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'Treasures Unlimited' touches hearts, minds and souls

by: Kathleen Thomas Gaspar

With God's own Rocky Mountain National Park a spectacular and fitting backdrop, women from around the globe gathered April 20-22 to take part in the 2007 Faith Ministries International Network U.S. Women's Conference in Estes Park, Colorado.

Highlights of the conference, which was led by FMIN co-founder Bonnie Duell and featured anointed teachings by Bonnie as well as Denise Capra and Claudia Porter, included heart-opening praise and worship and fellowshipping during meals and free time.

There were, simply, no strangers among the hundreds of women who came to Colorado's high country to worship the Lord.

Reminding the women that they are daughters of God and therefore treasures – not trash! – the speakers reinforced their own words with the Word of God.

Several attendees jotted down impressions from the conference, with Jody Miller, wife of Grady Miller, pastor of Faith Freedom Fellowship in Fairplay, Colorado, noting, "We are treasured by God and need to see ourselves as He sees us."

Liz Dimmel from Kansas City, Missouri, who heads up a Christian ballet company, wrote a ballet 15 years ago entitled, "The Dethroned Prince" and put it on the shelf. After attending the conference, Liz now knows her company is "to be part of the [FMIN] network."

Terry Donaghue, who came from Dallas, said the gathering showed her a new level of giving and care. She said, "In here, everyone was giving to everybody, and even those in pain were giving back."

A note from Yvonne, no last name attached, said she received confirmation that "God thinks we're absolutely gorgeous." She also was touched by newfound relationships and "getting to know people better."

Ollie Borchardt from Arvada, Colorado, purchased "Why Not Women?" or her daughter. Bonnie wrote a particularly meaningful inscription for Ollie' daughter.

Denverite Janice de Rosier said she is in the stage of "lots of restoration" in her life, and she likened physical therapy she is undertaking for an injury to the spiritual therapy she took home from the conference. Hearing and understanding that God loves her unconditionally is "priceless," she said, thanking Dave and Bonnie and FMIN for their support.

After meeting Dennis and Denise earlier this year in Tulsa, Alabama resident Theresa June has committed to traveling on missions trips. She especially wants to go to Kenya, having been there previously, meeting Lenah and developing a connection to the Newsboys. Theresa describes herself as a pre-longterm missionary.

Rocky Mountain singer-songwriter Wendy Francisco performed her amazing tune, "We Will Ride," the story of Alana and her horse Warrior. While the song tells of Alana’s nearly suffocating sadness at the death of Warrior, it also tells of her overpowering joy and hope in seeing him again – in Heaven! No eye was dry as Wendy sang.

Dave and Bonnie's daughter and worship team leader, Juli Perry, shared her thoughts about China and about adopting her daughter, McKayla. Juli said she would like to take McKayla to China to see her home country and spoke about how God works bad situations out for good.

A very composed young woman, Haley Strobel, told the women how grateful she was because her mother "pushes" her, and how much she delights in the company of her family. "I came here feeling like trash. The good stuff is easier to believe now," Haley said. She thanked all who smiled at her and hugged her, adding, "Now I feel like a treasure."

Hootey hoo! Ellene Meece explained her thoughts on dinner as opposed to supper. Dinner, Ellene said, is a more formal affair while supper – like the supper Jesus partook with his disciples – is the last time of day a family eats together. It is more intimate, more loving. And she encouraged the attendees to share "supper" with each other in communion.

Bonnie Duell added her recollections, saying worship was so moving and Spirit-filled that "there wasn't a dry eye in the place." She also thanked the many hostesses who served at meal tables and said the only complaint she heard during the conference was that "it went too fast."

Bonnie added, "It all ran so smoothly and was so relaxing."

Other notes on the event described it as multi-faceted, instilling deeper friendships and filled with incredible music.

Shari said she was "blessed by meeting the women," and Ellen added, "I've never seen so many encouraging women in one place. I'm getting a new perspective on life and myself.”

Kendyll advised women to "forget the negativity of your past," and Elena said she had "never been to anything like this and doesn't want to miss one now."

"All at my table cried through the tea," Peg said. "It was a special, intimate time [when the jewelry was handed out]. The next morning, we were all smiles – free, different."

Anna said the conference was "all outward looking from start to finish," and Allyson added, "I realized what an insult it is to Jesus when I see myself as trash."

Faith Freedom Fellowship, Fairplay



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