By Major Ruth Sundin –
As 180 women of the Northwest Division recently met in conference, they found blessing along with a good time. The theme was “Surprised by God.” The guest speaker was Reverend Marti Ensign, Methodist minister and former missionary to Burundi, an African nation.
During the weekend Ensign talked about “Amazing Grace,” supported by a worship team, and “Journey of Grace,” with special music by Captain Sheila Bradley and Lieutenant Rhonda Lloyd. Since Ensign has traveled with Corrie ten Boom, there were many delightful quotes from her, such as, “When I got serious with the Lord, the Civil War began.”
Imaginative and helpful workshops were presented on Saturday morning, led by Major Carol Madsen, Barbara Newbould, Mary Ann Covert, Ardi Erickson, Joyce Thompson, Ulrica Wennstig, and Bradley.
At the “dress-up dinner” on Saturday evening, Ensign illustrated the definition of grace– “a condition of simplicity costing not less than everything”–with true stories from her 10 years in Africa, where Christians were sometimes murdered but at other times made miraculous escapes.
On Sunday morning there was a “Celebration of Grace,” supported by the worship team, and special music from Donna Fraser Merry. The group was reminded to be about their Father’s business, but that God is not “in a panic.”
Ensign made the point that America is in greater need of missionaries today than Kenya or Korea. Seventy percent of the people in Kenya today are Christians. More missionaries from Korea are being sent out than from the United States. She closed with the reminder of Jesus’ words: “Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest…”