“It was more than we could imagine!” The Women Together team – Heidi McLaughlin, Jan Mutter and Margaret Gibb, caught an Air Canada flight to Bogota on Thursday Feb 13, excited to be back in Colombia.
What awaited this Canadian team were 3 CALLED COLOMBIA Women’s Conferences, in Bogota, Chiquinquira and Bucarmanga. “This was a dream come true” said Margaret Gibb. “What we started in Canada in October 2018 is now in Colombia. We want women to take hold of the truth – they are CALLED!”
The passion to know God among the women is remarkable. Those who work with women are encouraged by what they see. Developing and empowering women to fulfill their calling is on the rise in Colombia. We had small CALLED blocks made to give out in Chiquinquira and the response was electrifying! Joy filled the auditorium. Some women wept, others danced, still others gave out a shout!
Working with key leaders such as Alexandra Beltran from Puente Largo Church in Bogota, Maria Isabel Castaneda Arevalo from Chiquinquira and the ever-smiling Celia Rosa de Ezenarro from Bucaramanga gave us insight into the great possibilities of equipping and empowering Colombian women. The time is now!
Our schedule also took us to an amazing school in Bucaramanga and we had 2 hours with 160 girls, smartly dressed in their school uniforms and super attentive! They took notes of our presentations – eager to learn! The hugs were many! What potential among these young students!
An added amazing experience was speaking at the YWAM base in Burcaramanga. We travelled up a beautiful mountain surrounded by lush vegetation, to arrive at the YWAM base. Seeing Venezuelan refugees on the side of the roads, resting, after a long and dangerous trek from their border and getting help from Colombians was both heart-wrenching and heart-warming! Colombians, like YWAM are reaching out to them with help and hope! Amazing stories are being written because of the outpouring of love to these refugees.
The nine students we taught at the YWAM base from 16 years to age to 52 was exciting! They took notes, asked questions and welcomed prayer! It seemed strategic to have as a backdrop a huge map of the world! Yes, they too are called! The picture we took with them holding a CALLED block was very meaningful to all of us.
Heidi McLaughlin expressed her experience.
“The only thing that surpasses the raw and magnificent landscape of Colombia, is watching people wholeheartedly worship God. Not only do they embrace the music and invite the Holy Spirit, but they also warmly embraced 3 gringos from Canada trying to navigate their language. Engaging with these loving people at our CALLED conferences, school, YWAM base and teaching in their churches was beyond anything I could ever have dreamed or imagined.”
We are going back in February 2021! Our calling calls us back!
Margaret Gibb, Founder and Director of Women Together had the privilege of speaking at a known conference in Bogota, Colombia, called: “Overdose”. Many people came from Latin America to be part of this life-empowering time of Bible teaching and anointed worship.
Time with staff of the Puento Largo Church in Bogota and sharing about why women’s ministries is important in a local church, brought on a meaningful discussion with steps to implement more for women. They want to empower their women to be leaders!
When Margaret shared with key pastors, the vision of CALLED…International Leadership Forum, held in 2018 and 2019 in Canada, they said: “Bring it to Colombia!”
So we are!
February 2020. Joining Margaret will be Heidi McLaughlin and Jan Mutter. These 3 Canadian leaders we will be hosting, in partnership with Puento Largo Church, in Bogota and Father’s House Church in Chiquinquira, CALLED COLOMBIA 2020!
L-R: Joy Villegas, Philippines; Shusma Adhikari, Nepal; Wendy Cortazar Ortiz, Colombia; Karuna Prasad, India; Margaret Gibb, WT Executive Director; Eunice Monda, Kenya; Sasha Marchenko-Kartashova, Ukraine; Veronika Nuzhna, Ukraine
We were so blessed to welcome seven international guests at the CALLED 2019 International Leadership Forum. These special leaders have shared their reflections on the forum and how their lives have been impacted as a result of the friendships made and the powerful messages that were shared:
Karuna Prasad, India
“What a great joy it was for me to be a part of CALLED in Canada. . . I was so blessed through the worship and inspired by the powerful messages. As I heard the stories of my sisters serving God in different nations and different contexts, I was reinvigorated and reminded of God’s faithfulness. How great is our God! An UNSTOPPABLE GOD. . . The weekend in your beautiful city of Guelph was beyond my expectations. The Spirit of God nudged me on to dream bigger things and to expand my territories. I have placed the UNSTOPPABLE brick on my bookshelf. Everyone who enters my office looks at it and is curious to know its significance. It’s a great opening to share my testimony. Continuing to pray that His will be done in my life and in this place where He has called me.”
Karuna Prasad & Wendy Cortazar Ortiz
Wendy Cortazar Ortiz, Colombia
“In my heart there is gratitude to the King for each person I met and I am sure that there is an unstoppable God within me and I cannot stop doing what He wants. It will be a great joy to meet again next year, since I already put that special date on my calendar!”
Eunice Monda, Kenya
“My heart is full of joy and very thankful to God for you and the entire team, Women Together. It was a great privilege for me to be in Canada. Indeed, it was a dream come true. Indeed, the powerful messages were more valuable than many years of studying. Coming to CALLED has advanced me by inspiring me to start seeing things differently.”
Sasha Marchenko-Kartashova & Veronika Nuzhna, Ukraine
“We felt so welcomed and accepted. Praise the Lord for your hearts, your love and generosity. Let God bless you and your families! We are so blessed to be the part of Women Together family all around the world! And we are excited to know that greater things are ahead!”
Shusma Adhikari, Nepal
“I was very blessed by the messages, meeting new leaders, worship, and special prayer time at the end. I was so glad that I could take part in everything this year. It was and will be a special God moment for me. Thank you, Jesus!”
Excitement ran high as the Women Together planning team met for a pre-forum meeting a few hours before kicking off CALLED 2019. We were excited to welcome 100 leaders from five Canadian provinces and six nations outside of Canada.
We were ready! At our meeting, we reflected on how God gave us a miracle by providing long-term, multiple-visit visas for four of our guests. We knew by that one miracle that God was up to something, and it was good!
The CALLED registration table buzzed with conversation as women arrived from British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Quebec, Ontario, Ukraine, India, Nepal, Kenya, Philippines, and Colombia!
Our days were full at the Guelph Bible Conference Centre. From plenary sessions, leadership insight videos, and powerful workshops to discussion groups, a leadership panel, and a vibrant Celebration of Nations night—we enjoyed an unforgettable leadership-building and friendship-forming experience.
Conversations at meal times were rich and deeply meaningful. The opportunity to learn what God is doing in the lives of leaders in other countries was empowering. The stories shared from around the world left a deep impression on everyone present. Together we formed a global community of Christian leaders and loved it. We came as strangers and left as friends.
Eunice Monda, our Women Coordinator from Kenya and a first-time visitor to Canada and CALLED, was overwhelmed:
Words are failing me. I am in awe!”
Wendy Cortiz, a dynamic leader from Colombia, wept for joy at having the opportunity to be at CALLED and meet so many leaders from Canada and other parts of the world.
Before our final powerful prayer time, we gave every attendee a wooden block, which simply said Unstoppable.
Our 3rd annual International Leadership Forum—CALLED….Relentless—will be held at the Guelph Bible Conference Centre on October 15- 17, 2020. If you are a leader, plan now to join us!