EVANSTON — A women’s conference, hosted by several of the local Christian churches, celebrated its founding year on Saturday, Sept. 22, as women from throughout southwestern Wyoming gathered to worship, be inspired, and learn to love their “Beauty Marks.”
The common area of the Crossroads Newlife Fellowship Church was abuzz as soup was dished up and conversations were had about the recently concluded lecture by Linda and Jennifer Barrick.
The Barricks came to southwestern Wyoming to share their story of tragedy, forgiveness and hope. Twelve years ago the Barrick family got into a head-on car accident with a drunk driver. The collision left all four family members in serious condition, with the then-15-year-old Jennifer suffering a traumatic brain injury. The family not only survived the incident, they have since begun to thrive and have spent the last six years of their lives traveling and speaking on their faith under their banner and foundation name of “Hope Out Loud.”
“We’re all broken and hurting in different ways,” said Linda Barrick of the message that she and her daughter brought to the area Saturday. Linda said that the duo hope to leave the women in attendance feeling like they can see the beauty in their scars and live with forgiveness in their hearts. The family’s trip was sponsored by a donor in Colorado who felt that the area needed to hear the message the Barricks brought with them.
“He paid for almost all of this, a guy who has never even met us before,” said Jill Bass of the Calvary Chapel in Evanston, one of the event’s organizers.
Many of those in attendance were especially impressed by the fact that several local churches had come together in a joint effort to create the event.
“We wanted the churches to work together; that was one of our major goals and we were able to pull in three churches to donate,” said Bass.
For the last several years the Calvary Chapel in Evanston has hosted a women’s luncheon, but Bass said, “This year it just laid on my heart that God wanted us to do something just a little bit bigger.”
On Saturday afternoon the attendees were again treated to another keynote speech by the Barrick as well as a performance by band members of the Crossroads Newlife Fellowship’s Worship Team. Saxophonist Katie Hackert said of playing in front of a crowd that had different faces in it than her weekly congregation, “It’s a little nerve-racking.”
There were several breakout sessions held on topics such as women’s preventive health and testing, budgeting, crafting and how to heal from or support those healing from the damaging effects of abuse. Event organizers were happy with the number of women who came to the conference and hope to see the event continue to grow in years to come.
“You can see by the amount of people here that it is wanted and needed,” said Hackert.
Bass said of the event’s purpose, “The women of southwestern Wyoming, we need each other, but we don’t always admit it.”