2017 IBC Women’s Conference: A Personal Report
2017 IBC Women’s Conference: A Personal Report
“Let’s hit the road, Ruth!” I said, adding my suitcase to the trunk of my friend’s car. The day had finally come for the 2017 IBC Women’s Conference in Hoofddorp, The Netherlands. It seemed to take forever to arrive, but now it was here and our journey was underway!
We checked in and headed to the area where the conference would be held. Other ladies had already arrived and were doing the same. We came a day before the conference started to “switch gears” and to participate in the optional tour of the Corrie ten Boom House in Haarlem.
Friday morning, many of us gathered in the alley beside the Ten Boom Watch Shop. It was the same alley and side door where those needing the help of the ten Boom family would have come many years ago. The little door opened, and our guide began the tour by taking us into the family’s living room. As we entered the room, I felt tears stinging my eyes as I thought of all the times the family had gathered together in this very room to read the Scriptures, sing songs together, and then reach out with the love of Christ to the Jews who had come to them for help during World War II.
Our guide narrated the story of how the family reached out to help during such a time of great oppression when lives hung in the balance. She explained how their own love for Christ led them to risk their lives for others. We heard about their arrest, experiences during their imprisonment, and how years later Corrie had the opportunity to show great forgiveness to one of the soldiers who had caused such pain and harm to her family. Our guide led us through the home, and we even had the option to crawl into the very hiding place where six Jewish people had hidden in the wall of Corrie’s bedroom. We left encouraged and challenged by the bravery that this family had shown. It was the perfect way to set us in the right mindset for this conference that had a large focus on bold obedience.
As the time for the first session arrived, the room was alive with a joyful energy. There were 225 ladies enrolled to attend and the excitement was tangible! The conference began with a welcome and moved on to the country roll call. I think it is safe to say there were ladies from almost every part of the world present. I thought of Psalm 86:9-10: “All the nations You have made will come and worship before You, O Lord; they will bring glory to Your name. For You are great and do marvelous deeds; You alone are God.”
Nicola Münster and her team IBC Re-United did a wonderful job leading us in praise and worship again this year. As we sang, I wondered how far through the hotel they were able to hear the beautiful melody of women singing wholeheartedly to their Heavenly Father. We are told in Scripture that the Lord inhabits the praises of His people and that our thanksgiving prepares a way for Him. During this time, our hearts were aligned with His, and He was welcomed with songs of worship.
Jill Briscoe was the key speaker of the conference. I had heard great things about the ministry she and her husband had accomplished through the years, but it was my first time hearing her speak in person. She spoke on Psalm 71, sharing her insights and personal experiences. They have had a long walk with the Lord and have seen His faithfulness. The stories of God’s helping them in every situation they faced served as an example for how to step out in obedience regardless of our apprehension or fearfulness.
Here are some of the points from Jill’s teaching that were a blessing to me:
- Pray in faith believing He will answer. Be ready to obey even if you will never see how God uses your obedience.
- Don’t let your pain drive you from God.
- If we choose not to obey God, He will accomplish His purposes another way. He is offering us an opportunity to be blessed by participating in His work.
- Courage is often what comes after obedience.
- Once we are obedient, God will give us enough to sustain and empower us.
- “Do not put your head on the pillow until you have put your nose in The Book.” (Stuart Briscoe)
- Rather than praying, “Come quickly Lord Jesus to save us from all of this,” we should have a heart that says, “Please wait, Lord…there are more who need to be saved.”
- It is natural to pray for deliverance from difficult circumstances but be prepared to faithfully follow Him even if He doesn’t.
- Remember that the lost are watching to see how you handle things to learn how faith in God makes a difference in your life.
Throughout the weekend there were multiple opportunities to be blessed by the testimonies and seminars that were offered. Melissa Pontiff shared her beautiful testimony about how God has used adoption in their life story. Lauren Bethell led the seminar, “Human Trafficking 101,” showing what we can do about this heartbreaking situation in our world. Denise Marshall’s seminar “Know, Believe, Live” offered Godly guidance from 2 Kings regarding decision-making in our lives. Siggi Levey opened our eyes to the epidemic of isolation and loneliness in our world today as she led the seminar, “Loneliness as an Opportunity.”
Saturday afternoon provided an opportunity to either enjoy some free time, participate in a prayer walk through Amsterdam’s Red Light District, or take a tour of the Keukenhof Tulip Gardens. I had always wanted to visit the tulip gardens and was most grateful for that opportunity. Never in my life had I seen so many different varieties of tulips! I have a seven-year-old son, and we love to look at beautiful things in nature and say to each other, “Do you see that? My Father made that!” What a creative and artistic God we have!
Sunday morning before the regular sessions, there was an optional quiet time in the main conference room while praise and worship music played. A devotional was printed in the program that listed Scriptures to apply to all sorts of life situations. In the quiet of that time, it gave me and many other ladies an opportunity to process what God had spoken to us individually over this amazing weekend. After such a full schedule, it was good to meditate on His Word and solidify a plan for implementing what God had shown us.
If you haven’t attended the women’s conference yet, I would encourage you to attend this coming year. It is always a refreshing and uplifting time together. Hope to see you May 2018!
Trace Odom, Metterich, Germany