As women, we love to connect: over coffee or tea, over the phone, face-to-face.
November 21st saw over 1,100 Portuguese-speaking sisters along with our families, friends and colleagues connect for the first ever Portuguese-speaking women’s gathering hosted by the churches in Angola, Brazil and Mozambique. We had women join us from as far away as Canada, the Netherlands, Portugal, Scotland and the USA!
We started out with singing from each country as well as opening messages from Paula Campos (Brazil), Nora Mavume (Mozambique), and Judia Rodrigues (Angola). We then split into 9 classes based on our life stages, each with its own theme on connecting and closed with a key note message by Leslie de Morais (Goiânia, Brazil).
During our classes, the youth focussed on ‘connections that lead to your identity’; young adults on ‘intimate connections’; and students on ‘transforming connections’. The singles learned how to ‘keep connected with God in the midst of challenges’; while the mature singles focused on ‘connections that strengthen’. Young marrieds learned how to build ‘emotional connections’ while mature marrieds focussed on ‘healthy connections’. Women whose husbands are not part of the church looked at ‘connections that edify’ and widows and older ladies spoke about ‘connections that welcome”.
Equally exciting was that each class was taught by one sister from each country. This meant 27 speakers; of which only two or three had ever taught a class before! You can imagine the nerves and the onslaught of questions. Leslie prepared a virtual presentation teaching these excited yet nervous sisters how to write a class, identify points, use scripture and organize their lesson. This was followed up by a live training session and WhatsApp groups further helped prepare everyone for the big day.
Some of the lessons had to be pre-recorded due to poor bandwidth issues. Where possible, we made plans to participate together to help reduce the cost of downloading and participating. On the day itself we used multiple media so everyone could log on. And, no surprise, it was an amazing, encouraging, funny, helpful, real, inspirational time that brought God much glory.
While we can naturally think this year is a loss because we cannot see our friends, visit our families, celebrate holidays and special events together; in reality there have been so many amazing ways we have discovered we can connect.
Pre-COVID we just thought “oh nice, Brazil’s having a conference…can’t go…too expensive, have to get a visa, etc etc”. Now all of sudden here we are - meeting face-to-face, or at least screen-to-screen! New, life-long friendships were made as sisters compared notes between countries on their classes, as they heard stories and challenges and how to overcome challenges connecting from their sisters in another country.
Please join us in praying for the more than 50 women who joined us on November 21st who are now studying the Bible.