For most of the 110 WA MOPS leaders attending, conference began on the evening of Friday August 17th, but the ladies of Lifestreams Church MOPS, our wonderful hosts, were busy from early in the morning. They transformed their church into a beautiful sea of blue and shimmering candle light. Along with the conference team, they worked hard to hang pom-poms, lay tables, fill goodie bags and prepare for the evening. When it was finished we stood back and realised that it was beautiful – far more beautiful than we imagined it would be! Praise God!
The evening began with a delicious meal and was followed shortly after with the presentation of the Heart of MOPS award to our very own Area Coordinator, Cherie Macchiusi. She was honoured for her dedication and commitment to MOPS for many years, and her humble service for God. It was wonderful to share the moment with the Macchiusi family, as husband Carlo, and children Luca and Grace were with her to accept the award from MOPS Australia Chair Karen Dickson.
As the evening continued we were introduced to the Plunge theme. We heard stories from Rachael Carbon, Sara David and Karen Dickson, who bravely shared personal stories of struggle and challenges, explaining that through these times, God was able to draw them into deeper relationship with friends, family and Him. We also did some ‘speed friendship’; laughed as some pirates plotted to plunder the ‘treasure’ God has in store for us; and thought about what we wanted our family to be famous for.
We ended Friday night with a wonderful time of worship led by the beautiful and gifted musicians and singers of Lifestreams MOPS.
Saturday began with coffee, a great time of worship and news from MOPS Australia. This was followed by cardboard testimonies from MOPS leaders around the state, and the testimony of Lisa Groetzinger, Coordinator of Whitfords MOPS. Lisa urged us to remember the promises found in John 15, that “Jesus is the vine, and we are the branches. If we remain in Him, we will bear much fruit. “ She reminded us that “anyone can put on a good coffee morning” but without inviting the Holy Spirit to be a part of it, that’s all it will be.
The rest of our day continued to build on this theme; that we must place God at the centre of our lives in order to be used by Him.
Our keynote speaker, MOPS Australia Field Staff Manager Donna Hill, addressed the three key reasons that stop us from taking the plunge into leadership and encouraged us to trust in God, see challenges as opportunities and not to let our fears stop us from allowing God to use us.
After morning tea, counsellor Ann Galambosi provided some advice as to how we can ‘plunge into relationships without drowning.’ She gave us some great tips for dealing with difficult situations, realising when our tolerance levels are tested, making sure we confide in the right people, observing ourselves and naming our feelings. She showed us how to “jump in our emotional elevator and go to the God floor”. She even hummed some quite relaxing elevator music while she did it!
After this, Julie Hollett, pastor of New Life Christian Community shared with us about prayer; that our lives are a journey with God, that He wants us to stay wide awake in prayer. Julie reminded us that when we cover our MOPS group, meetings, planning and effort with prayer, the Holy Spirit goes before us. She reinforced what Lisa had said about remaining in the vine, saying that if we meet for a planning time, and we forget to invite God, we usually have to meet again anyway. But when we meet in prayer, and seek God’s will first, He goes before us and practical aspects of planning often fall into place.
And that was all before lunch! It sounds exhausting but it wasn’t! It was inspiring, uplifting and nourishing for our souls. We were given gospel truth, straight from God’s word, as it applies to a MOPS Leader.
After lunch we broke into small groups according to our leadership roles for some workshop time. In this time we shared how God has been working in our MOPS groups, exchanged ideas and brainstormed ways to work the ‘Plunge’ theme into our MOPS morning. We prayed together, exchanged contact details and continued to make new friends.
As we closed the 2012 WA MOPS Conference in singing and prayer, I was so overcome with the sense of God’s spirit among us that tears welled in my eyes. I know I was not the only one who felt His Almighty presence, because when I looked around the room, I saw women holding out hands to each other and tears streaming down faces. As we sang our closing song, “Sister let me be your servant,” I knew that God had allowed me but a glimpse of what every day in heaven is going to be like. It was truly an inspiring and blessed time and we praise God for what he is doing among MOPS leaders here in the West.
Assistant Coordinator, Riverton MOPS, W.A.