First Women's Conference
As we all know, March 8th was International Women’s Day, and though it was a hard day for many reasons, one was the simple fact that I miss my mom tremendously and with such a deep heart ache. And while those around me celebrated not just the women in their lives, but also their mothers, it struck me, again, that I’ll never have her back. While I didn't want to offend anyone still celebrating, I had to battle with myself and let logic take over. Most of you know my heart for women and especially women here in Uganda. The battered, poor, abused, disadvantaged and mistreated women I have had the chance to meet throughout my ministry has impacted my life on so many levels. It has created this drive and need to help give women a voice everywhere I go. To encourage, love, educate and show them that they matter more then they could ever imagine. Well on Wednesday we celebrated about 60 women in the village of Rubuguri, with the First ever Women's Conference. I had an amazing team of gals, Judith, Tabitha, Roxy, and Alina, that helped me pour hours upon hours into cooking, decor, setting up and so much more. I was antsy when I was preparing my message because though I have spoken to many women in my life, this time was different. The women here don't speak English and half of them don't know how to read or write. These are women that gave up their dreams, and their passions because life forced them to. They've lived in extreme poverty their entire lives. They're women that are hungry to feel love, to know deep down that they are cared for genuinely. Women that have no education and don't know the first thing about a lesson. They kept telling me, slow down Lily we want to try to write what you're telling us. So as I was praying a few days before the conference, and asking God for discernment and wisdom, the theme popped in like a light bulb. And though it took me about 8 hours to put together, I spoke to the women about "Who Are You as a Woman in Relation to God?, Not as a mother, daughter, sister or wife, but as an Individual Woman". It was about learning the difference of not getting lost in our daily earthly duties and prioritizing God first thing each morning. Making it a priority to have a more intimate relationship with God, because he is the source of our strength, wisdom, courage, health and everything else we take for granted. It was about teaching these women that they are so loved by our creator and that He loves them unconditionally even when they don't see it or feel. That they don't have to earn His love, but accept it because it's freely given. But I told them that we have to make time to understand and comprehend his Love and Grace and that calls for alone time with God, something the women here are very foreign to. For myself and most women I know back home in America, we KNOW what alone time is regardless of whether we spend it with God or elsewhere. Women here work 24/7 from sun up to sun down, and so these hours we spent together were so precious to them. They were so giddy and talkative it took me a good hour to calm them down and keep them quiet so that I could teach them. The entire conference was about 5 hours, due to losing electricity just about every half hour or so, but it was by far one of the best experiences of my life. Because we lost electricity so many times, I had the chance to get to know more about them personally. At the end they were pleading with me to do this on a weekly basis, and while I didn't make promises just yet, only God knows how this will evolve. You all know I have a big International Women's Project starting in Uganda soon, and though I don't know which group of women will be in it, I know God is directing my steps and I simply ask for prayer from each of you reading this now.