This weekend saw London venue, Alexandria Palace, become the focal point for a vision inspired by God, writes Noelle Lomanto.
The first sign something unusual was happening were the sunny smiles and welcoming words of strangers greeting each other on the London bus. The driver looked bemused, these were obviously not his regular passengers!
As the bus drove up towards Ally Pally, there was a marked rise of excitement as the female-only crowd started to pull on their wooly hats and checked handbags repeatedly for their golden tickets; the ‘Woman to Woman Conference’ was about to get under way!
'Woman to Woman' began as dream. This weekend, that dreamer, Maria Rodrigues-Toth, from Premier Radio, welcomed 4,300 women, some from as far as Austria, into sharing her dream. Maria’s prayer for the conference was that each woman be inspired to pick up their own dreams and turn them to into reality.
Lara Martin and Noel Robinson led the conference straight into worship. The atmosphere was ecstatic as the women instantly responded, many with eyes closed and hands raised. As 4,300 voices joined theirs, those of the worship team were engulfed; there no need to cajole these ladies into singing!
Danielle Strickland, an officer with the Salvation Army, kicked off the speakers with her no-nonsense approach. Her message was clear, as women, we are often in the position of being fearful; in being fearful, we forget who God is. Her message was that when we start understanding exactly who God is, and who we are in Him, the enemy is crushed.
Despite the speakers not having been given a distinct direction as to the content for their talks, this message introduced by Danielle was clearly elaborated throughout the day.
After further worship, JJohn shared his fear that the audience might be able to see his nipples; women visibly hesitated before dissolving into hysterical laughter! The tone had been set for his talk; a very entertaining and clever presentation of challenging insights liberally interspersed with jokes. Once again, the theme of the importance of knowing exactly who God is and positively allowing Him to be in control of ones life clearly came through.
During lunch, the Premier Gospel Choir entertained as women caught up with friends and queued for food. One of the very few men looked very uncomfortable as he stood waiting outside the gents, temporarily a unisex loo. Queuing for the loo, he admitted, ‘was an unusual experience’!
The afternoon delved deeper as ‘Queen of House Music’, Kym Mazelle shared her testimony and performed 2 songs, lyrics now firmly planted in God’s word.
At 76, Jill Briscoe was an inspiration for many of us with her energetic enthusiasm. Jill used Psalm 23 to illustrate how God is with us at all times. She illustrated the importance of reading the Bible to get to know God, ‘the Bible needs to be in your heart, not your handbag!’
The importance of really understanding who we are through knowing who God is ,was brought to completion through the final talk given by Heidi Baker. Heidi passionately shared her experiences of running ‘Iris Ministries’, a network of churches and church-based orphan care throughout Mozambique, Africa.
Heidi spoke of how we need to hold onto our dreams and visions, however crazy they might seem to outsiders, and ourselves, for when we truly know who we are in the Father, anything is possible, even raising the dead.
The conference ended with an extended time of worship and prayer. Attendee, Kime, 29, from Enfield, remarked on the conference as being ‘fantastic’; she really felt ‘called to help the hungry and couldn’t wait to go home and share what she had heard with her husband’.
Despite some disgruntlement over the long, disorganised queues, this was a day to challenge fears and grasp hold of your dreams and visions for as a daughter of God, nothing is impossible.
For further reports see: http://www.premier.org.uk/