Every step of my journey to the mission field has been a learning experience in trusting God. From childhood as I listened to records of bible stories of Noah, Daniel and David, God planted a deep desire to share His love, grace and mercy with others. Over the years, He has provided many surprising avenues for ministry.
As a young registered nurse being married to a pilot, I thought surely we would serve the Lord overseas. However, opportunities for such service during the 1980’s were very limited. The years passed quickly. My “mission” service changed from nursing to homeschooling mom to development director of Adventist Frontier Missions.
Then in 2007, with both of our girls in adulthood and with fifty years of God’s refinement, we received a call from the Seventh-day Adventist Church World Headquarters to serve Him overseas in Papua New Guinea. Over the years, I’ve learned that God’s timing is perfect. And that He delights in our submission to His presence. I can hardly wait to see what He has in mind for us here in PNG.
For more information about Susan Payne and her ministry, visit her blog at www.AdventistMission.orgBack to the top
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“Financing for gender equality and the empowerment of women,” is the 2008 theme for The Commission of Status of Women (CSW). Dedicated exclusively to gender equality and advancement of women worldwide, this conference is the principal global policy-making body.
Our church has been represented at the CSW since 1995, when Ardis Stenbakken, former Women’s Ministries director, attended the Conference in Beijing China.
For the 13 Seventh-day Adventist Women’s Ministries directors who are going to participate this year, the information on women’s issues such as poverty, health, abuse etc. will help them to implement initiatives in Women’s Ministries. It will also help them to educate the women in their local fields.
“The conference is an opportunity to link with women from all over the world on issues we have in common, and to share with them what our church is doing to help women”, says Heather-Dawn Small, General Conference Women’s Ministries director who attended the conference in 2006.
Additional information about the CSW conference can be found on its website at http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/csw/52sess.htm
If you are interested about the church’s work with women and/or the United Nations, visit, respectively, http://wm.gc.adventist.org and http://un.adventist.org. See below for the General Conference Women’s’ Ministries 2008 CSW Statement and news releases.Back to the top
by Dorcas Wellio
Today was the first day at school for Place of Joy. Our first student arrived at 7:05 a.m. with her mom. There was a bit of anxiety for the teacher, Mrs Gwambakomba, as she anticipated having language problems with the kids and new parents. But the mom was receptive. We waited quite a bit for the others to arrive so we kept busy by sweeping and dusting around and chatting to the new little girl.
Finally the moms and kids started trickling in slowly, one by one. We welcomed each parent with a warm handshake and every child with a hug. Some were really excited and happy to be at school but for the disadvantaged who had been picked from their homes and not escorted by parents, it was a different story. It took a lot of effort to make them smile, tell me their names or even look at me! They were cold and shivering and we soon realized that their clothes were damp from the previous night’s washing. We immediately took action and wrapped them each in cuddly blankets and sat them at a table full of toys so they could relax and play. One particular little girl was so cold, her teeth chattered and she started crying. We laid her on a mattress to rest and when she had regained her confidence, she came to join the others.
We started worship with 15 students. We prayed, sang, heard a story, sang more and prayed.
After worship, it was lesson time and all the toys were taken to a corner. Unfortunately I had to return to my daytime job. I prayed as I drove to work for the kids and their families, for the staff and everyone involved in the success of the project. Many of the kids had already started calling me “ticha!” (teacher). By the end of the day, the total attendance was up to 19 and more promising to come tomorrow. Indeed it was a blessed and joyful day for the boys and girls! We praise God for opening our doors today.
To read more about how the Botswana WM Care Center started, go to May08.pdfBack to the top
Beginning with the June/July 2008 issue, Women of Spirit will be available in both Spanish and French! This arrangement is a result of a partnership between the Inter-America Division Publishing Association and Women of Spirit (published by the Review and Herald Publishing Association.)
For only US$22 (plus $7 postage for each address outside the US) you can buy one subscription and send one subscription for free. To take advantage of this offer, log onto www.WomenofSpirit.com, or call (800) 456-3991, and specify your preference for the, English, Spanish or French editions.
Bulk pricing is available for US$8.47 each (plus postage) for 1-99 copies to the same address; US$7.97 each (plus postage) for 100-299 copies, and US$7.47 each (plus postage) for 300-499 copies. For questions on bulk orders, e-mail email@example.com.
—Jacki Smith, Women of Spirit director of marketingBack to the top
On April 04, 2008 the Mongolia Disabled center celebrated their first anniversary. Around 50 people including families of the disabled and Hospital staff attended the ceremony together with representatives from the Women’s Ministries Department of the Mongolia Mission Field (MMF). During the week we did two trainings simultaneously, one for the Hospital nurses conducted by the MMF Health department and two doctors from USA. Purev, MMF staff, taught a computer literacy class for 20 kindergarten teachers and told stories for the kindergarten children every day.
In the beginning of May we had a 15-day evangelistic series conducted by Check Sam, a medical doctor from the USA. From his own personal experience being confined to a wheelchair for more than six months, he was very sympathetic to those disabled and even visited them in their homes. Before leaving, he donated some money for the center so that there could be follow-up bible studies. Now at least 20 people get together in the house of our only Adventist leader there to study Bible.
Please pray that we will be able to register the center this year, locate a professional person to oversee the Center, restructure the program and find our direction and focus.
