In November, the Assemblies of God Women in Ministry department will be hosting an awesome conference, Conversations, in Phoenix, AZ. I have attended the A/G Women in Ministry Conferences since they had the first one in Springfield, MO in 2002. It was life changing for me. As a matter of fact, Pastor Tara Sloan and I went to it together, and we will never forget it. Things happened there that set our lives on a new course. Two years ago, I went to the regional conference at Valley Forge. (My alma mater!) Again, it was so awesome...unforgettable.
I was so excited about Conversations when I got the information in the mail, and even more so when Beth Grant (leader for the national AGWIM) contacted me personally and asked me to be a small group leader at Conversations. What an honor. But, unfortunately, the current financial picture made it impossible for me to go this year. I was sad, because I cannot even tell you how much I was looking forward to it.
I do have to be honest with you, it was a real bummer, however, compared to all else that was going wrong the past few months, it was small. Please don't think I stayed home boo-hooing and had a temper tantrum over staying home from Conversations... (I'm not that spoiled or shallow!) rather, it was just another thing to chalk up in a long list of recent disappointments. So many larger things were pressing down on me, I just set it aside as an unfortunate reality and went on.
Beth contacted me again about leading the small group and I had to tell her that regretfully I wouldn't be there this year. She was very gracious and understood.
Then last Thursday an unexpected miracle came. Remember I told you I actually got out of bed and rode my bike because something had me so excited? Well, I also told you I couldn't tell you what it was because the person made me promise not to. Well here's the deal. I asked them if I could share a testimony of God's goodness in this situation, they said, "yes, absolutely just don't reveal my name." So here we go...
Someone contacted me and asked if I was attending Conversations. I said no. They subsequently told me that I would be going, because they were paying my entire way to go!! They are covering my airfare, hotel, registration, the whole thing! And you know what they said to me? "Deanna, you are a proponent for women in ministry and sometimes we need other people to be a proponent for us. So I'm being that for you right now..." and I realized...
I have spent so much of my time both last year and this year, giving of my resources and imploring the people of God to give whatever they could to see women attend who couldn't otherwise afford to come to Unstoppable. This is my passion! It has absolutely made my day, to contact a woman and say, "I have a scholarship for you to come to Unstoppable" and hear the joy come into their voice. Even better is to see them at the altar, renewed --and in some cases restored when they were on the brink of a meltdown. Some of them were ready to resign, but what they experienced at Unstoppable helped them get back up again from their hurt and pain and stay at their place of ministry. When asking for scholarships for others, I don't even care if people think I'm begging, because honestly...I will beg to help other women in ministry. They're worth it.
God knows that, and just like He blessed the precious man in my church this past week with a scholarship - directly related to his giving, so now God has also blessed me with a scholarship! I believe it too is a result of sowing and reaping. Glory to God! Let me say, although I can't reveal this person's name or identifying details I just want you to know how miraculous our God is...I do not hang out with this person and never have. We aren't even close. We never talk. I had closed the door on the possibility of going to Conversations and had considered it a dead issue. But God spoke to somebody I'm not even in close relationship with to contact me and pay my way! IS THAT CRAZY AWESOME, OR WHAT???!!!!!!!!
I can't even tell you how much I need that conference. Well, you probably do realize it if you've read my blogs for the past few weeks. I have been in a difficult place in my life and ministry. I need it. I seriously need it. God knew and He spoke to somebody about it.
And, it gets even better!!! Our best friends in ministry, Randy & Dawn Visconti, pastor a church in Mesa, AZ. Their church is just a hop, skip and jump from Phoenix. (And no, they have absolutely nothing to do with paying my way nor did they know about it til' I told them and they were shocked!) Dawn is going to go to the conference as well, and.......guess what..........
Larry's going with me too!! Being that he's going to preach while we're there, his honorarium will cover his airfare to go with me. So, not only am I going to go to Conversations, but we will stay another few days to visit with our friends and minister at the church there. In addition to me getting away to be at Conversations, it will also be a little getaway with my husband and we haven't been away together for a while. So, this is just THE BEST news I've gotten in, a long time.
I didn't expect it nor ask for it in the least, but I needed this news.
I needed this miracle.
God knew. He cares. Even when we've given up, He's still working on stuff for us.