The desire for a women’s conference that calls women to a holy life had been in my heart for over a decade. When Beth Coppedge, a lady I had met at a retreat in Ohio, called me in 2002, I had no idea God was summoning us to pray for such an event. “Would you like to join with a few of us to pray in an Amish Inn in Ohio?” she asked. I loved the idea, and for several years, a few of us met nearly every six months for three days to seek God. We shared the burden for God to revive the message of holiness in our land—the message that God purifies our hearts so we can live holy lives by the power of the Holy Spirit.
In the spring of 2004, Charme Fletcher, a pastor’s wife, emailed me about the need for a deeper life conference for women. Four of us met that summer, discussed it, and committed to pray and to ask others to pray. In October a friend, not knowing of Charme’s emails and our prayers, wrote that she was sensing that “the Lord is prompting us to move forward on the women’s conference we’ve had the vision for.” After two days of emails, this friend wrote, “Okay, Aletha! The ball’s in your court...The main thing I sense is that we just get the ball rolling!” When I read that, it seemed that indeed I caught the ball. The “ball” came as a desire to bring together a few women who would share the vision of calling women to an intimate walk with God.
In January 2005, nine women from six states met in my home for three days to pray and discuss a women’s conference. We had no interest in just another conference, but we sensed a need to give women the distinctive message that love for Jesus can be the controlling passion in our lives. This truth burned within us as the message of hope we have to give. Jesus saves—He saves us from our need to be controlled by self-interests. We can, indeed, love God with all our hearts. We wanted to promote the message that God not only cleanses our hearts and inner desires and motives but that we can live fully satisfied and victorious in Jesus no matter our circumstances.
The night before the eight women arrived, I told my pastor, Dr. J. K. Warrick, of this vision. He immediately responded, “You can have this at College Church.” Because of his invitation, the first three conferences were in College Church of the Nazarene in Olathe, Kansas. We then went to Nashville First Church of the Nazarene in response to an invitation from Dr. Gary Henecke.
Other invitations came and in 2010, Come to the Fire was in Ft. Wayne, Indiana; in 2011, Grove City, Ohio; 2012 Olivet University in Bourbannaise, Illiois, 2013, Holland, Michigan; and 2014, back to Grove City, Ohio.Matthew Henry said, “When God intends great mercy for His people, He first of all sets them to praying.” God not only put this conference on the hearts of many individuals and prayer groups, but He chose and equipped Patsy Lewis to be our prayer coordinator. She has gathered many women in the United States and beyond to pray regularly for Come to the Fire. God also sent Nancy Jesudass, a Spirit-called intercessor, to pray for revival to come through Come to the Fire.
We prayed for God to summon the women, and women emailed saying they felt drawn to this conference. We prayed for God to come, and His holy presence came to that first gathering and has come in each of the conferences since.
Many women testify of the deep work God has done in their hearts.
In the year 2015 we have not held a conference believing God has asked us to take this time to seek His will for the future. We look forward with eager anticipation to what He will have us do next.
To God be the glory, great things He will do.