– Cleidi Kuhn, Mongolia Mission Field Women’s Ministries DirectorBack to the top
Gender may keep some 70 percent of the Seventh-day Adventist world church's membership out of many church leadership positions, but here in Southern Mexico altering that tradition is transforming some churches.
Though they're not ordained as such, many women are serving as elders in their local church -- an act that church leaders say wouldn't have been possible here a decade ago.
While the creation of Women's Ministries in some local Adventist churches has granted women the opportunity for leadership and self-development, church leaders say they've noticed that other changes often accompany the addition of the new ministry.
Marbella Ascencio is one of three elders at the Juarez Central Adventist Church in Juarez in the Southern Mexican state of Chiapas. Church leaders in the area say the possibility of a woman serving as a local church elder was not possible as recent as 10 years ago. [photos: Ansel Oliver/ANN]
"This church didn't used to be so friendly," says Rocio Perez, a member of the Juarez Central Adventist Church. "Members were detached and didn't seem to care for each other but now they feel more connected. There's more care and concern."
A key factor is overcoming the prevalent shyness in the local culture. "It's been common in our churches for the adult women not to speak in public," says Marbella Ascencio, 38, one of three elders at the church. Women leaders address the issue at weekly regional prayer breakfasts, leading Bible studies of stories in which women played a role in church leadership.
"We've seen a change," Ascencio says. "We now see a more dedicated group of women."
Women's Ministries was originally launched at the Adventist world church's headquarters in 1898 by Sarepta Myranda Irish Henry. She died two years later and the department fizzled out. The ministry wasn't reestablished until 1995. Church leaders here say they began to notice its effects soon afterward.
Lupita Arenas, right, Women's Ministries director for the Adventist church in North Chiapas, says giving women leadership opportunities not only gives them self-confidence, but enhances the church culture as well. Her goal is to help women in the region, once marginalized, become aware of their importance in church life.
Lupita Arenas, Women's Ministries director for the church in North Chiapas, says men in church now see women in a different way. "They are now aware that these ladies are able to lead and to teach," she says. "We have to accept that God has a purpose for us. What we're trying to do is make women aware of their importance and they're value and to exercise that leadership."
Arenas says the ministry also helps women enroll in literacy programs. The illiteracy rate is about 20 percent of the local population, even higher among women, she says.
Central Juarez Adventist Church member Nelly del Carmen Gomez, 53, says most women in the area are marginalized because many are required to work at home, making education impossible even if there's a school next door.
"When I was six years old I was fully involved in work at my house," Gomez recalls.
Now she encourages other women to take advantage of available education. "Getting a diploma is a way of affirming your self esteem and growing as a person."
Congregants exit the Juarez Central Church after a recent weekly Women's Ministries meeting.
Dulce Valdez is a living witness of what Women's Ministries is doing for Adventist churches. Originally from Sonora in Northwestern Mexico, she came to Chiapas to support her husband.
"When they asked me to be a leader I was surprised," she says, recalling that she didn't have much experience.
Valdez now organizes 300 women every month for Women's Ministries.
"You're working even harder than your husband," Arenas, the regional Women's Ministries leader tells her.
For more information, visit wm.gc.adventist.org. -- additional reporting by Raul Lozano
Source: Adventist News Network/Ansel OliverBack to the top
The Festival of Religious Freedom that took place on the Estadio da Citadela Desportiva in Luanda, Angola on Sabbath June 28, 2008 was the culmination of a three-day Congress of the IRLA with the following theme â€œCoexisting in peace and liberty amidst diversity.â€ This Congress was attended by 330 delegates from all over Luanda and Soa Tome Principe. Facilitators from different faith groups and different representatives from the government presented interesting papers on the topic.
On Sabbath June 28, 2008, 45,000 people were gathered in the stadium for this historic Festival of Religious Freedom. Dr John Graz, PARL Director of the GC gave a message centered on three THANK YOUS: Thank you to God who created us with freedom. Thank you to the government of Angola for promoting, defending and protecting Religious Freedom in the country (Article 8 of the Angolan Constitution), and finally Thank you to those who had to fight in order for us to enjoy Religious Freedom now. The highlight of the day was the afternoon march during which more than 7,000 Women and 10,000 youth made a march in the city and triumphantly entered the stadium celebrating Religious Freedom in the war torn country of Angola.Back to the top
On August 23, 2008 the churches of Bangladesh celebrated Abuse Prevention Emphasis Day. To make the day special, badges were given to all the attendees of the church. Women conducted the divine service and used the power point presentation for the theme â€œAbuse of Power.â€
The church encouraged children, youth and women to take part in the program. Children Ministries presented the children's story. The youth of the church presented the special number. Women were asked to collect the offering.
In the afternoon church members visited a home for prayer and worship lead by Dhaka Church Women Ministries director, Ofelia Raksham.
The women enjoyed the day and believe received many blessings from God. Please pray for all the women of Bangladesh so that they may share God's message with other people.Back to the top
Two hundred people attended the 2008 Women's Ministries Evangelistic Meeting in Bali. The presenters were Pastor Johnny Lubis, West Indonesia Union Mission President and his wife Poppy Lubis. West Indonesia Union Mission Women's Ministries director. The last evening 19 souls were baptized and many others committed to Bible Study.