Over 1,000 impacted by Ecuador women's conference
More than 1,000 women attended the conference “His grace in me.” The keynote speaker was Patricia Donnelly, from Arizona, USA. The meetings took place in various churches around the country of Ecuador.
The conference addressed the topic of God’s sufficient grace, which is enough even when tragedy strikes. Donnelly spoke about her own experience with losing one child; at the time, because of her ministry responsibilities along with her husband, they could not recognize the grief inside them.
“We didn’t know we were experiencing grief; we didn’t know what that was,” Donnelly said. “We continued with our ministry duties, but in reality, our family was aching because of the loss of our son.”
After a few years, tragedy struck again in the life of the Donnelly family. Her oldest son passed. Donnelly recalls how God’s grace allowed her to officiate her son’s funeral.
“I cried until I had no more tears,” Donnelly said. “Only God could console my heart and allow me to officiate my son’s funeral.”
If that wasn’t enough, the day after her son’s funeral, the Lord called Donnelly’s mother to His presence.
“My mother, Rosa, was a prayer warrior who carried me with her prayers when I was going through the darkest times of my life,” Donnelly said. “Her passing the day after my son’s death was almost impossible to take; again, God’s grace was sufficient to carry me through that pain.”
Donnelly shared with the audience the importance of seeking counseling and help after suffering a loss. She also encouraged the audience to embrace young girls, especially those who have made mistakes.
“Young people are being attacked; they know when they have made a mistake, and they already feel bad,” Donnelly said. “Let us embrace them and tell them how much we love them because if we don’t, the enemy will convince them with his lies that they are worthless.”
Mayra Robalino, the Women’s Ministry national coordinator for Ecuador, believes that it is essential to highlight the topics Donnelly shared.
“I have seen many women carrying pain and experiencing loss,” Robalino said. “Many are still stuck in their past and cannot forget about it; the times we spent together helped them understand how to give the load to the Lord so that He can impart His healing.”
Donnelly closed the event by sharing a family photo of her husband, daughter, and herself. The photo was taken one year after her oldest son and mother’s passing. Donnelly shared how the Lord had carried them through, even amid tragedy, that it was only by His grace.
“In this photo, we were celebrating the life of my mother and son,” Donnelly said. “Only God can turn your tears and difficult moments into a testimony of His power and grace in our lives. Today, you can give your sorrow and your pain to the Lord, and He will listen to your prayer.”
Many attendees kneeled at the altar, where they turned their grief to the Lord. Jovita Peña was one of the conference attendees. Peña’s faith was reaffirmed by listening to Donnelly’s experiences.
“God is the only one who can supply our needs as women,” Peña said. “This conference helped many women to see their grief and bitterness and to accept Christ as their Savior. I came [to the conference] with sadness, but today I leave with a renewed sense of hope.”
--Church of the Nazarene South America