Women of Vision Leadership Gatheringby Kathleen Cantwell, Women of Vision Albuquerque
The Women of Vision Leadership Gathering 2014 was a definite highlight for me this this year. With our Albuquerque Chapter celebrating its 3rd birthday, Women of Vision is now an integral part of my life, and I was looking forward to meeting extended family for the first time! Arriving Friday morning, I welcomed the lush, green trees on the World Vision campus, quite a contrast from the desert I call home. As I was dropped off by Brenda, my beautiful, Guatemalan shuttle driver, I gazed at the bronze sculpture outside the headquarters of Jesus engaging with children. It well represents the mission of World Vision and why I feel called, to be the hands and feet of Jesus to many around the world.
I was warmly greeted by Jeanie Ralphs and ushered into the meeting room to hear Rich Stearns talking about the 50 fragile states and how through World Vision The Great Commission and The Greatest Commandment can intersect so beautifully. Rich’s passion and conviction to carry out gospel living to the world is only superseded by his humility and honesty. He is a Godly man, a strong, courageous leader, a world changer. His message encouraged women to be world changers too. Other highlights from Friday included an empowering, interactive presentation by Alexia Salvatoria, calling women to be “tall trees,” to whom much has been given and who have much to offer people in need. Kari Costanza graced us at dinner with the power of story, bringing to life people who are served through World Vision.
Saturday morning began with a kick in the pants from God through the beautiful words of Lora Williams (from the WOV Austin chapter) about not getting comfortable. She said, “the greatest opportunities follow major changes,” and prayed that we “don’t get comfortable with where you are in life. Dream again, get hungry, and expect more to be discovered inside of you.” On the heels of a few changes with Women of Vision this was a WORD for sure. The Women of Vision team then introduced us to the concept of “branding” as it relates to World Vision, and gave a glimpse of the work taking place with marketing. Cindy Breilh whose enthusiasm for the mission is CONTAGIOUS, encouraged us with more stories as it relates to Stronger Women, STRONGER World.
I’ve gotta tell you though, the best part of the weekend was connecting with women. I could hardly wait to meet the staff who I’ve only known through email and phone calls and they were above and beyond wonderful. Jeanie, Cindy, Mary, Laura, what an amazing group of women! You made me want to be on the Women of Vision staff! Almost forgot, bonus was meeting “Alexander the Great,” Laura’s beautiful son! Thank you for serving with such love. Meeting WOV from other chapters who I now consider friends and can’t wait to see again, was a huge blessing! Finally, perhaps the greatest blessing was being able to share in prayer over and communion with our precious Beth Yeager. Beth has been encourager, mentor and friend. I will have a forever memory of laying hands on her to bless and release, and sharing in the cup as she served each of us. How appropriate. Our God is rich in His mercy as He has called us to be Women of Vision.