Hanni Klenk, from the Swiss-German Conference, sends the following report on the Shepherdess Coordinators meetings held for three days in Diepoldsburg, Germany: Three years ago the work of coordinating the various German-speaking Shepherdess groups began under the leadership of Elder Johannes and Gudrun Mager (Ministerial Secretary and Shepherdess Coordinator for the Division). Thirty Shepherdess coordinators from Germany, Austria, and the German-speaking part of Switzerland along with the Czech-Slovakian Union met with Jim and Sharon Cress, from the General Conference, and Johannes and Gudrun Mager. The ministerial secretaries from the represented conferences were also present. The mornings began with devotionals and included seminars by Hanna Beir and Jim and Sharon Cress. Most of the areas represented hold regular meetings for their pastoral wives and publish their own newsletters.
At a meeting, such as this one in Diepoldsburg, many ideas are presented, experiences are exchanged, and translated materials are shared. Even more important are the personal contacts made. Elder and Mrs. Mager and the Division leadership are to be commended for providing this time for Shepherdess planning.
* The North France Conference Shepherdess organization, CEP, Convention de Espouses de Pasteurs (Convention for Pastors' Wives), was organized in 1978. Lisette Massa is the coordinator for the group. The current organization has a choir and performs for special occasions.
* Shepherdess Coordinators and the Ministerial Secretaries from the Latin-speaking Conferences in the Euro-Africa Division, gathered for three days of meetings at Saleve Adventist Institute in. Collonges, France. Gudrun and Johannes Mager, from the Division office, led the group. Jim and Sharon Cress, from the General Conference, were also present. Besides devotionals, times of prayer and seminars, each evening the representatives shared thrilling reports of Shepherdess activities. A highlight was the participation from the Romanian delegation; this was the first time Shepherdess coordinators from this area have been allowed to attend because of government restrictions.
Romanian pastoral wives are active in spreading the good news of Jesus throughout their Union. During 1993 every pastoral wife in the Union held either an evangelistic outreach meeting or Revelation Seminar, in which she did the main speaking and coordinated the program. This 100 percent participation by the Union is believed to be a first! Other reports included weekly radio broadcasts and health seminars conducted by pastoral wives. Many people in Romania have been won to Jesus because of the faithful work of these pastoral wives.
* Special meetings were held for retired pastors and their spouses March 19-22 in Monte Real, Portugal. Seeing again old friends from the Lord's work is always pleasant for those, who because of age or lack of health, find themselves no longer active in the ministry. Irene Ribeiro reports that a relaxing and pleasant atmosphere prevailed among the 20 pastoral couples gathered in the Thermal Residence. Pastor and Mrs. Ezequiel Quintino, Ministerial Secretary and Shepherdess Coordinator for Portugal, led the retreat. The seminars, "The Risks of Retirees" and "The Values of Retirees" helped bury some myths that are generally held about retirees and enabled the couples to focus on potentials that are still there for them. Guest speaker, Pastor Joaquim Dias, Union President, addressed this special group. A second meeting is planned for next year.
* Olga Murga, Division Shepherdess Coordinator, reports that pastoral wives met together in Minsk, Byeforus, on March 4-5 for the first time in this region and again on May 19-21. Seminars were also held in Kishinev, Moldavia. Meetings are being planned for pastoral wives in the Russian Union in Moscow.
North American Division
* Lois Jaecks, from the Washington Conference, planned a special meeting for pastoral wives and 30 attended. Held in the Conference office at Bothell, the women enjoyed a special time of sharing and fellowship in the assembly room decorated with baskets of primroses. Barbara Aufderhar presented the devotional, "Picture of Peace." Dorothy Watts, the featured speaker, presented the topic, "Positive Partnership in Team Ministry." The ladies enjoyed a delicious buffet luncheon during the noon break.
