The three co-directors of the 2014 Ascend Conference in Pasadena, California—Susan Wehba, Brenda Epperson-Moore and Kathleen Cooke—were three women who hardly knew each other just two years ago. But it was pretty evident from the beginning that God knew it was the right combination. From their first meeting one thing stood out: They realized it was time for a different kind of women's conference.
Other women's events across the country were fantastic, but they felt there was a need for something different. With that simple thought in mind, they decided the Ascend Conference was going to be God's event to draw women together from across Los Angeles and the rest of the United States. Its purpose would be to encourage and ignite a passion for women to mature in their relationship with God and then do something with it.
And that's the key phrase: "Do something with it."
At this year's event you'll be inspired and excited—but ultimately, this is a conference is about action. They had little money, few resources and a lot of hope—but Wehba, Epperson-Moore and Cooke knew the women who eventually would speak on the platform would be there because God wanted them, so He would make it happen. They heard God's voice, and Ascend was birthed.
This year's conference is a story of determination. Of course they have nationally known speakers: U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., and international ministry speaker and former Muslim, Isik Abla.
But this isn't about politics or the conflicts in the Middle East—it's about freedom. Bachmann ran for president of the United States, but the conference organizers were more interested in the fact that she had raised five biological children and cared for 23 foster children while continuing to fight tirelessly for the rights of those with no voice.
Abla is an ordained minister who was raised in a Muslim home in Turkey. She was physically abused and barely escaped from that violent world into an even more dangerous situation at the hands of her Muslim husband. Facing no other option but death, at age 25, she fled to America.
But what caught the attention of the directors of the Ascend conference was that after years of struggling, Abla entered into intense depression. In a miraculous moment, she had a personal encounter with God on the day she was planning to commit suicide and received a supernatural healing from Jesus.
Today she hosts a TV program in five languages that broadcasts to the Middle East and Europe.
Are you beginning to see a theme here?
It's about freedom. In today's disrupted world where the questions are bigger and the stakes are higher, it's time for Christian women to get serious. The Ascend conference is more than just a fun day with the girls—it's about learning to be bold, courageous and a radical instigator of change.
The conference has had its challenges—even a last-minute change of venue. But for every challenge, God has opened a bigger door.
On Saturday, Oct. 11, at the prestigious Ambassador Auditorium in Pasadena, California, the conference will happen. If you'd like to join the committed group of women for this remarkable day, the event's website is ascendconference.org.
And there's so much more: a panel of professional women from the entertainment industry, great music and powerful worship.
After all of this, here's the bottom line: Whatever your past, whatever your failure, and whatever is holding you back, the battle cry of the Ascend Conference is freedom.
What's the battle you're ready to win?
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