Try as we might, LWMLC conventions are not inexpensive. So what keeps women coming back time after time – especially those who don’t “have” to be there? Assistant editor of Tapestry, Kathy Birkett, just attended her second convention and shares what caught her imagination. Perhaps you, too, attended an LWMLC convention in your district. What was there about LWMLC conventions that keep you coming back? We’d like to hear – and share. We’re not looking for a convention report, rather for your reactions or thoughts or simply why you go.
Marion Hollinger, LWMLC editor, firstname.lastname@example.org.
For me, there is something unique about an LWMLC convention. I have attended other conventions filled with the business of the organization with little of relevance to say to our busy lives. A convention is a convention is a convention. Or is it?
From June 6 to 8, 2013, the Ontario District of Lutheran Women’s Missionary League–Canada held their triennial convention. This was only the second LWMLC convention I have attended, and the first at the district level. There was certainly business of the organization conducted but it didn’t dominate.
Most of those attending are women – that should not be a surprise given our name. Women like to relate. Men relate too, but in a different way – the term “networking” comes to mind, with the idea of making connections. I have found at an LWMLC convention, we really do make connections, “heart by heart.” There were many women there I already knew, and some I came to know. A few I only knew on Facebook and now know them in person. It was like we already knew each other, and now were just meeting the live version. Some I met there, and have become Facebook friends with them because of this convention and the connections we made. At any rate, relationships were deepened at the convention.
What I have come to enjoy most about the proceedings is the greetings from the other auxilliary organizations – the ones we often help support with our grants: LAMP, Lutheran Bible Translators of Canada, Lutheran Haiti Mission, Concordia Lutheran Theological Seminary, to name a few. Sometimes, in our own small societies, we see our meagre contributions and wonder what good they will do in a world of such overwhelming need. And then someone comes to the convention to tell us what the meagre contributions from many societies have merged to accomplish.
I particularly enjoyed the presentations by the guest mission speaker, Dr. Leonardo Neitzel, mission executive for Lutheran Church – Canada (LCC). He reminded us that, without Christ, we can do nothing (John 15:5). He then went on to tell us what God has accomplished through us in many parts of the world. He passionately shared with us the faith situations in Cambodia and Thailand, where Buddhism and Animism are the largest religions. The people are in need of hearing the Gospel of Christ. And through LWMLC and LCC, 20 deaconesses are available to do God’s work in Cambodia, the Book of Concord is being translated into the Khmer language, and two pastors and deaconesses serve in southern Thailand. The mites we have collected helped refurbish fishing boats, and bought six new fibreglass fishing boats. And, through these efforts and servants in these places, people are being reached by the Gospel and coming to believe that Jesus is their Saviour. Much work is also being done in Cuba, Ecuador, and Nicaragua.
There were the usual convention activities as well – worship service, devotions, singing, prayers, offerings, and an ingathering. There were committee reports and resolutions, and decisions made for mission grants. There was the keynote speaker, the inspirational speaker, and the banquet. As we laughed and sometimes cried together, as we discussed and decided where our funds should go, relationships grew and deepened. I am greatly encouraged by the work we do for God’s Kingdom. It is enlightening to come to a convention to see the “big picture” of how our serving reaches so many in our world, and that one more person has come to know Christ, and then one more, and then one more.
Kathy Birkett is assistant editor of Tapestry
And a member of Prince of Peace LWMLC, Burlington
For more about LWML-Canada visit http://www.lutheranwomen.ca