Last July I had the privilege of going to India at the request of my daughter, Jessi, to do a conference for girls called Become. Jessi created this conference for the girls she had under her care as Director of Girl’s Ministry and held it annually for 6 years. It’s called Become because the idea is to teach young ladies to “Become” Who God says they are. The first year conference is walking through Ephesians 1 and looking at who they are and what they have in Christ. Each year a word was added that summed up that year’s theme.
• Become One – Sexual Purity
• Become Love – Loving God and Loving people
• Become Free – Forgiveness
• Become Grown
• Become Still – Rest
Let’s back up a bit and I’ll tell you how Become ended up in India and how it relates to what I am doing this summer.
In 2010 Jessi went to India as part of a team who was doing a Youth Conference with Hope and Help International. While there God birthed a vision in her heart and confirmed it as she spoke with others. She was to do a conference just for girls, many of which without intervention are at risk for human trafficking. Conferences of this type are not done in India. In fact the Director of Veda school had been praying for someone to come and do just that! :)
That vision was multi faceted. It included:
• Taking the Become Conference to girls in India
• Taking some of her senior girls to minister to Indian girls and have the opportunity to see God’s work outside of their context.
• Equipping nationals to make this an annual event that they owned
• Me going as her main session speaker :)
How cool is it, that you daughter wants you to co-labor together?
So, in 2012 we headed to India with Hope and Help International and a team of 5 to do our very first Become Girls Conference! Jessi, two of her girls, me and Lori Overcash (Co-Director of HHI). Below you can see some pictures from the conference and get a small glimpse of what we did.
Jessi and I teaching. I am teaching Ephesians chapter 1. In the first picture I am using an envelope to illustrate being “sealed in Christ”. As you can see stick figures work in India too! The girls were learning about the spiritual blessings they have in Christ.
Seventy five girls attended the conference, most of whom are from the lower cast, and at risk for human trafficking as I mentioned earlier. Most of these girls attend Veda school and the leaders were very intentional about inviting girls who show leadership potential, have a hunger for the Word and would share what they learned with others. They were totally engaged, feverishly took notes, asked good questions and seemed to be having a great time. Oh, did I mention that although many speak English, translation was also going on in Telegu, their heart language?
What’s a Girl’s Conference without t-shirts? These are the same design used for the Become conferences here, well that is with a slight change in the font. Three girls are conforming and one girl is being who God created her to be, uniquely His. The girls are anxiously waiting in lines to get their shirts – they loved them, especially that they were pink!
Our team cooked an American breakfast of pancakes for the girls. (Well they did, I took pictures) Stephanie has quite an audience as she cooks. Some of the girls ended up making pancakes too :) ! Jessi made this Mickey Mouse pancake and then selected a girl to receive this “unique” one and tied her receiving this “blessing” in with the lesson on being chosen.
This is my small group, it is the first time they met. In small group we played some “get to know you games”, talked about how to apply the truths that we learned in the previous main sessions and did a Q & A. They met girls they had not known before the conference and by the end the small group had bonded and they left having made new friends.
This is the “Encouragram Wall”. Each of the girls have an envelope with their name on it. The girls in their small group were to write notes of encouragement or Bible verses and place in the envelopes of those in their group. Once they understood what they were to do they couldn’t wait to go to main session to see if they had any notes :) A little encouragement goes a long way in any culture but it especially needed bythese girls.
The 40 Minute study How Do You Walk the Walk? Was given to the teachers and the oldest girls. They were encouraged to do the study themselves and then to find another girl or small group of girls to do it with – they were to go make disciples!
Here is Stephanie, Jessi and Sammie doing an action song with the Praise Team. Perhaps they weren’t as coordinated as their Indian sisters.
Of course no conference is complete without a group photo! The girls are lined up on the stairs at the Veda School, where we held the Become Conference.
I just couldn’t resist showing you a picture of the fellowship of monkey mommies across the street from the guesthouse. If you look closely you see that the four monkeys on the ledge and the one climbing up all have babies. Don’t let those mamas fool you, they are vicious if you get between them and their baby!
Become was such a hit Dolly (the Veda School Director) wanted us to come back. During the conference she, Lori and Jessi started planning the next Conference. Lori and Jessi thought “Why do just one? Let’s add a city and a conference!”
So for my summer vacation, I will be heading back to India, July 22- Aug 7, with a team headed up by my daughter Jessi. I It will take 2 full days of flying to get there and 2 ½ to get back. The team includes 5 of us from Chattanooga (3 of us from my Sunday School class and one girl Jessi has discipled since she was a freshman) and 4 from West Virginia. (2 adults and 2 students) We will do our second conference in Chilakaluripet (south), this year it will be Become Still, a study on silencing the noise in our lives and listening to the Father’s voice. Then we will travel to Northeast Assam to Tezpur and do our first annual Become conference. The culture there is quite different from the south, it is tribal and extremely poor.
I sit in amazement at all the Lord is doing in India…and blown away by the fact that He is allowing me to be a part of it! God is working in amazing ways – people are coming to Christ in great numbers, not unlike what happened in the early church. He is raising people to Himself who will stand in the midst of a culture with thousands of gods and proclaim the gospel. Many will face persecution because of it – some will be injured, some will lose everything and some will even die. But that doesn’t stop them from proclaiming the gospel!
The girls who attend these conferences are given an opportunity to be taught and learn to study God’s Word for themselves, a privilege most girls in India will never have. Our hope is that out of these groups of girls God will raise up young women who will stand firm on the truth of His word and impact their culture for Christ.
I know this is a little long, but I wanted you to get a very small glimpse of what God has already done and what we will be doing while there. I also want to give you the opportunity to be a part of what God is doing in India. Not everyone has the opportunity to take three weeks and go to India but there are other ways to join God in what He is doing there.
You can be a part of a movement of God which is greater than anything you ever imagined! How can you join in? I’m glad you asked :) Here are a few ways
• Praying – I will post a prayer guide prior to the trip so you can join us in prayer
• Giving – Pray and ask God if you are to financially support our trip.
Click here for online donation — > www.hopeandhelpinternational.org (note that it is for BJ Lawson or Jessi Lawson, since she is raising support for the trip too I thought I would include her on this)
Call the HHI office — > 423-991-3892
Mail to me: PO Box 182218 Chattanooga, Tn 37422
Maybe your Sunday School, small group or church would like to be a part of what God is doing in India.
• Subscribe to the Hope and Help website for news and pictures about what is going on in India through Hope and Help. http://www.hopeandhelpintenal.org/rnatio
• Share this with others who may have a heart for India
I need partners. I need people who will pray and who financially support this adventure. We know that God is the one who provides, but we also know He uses people to accomplish His purposes.
Please pray and ask God if He is calling you to join with us as we reach out to these at risk young women of India to teach and train them to make disciples. Thanks so much for your partnership!
Making a difference in India one girl at a time!