ASCEND 2014 – Forever Free
What’s the battle you’re ready to win?
ASCEND 2014 – Forever Free brought new heights to ASCEND Women. In only our second year, we beamed to 8 countries and reached approximately 120 million people via satellite. Congresswoman Michele Bachmann spoke of her faith in the workplace and how she has been able to stay grounded in a male dominated career. International speaker Isik Abla prayed with over 300 women who came forward to be prayed over, and pray over others. The vision for this year was to help encourage women to break free from the chains that bind them. We encouraged a freedom to grow their relationship with God, and find freedom in their life’s journey, careers, and challenges.
Leading the discussion were co-hosts Brenda Epperson-Moore, Susan Wehba, and Kathleen Cooke, who opened a wealth of information with our special guest of panelists.
Congress Woman Michele Bachmann became the first Republican Women to represent Minnesota in the House of Representatives in 2006. She was listed in TIME Magazine’s “World’s 100 Most Influential People,” and Forbes Magazines’s “World’s 100 Most Powerful Women” in 2011, and ran for President of the United States in 2012. In Congress, Bachmann is a member of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, the Financial Services Committee, and is co-chair of the Adoption and Foster Care Caucuses. Prior to serving in Congress, Bachmann served in the Minnesota State Senate from 2000- 2006 and worked on hundreds of civil and criminal cases as a federal tax litigation attorney. She joins the ASCEND Team this year to talk about her testimony and how her faith helps guide her in her career.
Isik Abla was raised in a Muslim home in Turkey. She was physically abused and sadly escaped from that environment into an even more abusive situation through her Muslim husband. At 25, she fled for her life to America. After years of struggling and failing in many areas, Isik entered into intense depression. Isik had a personal encounter with God on the day she was planning her suicide. That was when she received a supernatural healing from Jesus. After several years of holding high positions in the secular environment, Isik obeyed God’s call to full time ministry. She became an ordained minister and an evangelist. Isik hosts a TV program in five languages that broadcasts to the Middle East and Europe. Her messages are full of love, healing, and freedom through Christ.
LynnMarie Rink is a five-time Grammy nominated performing artist. Her unique style of music, played on a rare instrument called a diatonic button accordion, has garnered her worldwide attention, as well as appearing on The Tonight Show. She wrote and stared in her own off-broadway production of her life story, Wrap Your Heart Around It. The musical dramity chronicles her journey from depression to acceptance of being the daughter of an alcoholic, a co-dependent, and the mother of a special needs child. The production had sold-out performances in Los Angeles and New York city, and was awarded “Best New Production” by the United Solo Theater Festival.
Starring in Will Ferrell’s film “Get Hard,” and having starred in the HBO series Treme, Edwina Findley- Dickerson is no stranger to Hollywood as she is a busy working actress in Los Angeles. However, as well as a sought-after speaker, Edwina is co-founder of Abundant Life University, an organization where artists can receive personal and professional development through workshops, mentorships, and spiritual encouragement while they pursue their dreams. Edwina has been featured in In Style, The New York Times, The Hollywood Reporter, as well as other leading magazines. Edwina lends her expertise on life in Hollywood and staying grounded to true principles.
Priscilla Chessher is a Grammy nominated singer, songwriter, and worship leader whose passion is to draw people closer to God through music. Priscilla has been singing and leading worship for over 15 years and is also part of Latin Grammy nominated music group Promissa. She is renowned in her performances at the Apolo Theater, Teatro Sucre in Ecuador, and the Hollywood Bowl. She has ministered at Godchicks conference and at Viva Conference in FL, where she was also a speaker. Priscilla’s calling for the Local Church has led her to write music for the people where they can worship and encounter God, which is why she has recently released her newest album, Worship Journey. Her desire is for her music and worship experiences to be more than “just another album or concert,” but to be actual opportunities for the audience to encounter God in a close and personal way.
Susan Isaacs is a writer and comedienne with many credits in T.V., film, and stage. She is a alumna of the Groundlings performing company, written T.V. specials for DirecTV, and contributed to NPR’s Weekend America. Susan toured with author Donald Miller promoting her memoir, Angry Conversations With God, which was named a top-ten religion book of the year by Publisher’s Weekly and Relevant magazines. She mounted a successful solo show based on the book, and travels the country performing it. She also travels the country speaking and teaching at churches, colleges, and conferences. She received her MFA in screenwriting from The University of Southern California, taught graduate writing at Pepperdine University, and teaches screenwriting and sketch comedy at Azusa Pacific University.
Christi Ebenhock was destined for a singing career and began singing for Maranatha Music at an early age. Through her teen years, she toured with many different artists around the toward. While attending Azusa Pacific University, where she majored in Vocal Performance, Christi Toured with Warner Brothers with recording artist Tia Carerra. She had recorded for Word, Sparrow, and Frontline Music with numerous Christian artists such as Crystal Lewis, Rick Florian, Al Denson, Kim Boyse, and John Schlitt, releasing her first Christian radio single with Rick Florian. She also recorded and assisted in the production of all the children’s voices for Andy Williams’ Grammy nominated We Need A Little Christmas.
Linda McCrary-Fisher was born in Youngstown, Ohio, the youngest of ten children. Linda began singing at the age of five and her professional career began at age eleven. She traveled throughout the U.S. with her family’s gospel group, The McCrary’s, for most of her childhood and as a young adult. Her early beginnings set her on the path for an extraordinary life and her vocal abilty would eventually lead to working with an elite caliber of talented individuals including Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Michael McDonald, Mariah Carey, Celine Dion, Ray Charles, Elton John, and Andre Crouch. Linda’s expertise, astounding vocal musical arrangements, choir directing, and ability to lead worship, continue to bring people to God’s restoration power through the life of Jesus Christ. She has been privileged to work with elite organizations such as the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, the Tommy Coomes Praise Band, Samaritans Purse, and Heart for World Ministries.
Robin Hanley is an independent film producer and renowned artist. She is recognized throughout the world for her spiritually inspired and patriotic works of art. Clients include President George W. Bush, Condoleeza Rice, Israel’s Defense Minister; Moshe Ya’alon, and her works hang in influential places of honor including the Bush White House, Pentagon Memorial Chapel, and Israeli Knesset. Robin’s vision of America captures the essence of the American Spirit. Hanging in the NYPD Conference room is Robin’s acclaimed painting depicting NYPD officer Vinnie Grivelli carrying a small child to safety in the midst of the devastation of 9/11. Her American values inspire her to focus on the men and women who serve the cause of freedom.