Listen, because if you don’t, you may not hear something incredible. You may not understand what God has planned for you; you may not discern the often unheard whispers of God. What is He telling you? What plan has He laid out for you?
These are the questions that, like many Christians, Haggai leaders all over the world seek answers to. It’s often their reason for attending a Haggai Leader Experience (HLE) — a chance to learn to discern and listen to what God is calling them to do. They share testimonies, lift each other up, and learn from one another before heading back out into their spheres of influence to exercise what God has revealed and taught. This year marked many firsts for HLE sessions around the world, particularly one for Middle Eastern and North African leaders, among whom God spoke loud and clear.
In August, 33 women assembled in Asia from 14 countries across the Middle East and North Africa for the first in-person session in Arabic since the pandemic was declared. Women were able to get on airplanes, hold hands, give hugs, and exchange smiles with fellow female leaders who are strategically positioned to impact God’s Kingdom. In an area of the world where it’s nearly impossible to share God’s love, it was a very big deal. And it created an environment apt for listening — and what these women heard just might change the world.
Like many leaders, Sarah* came to the HLE with her own ideas about what her ministry would look like and was patiently waiting for the Lord to reveal a detailed plan for it. She’d need different skills, she’d need to learn more, and she’d need to develop the confidence to carry out those plans. Her expectations were high.
“When we started in the first two days, I had a huge mess of conflicting thoughts and feelings,” Sarah said. “But with so many new tools, and many inspiring women around me, I learned to listen to God’s voice within me, to listen carefully and calmly to what He proclaims; and I discovered that I was burying talents that the Lord had already given me.”
With that realization came a naturally increasing confidence and the motivation to hit the ground running, learning as much as she could from that moment on.
“Through the HLE, God began to show me how I would invest these skills in projects to support and communicate the Gospel,” she said. “The Lord gave me a clear vision that was actually pretty far from my own thinking.”
Realizing her own ideas were not God’s will, she opened her heart to what He had to say. God taught her to be more committed to time and to be faithful toward the people He sent her to serve. Most importantly, God taught her to love those people and to always be vigilant, looking for those God wanted to send her way. She understood, with God’s guidance, that these were people that she could equip to go back out into the world and share the Gospel with more people than she’d be able to reach by herself.
The session was exciting — it had been a while since a group like this had gotten together, let alone a gathering of all female leaders — and it was refreshing, conversation igniting with both redemptive tales of the last three years and inspiring exhortation for these women to take on a new chapter in their respective ministries.
Like Sarah, Gemma* realized that although she was listening, she hadn’t heard the urgency in God’s voice to work to end Gospel poverty.
“It became clear to me that my role and contribution can make a real difference,” Gemma said. “The HLE helped me set goals to implement my vision and mission in my life, as well as taught me how to measure the goals set and to verify if I am on the right path.”
Through the powerful stories she heard from other female leaders, Gemma was motivated to set new goals for sharing the Gospel and equipping others to do the same. The clarity with which she could hear God’s call instilled in her a new sense of urgency, one to go out and take care in discipling others in that same sense. Ending Gospel poverty would no longer be a back-burner idea — it was priority — and all actions thereafter would be in pursuance of that goal.
“If I didn’t attend the HLE, I wouldn’t have realized the urgency to evangelize and equip God will help me to accomplish the goals I have set so I can apply my vision and mission for His glory.”
Stories like Sarah’s and Gemma’s are not uncommon at an HLE, but what is most intriguing about this already unique session is what happened outside (and before, after, and during) the week. God whispered His power and intention amidst numerous spiritual threats that could have derailed this meeting. Efforts to delay, destroy, or diminish the potential of a gathering of this group of women included delayed flights, missed flights, health issues, physical injuries, and more.
The Lord overcame each one, and prayer prevailed. Clearly, He had something important to say — and He still does today. Together, as we and Haggai leaders listen to His voice, we will end Gospel poverty.
Written by Jennifer Colosimo
*Names changed for security.
This article was written for the Winter 2023 edition of Impact magazine. To read or download it, click here.