Soon after my husband and I were married in 1994, he was called to pastoral work. He was sent to work in an unentered area in Murehwa North District. There were only three known companies, and we were stationed at a non-Adventist school to start the work there. After many efforts to involve the people in the district, we finally found two Dorcas members who were willing to work with us. We had limited resources, so we started visiting the sick and collecting money, clothes, and soap to give to the needy. I would visit the other companies occasionally and encourage them to visit the poor and needy; however, since the companies were so far apart and I could not visit them often, these trips were not very fruitful. During this time, my husband was given the whole Murehwa District. The Murehwa South area had eight churches and over ten companies. My husband was stationed in an area 80 kilometers away and since I was employed as a teacher, I was unable to go with him. For one and half years my husband and I were unable to live together.
Dorcas Programs in the District There are Dorcas programs in many of the churches in the District. The Dorcas mothers give aid during funerals in their neighborhoods and sweep the churches. Two churches have strong Dorcas programs. These members collect weekly money contributions. They study topics such as church doctrine, family life and evangelism on Wednesdays. Members actively visit the sick, aged, and needy. Practical lessons on knitting, cooking, crocheting and sewing are given and each member contributes items like salt, sugar, soap, and clothes to a "needy" pantry to be used to help those less fortunate.
We have many plans for our Dorcas mothers, Some of our future goals are to:
* Create more Dorcas Federations in the District. We need clarification on what is expected of Dorcas mothers.
* Plan more cooking schools and invite non-Adventists who will be taught how to make vegetarian recipes.
* Make visitation to the old people, the sick, and the needy a priority for our members.
* Encourage all the members to wear their uniforms.
* Have consistent meetings. Leaders need to be encouraged to discuss their problems so solutions can be found. People with various talents and skills should be invited to give talks and/or lead discussions that will benefit the Dorcas members.
* Spend more time preaching. We have an evangelistic group of men and women who go and preach in un entered areas once a month. The grain is ready for harvest but the laborers are few.
Sabbath School in the District
I have met with quite a number of the officers to discuss what is expected in the Sabbath School program. The main problem we always face is that people do not come for the programs on how to run the Sabbath School. Some areas are far behind, especially in teaching kindergarten and primary classes. The people chosen to do the job are not interested; they feel the work of teaching pupils is the lowest duty given at the church level. Most do not prepare materials to use during the Sabbath School class. They come unprepared, the lessons are poorly presented and the classes are quite boring. Most of the teachers do not want to teach children at camp meetings, even though there, they can learn new skills. Thus the Children's Department is really neglected.
In an effort to improve the Sabbath School classes, I have encouraged most of the churches to have their classes divided into kindergarten, primary and early teens. I have collected some old quarterlies from the conference for the children to use. At quarterly meetings or when I go with the pastor to visit the churches, I give demonstrations on how to teach the different age-group classes. The church elders are encouraged to make sure the children's departments are not neglected.
My Experiences in Pastoral Work
I thank God for callinw my husband and Ito the pastoral work. So far, I have discovered that we cannot do the work alone. We are instruments to be used by God. Jesus has promised never to leave us alone. Though we are faced with many problems, we still have faith in Jesus.
Because my husband is a district pastor, I am often alone with our children. Usually he is gone for two or three weeks at a time. Puring the times when the children and I are on holiday, we go with my husband on his trips. We usually live in tents. I am challenged to leave my work and be a full-time Shepherdess with my husband in the field of my Jesus. I have great joy whenever I am working with my husband. Since the district is quite big, we sometimes have to go to different churches. I have teaching responsibilities and I often give cooking and nutrition classes. When there is a youth camp, I camp with the youth and prepare lessons for the girls on topics such as marriage and performing household duties like cooking. My back ground as a home economics teacher has been very beneficial to my ministerial work.
The Shepherdess programs have been of great help to me. I thank God for such a program. I have found guidance in ways to relate to church members, suggestions on how to deal with the duties of a pastor's wife, tips for caring for the family and ideas on how to enrich my Bible study and prayer life. My relationship with God has been enhanced by the Shepherdess program.
Please pray for the success of God's work in the Murehwa District. Help us with materials like old picture rolls, kindergarten lessons, and other material that would be of help for children in the Sabbath School Department. We need information and ideas for leadership for our Dorcas and Youth programs. We are still a very young family needing to grow spiritually and mentally.