By Brian Blackwell, Message Staff Writer
PINEVILLE – Several major life experiences have shaped the character of Debbie Stuart but perhaps none has been more impactful than her own prodigal son’s wanderings.
In October 2010, Stuart was on staff at Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas, when her son Jarrad was arrested at the age of 27.
“That journey was the most painful season of our lives and led us to unexpected places with the Lord and taught us about obedience, forgiveness, deliverance and a few other very important lessons about life and ministry,” she said.
Stuart will share the rest of her story – relating it to Paul’s shipwreck experience reported in Acts 27 – during the Kaleidoscope conference on Feb. 6 at First Baptist Church, Pineville.
“In this passage we will discover a few reasons why the Lord allows shipwrecks especially in the lives of people who are trying to be faithful and obedient,” Stuart said. “We will learn how to have a successful shipwreck as well as what to do when the Lord takes us to unexpected places for unknown reasons.”
The overall theme for the event is “Delight,” based on Psalm 119:174 and organizers are expecting 300 women to attend.
A Shreveport native, Stuart served on staff at Willow Point Baptist Church from 1994 to 2003. She is excited to return to Louisiana and senses God is moving in the lives of women in the state.
“He has given me an important message of encouragement from Acts 27 that I believe will be personally helpful and spiritually enriching,” said Stuart, recently named director of ministry initiatives at Hope for the Heart ministries in Dallas, Texas. “It is my utmost desire to speak truth into their lives and champion their faith.”
Nearly 300 women are expected to attend the annual Kaleidoscope conference at First Baptist Church in Pineville. The theme of the conference is Delight, based off the verse Psalm 119:174.
Stuart will speak during the opening and closing sessions of the conference, which runs from 9 am to 3:15 pm. Laura Meadows, who serves on the women’s ministry team at Prestonwood Baptist Church, will lead music for the event.
Breakout sessions will be offered between the main sessions with topics on how to strengthen your walk with God through time in His Word; how to engage multiple generations of women in the church; and how to minister to women during times of crisis.
Lunch will be offered as well.
“The breakout conferences are planned to meet a woman’s spiritual needs, personal growth, her family and how we work as women in our church,” said Janie Wise, women’s missions and ministries strategist for Louisiana Baptists. “This is for the woman, not just the leader.”
Wise said while spiritual enrichment will be at the forefront of Kaleidoscope, the possibility and hope of someone accepting Christ can happen, which happened during last year’s conference. She encourages all women planning to attend to bring others along.
“We always want to give an opportunity not just for strengthening our discipleship, but for others come to know the Lord,” Wise said. “Don’t come alone; bring someone with you. Bring your friends, both saved and unsaved. Bring your friends who have difficulties and are facing challenges.
“This is truly for every woman in our churches,” she continued. “We want women to take time away, even for just one day, to be refreshed, to be redirected and to follow Christ and seek His leadership in all they do.”
After that, the cost increases to $40. The final day to register is Jan. 29.
For more information and to register, go to https://louisianabaptists.org/event/kaleidoscope/