Highlights from the recent 2021 Ladies Weekend Away Retreat
The 2021 Forging Ahead Ladies Weekend Away took place from 03 September 2021 to 05 September 2021.
The build up to this year’s event was high on all levels of energy, enthusiasm and excitement, not just from me but from other ladies I knew who were planning to attend.
Are you Ready?
I arrived so early at Denham Grove, the venue for the event. I got there well before check in time of 2pm. I guess that explains how eager I was. As I waited in the bar sipping a cup of tea I ordered with my favourite oat milk, whilst listening to Dr Tumi’s love and grace album. I could not but reflect on how far God has brought me since the last Forging Ahead Event 12 months ago. I couldn’t have made it without You Jesus. I give You praise. I got totally lost in the lyrics of the songs and captivated by the melody. I released myself from all else and distractions to embrace God, in anticipation of what He was about to do this weekend. At that moment I knew I was ready!
They say time flies when you are having fun. The ‘one hour plus’ wait to check in went by so quickly. By the time I returned to the reception/lobby, there were other ladies waiting. It was nice to see others and as we got to know one another I was able to put faces to the names I recognised from the WhatsApp group forum. Check-in was smoother than I thought, despite the COVID measures and regulations. I expected there to be never ending checks, questions and thorough measures in place.
I settled in nicely into the cosy room and awaited the events to unfold.
The reputation of the host/ministry precedes it. It was formally known as ‘Abigail Outreach Ministry’ (AOM) until June 2021 when a name change to ‘The Father’s Joy’ (TFJ) was announced. The AOM/TFJ events are like none other events and I join them in giving all glory to God for another successful event this year.
As a two time attendee at the event, both in 2020 and 2021, I have on both occasions left the event recharged and refreshed to tackle what’s ahead. The theme for the 2021 event – ‘Enlarge your territory’ with the supporting scripture from Isaiah 54: 1-4; was addressed from various angles by seasoned and sound speakers.
After a lovely meal at 6pm, we headed to the suite for the beginning of the sessions. There were about 60 ladies in attendance.
The Friday evening session which included worship and the first/welcome session did not disappoint. The charge from the moderator, the prayers by all, the worship led by the worship team was all so powerful.
This was followed by the word from Pastor Sola Oke with a very clear message using the story of Jabez and the woman with the issue of the blood from the Bible, to encourage us not to allow anything to hold us back from forging ahead.
Reverend Victoria Lawrence (RVL), the founder of the Ministry followed with a prophetic word, prayers, worship and an all round taster of Gods plans.
The second day was power packed.
The worship song – ‘Goodness of God’ ushered in the power and presence of God mightily to the point where I thought if the event concluded on just that, it would have been worthwhile.
But God had more in store for us. Gods prophetic word came and the word by Sister Bola Ogundeji was delivered powerfully with clarity, precision and accuracy. She broke down Isaiah 54, and linked it to what God is saying in the NOW! I loved the explanation of ’Territory’, and the specific things God wants to enlarge us in.
She then went on to talk about those things that can hold one back and what can be done. This could only have come from the Holy Spirit! I honestly cannot detail all that was said or spoken because it was such a personal encounter, you would have to experience it yourself. I therefore encourage you not to miss the next event.
The prayer session that followed was divine.
The second day also included reflections from 4 speakers – the highlights from each speaker are:
- You are as free as your mind allows.
- Purpose versus position.
- Be a fit Christian. Look after your body – reduce portion of food, stop sugar, stop salt, increase water intake and be more active.
- Be the best version of whom God has called you to be.
There was an update on Father’s Joy, by the Chairperson and further details about the name change from AOM. The arms of the ministry was explained. I love the overall aim of the ministry – to teach, equip, empower and release children of God into their God ordained purpose.
We finished the second day in grand style with the photo shoot/ red carpet; and the evening ball; everyone was elegantly and glamorously dressed! It was certainly a fun, friendly, and fantastic ambience which I totally enjoyed and so did everyone else without a doubt.
The 3rd day was full of mixed emotions, knowing that something so wonderful is due to end.
However the events of day 3 was equally as powerful as the previous two days.
The day kicked off as usual with prayer and worship, followed by a symposium of 4 speakers on ‘what’s on your mind’. The highlights from each speaker:
1st speaker – Pay attention to your thoughts. Our mind directs every other course of our lives.
2nd speaker – Stay WOKE.
3rd speaker – The joy of the Lord is your strength.
4th speaker – Walk/work through the pain, be consistent, little steps go a long way and grow deeper in Christ to forge ahead.
Another highlight of Day 3 was the brief presentation by Sister Margaret Adebiyi on Energy and Environment Change. Amongst other things, she mentioned tips on how we can minimise energy use to improve our environment.
Day 3 Workshops
There were 4 workshops running concurrently. I must say it was a challenge for me choosing which one to attend.
With guidance from the Holy Spirit I settled for ‘Leading in Excellence’ with RVL.
Other workshops were – Financial Investment by Bola Tobun, Counselling Taster by Ronke Adeyemi, Sex and Relationship Therapy Taster by Bola Ogundeji.
The workshop I chose to attend (Leading in Excellence) was so enlightening and empowering. It was also interactive and interesting. After attendants took it in turn to explain what excellence means to them, RVL rounded it up by giving us 10 Cs that counts for excellence in leading.
- Culture for growth – develop a culture of growth for everyone.
- Courage – show courage. Be vulnerable. Vulnerability is attractive as people see humanity.
- Compassion – be compassionate.
- Creativity – allow creativity, thinking out of the box.
- Confidence – help your team to build confidence.
- Clarity – make sure you come across clearly.
- Change – be willing to change even as a leader.
- Conflict resolution – make conflict resolution a priority.
- Communicate – with the appropriate tools that will be relevant to everyone.
- Community – create a community that positively impacts everyone.
Thanksgiving and Testimonies
Over the course of the 3 day period, we heard mind-blowing testimonies from a few of the attendees; thanking God for what He had done since attending the last event.
The planning committee were acknowledged and appreciated, Trustee members were also recognised. RVL was also presented with a well-deserving gift. It was gratitude and praises to God all through.
There were no limits.
This weekend was one of the best weekends I have had in a while. Spending time with awesome, amazing and authentic women was so great. The greatest however was meeting with the King of all Kings and receiving a gift of empowerment to forge ahead, that is priceless!
I see increase all around me
Enlarge my territory!
See you at the next event by God’s Grace.