Women Gather in Dallas,
Celebrate Christian Freedom
2,200 from across North America attend event

associate communication director, Southwestern Union Conference and associate editor of Record
f the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed,” (John 8:36). The promise in that verse of Scripture was the message that pervaded the halls and meeting rooms of the Hilton Anatole hotel in Dallas, Texas, as an estimated 2,200 women gathered for the 2009 NAD Women’s Convention September 24-27. Two years in the planning, the event was designed to set women free from the bonds that hinder them from being all that God wants them to be.
FREE INDEED: Carla Baker, North American Division director of women’s ministries, speaks to delegates at the 2009 NAD Women’s Convention. [Photo: James Bokovoy/NAD]
Women of diverse backgrounds—Hispanic, Native American, Korean, African American, Caucasian, and others, along with 18 deaf women—from across the North American Division, from Alaska, to Canada, to Bermuda, with a large representation from the Southwestern Union Conference, which hosted the event, came to the convention for spiritual renewal, nurturing, and inspiration.
“Two years ago we were hoping and praying for 1,500 women. A year ago, when the recession hit, I lowered my sights and I prayed for 1,000 women. Praise God, He has exceeded my wildest dreams!” said Carla Baker, NAD Women’s Ministries director at the Friday-evening general session.
An impressive lineup of approximately 40 convention speakers and presenters throughout the weekend included Elizabeth Viera Talbot, associate speaker for the daily Voice of Prophecy radio broadcast; Carla Gober, director of the Center for Spiritual Life and Wholeness at Loma Linda University; Monica Reed, CEO of Florida Hospital’s Celebration Health; Hyveth Williams, senior pastor of the Loma Linda Campus Hill church, and others, all of whom, through their messages, helped their listeners to experience true freedom in Jesus. Musical guests, among others, included Angela Bryant Brown, of Maplewood, New Jersey; Ysis Espana of Keene, Texas; and Mary Grace Gallenkanoa, of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, whose stunning one-handed piano performance amazed and warmed the hearts of listeners.
More than a nurturing event, the convention provided unique opportunities for more than 400 women to touch the lives of others in the community. Coordinated by MaryJo Dubs, director of women’s and family ministries for the Georgia-Cumberland Conference, the “God in Shoes” community outreach on Friday morning took women to the streets of Dallas and Arlington, Texas, to interact with residents of homeless shelters, shelters for abused women, children’s hospitals, and day care centers, as well as lend a helping hand in food pantries and clothing distribution centers.
“We felt God here today,” said Lisa Hickman of the Kansas-Nebraska Conference, and team leader for the day’s outreach activities at Family Gateway, a shelter for homeless families in Dallas, where God In Shoes participants helped sort food in the donation closet, organized shelves in the food pantry, and spent time rocking babies in the nursery.
Betty Trevino, wife of Southwestern Union Conference president Max Trevino, spent time at an abuse shelter for women where about 30 God in Shoes participants gave the women manicures and played bingo with them (at the request of the shelter director).
“We brought them a lot of happiness,” Trevino says. “The ladies said they had not laughed like this in days. This is a ministry for us and it brought us a lot of joy. This is my first time doing this, and I’d definitely do it again.”
DALLAS AUDIENCE: Pastor Hyveth Williams speaks to audience of North American women at 2009 event in Dallas, Texas. [Photo: James Bokovoy/NAD]
Many of the women who attended said they would leave the convention inspired to serve and expressed the desire to return home and implement similar ministries in their own churches. Robin Sagel, of Choctaw, Oklahoma, who spent time coloring and making crafts with children at a Dallas day care center for children of homeless mothers said, “This experience has helped me to realize that there are other children besides those in my own church. I’ve been mainly focused on children in my church, but now I am more aware that there’s also a work to do with children in the community.”
Reflecting on the weekend event and its impact on the lives of women who attended, Baker said, “Every one of the speakers and musicians focused on the theme in exactly the way I wanted them to. The message that came through loud and clear is that no matter what circumstances we find ourselves in, we can be free.” Free, that is, to do the work that God has called, not only women, but each of us, to do.
Charlotte Thoms, women’s ministries director of the Atlantic Union Conference, put it this way: “It’s about ministry, it’s about evangelism, it’s about representing Christ wherever we are.”


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