* Mid-America Union Shepherdess Coordinator, Peggy Tompkins, has experienced a very tangible reward because of a burden she had for a church in India. She had been praying fora specialpersonal mission project. During a Global Mission presentation in Lincoln, she was impressed by the needs of the Peenya Church in India. The thought of building a church in memory of her parents, Robert and Grace Green, appealed to her. This past October, she and her husband, Joel, president of the Mid-America Union, visited Peenya and participated in the dedication of this new church which she made possible. Peggy reports it was an emotional experience for her when she saw the beautiful polished black marble stone which reads: Peggy has demonstrated the sweet essence of what a pastoral wife can do to further Global Mission projects. Peggy may you be an example to every pastoral wife to help spread this wonderful message that Jesus may come soon!
* Wanda and Dan Forbes, of the Florida Conference, have a very active team ministry geared to those who hurt. They use grief recovery seminars and counseling. Their ministry includes those dealing with death, but they also help people cope with losing a job, moving, divorce, loss of bodily functions, and more. They have helped scores of families with children who have disabilities. Dan has a degree in counseling. Wanda is a nurse practitioner, with training in grief recovery as well. She presents seminars and often speaks at retreats and camp meetings.
* Gerald and Ana Fuentes, who pastor the Tallahassee district in the Florida Conference, were a highlight at Florida Campmeeting. They presented "Windows to the Past" covering many events in the 100-year history of the Florida Conference. Ana opened each evening with the poignant statement, "God's leading us in the past assures us of His presence in the future." She closed each presentation with "We've been here 100 years, let's finish the commission." Ana dressed in period costume. A hundred years ago, dresses would often weigh up to 90 pounds. In hot climates, carrying that heavy weight around compressed many internal organs. Women fainted so often that "fainting benches" were a standard feature in many homes. Both in 1S93 and today, pastoral wives living in the Florida heat can appreciate Ellen White's counsel on Victorian fashion!
South Pacific Division
* On March 12, Narelle Love had the special privilege of being welcomed to the ranks of ministers' wives at her husband's ordination by her own mother, who is also a pastoral wife. Mrs. Shirley Hankinson presented a bouquet of flowers to her daughter at the service. Narelle is a high school teacher. She and her husband, Ken, have two children.
Southern Asia Division
* Mrs. Procena Mundu, Shepherdess Coordinator for the Last India Section, coordinated special meetings for the pastoral wives during the East India Section Constituency Meetings from March 29-April 1. Forty-three pastoral wives attended the morning meetings. They enjoyed the meetings so much that the meetings were extended to include afternoon sessions. "Parenting," "Child Evangelism" and "Relationships," were among the timely topics presented. Margaret Nathaniel, Shepherdess Coordinator for the Southern Asia Division, presented a seminar entitled "How to be the Best for God." There were devotionals, special songs, exercise sessions, and prayer and sharing time. The highlight of a special prayer time was when the ladies went under the trees and wrote out their secret petitions, then burned them all in a glass bowl. The pastoral wives felt overjoyed and truly blessed to be together and share. They left determined to do a mighty work for God in each of their churches.
New Shepherdess International Volunteer
Sometimes I am amazed at how blessed I am! Here at Shepherdess International, we have been given a blessing I especially want to share with you.
Mrs. Margarida Sarli, has offered her services to Shepherdess International on a part-time volunteer basis. She is the wife of Elder Joel arli, an associate in the GC Ministerial Association, and a Brazilian by birth. She holds a B. A. in Theology and another in Education. The Ellen G. White Estate in Brazil was privileged to have her as their curator for a time. When the Sarli's moved to Toronto, Margarida served as a Bible Instructor in the Ontario Conference. She has spent the last ten years as a pastoral wife in a local district.
Margarida will travel with her husband and conduct seminars for pastoral wives. She is especially interested in pastoral children. She brings a wealth of experience from her years in the local church. Margarida and Joel will be a blessing to each field they visit. We are pleased to take advantage of this gracious gift.