6/28/2016

Gathering of Women


My mother was an active member of the women’s group in our church. I grew up often seeing her excitedly packing her bag for conferences here and there, and coming home a day or two later, overflowing with happy narratives of new knowledge and experiences. 

It was no surprise then that she was elected an officer of the national women's organization ad perpetuum.  If they had a prize for perfect attendance, she’d have won it hands down, too. 

I am less of a social being; unlike her, I am no conference goer. From my recollection, I had attended one or two sporadically, but only for half a day.

It was therefore a novel adventure for me when I was prevailed upon by nine other women in our church to attend one recently—all of three days in Bacolod City, an hour flight away.  

I had never seen so many women in my life, packed in one ballroom—1750 plus!  

    
We were seated so close to each other you could hear someone sigh, burp, or clear her throat. The better to feel the shared excitement of worshiping together while listening to inspired speakers! These women came from all parts of the Philippines, speaking different dialects—but one in faith. 

Being with them, praising the same God and uplifting one another, made the whole conference wonderfully undefinable, but can be concretely summarized as: grace of encouragement.  

An added bonus was a chance to meet some of my book readers at the OMF Lit book table.

After the conference, as I bonded with my church mates (more like faith sisters and bosom buddies) in visiting tourist spots and eating local food, I remembered my mom. No wonder she attended all the gathering of church women in her time!

“So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11


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