Report on the Annual EBWU Conference in Warsaw-Radosc, Poland,
‘The Fragrance of Christ’, 10th-13th October 2019
Report by Alexandra Anderson
Well it has been two months since the very first EBWU Annual conference organised by the new EBWU Committee hosted by our Polish sisters in Radosc from 10th -13th October, and I am delighted to say that it was a great success.
48 women from 16 different countries attended and as one lady from the UK put it, ’it was like a snap-shot of what Heaven will be like, where language and nationality will be no barriers’. Together we journeyed through three very intense days packed with inspirational, biblical teaching and discussion led by the dynamic international speaker Micheline Makkar from Lebanon, serving in Syria.
The conference was opened by the President of the EBWU, Fabienne Seguin and we were welcomed by Mateusz Wichary, the President of the Polish Baptist Union and our Polish hosts, Magda Czerwinska the President of the Polish Baptist Women’s Union and Klaudia Wiasowska. Ania Wakula, the Secretary of the Polish Baptist Women’s Union, who helped to organise the conference joined us later.
On Friday 11th Magda Czerwinska began the day with a morning devotion on ‘The Fragrance of Christ’ in which she invited us to close our eyes and imagine we were peeling an orange or a tangerine. She asked us to imagine the smell that would emanate and fill the whole room - that she said is how we are to be as ‘the fragrance of Christ’.
The new EBWU Committee were then presented and gave a brief introduction before Micheline Makkar opened the first study session entitled, ‘You are the glory of God’, in which she shared some of her extraordinary experiences as a Christian missionary from Lebanon in Syria where she and her husband lead a Baptist Church in Damascus, which they themselves planted. Micheline’s sense of humour and deep Biblical scholarship captivated her listeners as she told us about the very hostile environment in which God had called her and her husband to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. There was also a first-hand testimony from a Syrian lady from Micheline’s church, who gave a moving account of what it was like to live in war-torn Syria and how through all the trouble and pain she experienced, including the loss of close family members, she came to know Christ as her Lord and Saviour.
After lunch there was a chance to choose between five different workshops on topics as interesting and varied as, “What Jesus Ate”, led by EBWU Committee member Cristina Pokidko; “Essential Oils and How to Apply Them” , led by EBWU Committee member, Siham Daoud; ‘Power and beauty of hospitality in biblical times – how can it inspire us today?‘ led by the EBWU Vice President, Ruth Madarova; ‚“Helping Children to Know Jesus“, Ewa Gutowska; "When God surprises you with an unexpected answer to prayer ", led by Klaudia Wiasowska.
There was time to worship, share testimonies and pray together as well as to find out about some of the work that God is doing all over Europe and the Middle East through Baptist women.
The last session led again by Micheline Makkar was on practical views of change in which she shared her ‚‘10 Commandments of Change‘ necessary to see God’s Kingdom grow in us and through us. We all felt as though we had learned a lot at the end of the teaching sessions and I believe that we were not the same people at the end of the conference that we were when we began.
However, the conference was not all work no play! Although the days were packed with activites on Saturday afternoon the ladies were given a guided tour of Warsaw and in particular, the site of the Jewish Ghetto during the Second World War. The guide told chilling stories of life in the biggest Ghetto in Europe and ‘home‘ to over 400,000 Jewish people many of whom were killed.
On the last evening the Polish Women’s Union entertained us with a typical Polish dinner and with much laughter and fun, taught us a Polish dance which was enjoyed by all.
On Sunday many ladies were able to attend the Sunday service led by Mateusz Wichary who preached on Jeremiah. Some of the Lebanese sisters sang a hymn in Arabic and one of them gave a powerful testimony.