, and should not be focused on creating an emotional experience for the participants. It should not be focused on the singers or the band. Perhaps for some people, flashy lights and loud music glorify God, but I just felt that it was being used to try and manipulate me. As I sat there, unable to participate in singing because I did not know most of the songs, I felt like an observer, not a participant. I’d like to believe that it’s just because there are different preferences for worship styles, and that’s ok, and I pray it’s not because I have hardened my heart toward it. I’d like to believe that no matter what disagreements we have about how it should be done, God accepts whatever we offer to Him in worship.
I met a few really cool people who were volunteering with me. It’s always fun to meet and share ideas with people who share my passions. I may even work with some of them again at other sponsorship events. When I was little, I was probably the shyest person I knew. Now, it doesn’t bother me at all to meet new people, or get out there and speak to strangers about sponsoring children.
When I got home, the boys were really happy to see me, and I them. It’s interesting being a mother, when being away to do something for myself is equally so good for my soul and so difficult. I hope that by volunteering I am showing my boys that I am a strong, loving woman, and I hope I am helping them develop compassion and empathy for others across the world.
The theme of the conference was “Survival to Revival” The final speaker said something that resonated with me. You’d probably have to hear the whole talk to get the full impact of what she said, but here it is anyway: “revival is when your hope in Christ is bigger than your disappointment in life.”