Cupping her hands around her ears, Barbara Spence demonstrated a listening-to-the-Lord prayer position.
Listening to the Lord was the second position in the five positions of prayer that Spence shared with other ladies during the Central Asian prayer tea, part of the weekend event “Worthy of the Calling,” based on Ephesians 4:1-3.
Sitting at round tables the ladies cleaned each other’s hands before sharing snacks and tea.
Along with standing before the throne, bowing in reverence, worshiping and kneeling in petition, the women used the prayer time to focus on Central Asia. The tea, which was held before lunch, was meant to bring awareness to Muslim women, their lives and customs.
BR photo by Dianna L. Cagle
Serena Pearce, left, sings with Hilma Evans, a resident of Carolina House in Wake Forest. Pearce was part of a group that visited the Alzheimer’s/Dementia facility as an Embrace mission project. See the photo gallery.
“In the end, when I was down on the floor praying … I went back to thinking what Bobbye [Rankin] had said: nothing is impossible with God,” Spence said of Rankin, wife of Jerry Rankin, president emeritus of the International Mission Board (IMB).
“It may not be He changes the whole Muslim world … but we need to realize that this almighty God can do anything.”
Rankin, a Mississippi native, was the main speaker for the two-day event. She served on the mission field with her husband for 23 years before his 17 years at the helm of the IMB.
“Somehow we want to be the best we can be [and better],” Rankin said. “What God wants is He wants us to be the best He planned us to be.
“We’ve got to quit calling this world home,” she said. “There’s a greater home coming for us.”
Rankin shared about several missionaries who have been killed overseas. At one missionary’s funeral there was a letter that was read that she had written before she left the United States. It said, “There are no regrets. I was called to obedience, and suffering is expected. His glory … my reward.”
BR photo by Dianna L. Cagle
Barbara Spence takes part in a tea focusing on prayer for Central Asia. See the photo gallery.
Using Hebrews 12:1-3 Rankin encouraged the women to rid themselves of any painful issues from the past.
“Are we holding onto something that will cause us to not be able to serve?” Rankin asked.
Instead, women need to focus “our eyes on Jesus … not a mere gaze but … moment by moment.”
Rankin shared how Jesus was the ultimate example of One who walked worthy.
“Ladies, continue to reach out to women in all strata of society,” Rankin urged. “We’re challenged to walk worthy of the calling.”
During the event, women also had the choice of going to three of 15 breakout sessions offered on a variety of topics. There were also mission projects the women were assigned.
Spence participated with a team in H.L. Miller Park in Wake Forest. They displayed signs advertising free cookies and prayer.
Spence said their task was to start conversations with people visiting the park.
“That’s what we need to do in our everyday life,” Spence said. “If you just take the time to get out of your own little world, … it’s really easy to start a conversation with somebody.
“A big part of being a missionary is just being willing … be His hands and feet.”
It was Spence’s first trip to Thailand and Cambodia in 2003 where she realized “God can do wonderful things through our life and in our life,” if she was willing to go. That “first mission trip I realized God is great, but He wants my heart. When He has my heart he has my service.”
Other projects included outreach at two other Wake Forest parks, along with ministry at a laundry business, pregnancy support service, cleaning a woman’s house and prayer walking.
One group went to Carolina House, an assisted living facility for Alzheimer’s and dementia residents.
Serena Pearce, director of music ministries at Bethany Baptist Church in Wendell, said the project reminded her that ministry should be intentional.
“We’re already doing a lot of activities but I see that the focus needs to be on witnessing,” said Pearce, who serves on her church’s women’s ministry team.
Pearce called the Embrace conference an “enriching experience.”
“I feel that it is important that we keep ladies engaged in various activities that will strengthen their relationship with Christ,” she said.
Spence, who serves as missions team leader for her church, said she and a few ladies at her church want to start an Embrace ministry at Glen Hope.
“We’re looking for something that will really engage women and that will really cause them to see the abundance they can have in serving God,” she said.
“My goal is for women’s hearts to be changed.”