WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 23, 2010) – It was a moving experience, watching each of the specially invited international guests process into the worship area carrying small candles during Friday’s midday International Celebration as part of Triennial XIII at the Omni Shoreham Hotel.
Each moved to the front stage area, placing the candles at the foot of a large draped cross that serves as a centerpiece of the worship space.
“Welcome to this place and to our hearts,” said Margie Swenson, Covenant World Mission representative who facilitated the time of testimony and sharing that followed.
Noriko Kawamura of Japan opened the session with prayer, speaking in her native language.
Two individuals shared personal testimonies during the first segment of the session – Sabuli Sanguma of the Democratic Republic of Congo and Monica David of India.
Sanguma thanked Women Ministries and the Evangelical Covenant Church for the support Congo has received during the past 80 years, including everything from medications and bandages to layettes, blankets and glasses. “I am not here to tell you our needs,” Sanguma explained, “but rather to share good news. You have set the women of Congo free.”
She shared the many activities currently taking place, especially the training seminars that are helping women in Congo understand that in God’s sight, they have worth and are valuable. “A worthless woman no longer exists in the Congo Covenant Church,” Sanguma declared.
After women have completed the training, large numbers are returning to school to continue their education, she explained. One woman, a mother who had only completed the tenth grade, went back to school, attending the same school where her daughter attended. “They received their diplomas together . . . and now both are in the university.” Another woman with five grandchildren is attending seminary.
“This is how you have been instrumental in liberating the women of Congo,” she said.
Monica David, who has two daughters attending North Park University in Chicago, accepted Christ at age 18. Her husband travels a lot on behalf of the church in India, but she says she takes comfort in the work he is doing, noting that God provides comfort for those times her husband is away. She also thanked Women Ministries and the Covenant for the support they have provided.
Swenson then posed two questions to the group, with each individual answering one or the other:
- How are Christians perceived in your culture?
- What are you and your Christian sisters doing to be Christ’s hands and feet in your culture?
Special guests included:
- Asia – name withheld for security purposes
- Czech Republic – Jana Valesova
- Colombia – Dora Londoño
- Congo – Sabuli Sanguma
- India – Monica David
- Japan – Noriko Kawamura
- Mexico – Claudia Bahena
- Spain – Josefa Palma
- Sudan – Elizabeth Koat
- Thailand – Nukulthong Dappimsrii
Each then shared one personal prayer request, which concluded the session.