After several months of planning and prayer it was such a joy to host 46 women (wives of pastors and church planters) from the surrounding districts, for two days of worshipping, teaching, praying, playing and eating! Two ladies came from a remote mountainous area more than ten hours by jeep and bus, while others were able to walk in. Beauty in Jars of Clay was the first conference of its kind and it took place on the campus of Herbertpur Christian Hospital. We are grateful to them for their generous hospitality.
Our two resource ladies were wives of pastors themselves – Mrs Shehlata David from Lucknow (12 hours by train) and Mrs Shashi Thomas from Dehra Dun (local). They taught with passion and enthusiasm, reminding us of our privileged identity in Christ and challenging us to grow in love, practising the fruit of the Spirit. We were also reminded of the Samaritan woman who left her pot at the well and ran to call others to hear the words of this amazing teacher. Were we ready to leave our pots of unclean water at the well and drink from the ‘living water’?
Each woman was given a pot, which they painted with great enthusiasm, and took home with them as a reminder of their time together. They were SO happy to have had this time of fellowship, to meet with one another and to have an opportunity for learning and spiritual refreshment. We really hope that their husbands appreciate how God is at work in the lives of their wives. As they left all the ladies were asking ‘Can we have another one like this soon?’ Our planning team has already met again and I am meeting with some of the pastors’ wives in their own locations, to encourage them to meet together for fellowship in the meanwhile.
What happens next? We are planning another Beauty in Jars of Clay retreat in the autumn for the women who live beyond the Shivalik Hills, which separate us from the plains of India, approximately 3 – 4 hours drive away. Then it will be time to prepare for next year’s programme!
Su East, SAC partner, works with her husband Paul in Debra Dun, India. You can read more about their work and find out how to support them here.