FORT POLK, La. — If you are feeling worn down and lost after the turmoil of the last few months, consider signing up for the “If: Gathering 2021” — a women’s conference — held at Fort Polk’s Main Post Chapel March 5-6.The theme of the conference focuses around the thought that even if the worst happens, people shouldn’t lose hope. With the many challenges of 2020, the event mission statement is about being strong, even when things are falling apart, by coming together to support and care for one another.More than 34 guest speakers will live-stream during the event. The conference kicks off March 5 from 6-9:30 p.m. and continues March 6 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. There will also be live worship throughout the event.According to event coordinators, breakfast will be served at 8 a.m. March 6 and there will be plenty of coffee and snack breaks to encourage fellowship between sessions throughout the day, as well as a catered lunch from Chick-fil-A.Christina Redmond, the event’s coordinator and head of “If” ministries at Fort Polk, said women signing up for the event don’t have to attend the conference in its entirety, especially since there won’t be any child care available on site.“Attendees can come for an hour each day or for one or both days — whatever works best for them. Every minute of the event will be a blessing,” she said.The “If: Gathering 2021” is a free event, but women interested in attending need to register by going to if2021.com/register.Redmond said people should visit the page, join the Fort Polk group, type in the code MPC, fill in their name and some generic information and they will be registered.“We are already about half full on capacity; but if necessary, we may be able to expand to other locations, so we encourage people to sign up now,” she said.Redmond said number of attendees are a consideration because the Main Post Chapel must follow COVID-19 safety restrictions with a max capacity of 75% and regulations for spacing, mask wearing, hand washing and sanitizer stations.Redmond said “If” is about encouraging and equipping one another in a foundation “That’s how you change the world,” she said. “We want to gather, because we need each other to restore hope to this community.”Redmond said the founder of “If” ministries explained there are times in people’s lives when they have to be reminded of hope.“That’s why this event is so important. We need to be reminded that hope is still secure, within reach and that God is in control,” she said.In addition to hurricanes, the pandemic and other issues that have defined recent months at Fort Polk, Redmond said military life can also be challenging.“There are so many unknowns and things that can break us. To have an event where your foundation of hope can be restored by lifting one another up and making an immediate connection with your fellow sisters-in-Christ is amazing. What an uplifting experience that will be,” she said.Chap. (Col.) Scott Hammond, post chaplain, said that he is all about cheering on everybody involved in the “If” event.Hammond said the conference is a great opportunity for women of all ages, single or married, to build a spiritual foundation that is steady, regardless of what is going on in the world as a whole or more specifically in their military lives.“The Army and Fort Polk is putting an emphasis on ‘People First.’ If you are really going to put people first, (the chapel) needs to provide opportunities like this,” he said. “I think this event is one way the Lord wants us to (put people first) for the women of the chapel.”Hammond said women have always played an important role in the church.“I don’t know where I would be if I didn’t have a wife, mother or female leader in the church praying for me. It’s a powerful part of our community that we want to support with a faith-based approach.”Carrie Portwood, Protestant religious education coordinator, said she supports Redmond’s “If” conference efforts and other ministries at the Main Post Chapel.She said it’s important to host events like the “If” conference to not only bolster those who have faith, but also to welcome those who have never experienced church or faith and may be searching for the strength to get them through these trying times.“For those who don’t know anything about the Main Post Chapel and our ministries, this could be the perfect opportunity to take part in a spiritual fellowship and enjoy something that they may have never experienced in their life,” she said. “If they don’t know about faith or where to find it, the ‘If’ conference is a great place to connect with a sister who can help guide them in their search for faith.”For more information about If: Gathering 2021 visit if2021.com.