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As many of you know, last week I flew from Baton Rouge to Chicago to speak at Water’s Edge Bible Church’s annual ladies’ Christmas banquet. I had a lovely time, and, since many have asked, I wanted to share a bit about it with you.
I arrived in Chicago Wednesday afternoon and had the privilege of attending Wednesday night church at WEBC, which made me feel right at home (because that’s what I would have been doing Wednesday night if I had been at home): dinner and fellowship, followed by prayer time and Bible study. A perfect match to my own church’s Wednesday night schedule.
I attended the women’s Bible study class, taught by Pastor Jayson York’s wife, Lindsay. What a pleasure! Lindsay taught straight from the Bible and handled God’s word expertly. And I was very impressed by how biblically knowledgeable the ladies in the class were. It was a perfect example of how women’s Bible study ought to be done.
Jayson and Lindsay York and me
Thursday was the only day during my short trip that I had time to do anything touristy, so Lindsay and a few of the other ladies from WEBC graciously took me out for authentic Chicago deep dish pizza for lunch. (My bucket list consists mainly of eating and visiting various churches- what can I say?) It was awesome! I enjoyed getting to know Lindsay and the other ladies better and hearing their stories. And, of course, the pizza was delicious. Lots of cheese- my favorite!
If they’d had more cheese, I would have taken it.
Thursday evening, I spoke to about a hundred ladies. Now this is a church that runs about 120 on Sunday mornings, so it was quite an encouragement to have that many women there. WEBC uses this annual event partly as an outreach, so a significant percentage of the attendees were not members of WEBC, and many of them were unsaved.
Some of the 100+ lovely ladies in attendance
The theme for the evening was “Pondering the Promise,” taken from Luke 2:19:
But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.
I spoke about some of God’s promises that Mary may have been pondering that are also God’s promises to us today that we should ponder, mainly the promise of the gospel. (I’ll share the entirety of my speech in article format here on the blog this Friday.)
It cracked me up to see this on the door of
the ladies’ room- and in the stalls!
Smart way to advertise!
I was so blessed to speak to several of the ladies after the event who were thankful that the unsaved friends they had invited got to hear a clear presentation of the gospel. Another of the ladies e-mailed one of the event coordinators the following (identifying details removed for anonymity):
“[My two unsaved friends] and I had a very meaningful conversation after the event…if you communicate with Michelle Lesley again, please let her know that the prayers of the people in her church and our prayers were heard! [These two unsaved friends] are the two that always seemed to be the most interested in Christ of my friends…They are interested in knowing more about the gospel and reading the Bible!”
This sweet lady mentioned that my church had been praying. I didn’t go to Chicago as some sort of Lone Ranger. My church sent me out, and to me, that’s deeply meaningful. I’m humbled and grateful to my Sunday School class and my pastor for praying for me and the event, for the ladies who sent encouraging texts while I was gone, and for the opportunity to share about how it went when I got back. I’m also very touched and thankful for those of you who prayed for me and encouraged me. (And for those who have asked, I had no problems with stage fright at all- praise God!) Thank you for holding the rope.
Beautiful Christmas cookies for dessert!
Though I was glad to get back home to my family, I regretted having to leave Chicago so soon. My host family, Mr. Ken and Mrs. Kathy, as well as Jayson and Lindsay, and everyone I met at WEBC were so kind, gracious, and hospitable. I think just about every member of the church came up to me at some point and told me he or she had been praying for me and for the event. If such things can be measured, I’m sure they were all much more encouraging to me than I was to them. If you find yourself in the Chicago area and looking for a good church to attend, I couldn’t recommend Water’s Edge Bible Church more highly.
If your church is ever in need of a speaker for a women’s event, I’d love to come share with your ladies as well. Click here for more information.