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Women’s Retreat inspires 5,000 to shine their light

DAVIS—A record number of women attended the Oklahoma Women’s Retreat at Falls Creek Baptist Conference Center April 12-13.

Five thousand women from 412 churches filled the Falls Creek campgrounds as they were inspired to shine their light from speakers Rosaria Butterfield and Lysa TerKeurst.

Women smile with their retreat tote bags.

“My desire is to make retreat a place for all Oklahoma women to attend. We continue to make little strides to make this happen. For the second year, we were able to accommodate mothers of newborns. For the first time, we had a Spanish speaking session and Spanish translation for the general session. Seventy-three Hispanic women attended. I have a feeling this number could easily double next year,” said Amy Cordova, women’s missions and ministry specialist for the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma.

Gates opened for Women’s Retreat early Friday. At 1 p.m. there was a foster care and adoption question and answer session with Rosaria Butterfield, who is experienced in the foster and adoption process as she and her husband have gone through the process with their children.

A unique feature at Women’s Retreat was the opportunity for those who attended to complete 2.5 hours of in-service training for Oklahoma Department of Human Services (DHS) foster families. DHS approved this opportunity especially for women who attended Women’s Retreat in an effort to assist families in receiving their annual required foster care training hours.

Point of Grace performs Saturday as retreat came to close

Women’s Retreat attendees enjoyed copious amounts of sunshine on Friday with fun-filled Falls Creek activities during free time such as ziplining and hiking to Boulder Springs.

A pre-session took place in which Butterfield shared her testimony as an “unlikely convert” to Christianity from a life of “serial monogamous lesbian relationships.” Butterfield, a former English and women’s studies professor at Syracuse University, has a fascinating testimony.

In her book, “The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert: An English Professor’s Journey into the Christian Faith,” Butterfield debunks common misconceptions that Christians have about homosexual people and discusses the most effective ways to share Jesus with someone who observes a homosexual lifestyle.

In her original quest to prove why the Bible and its applications were irrelevant, Butterfield began to read the Bible, and her view on Christianity was changed forever.
On Friday evening, Lysa TerKeurst, author, speaker and president of Proverbs 31 Ministries, delivered a Gospel message out of Genesis and Revelation.

She said when God called to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, “it was His way of calling them out of hiding. If the enemy can isolate us, that’s where he influences us.”

Caleb Freeman and his parents, Jeremy and Emily told of Caleb’s journey to recovery

TerKeurst shared with transparency the struggles she’s experienced in her own life with her marriage and the infidelity of her husband. She explained to Retreat attendees that if she can go through some of the things she’s gone through, they can endure their current circumstances.

TerKeurst said that God is not a god who has not endured hardship. She said He proved His relevancy through His experience of being tested during His earthly ministry. “We can trust Jesus’ teaching because we can trust that He knows what it feels like to be human.”

The evening was concluded with a Point of Grace concert. The popular band of women were met with cheers and singing as they sang familiar, crowd-favorite songs of theirs from years ago.

On Saturday morning, Butterfield talked about her book, “The Gospel Comes with a House Key: Practicing Radically Ordinary Hospitality in Our Post-Christian World.” Butterfield shared several specific stories about how hospitality led to her neighbors making professions of faith in Christ.

”The Gospel comes with a house key; if it doesn’t, you are only living half of the Gospel,” Butterfield said.

Women enjoy free time on Centennial Plaza

TerKeurst’s Saturday message was called, “Between Two Gardens,” and she taught out of Revelations 12. “We begin in Eden, and we will end in Eden,” TerKeurst said, “but right now, in this moment, we are doing life between two gardens.” She spoke about “the middle garden” and what to do with disappointment and devastation, using Mark 14:32 as her reference.

“Circumstances may not be good to me; people may not be good to me, but God is good to me. God loves us too much to answer our prayer at any other time than the right time, and in any other way than the right way,” she said.

The offering for Women’s Retreat was taken to fund Ministry Safe training—a resource that proactively helps prevent child sexual abuse in the church through training and background checks.

Women generously gave $32,871.14 toward Ministry Safe. “As a mother, it’s important to know my children are safe when we gather with our church family. I pray hundreds of churches implement Ministry Safe as a part of their training in preventing child sexual abuse,” Cordova said.

Caleb Freeman and his parents, Jeremy and Emily, concluded women’s retreat as they told of Caleb’s physical and spiritual journey to healing and recovery after he and his brother were in a car accident in December 2017 that almost took Caleb’s life.

Butterfield taught about hospitality being modern-day evangelism.

“Before the wreck, I was being tempted to do things I shouldn’t do, and my eye’s weren’t on Jesus. Now that the wreck happened, my focus is completely on Jesus,” Caleb said.

“Suffering produces a desperation and dependence upon God,” Emily said, “We have seen that demonstrated in our prayer lives, for us as a family and me individually since the wreck.”
Women in attendance cried and laughed as the Freemans told about how God saved their son and made them depend upon Him in ways they hadn’t before.

For information about future women’s events, visit www.bgcowomen.org. For more information about Ministry Safe call 405/942-3800 Ext. 4555.

Emily Howsden

Author: Emily Howsden

Emily Howsden is the Digital Content Coordinator and a staff writer for the Baptist Messenger.

View more articles by Emily Howsden.

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