When the Women of Faith group lost one of their beloved speakers recently, Luci Swindoll, the original members connected online to give their tribute to her.
The original members include Swindoll, Sheila Walsh, Sandi Patty, Thelma Wells, Patsy Clairmont, Marilyn Meberg, and Nicole Johnson.
The ladies collectively called themselves the Porch Pals and have comfortably been on stages across North America talking as if they were sitting in their own living room, discussing life and faith.
The Live stream was on Facebook and Sandi Patty hosted the meeting.
"We are going to celebrate the beautiful Luci Swindoll today," says Patti. "This feels like a family reunion, minus one person."
Patsy Clairmont recalls the early start to Women of Faith that went on for roughly 20 years.
"We were in churches and we had not anticipated moving on to larger. We were in some of the biggest churches around and we couldn't hold everybody."
It did grow big quickly, so much so that they moved into an arena. Clairmont says that as the women looked at the number of seats that would be filled, they began to cry.
"We could not believe God would entrust us with this kind of space or that we would know what to do once we got up there."
But the women found a way because the conferences continued to grow.
"She had this charisma and natural impact on people," says Clairmont, recalling Swindolls personality.
Thelma Wells shared the story of the first time she met Swindoll, where she welcomed Wells without even knowing her. This started the beginning of a long bond between the two.
Marilyn Meberg counts herself as Swindoll's best friend. Shortly after they first met the fast friends went on a road trip from Texas to L.A. together.
"I see off to the side of the road a couch. I didn't say anything, I just slowed the car down. I said nothing, she said nothing. I stopped the car, we got out and walked over to the couch. We talked and talked and talked," says Meberg, reminiscing on one of her favourite memories as the two shared stories on a couch left behind by someone.
Sheila Walsh shared on how special Swindoll was to her whole family, as Walsh's son counted her as a grandparent. Sometimes Swindoll came to Christian's school for grandparents day and Walsh recounts telling her now 23-year-old son that Swindoll had passed recently. Hearing the news, he wept.
"Luci loved to travel and had a very adventurous spirit," says Nicole Johnson as the tribute continued.
The two of them had worked together for some time when they decided to plan a trip. While Johnson thought they might visit a warm vacation spot, Swindoll threw her a curveball.
"Out of nowhere, Luci says, 'Want to go to Antarctica?' I could think of other places we could go together that are closer and warmer, but who was I to say no. I was along for the ride."
The women gabbed about their dear friend, home in heaven now after passing from COVID-19 on October 20 this year, for an hour and 17 minutes.
The Swindoll family, including Chuck, Luci's younger brother, are planning a Celebration of Life when restrictions lessen, most likely in 2021.