Editor's Note: See the PDF for the accompanying pictures
Annual Council 2018
More than 100 spouses met in Battle Creek, Michigan, during Annual Council in October. Meetings focused on church history and how pioneers led the church. Vicki Griffin, Health Ministries director for the Michigan Conference, presented several informative, useful seminars for the spouses. They spent time in prayer, learning, and fellowship.
East-Central Africa Division
In April, the West Kenya Union Conference held a four-day Shepherdess congress at the University of Eastern Africa in Baraton. About 450 Shepherdesses gathered to share challenges and victories in mission, pray together, and encourage those just starting ministry.
The Northern Tanzania Union recently held a Shepherdess retreat for the Mara Conference. Younger Shepherdesses, less experienced in ministry, gained valuable encouragement from retired and widowed ministry wives. Please continue to pray for this group.
An annual retreat for pastors’ wives in Bulgaria supplies enough inspiration and support to last all year. Approximately 35 pastors’ wives, including retired colleagues, recently gathered in picturesque Dobromirka to enjoy time together.
Elvira Wanitschek, Shepherdess director at the Inter-European Division, and Ventsislav Panayotov, president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Bulgaria, were the weekend presenters. In a warm and friendly atmosphere, the women shared difficulties and successes and once again felt the power of God’s Word building unity among them.
Pastors’ children (PKs) in Bulgaria recently spent several days together in Sofia. Three church departments—Youth, Children’s Ministries, and the Ministerial Association—
sponsored the event. Thirty children up to 18 years of age attended the retreat. Rainer Wanitschek, Ministerial Association and Family Ministries director for the Inter-European Division, with his wife, Elvira, presented an exciting program filled with interactive studies of God’s Word, discussions, profound spiritual insights, and sharing.
For a service project the youth made cards to raise funds for a seriously ill person needing an expensive medical treatment. They also hiked Vitosha Mountain.Meetings like this prove once again that although there are many means of communication today, nothing can replace live interaction and building real-life friendships.
Southern Asia-Pacific Division
Early this spring, Sabah Mission leaders held a marriage enrichment retreat for pastors and their wives at Debbie Chan, Family/Women’s Ministries director for the
Southeast Asia Union Mission (SAUM); her husband, Mark Chan, a retired pastor; and Kozel Malim, Sabah Mission Family Ministries director. Seminars covered topics such as communication, family finance, resolving conflict, and forgiveness.
The SAUM has intentionally held basic training seminars for district Shepherdesses in the Sabah Mission this year, dividing them by region. They learned through seminars and sharing what it means to be a pastor’s spouse and how to handle the challenges of ministry. These retreats also provided opportunities for families to spend time together.
Bangladesh Adventist Union Mission (BAUM) recently held a Shepherdess and Women’s Ministries retreat for the West Bangladesh Mission region. BAUM Shepherdess/Women’s Ministries director, Mahuya Roy, and Reva Chowdhury, Women’s Ministries director for Dhaka church, organized this retreat. More than 41 women gathered for the event, titled “Reflections of His Love.” On Sabbath they went to Bangla Hope to visit with and encourage more than 200 orphans.