Tonight after the Women's Conference a woman came up to me and said "I know your husband" then she whispered in my ear that she met him at an AA meeting. I cannot tell you how many times this used to happen to me in California. I used to tease Tom about this being my favorite question; "are you Tom Sharp's wife?". Tonight, however, when she said this to me I was choking back laughter. We moved 9000 miles away from where Tom is best known and it is still happening to me!
I paid 100 rubles to attend the conference. That is roughly a little over 3 dollars. We had tea. And here tea is not just tea. It is open faced sandwiches, cookies, little pies filled with potatoes, and so on. Then we had registration and I was given a notebook, pen and a program. Then we had worship and the speaker. After the speaker there was a time for questions and answers. After which we were fed dinner. Chicken spaghetti and some pickled veggies. We also had dessert. Tomorrow they will be feeding us four more times. I have never been to a conference where we were given so much food for so little money!
The pastor who spoke tonight talked about:
It was unbelievable to hear a Russian pastor speaking about the equality of men and women! Then he told about the differences like how men use 12, 000 words a day and women use 25,000. Men are more logical and women more emotional. And so on. He ended with talking about all the ways women MAY serve in the church. He listed everything except preaching. This was very PROGRESSIVE for a Russian pastor to think this way.
Tom was concerned about me attending for fear of how conservative the speakers might be. He noticed me getting ready to go and saw me change clothes three times before I settled on an outfit!
When we sat down to eat dinner many of the women wanted to know where I was from. And when I answered them in Russian they looked suprised... I think they were expecting Lena to translate for me. I told them I have only been here for 11 months and they were very gracious letting me speak and not laughing at my poor grammer. One woman said that she wished she could speak English as well as my Russian after only 11 months!
Lena said that she didn't want to correct in front of all the women. We talked about my mistakes as we were walking to the marshutka (a van that is like a taxi but not as expensive). But, first she told me how proud she was of me for giving my prayer request in Russian and then praying in Russian! She was just so proud of me for trying! She said that the womens faces lit up when I gave my prayer request in Russian. And they mouthed "malodets" to Lena... which means excellent!
Tom's products were on display and I don't know if anything sold but they got a lot of attention. There were also products from the big Christian bookstore in town. Lena didn't like where Tom's things were located so she complained about it and got them moved to a better location!