Reid brought back more than culture from the Far East. She also brought a ministry. On June 21 and 22, Abundant Life Ministry Church will host the His Worldwide Women’s Conference, which began 14 years ago in Japan’s Kanto Plains region.
“We did 12 conferences in Japan throughout the whole region,” said conference president Theresa Hall. “Women would come from different parts of Japan, they could be American, Asian or African and we would join in one area to worship God.”
The conference came to the United States, and now travels the country and the world to put on conferences as invited by individual churches. Reid said the conference goes anywhere it is requested.
The conference will feature speakers from across the United States and Italy, but Reid said they are not the main focus of the event.
“Our main concern is that God has a platform to move,” she said.
Hall agreed, adding a closer connection with God is one of the goals of the conference.
“God is the focal point,” she said. “That is what we focus on, so that people will be touched by God.”
Reid said that in addition to a moving spiritual experience, women attending the conference can expect “an explosion” of praise at the beginning of the event.
“To sort of let out that pent-up energy,” she explained, making sweeping gestures with her hands. “They always start off quiet and proper, then it opens up. Hands go up, faces light up, heads go back. Women have a freedom about worship.”
Hall added the conference will allow attendees to experience a high level of worship in addition to hearing from special guest speakers.
Although the conference is specifically designed for women, pastors Jeffery and Doris Leonard said men can attend the conference, too.
“I’m coming,” Jeffery joked.
More seriously, Doris added any man looking for deliverance is welcome to attend the conference.
“We’re seeking for gang members, drug dealers, drug addicts to be delivered,” she said. “We won’t turn anyone away.”
Doris and Reid hope the conference will change the community of the better. They see the conference as a way to help the people of Anniston, Oxford and the surrounding area.
“We expect to see miracles,” Reid said. “God has never failed us.”
“Anniston and Oxford need that,” Doris added. “Bad. People in Anniston have told me they’re hungry; they want some spiritual food … You’re going to get your whole meal here.”
Doris also hopes the conference will give local women strength to change their lives.
“There’s such a need for deliverance here,” she said. “From all kinds of abuse, drug abuse, physical abuse, mental abuse coming from every area, especially for women.”
Jeffery and Doris said they expect the entire sanctuary, which seats more than 200, to be filled. Because the conference is open to anyone who wants to attend, regardless of race, background or church membership, they are hopeful many members of the community will attend.
“It doesn’t matter to me,” Reid said. “You can be black, white, orange, green, it really doesn’t matter. I just want the people to be blessed.”
His Worldwide Women’s Conference will be held at Abundant Life Ministry Church on Choccolocco Street, located in the old Oxford Library building. On Friday, June 21, the conference will feature a praise, worship and dance service at 6:30 p.m. The following morning, conference sessions will run from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., 1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. The cost for the conference is $15, which will also include a tote bag with literature and goodies. Register online at www.hisworldwide.org, or call Doris Leonard at 256-770-7213 or Gwendolyn Reid at 256-770-9053.