ASH FLAT The population of this small Sharp County town is only a bit more than 1,000, according to the 2010 census. That’s why it seems to be a miracle that more than 600 women filled the Ash Flat Church of Christ Family Life Center on Friday night and Saturday morning for the annual Rock This House women’s conference.
What began as a small gathering of women from the community is now in its fourth year, and women from all over flock to Ash Flat for the event.
“We started this journey five years ago, praying that we would go in the right direction,” said Jan Haney, cofounder of the Rock This House event. “We believe Rock This House is something women can come to, be uplifted and take home with them to spread to their own ladies in various churches. … Women are hungry to hear God’s word, God’s teaching, and that is evidenced by the number of women who attend each year.”
Haney said it was the vision of the Women of Faith Ministry at the Ash Flat Church of Christ to bring events to rural areas like those that are held in larger venues. The key was to bring quality speakers to the event but keep the ticket costs low.
“We get that the economy is bad, and we know while everyone deserves to be uplifted, not everyone can afford the time and money to get to Little Rock, Memphis, St. Louis and Springfield,” Haney said. “We have kept our ticket prices at $10, but this year we did presell next year’s tickets at $20, $15 and $10. Still for $20 — if you bought first — you get the whole weekend, including light supper on Friday night and a super continental breakfast on Saturday morning.”
The weekend is always filled with women who have inspiring stories to share. Haney said the goal is for the women who attend the event to walk away with something to take back to their families and communities.
Friday night, many tears were shed during the “cardboard testimonies.”
“All of us have a life story, and we’ve all had to face a challenging event,” Becky Nicholson Foreman said as she held up a cardboard sign with “Lost loved ones” written on it in black permanent marker.
She told the story of losing her husband and daughter in a car accident nine years ago. Foreman also suffered life-threatening injuries. But through her faith, she said, she has been able to move on with her life in a positive direction.
Several other people paraded across the stage with various signs depicting a struggle on one side of the sign and a resolution on the other.
This year, the event featured Esther Burroughs as the keynote speaker. Burroughs — who grew up in Canada in the home of a Baptist minister — is an author who encourages women and families with God’s word and life lessons.
Her message was geared to
leaving a legacy for one’s children.
“Pray for your child, and be specific and pray consistently,” she said.
The women are already working on next year’s Rock This House, which will be held July 26 and 27. The event will feature Lysa TerKeurst, best-selling author and president of Proverbs 31 Ministries.
For more information on Rock This House, visit the Ash Flat Church of Christ’s website, ashflatcofc.org.
Staff writer Jeanni Brosius can be reached at (501) 244-4307 or firstname.lastname@example.org.