Report on Women's Conference in Sikasso
Thanks to some church and individual donors, we were able to send 33 women from the Kadiolo area to the Women's Conference this year. There were a total of 181 women in attendance for the week-long conference from different towns and villages in this region in Southern Mali. Here's a picture of our group just before we boarded the bus for the 1 ½ hour trip to Sikasso.
I, Lisa, went with the women this year and camped with them for three nights before I left for Bamako to pick up our daughter, Hilary, for Spring Break at home.
It was a challenging few days with a heavy preaching schedule, all in Bambara. Three different speakers, two pastors and one missionary, spoke on the theme from Psalm 119:105: “Thy word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” They challenged the women to think about their responsibilities to live a Christ-led life with their families and in the community. The ladies also look forward to good worship, singing and dancing, while at camp. Here's a picture of one group following a two-step move around and around in circles.
Another benefit to camp is being able to pass the babies around and reduce the work load for the moms a little. I enjoyed Eric and Esther one afternoon; I danced with Eric on my back for awhile. Here's a picture on my bed of my two little friends.
Before I left, there was a situation that needed much prayer and patience. The next morning, when the problem was resolved, our Kadiolo group had a spontaneous worship time (with dance, of course), praising God for His answered prayer. Here's Lorme dancing with the group:
After I left, one of the Fourou women who was very pregnant and had hesitated going to camp, except that her husband really encouraged her to go, ended up going into labor. They took her to the hospital for her delivery which became complicated by a placenta-first delivery. One of the pastors went to donate blood to keep her going, but the baby ended up still-born. While we were sad about the baby, we all realized that perhaps her being in Sikasso saved her life, because her village mid-wife may not have known how to cope with the complications. Again, we thanked God for His sovereign control over our lives.
Yesterday in church, the ladies gave a report to everyone about their time at camp and how much they thanked God and our supporters for helping them to go. Lorme gave a testimony about one of the messages that encouraged her in her faith. The Zegoua pastor spoke about how Deborah went when God called her to fight, and the Israelites had the victory. Also, how the widow woman and her child gave their last flour and oil when Elijah asked them to make bread, and God supplied their needs in reward for their obedience. On the other hand, the bad examples of Job's faithless wife, and Ananias's lying wife, led to their unhappiness and/or death. She related the challenge to follow godly examples.
Next week, I'll share the testimony of one woman's amazing conversion, and we'll give a report on Easter celebrations here in Kadiolo.
Tom & Lisa Seward
(Lisa writing this week.)