In October, Disciples’ Village hosted it’s first Pastor’s Wives Conference. We were greatly pleased with the conference, knowing it was a tremendous blessing to our Haitian Pastor’s Wives. Enjoy this article, written by Kelli Estes who joined us as a conference leader:
The Heartbeat of the Kingdom: by Kelli Estes
It was a rich few days in October when we gathered with over 30 Haitian women at Disciples Village for the first ever Pastors’ Wives Conference! Though different in skin tone and tongue, I quickly realized we share the same heartbeat for the things of God’s Kingdom. It was truly like Heaven on earth! Looking out over the Caribbean waters at the start of each day, we lifted our voices to the One who put the very song in our hearts. Standing in the presence of unhindered worship and sensing the presence of Almighty God in the midst of two cultures colliding was an amazing experience. But it was just as beautiful to see how we need our Haitian sisters just as much as they need us. A true display of our unity in Christ!
These precious ladies came with eager hearts to feast on the Word of God prepared just for them through the teaching of Ruth by Beth Lawrence. The story of redemption is beautiful and it never gets old to our hearts. We all have the desire to be chosen, feel special, rescued and lavished with love. The common goal of our mission team was to love our Haitian sisters well!
As I learned more about the girls I fell in love with each of them in unique ways. I wanted to love them hard while I had the chance. Bonding on a serious note was important to me, but I also felt some serious silly was called for in no short supply! We divided the ladies up into small table groups making it easier to laugh and build relationships. I introduced the “selfie” and attempted to teach a little Southern slang like, “How Y’all doin’?” It was so hysterically funny!
We had many fun moments like this throughout the week! Making crafts with hot glue may seem like a simple task, but it turned out to be quite the challenge in the midst of excited women flinging flowers and bling to create the perfect wall hanging. We could easily have named it The Day of The Glue Gun Fiasco, but we made it through and they were thrilled with their creations. At the end of the day, every blister, bead of sweat and jammed up glue gun was worth it all!
Did I mention the photo booth? This was such a huge hit and many of the sweet ladies wanted their picture made with their mission team table leader. Clearly, we crossed the threshold of silly fun and everyone had all the smiles!
The presence of the Lord always brings smiles even if you are in the midst of fighting daily battles. Many of the ladies at the conference fight the daily battle of food provision. Most have several children and struggle with having enough food to fill their little tummies. I began to think about how we thank God for our food before we eat and they are often praying for God to provide their next meal. As I sat with my friend, Edithe for lunch one day, God pierced my heart for this lady.
We served very large lunches at the conference because we wanted these women of God to be fed both physically and spiritually. There was so much food on our plates I had difficulty finishing. I knew I would never dream of throwing my food in the trash, but honestly, I didn’t know what to do so I began to pray silently for direction. Immediately, Edithe gave a nod of her head toward my chicken leg. I slid my plate in her general direction as she quickly snatched up the chicken, and wrapped it up in her purse to give to her children later. Time stood still for a brief moment and I suddenly recognized I’d never experienced such a burden or concern. It was hard for me to get my head around the reality of what I was witnessing. I realized many of the women seated around me could easily feed their sweet families on what we throw in the trash each day. I bowed my heart before the Lord in prayer for daily provision of these ladies and their families because I want them to be well nourished and strong to continue serving the Kingdom of God! They love the Lord and worship Him wholehearted from the soles of their feet to the top of the highest octave their lungs will sing out!
Whether Haitian or American, may we all remain steadfast in our worship to God, unified in Him for the greater purpose of advancing The Kingdom! He is so worthy to be praised!