Editor's note: Please see PDF or print edition for pictures
Recently the pastors’ kids from Caucasus Union Mission met in Taganrog City for a congress. The motto was “I Need You,” and about 130 pastors’ kids participated in the meetings. They were a cheerful group who enjoyed working in ministry with their parents. At the end of the congress two young people were baptized. Following are pictures from this event:
North American Division
Texico Conference: Laughter, tears of joy, shared emotions, crafting, treasure hunting, eating, and gift-receiving made up the primary activities of the fourth bi-annual conference pastors’ wives retreat. Thanks to Rita Stevens, wife of conference president Jim Stevens, and a host of gracious sponsors and supporters, the wives were treated to a special weekened that took place at conference headquarters in Corrales, New Mexico.
“Preparing for the Bridegroom” was the theme of every activity that took place. The ladies were invited to a banquet, given gifts of bath products and lip balms, and participated in a treasure hunt. Carmen Griffith, Southwestern Union women’s ministries director, was the keynote speaker. The banquet included crowns and a foil river of life, with trees and everything, touching the aesthetic senses.
Oklahoma Conference: Pastors’ and officers’ wives had a ball at the 2006 Shepherdess Retreat. It was a “women only” affair for conference pastors’ and officers’ wives. The 2006 Shepherdess Retreat at Wewoka Woods was a first-rate experience for those who normally work behind the scenes to support pastoral husbands and the work of the church. The women enjoyed a weekend full of listening, sharing, eating, sleeping, and exercising. Many of the presentations, led by Teresa Costello, were held around the large, cozy dining-room fireplace. There the participants laughed, cried, and encouraged each other.
When it came to meals, the bounty was unparalleled! Lisa and Robin East prepared and served the most beautiful food imaginable in an equally beautiful Hawaiian setting. Tiny lights twinkled about the room, and onstage a large, rectangular Kon-Tiki fountain spouted water into a little, blue swimming pool complete with fish, shells, sand, and rocks. A video of Hawaiian scenery was shown on screen as ukulele music played.
It was with reluctance, hugs, and profuse thanks that the women parted ways on Sunday afternoon. The retreat helped to lift spirits, refocus perspectives, and renew relationships for the “less visible half” of the ministerial team.
Southern Africa-Indian Ocean Division
Madagascar is the third largest island in the world. On May 5-12, 2007, the 76 shepherdesses from Indian Ocean Union Mission met together for meetings. Denise Ratsara, SID Shepherdess Coordinator, presented uplifting topics to the ladies. It was their first time together, and the participation was tremendous. Another shepherdess who is a medical doctor spoke on “Nutrition for the Pastoral Family.”
The week concluded with the ordination of 11 pastors. A choir of pastors and shepherdesses was formed during the week and on Sabbath afternoon presented a special song for the ordination. There were 1,151 baptisms. The shepherdesses vowed to go back to their fields and work in a mighty way for their Lord until He comes.
Southern Asia-Pacific Division
West Indonesia Union Mission: Poppy Lubis reports that 411 participants attended the recent Shepherdess Council which was held together with the Ministerial Council of the West Indonesia Union Mission at Indonesia Adventist University (UNAI) in Bandung, Indonesia, on June 13-16,2007.
Pastor Johnny Lubis, WIUM President, opened the program with a spiritual challenge to be more like Jesus. Elder Anthony Kent, the Associate Ministerial Secretary of the General Conference, gave a talk called “A Pastor Speaks to Pastors’ Wives.” He shared the experiences of his grandmother and mother as ministers’ wives and how they supported their pastor husbands in the home, in church, and in the community.
Delegates from each mission/conference/field presented their inspiring and heart-rending testimonies on how the shepherdess in their respective fields are working with their spouses to “Tell the World.” Beautiful songs were also presented in that meeting by the delegates.
Helen Gulfan, Shepherdess Coordinator for SSD, nurtured the participants’ spirits with her presentation entitled “A Team Ministry.” Her talk addressed communication issues of the pastoral couple. She also demonstrated how shepherdesses can be team partner with their husbands.
Dr. Prema Gaikwad, professor at the Adventist International Institute of Advanced Studies (AIIAS), inspired the participants to “Live a Balanced Life.” She emphasized that everything in our lives should be balanced, especially if we want to be more like Jesus.
During the closing program on Sabbath afternoon, all delegates presented the work developments in their field/ mission/conference. The highlight of the afternoon was the presentation of ministerial pins to all pastors. Asked about their impressions of the event, some participants said it was “memorable and inspiring to be together with all pastors and shepherdesses, to learn together and fellowship together to enhance the quality of service for God.”
Sangihe Talaud Island Mission: All the shepherdesses met and held an evangelistic meeting in a Tahuna Church. One hundred people were baptized, and another baptism will be later on. The South Minahasa Conference shared the idea of holding an “open house” for all pastors and their families. They created a team that visited all the pastors’ homes in that conference. The pastoral families appreciated the visits and time spent in prayer.
North Philippine Union Mission: Eleanor Roque, NPUM Shepherdess Coordinator reports that on May 4 6, 2007, 142 PKs attended the first union-wide Preachers’ Kids Convention. This unique event was launched mainly by the Ministerial department through Shepherdess International and in coordination with Family and Children’s Ministries, Youth Ministries, Women’s Ministries, Health Ministries and the Communication Departments, with a five-fold intent which are as follows: (a) to celebrate God’s goodness and guidance to PKs through the years; (b) to establish friendship, camaraderie, and support for pastoral children; (c) to recognize PKs varied talents and spiritual gifts; (d) to help PKs understand their special roles; and (e) to listen to their stories and life experiences.
