This was the last morning of the three-day conference. Again, flexibility was the key word. We completed the first class, and then the women decided they’d like to have a class about keeping their marriages healthy. So, I quickly rearranged my notes and handouts and shifted mental gears.
I believe the change was a good thing. The women obviously felt more comfortable this morning than on the first one, and they laughed several times through the marriage class. It would be fascinating to know how much they really understood. Some spoke fluent English while others spoke a minimal amount; my hope is that those with a better grasp of the language will chat with those who need a little help and explain anything they may have missed. Several times they’ve expressed regret that more women didn’t or couldn’t attend. They’ve also said that they’re going to take the material to their home churches and teach it to their peers. Praise the Lord!
This morning between the two sessions, I laid my carry-on suitcase on the table and opened it to reveal more than three dozen fabric bags stuffed with toiletries. Wendy Hagar, a woman in Ontario whose ministry is to send such gifts overseas, had kindly arranged for me to take these along. Because we’d planned for 70 women originally, I was able to give about 30 to the gal with whom we met in Hyderabad on Sunday. Then I was able to give two bags to each of the women at this conference; they took one for themselves and another for a friend back home. What a delight to bless them in this way!
They used this time to present me with gifts, too. One gal gave me a beautiful pink and teal woven shawl as a thank-you token from the entire group. Then another gave me a black skirt and shawl to match their traditional dress. She wrapped me in them over the clothes I was wearing that day, and the group smiled and nodded their approval.
On the other two afternoons, the women ran off to sightsee in their own groups and I returned to work on the next day’s handouts in my hotel room. But this day, they invited me to join them on a shopping trip. I’m a lousy barterer in this culture, so one woman took it upon herself to do it for me. I bought some Darjeeling tea and a few souvenirs for family back home. We had a ton of fun running from one shop to the next, all over the main bazaar. Hmmm…seems the average woman loves to shop in any culture!