WRITTEN BY: VANESSA HOYES
To be engaging with you today is another, 'I can't believe that I get to live here' moment!
This beautiful nation captivated my husband and I thirteen years ago, when God was calling us out of our spiritual birthplace to plant a church. We walked the Canadian soil for a few weeks in 2002 and asked if He would send us here. When the 'no' came, we travelled to the other people group on our heart, to France. My husband has always wanted to learn to speak French! However that was not the right season for us either. The clear calling was actually to the city where our family resided in Queensland, Australia.
So fast forward these years to 2014, and we heard the voice of God, as clearly as those thirteen years ago, saying 'do now what was in your heart'. We had fallen in love with the people we had nurtured for ten years, having then planted a church on the Gold Coast and, to be honest, there was nothing at the surface of our heart except that place and those people. But that word from heaven also revealed a place .. Montreal, Quebec and it suddenly reawakened a dormant dream.
We had no idea there was such a thing as 'French Canada' (sorry - that is our isolated Southern Hemisphere dwelling!)
So within a year, our family had transitioned our beloved church into good hands (not without much prayer and tears), sold all our belongings, stepped out in faith and moved my family of four beautiful elementary aged girls into the heart of Montreal. From 35 degrees Celsius into -35 degrees Celsius.
And here we are. We didn't know a soul here, then seven months later we planted a church in downtown Montreal, and now this week I launch our local church women's movement with a few girls who have put their hand up to gather (all in English at this stage, just in case you were thinking we had actually listened to my husbands desire to learn French.. Gosh I wish we had!)
When we flew into this city Andrew leant over to me in the plane and said, 'babe I really believe that one of the main reasons we have been called here is because God is stirring something in the hearts of the Canadian Women'
Can you believe that?
Of course I knew the Spirit of God was already moving. My safest place to land relationally for 15 years had been Helen Burns in Vancouver, BC. And then, soon after I landed, I met the very gorgeous Cathie and glimpsed of this vision coast to coast for this nation.
So, for me, this weekend is significant. I have been deeply impacted in the 'one' moments with those women, and other new friends all across this nation. I personally feel like this gathering out from the heart of our local church, is my 'few' that I have been entrusted with; and then together we get to impact the 'many'. And personally, in our world of church planting I had resisted this so soon. However I really do have a husband whom I co-lead with, who feels this is meant to be the first ministry to come out from the life of our church into our community.
We have declared over Resurgent Women …
We are feminine
We are fierce
We are a force on earth to be reckoned with
And we discover this as we gather. Because gathering matters ..
I sat under a ministry to women in all my formative years and, although at first it felt awkward, it built strength into my feminine heart. It brought out every single piece of insecurity in me, every fear and confusion I had, every perception .. but it stirred HOPE in who I could become.
Prioritizing it was a challenge because who you are as pure GIRL, without all the other titles, gets neglected first in your life, so anything that invests into our womanhood gets pushed aside first.
The feminine gift within us does not naturally THRIVE – in fact it is violently opposed and has been from the beginning of time. Let's not be ignorant to the garden of Eden enmity between woman and the serpent.
Why do so many despise or neglect women's ministry? I think it is because gathering a group of girls has a lot of risk. You gather in the room, not just all our strength but all our weakness in cool aid form – without much water to dilute it – so it is strong and intense – whereas everywhere else in life you can water it down.
But how will we truly be pure and nurtured in our form unless we gather in the intense environment of a ministry just to our own kind? We gather ... Then we scatter stronger in our 'come- alongside' mandate.
So whatever that looks like for you, I believe the gathering of girls will overflow back into every sphere of our life and add strength. If it is just 'the one' for you, then GATHER with authenticity. If it's is 'the few' then GATHER with purpose. If it is time to begin something where the 'few' can become 'the many' and you have the opportunity to begin something like I do .. Then GATHER with courage. And personally I would love to cheer you on and learn from one another in those small beginnings.
So I covet your prayers for this weekend and I am committed to not despising the day of small beginnings in any way, shape or form. I am so invigorated by the stories revealed through Gather Woman. We are here truly for this time in our nation's awakening.