SAN DIEGO Women should not make any assumptions about the Tour of Hope, said event organizer Noel Brewer Yeatts, because "this ain't your mama's women's conference!"
Tour of Hope is a cause of World Help, founded by Yeatts' father, Vernon Brewer; but Yeatts is the driving force behind the movement, launched in October. Concerned about the inward focus she observed in much of women's ministry, she created Tour of Hope to motivate women in a new direction.
A Southern California conference will be held February 26 at Sonrise Community Church in Santee, California. In the northwest, the conference will be at the Ridgefield Church of the Nazarene in Ridgefield, Washington, March 26.
"I believe women are the largest untapped resource in the world," Yeatts said. "I want to empower women to change the world. The problem is, to do that we must go completely against the grain of our culture. We have to get up-close and personal to issues that will take us out of our comfort zone and face to face with the neediest people in our world today."
Rather than becoming overwhelmed by issues like hunger, poverty, AIDS or sex trafficking, women will learn in four hours how to wrap their arms around practical ways to get involved.
"We are cramming a lot of great content into a short amount of time," Yeatts said. "We know that women are busy and it is hard to get away from our daily personal and family responsibilities; so instead of an all-weekend event, we are providing a great experience in a short amount of time. Believe me, the time will fly by."
"One of my goals, was to create something that would appeal to women of all ages," Yeatts said. "We are creating an environment that is cause- and action-oriented, which really appeals to the younger generation. At the same time, we are not alienating the older generation. We are giving them a fresh way to get involved."
The event is not just for women who are already in ministry.
"We are looking for women who are ready to take the next stepready to use their life to change the world," Yeatts said. "The last thing we need is more people simply feeling sorry for people in need or feeling guilty for the blessings we have been given. We need women of action!"
Besides Yeatts, speakers include Danita Estella, founder and CEO of Danita's Children, an organization that rescues and cares for orphaned children in Haiti; and Jo Saxton, director of 3DM, an organization that helps church leaders embrace discipleship and mission in the local church.
Acclaimed musician Chrystina Fincher, featured in Catalyst conferences nationwide, and World Help's Children of the World International Children's Choir will perform.
Inspired by her dad
Yeatts, 38, and married with two sons, comes by her love for missions naturally, often traveling from her home in Lynchburg, Va., to join her father in Haiti, Guatemala, Romania and other countries.
"Everything I know about missions and ministry I have learned from my dad," she said. "His life missions statement is this: 'Every day I try to live my life in such a way that I accomplish at least one thing that will outlive me and last for eternity.' I can't think of a better example to follow than that."
She went on her first missions trip at age 11, and it changed her perspective.
"But it was on a special trip to Brazil when I was a teenager that God revealed to me what He wanted me to do with my life," she said. "Through a street child named Nildo, I learned that I can't save all the children in the world, but I can make a difference for one. We really can change the worldone child at a time."
Stateside, she represents and speaks for World Help as its vice president, overseeing Tour of Hope, and as the president of "causelife"a movement to provide clean, safe water wells in Central America and Africa.
Yeats said that women can remain involved long after the conference by signing up for a Tour of Hope trip to Haiti; starting a Women of Hope Community like the one in Portland, Ore., which sponsored a 5K Turkey Trot to raise money for clean water in one village or through child sponsorships. Women can also shop with purpose at the Tour of Hope marketplace.
"I would like to see Tour of Hope become the largest movement of faith-based women in the world," Yeatts said.
Tour of Hope conference
Dealing with issues on Poverty, trafficking, HIV/AIDS and clean water
• February 26, 2011
Sonrise Community Church, 8805 N. Magnolia Ave., Santee, California
• March 26, 2011
Ridgefield Church of the Nazarene, 747 Pioneer St, Ridgefield, Washington 98642