About Women of Purpose, Int'l » Our History
The Women of Purpose, International organization was a vision given to Dr. O. Virginia Phillips upon her return to Oregon in 1993 after a year in Battle Creek, Michigan, where she served as Executive Director of Family and Children Services. Upon her return, she sought God for her next step. In October 1993, she was asked by a pastor she knew to work with the women in his church. Knowing God wanted her to move in a different direction, she agreed to work with the women there. Her longing was to see healing in inner city families. Since so many of the families she ministered to were single women who were heads of households, she felt that if women were healed then their children would have a better life.
Dr. Phillips prayed because she wanted a different approach to the family. As she prayed, the Holy Spirit directed her to write the vision. As she began to write she had the distinct understanding that God wanted a family ministry, and His Word to her was:
"Reconciliation and Restoration to my people is the desire of my heart, therefore you will use the gifts I have given you to connect My people to My heart. Reconciliation cannot be programmed; its foundation is Love, and I Am Love. I have given you opportunities in each season of your life to bring healing through My love. Begin with the women. They have been hurt and need to be healed. Every woman is created on purpose for a purpose, so this ministry will not be for some women, but all. Go forth and each step you take, I will guide you. This walk is different from your former walk; you will be led by My Spirit, and all that you have done in the past will not be the same. Because of the importance of this move, you will learn to 'WAIT'. Whatever men say you should do, you cannot do; your orders come from Me, and you will move by faith, and not by sight. You will be a Gideon army who will influence many; Women of Purpose, International is an 'in the trenches' ministry. You will personally and financially sow into this ministry seven years; I will take care of you and your household. The women that I will send to help you will be 'called'. They will not be voted in. I will send them and each one will know that they have been chosen; the scripture that will guide this ministry will be Romans 8:28,29. Write the vision and 'go with it'." The vision was for interconnected ministries.
Dr. Phillips went forward with the understanding that she could not minister to these women only, but to women from all races, denominations and social status, churched and unchurched. The group began with seven women on December 10, 1993. It grew rapidly to 30 women from 11 different denominations. It moved from the inner city to the suburbs and in February 1994, the first relational luncheon was held in Tigard, Oregon at the Newport Bay restaurant. Sixty-four women attended and 22 women could not attend because there was not room. These relational lunches happened bi-monthly and as a result, support groups sprung up under-girded by prayer.
As Women of Purpose grew, it was apparent that every ethnic group, denomination and culture was not only a part of the vision but also that the women became the message of Reconciliation, Restoration and Renewal. The group that began in the inner city of Portland spread to towns in Oregon where there were no African Americans, but there were Hispanics, Native Americans, Russians, Asians and other culture groups. These women connected and a phenomenal thing happened; these women became sisters and God drew them together by His Love. Dr. Phillips became an African American leader with primarily Caucasian women because of the love God had poured into her heart for all people. She says when believers walk after the spirit and not after the flesh there is a heart connect and the person's outside appearance ceases to be a problem. We recognize Christ in our brothers and sisters because of our heart connect to God, the one Father of us all. One of her favorite sayings when she visits groups of a different culture and denomination is, "I am the relative that you haven't met. This is a family reunion."
As the group grew from one to 20 groups in five regions that covered 25 states, households were healed and husbands of Women of Purpose supported the women. In 1999, at the Women of Purpose, Int'l. conference in Portland, Oregon, the men formed a support group called "Pathway to Maturity." Men were called to godliness, completing the family circle that God intended from the beginning of this ministry. Rev. Joshua Phillips mentored the men in the beginning.
In Women of Purpose, all along the way there has been a birthing. The vineyard is complete because it includes men, women and children: all denominations, races and cultures, and from the beginning it has been International. Before all these components were actually in place, God had spoken and said, "WRITE IT DOWN, AND GO"!