Once a month the ladies in Euro-Asia Division have a “playful breakfast” at the office where they discuss a topic which was chosen ahead of time. Then they pray together. They even choose a color theme for each meeting.
NORTH AMERICAN DIVISION
Seminary wives at Andrews University welcomed Spring with their third annual retreat. Lynn Ortel, director of Communication and Support Ministry (and also a pastor’s wife!), was the featured speaker; the theme of her presentation was “Through His Eyes.” The ladies enjoyed a weekend of spiritual renewal, fellowship, pampering, and affirmation of their value in God’s sight. This retreat is the highlight of many activities organized to offer seminary spouses a chance to recharge their spirits and become better acquainted with others in the group.
MOUNTAIN VIEW CONFERENCE
During camp meeting, the Shepherdess ladies of Mountain View Conference (MVC) enjoyed a lovely evening complete with balloons, colorful table coverings, a scrumptious meal, and entertaining chatter. Elaine Buchanan, MVC Shepherdess President, and Jo’an Boggess, the conference president’s wife, led out in a short but meaningful time together. Besides electing officers and completing a small survey, the women received lovely and colorful bags filled with goodies and practical gifts. Guest speakers were Clarence and Dianna Schilt, author/lecturers from Washington State, who were also presenters at camp meeting. The Schilts spoke from their hearts, received feedback, and listened to concerns from some wives who were facing difficult situations at home and/or in the church. This event was very encouraging and gave great support to the pastors’ wives.
ROCKY MOUNTAIN CONFERENCE
In May 2010 Rocky Mountain Shepherdess launched its first e-newsletter. The newsletter is filled with news, prayer and praise, book recommendations, recipes, birthday announcements, and much more. Diane Thurber, Shepherdess sponsor, along with cosponsor Jerene Nelson, has planned luncheons for the pastors’ wives at camp meetings as well as at workers’ retreats. They have many ideas for their group, including a Web site and a care coordinator to send out cards.
SOUTHERN ASIA-PACIFIC DIVISION
Anneke Wagiran reports that in January 2010, she started an English small group with her friends: Nurhati, secretary of AWR-Asia Pacific, Batam; and Nancy Manik, a pianist at the Teratai SDA Church. Her efforts were supported by Mr. H. G. Sinaga (Personal Ministries Director of the Teratai SDA Church). Anneke first distributed Bible study charts which included 32 Bible study topics. She encouraged church members and non-Adventists to join this small group so they could improve their English skills and enrich their spiritual lives. About 15 people joined her group; most are church members and a few are non-Adventists. They meet every Monday night at her house. Anneke also does visitation and holds cooking classes for her neighbors—Adventists, Muslims, Catholics, and Protestants. On March 13, 2010, one of the small-group participants—Miss Ignes Andries, a 22-year-old from a non-Adventist family—was baptized.
MANADO, NORTH SULAWESI, INDONESIA
What a treat! Thirty-seven administrators’ wives from the hospital, college, and church offices of the Adventist Church in East Indonesia (EIUC) met in March 2010 for a five-day retreat. They gathered at the Hotel Sedona in Manado, North Sulawesi, Indonesia.
Themed “Renewed by God’s Love,” the retreat was held through the initiative of Mrs. Helen B. Gulfan, director for Shepherdess in the Southern Asia-Pacific Division. Mrs. Sharon Cress, Shepherdess Coordinator for the world church, addressed the topic of “Leaders Living Together.” She pointed out that “headship is an assignment while leadership is a gift.” She further said that “both husband and wife may be gifted with leadership, but respect and love find their proper places in the home.”
An administrator’s wife is like a pressure cooker that cooks tough food faster; hence, much is expected from her beyond her usual self. The problem rests on her being less appreciated and accepted, which subsequently puts her life at risk. Mrs. Gulfan assured the participants, “Wives, Christ commends you. He provides the strength to make you able to cope with the grind of daily life.”
“The wives are often unappreciated,” said Dr. Armand Fabella, a clinical psychology professor at the Adventist University of the Philippines and one of the presenters. “But building up self-affirmation derivable from Jesus’ commendation to the seven churches of Revelation buoys your spirit.” He further noted that “wives should take the honor and appreciation their husbands receive as theirs as well.” This, he added, is the essence of unity in the home.
In one of the sessions, Ms. Poppy Lubis, Shepherdess Coordinator in West Indonesia (WIUM), addressed the topic of family finance. She said that correctly managing one’s finances gives joy to the family because it enables money to be used as a powerful instrument to glorify God.
On Friday evening, all participants enjoyed Kiddush, a special Jewish celebration of the Sabbath. Pastor Noldy Sakul, president of EIUC, took on the role of Patriarch and led out in the commemoration.
In Tomohon, Sharon Cress was the speaker for the Sabbath church service. She exhorted the ladies with Jesus’ declaration, “I know the plans I have for you . . . plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jer. 29:11).
On Sabbath afternoon, participants were invited to give their testimonies. The women talked about personal experiences that reflected their reactions to calls, assignments, work, and challenges. They prayed for each other as they continue to face the challenges of their role.
SOUTHERN AFRICA INDIAN-OCEAN DIVISION
The Malawi Union Shepherdess club had a blessed time in December 2009 visiting a support group in one of the villages which had only 34 people. The Shepherdesses took Christmas gifts, sang songs, and gave talks on positive living; some talks dealt with the AIDS situation in that area.
SOUTHERN ASIA DIVISION
SOUTHWEST INDIA UNION
The Shepherdesses in Southwest India Union met in Kanyakumari on January 7-10, 2010. The theme was “In the Footstep of the Samaritan Woman,” and Mrs. Hepzibah Kore, SUD Shepherdess Coordinator, led out. The ladies had a wonderful Sabbath with a special Sabbath School program and lesson study, panel discussion, songs, a feature talk, and a mission report. Pastor W. G. Kore spoke on “Witness to Others.” That evening the ladies enjoyed a cultural program that included skits, stories, and songs.
Margaret Nathaniel from Hosur, India, shared a pictorial report of her work with children in January 2010.
WEST CENTRAL-AFRICA DIVISION
Early in 2010 Angele Nlo Nlo, WAD Shepherdess Coordinator, was the guest speaker for the National Shepherdess Spiritual Retreat in Ghana. Approximately 250 pastors’ wives and 30 children attended the meeting.