The verse that keeps coming to my mind is from Ephesians 3:20, "Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us." As some of you knew, the program for the women was never really addressed so I planned to go with what I had done in Africa with some tweaking. I was told to expect 20 women. The day before we left the US I received a note saying the women have advanced education and are accustomed to in-depth teaching. Also 30 women were signed up. With the help of Amy, my mom & Nicole, I quickly made 12 more craft kits. I had to redo the notebooks by buying the folder type instead of the larger ones. This last minute note required me to cast myself on the Lord once again for wisdom and assurance that He is with me. Needless to say I asked the Lord for how I could make the teaching a little more in-depth, and He gave me a slightly different outline with increased notes to go with it.
Sunday morning Al did a powerful message at the church where the conference is being held. That night the three leaders of this conference came to say that the women want to hear Al's teaching. The plan was for me to teach while he was and the women would be with the men in the afternoons for Mark's teaching. So they were willing to adjust some timing and of course Al is very supportive and cut back on his content. Well... you can imagine how the devil delighted in taunting me with all this (as well as seeing in my mind that black ugly spider staring at me before his demise as mentioned in a previous post). But once again I returned to the truth of God's word and His love for me and just waited to see what would happen. He did more abundantly than all that I asked! The women loved my "different program". I began with a "Drawing Near" time, then the teaching from the Word and lastly a fellowship time. One lady said to me today this is so different from anything we have ever done that they will never forget you! Ha. My prayers have been for rapport with the women...and it has been INCREDIBLE! They are so warm and engaging, and enough speak some English to make my contact with each of the women easier.
We are having to make 6 more craft kits. Praise God, with a great shout of joy! I have a translator who is working as one with me (another answered prayer). We are having such a good time that I know it has to be a witness to the other women. She is going shopping to find some fabric to make more kits. It was a first for many of the women, but they caught on despite the fact they are sitting on a floor crammed into this small room next door to the church.
Al and Mark are also having a great time with the pastors. They have asked Al to repeat the teaching he did in Bangladore where we first met these guys on Romans 6,7,and 8, so he will probably do that Thursday morning. They also want Al to teach on marriage so pray for all the scheduling issues. Tonight we have been asked to meet with a couple who are Hindus that have come to Christ recently and are having spiritual warfare problems and family problems. Another God-sighting: I have asked the women two questions, "How has a woman encouraged you?", and "Share a short version of how you came to Christ." One woman who answered these two questions was a Muslim that recently came to Christ along with her husband. She then later said no woman had encouraged her. Today I talked to her and she said she was very happy and had been encouraged. I took the opportunity when she spoke to tell the woman to be encouraging each other this week as an assignment. I think they must have.
Each evening we are having dinner in someone's home. Our stomachs are set on fire! But we are thankful to have them introduce their culture to us. Thank you so much for your love and prayers for us. God is so faithful with us in the trials and on the mountain tops.