Three speakers will be featured at the upcoming Episcopal Church Women Diocese of West Missouri Annual Fall Conference.

Three speakers will be featured at the upcoming Episcopal Church Women Diocese of West Missouri Annual Fall Conference.

Carthage's Pam White and Donna Fields, and visiting from Bolivar, Mo., Minda Cox will be speaking at the event Oct. 5-6 at Grace Episcopal Church, Carthage. Fields will speak on the gifts of women, White will report on her adventures in Haiti, and Cox will share her experience in Botswana.

Minda Cox, originally from India, was born with no arms or legs. She was adopted by Cathy Cox, an American who was touched by the little girl's story. As a young child, Minda started creating artwork by gripping a marker between her chin and shoulder.

Now at the age of 20, Minda inspires others with her art, overwhelming spirit and faith in the Lord.

The conference will start with registration at 3 p.m. Friday, Oct. 5, and conclude at 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 6. For $35, those attending will enjoy the presentations, wine and cheese social, Friday dinner, Saturday morning snacks and lunch. The deadline is to register is Oct. 1.

A message from Minda Cox

Art has always been my passion, although it has only been within the last few years that I have had a teacher who believed I could paint despite my disability. I love watercolor, because I enjoy the sense of movement, and freedom of the water and color working together to produce even more than I had first envisioned. I love even the uncertainty about exactly how an idea will turn out once the paint touches the wet paper. It appeals to the side of me that wants to fly, to take risks. When I discovered that I could use pen and watercolor together, I began to develop a new combination of gesture drawings and paint on vellum. This is fun for me and is another way for me to express my freedom. I also love pencil, because I can work slowly and carefully and make changes if I want to. It is restful, which appeals to another, quieter part of me.

Everything I want to do and cannot do with my body, art does for me and in me. My art dances when I cannot; my paint runs for me when I am bound to my wheelchair. The colors jump and clap for joy, although I cannot do either of those things apart from my art. I do not paint dark things because my life is not sad, but the absence of arms and legs does involve real physical limitations that art somehow diminishes. I hope the viewer will sense that freedom in my work.

My driving force is God: God who created me with the capacity to be creative. Discovery of the gift of art in myself gives me joy, and confidence that God has made me in his image, and is calling me to use my gifts of art and speaking to give delight, and to express beauty.

I hope also to encourage women in some third world or other impoverished area to demonstrate by the creative and colorful works of their hands that the joy of Jesus shines even where despair ought to reign, and also to discover that their artistic skills can help them provide for their families.