Love was truly in the air as God showered His love upon all those in attendance at the 9
annual Anna's Gate, "He's My Valentine" Banquet. An annual banquet to celebrate, according to scripture, the Lord as the Husband of the widow. There are not enough words in our language to describe the humor, the love of God, the beauty, the humor, the fun, the gratefulness, the humor, the delicious food, the humor, the friendship, the incredible talent, and did I mention the humor?
Upon entering the banquet everyone was greeted by the heavenly sounds of the harp being played by nonother than Peggy Powers. Truly powerful and spiritually awakening! Ladies were escorted to their tables by fantastic Ushers presenting everyone with the beauty of a red rose. This year was a festive 1940's, wartime, patriotic theme and attire. Crown College Instruments played, and their Girls' Choir sang songs of the 40's and 50's, it was spectacular! Incredible talent!!! They were accompanied by Danny Griffin, their music director and minister of music as well as Dr. Jason Vranes who is Chief Advancement Officer and Dean of Graduate Studies.
Did I mention the humor? Pastor Chris Kendall, the events MC, had a wonderful sense of humor throughout the entire banquet. There were many laughs as well as some very heart-warming personal stories. Bronze Star Veteran, Pastor Gerald McGinnis, led the gathering in the pledge of allegiance followed by the Crown College Instruments playing the anthems of each of our military branches. A prayer was given by Retired Brigadier General Mike DeLorenzo of the United States Air Force. His insight into what our military faces now, compared to his generation, was so well stated as to give each one of us the inspiration as to how we might pray for our military. Service to country is so appreciated and the prayers of the widow can certainly put a border of safety around our country and those in our military.
A special treat was a woman in attendance who served in each branch of our military. We are so thankful for Colleen Scott's dedication and service to our country!!!! (Later she was presented with a "Quilt of Honor" made by Edith Sexton as everyone stood and applauded!)
And then...............the founder of Anna's Gate, Dr. CarolMarie Smith, was introduced and came to the podium!!! (after being referred to as "Feisty" by the MC) She shared the "mission" of the widow and how the message has touched nations even before founding Anna's Gate! So much has been done in countries where there was no hope or way for the widow. But, through Dr. CarolMarie and Anna's Gate, God, our Hope and our Way Maker, brought hope and a way to teach widows all over the world their value and position in God's eyes and Kingdom. Talk about Power! You don't want to mess with the widow whose husband is The Lord! Lives, destinies and countries have been impacted by God, through the obedience of CarolMarie and this ministry. Glory to God!
Anna's Gates' mascot, Anne Mintz, asked God's blessing on the food and He certainly answered her prayers because it was Delicious!!!
Living Lyrics did a presentation of "Waymaker" that brought the crowd to their feet in praise and worship to the Lord. After praising God, it was time for the DOOR PRIZES. It was such a blessing and so beautiful to see all the door prizes for the widows in attendance.
(Bags of groceries were also provided for many widows by Compassion Ministries...what a blessing!)
I was seated at a table with some widows who were attending their first Anna's Gate event. They asked if I was a "regular" of Anna's Gate. Although I am not a widow, I quickly announced I was a "regular". They asked me what I thought of Anna's Gate and CarolMarie. I was blown away. What an opportunity to speak my mind. I had the attention of the table. I told them CarolMarie was one of a handful of people I have met in my life who truly exudes the Love of Christ. You know how much God loves you when you have spent time with her in conversation or in one of her teachings. I said God has a Will, a Mission, and a Plan. CarolMarie/Anna's Gate is the vessel and has said, "Here I am, send me". I believe after having their attention, they are going to be "regulars" too.
The entire day, from the opening of the doors to the closing of the banquet, God's Love Was in the AIR!!