The speaker for the opening ceremony was Elder Gary Rustad, Associate Executive Secretary of Southern Asia-Pacific Division. He realistically presented what it’s like to be a PK by making use of object lessons taken from biblical truths, concepts, and principles and his own experiences as a second-generation PK himself. The Sabbath message was given by Pastor Abner Roque; with him as worship participants were selected PKs—Dr. Raul Morena, Miller Payoyo, Ben Omar Saban, Francis Ray Gayoba, Verby Bermudez, Francis John Tejano and Rangie Mar Perdido—sons of previous and present denominational leaders and directors. Pastor Carmelito Galang, Jr. and Pastor Oseas Zamora jointly led out in a solemn Commitment Ceremony held at the prayer garden of the 1000 Thousand Missionary Movement campus.
The team-building program included activities such as small groups, sharing, brainstorming, scavenger hunts, crafts, and scrapbooking, which fostered camaraderie and enhanced closer bonding among the pastors’ kids. Many PKs expressed their wish that the convention be a yearly event.
The success of this event suggests the need for similar conventions in other missions/conferences. PKs have special needs’ and like other kids in our church, they deserve our constant support and prayers, and varied programs for them should be included in our strategic plans. Caring for pastoral kids can go a long way in achieving the noble purpose of the pastors with their families to advance the kingdom of God and prepare people for the return of Jesus.
Bangladesh Union Mission: Lucena Chambugong reports that on July 16-18, 2007, a training seminar was held for ministers/shepherdesses/elders at Kellogg Mookerje Memorial Seminary of South Bangladesh Mission. The theme of the training seminar was “Know, Learn and Do.” Mrs. Helen B. Gulfan, Women’s Ministries Director/Shepherdess Coordinator, gave inspirational speeches for women. Pastor Edward P. Chambugong, BAUM executive secretary and Dr. Douglas D. Roy, religion department chairperson of BASC, led the training seminar for ministers and elders. The 83 attendees were interested and eager to join in the meeting.
Mrs. Lucena Chambugong, Shepherdess Coordinator, also promoted a new project by the women of the SBM: “Project B = B is for Bible equals Baptism”. This project is totally new in Bangladesh and exists only in SBM now. Mrs. Chumbugong gave 10 Bibles to the volunteers so they could share them with others to help them learn about the Bible and Christ. The women were eager to participate in the project and ready to bring souls to Christ through Bible study.
Mrs. Gulfan gave the morning devotional. As an illustration, she planted a litchi tree in front of the principal’s quarter.
After the meeting, the ladies visited the South Bangladesh Mission at Gopalgonj, where students were waiting in an honor guard. Mrs. Gulfan, Dr. D. D. Roy, and Pastor E. P. and Mrs. L. Chambugong planted guava trees in a ceremony.
The meeting was fruitful by the grace of our loving God. Everyone was so happy to join in the seminar to learn more about helping the church and working for God. Everyone enjoyed the training seminar. They learned many new things to help them more effectively work for God.
Southern Asia Division
North East Andhra Region: Kamala Jesudas, North East Andhra Region Shepherdess Coordinator, shared that on April 17, 2007, the Shepherdess Advisory was held at the region headquarters. Mrs. Hepzibah Kore, SUD Shepherdess Coordinator; Vinodhini John, Union Shepherdess Coordinator; and Madhuramani Wilbert, Union Assocciate Director, were presenters at the shepherdess meetings. The messages were inspiring and beneficial, and many valuable lessons were learned.
Suffer the Little Ones To Come
Mrs. Margaret Nathaniel, retired SUD Family and Children’s Ministries Director and Shepherdess Coordinator, reports:
The Titan Watch Company is about three miles from our Division Headquarters. The company has built 200 homes for their employees; three Adventist members have also purchased homes in this vicinity. One Sabbath afternoon while visiting one of these homes for potluck, we saw several children playing on the road. The children were from well-to-do homes; in most cases, both parents worked at the Watch Company, so the children’s grandparents often cared for these little ones. Instantly we decided this would be an ideal place to start a Story Hour.
We contacted Dr. Helen John, who had purchased a home in the area. We asked if she would let us use her porch for story hour, and she readily agreed. We distributed about 40 invitations. Parents seemed interested, and several asked if there was a cost for the story hour, and we told them it was totally free. That Sabbath ten children attended. The next week we asked them to bring their friends, and every week, four to six more children attended. At one time more than 60 children came to the story hour. We now have an average of 40 attending.
We told nature stories and character-building stories, and we taught the children some good action songs. After one quarter, we included talks on the different parts of the body; we always referred to the God who created the different parts of our wonderful bodies. The third quarter we told Bible stories, talking about Daniel, Elijah, and others. Now we have started regular Bible lessons, beginning with Creation.
The children are intelligent and eager to learn. They ask sensible questions and want to know more. We believe these little ones can reach the hearts of their parents, who will then be touched by God’s love and realize who the true God is. We need your prayers so we can one day establish a church in this area. We believe nothing is impossible with God
The ministry wives in the Southern England Conference recently had a garden party. The following is a pictorial report at their English country garden.
West-Central Africa Division
The Sahel Union shepherdesses met at the Togo Mission for meetings. Following is a pictorial report.