138 Dirksen Drive, DeBary, FL US 32713
Saturday was chock full from breakfast to almost midnight! The keynote speaker, Glenda Dalolio from Word of Life Mexico, presented five messages throughout the conference on the subjects of:
* Accepting God's design for us as women;
* Believing in the Word;
* Knowing the "Rock;"
* Communicating our faith;
* Recognizing and dealing with the idols in our hearts;
* Walking without fear.
The morning began with a game where every woman on two teams had to put one of their shoes in a big pile and then run a race to recover all their own shoes before the other team did - hilarious! Then our team member, Haleigh, shared her testimony on the subject of choosing to trust God's perfect plan through difficult times when we don't understand the heartbreaks He allows into our lives. During the second segment, the women listened to the inspiring testimony of Traci Delibasich, who shared with them how with God's help, by knowing and believing the truth of God's Word, by being spiritually prepared, and by having an eternal perspective, she has been empowered to graciously and humbly accept God's will in the recent passing of her husband, Mirko.
Following lunch came free time (for the attendees). Our team brought the supplies to set up makeup and nail stations, plus craft tables where we taught the women to make miniature Christmas trees and to decoupage Christmas tree ornaments. Panamanians are very creative people! It's hard to explain the feelings that came over us when the women spontaneously broke out into harmonious praise songs together while crafting. It helped the three of us to have such joy through our fatigue. It was a wonderful privilege to interact with these beautiful women as we worked together. We became hermanas (sisters)! Free time ended with a time for water aerobics.
Refreshed, the women returned that evening to a demonstration by team member Kim, on how to make peanut butter blossom cookies. After a special dinner of a Panamanian favorite, arroz con pollo (chicken and rice) and a message from Glenda, Kim, Traci, our team, and the students worked together to bake enough so that 135 conference attendees, plus the workers, students and staff could all have two cookies each. That's a lot of dough!
Speaking of the students, what a huge blessing they were! They worked tirelessly before the conference to clean and prepare the camp. They were always present with a broom or rag in their hand to keep things clean. They cleaned a lot of chicken, washed many dishes, and helped selflessly and cheerfully in many other ways. Two bilingual students sought us out without being asked to tirelessly translate the messages into English for us. Every student ought to be commended for his/her servant heart.
Finally Saturday night, everyone, well doused in bug spray, moved outdoors to have a fogata (campfire). Team member, Bernice, shared her testimony on how, though God has allowed loneliness at every stage of her life, she has learned to trust in God's sovereignty, to recognize His faithfulness, and to have hope for the future. One of the most meaningful and special times of the conference came when Glenda challenged us all to confess any idols in our hearts that take God's place, and to symbolically throw a stick (our idols) into the fire. Such a holy place is that fogata! Praise God, the bugs didn't eat us!
It was a sight to see over 100 women dragging themselves to bed after a long, full day, some using the mini flashlights provided in their gift bags. We think, though, that if not for needing sleep, we all would have kept going!