All the eyes are focused on Mariam. Calmly, she teaches on the subject “Shattered Dreams and a New Vision.” The 90 women are very attentive; many of them take notes while Mariam speaks.
Mariam has a pleasant style, and she speaks in a way that is understandable for everyone, whatever the background. Not only are the women from different countries but also from different generations; young women hardly 20 years old and elderly more than 60 years of age. The interactive style of teaching involves all the women gathering in the small groups. Here the women are able to share intimately about their struggles and joys. “The women have wonderful moments together sharing and discussing various issues,” reports a staff member. “They also sing and worship the Lord at the beginning of all the lessons. The women have made it clear that the conference meets a huge need.”
The first women’s conference was hosted in Damascus, Syria’s capital. Due to the political turmoil in the country, church leaders requested we hold the conference; it was the first one that Open Doors organized in the country. Women from all different backgrounds attended the conference, including a group of 15 Iraqi and three Sudanese women; the rest were from Syria.
“I am so glad that we had this conference,” one of the participants says. “I hope we will have more of them.” Another participant adds; “We needed this. I learned how important it is to encourage others.”
Many of the women said they would like to talk about how to better raise children and about family life in the next conference. “Thank you for putting this conference together. I could see that it is the work of love that lifts up our hearts and encourages us to continue our life; we were so blessed,” added a grateful woman.
Our staff in the Middle East asks for prayers for future conferences in Syria. Due to the current political situation, it is not easy to organize them.
Father, we praise You for the diversity of women who were encouraged by the conference, and we pray that this would be the first of many. We ask for guidance in organizing future conferences, and that more women would attend and be ministered to. Please help the women to continue on their journey as believers, and strengthen them as they face daily struggles, reminding them of the steadfast hope they have in You. Amen
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