February 2, 2013 marked the First Annual Gulf Coast Literacy Conference held on the campus of Houston Baptist University.
About a year ago, as I sat at lunch during the Metroplex Literacy Conference, Lester Meriwether walked up to me and said, "What If . . . ?"
Within 24 hours, emails were flying and conversations starting. Within a few days, a partnership was formed; within a couple of months, multiple partnerships became a Conference Team. I, Connie Anthony, the lady sitting at a lunch table minding her own business, became a Conference Coordinator! Hmmm . . .
Be careful where and when you eat lunch!!!
Seriously and joyfully . . .
God's timing is perfect.
A simple what if became a mission to unite faith-based literacy efforts with new nonprofit/civic literacy programs in the Greater Houston area. Linking these smaller organizations to larger existing programs would provide quality training as well as mentoring opportunities. The calls were made and the big hearts of Texas Literacy's best said YES! Top educators and civic professionals came together with 25 different breakout sessions from which to choose.
Key note speakers Butch and Nell Green stepped in at the eleventh hour with heartrending stories of decades serving on the mission field to Muslim communities. Their work in establishing ESL programs, as well as raising awareness in the fight against human trafficking, brought many to tears.
- Immigration Reform/Citizenship Requirements: How the Church Should Respond
- Refugees: Understanding Needs and Opportunities for Ministry
- ESL and TEX Training Overviews (6 sessions)
- Reading and Writing, GED/ABE
- Cross Cultural Witnessing and Building Community Partnerships
- Recruiting Volunteers
It was a great day, according to the 117 in attendance. We made many new friends, and, more importantly, saw God step in and accomplish something that none of us could have managed in our strength. We are already on the calendar for February 1, 2014 at HBU!!!
So? The moral of this story?
When God's what if pricks your subconscious mind and it is allowed to become a part of your conscious thought, it will grow. If nurtured into a possibility and that possibility is prayed over and given wings, it will become a full blown opportunity. When that opportunity pulls and tugs at your heart, then it has become a call from God to action.
I thought the question was, what if there was a faith-based literacy Conference in Houston? I was wrong. It was really, what if you trust Me?
Do not miss out on the JOY of a what if.