Africa-Indian Ocean Division
Leola Whaley, Shepherdess Coordinator for the Africa-Indian Ocean Division, reports that Shepherdess chapters have been started in the East and West Zaire Unions. There are ten chapters in all. Material in French has been sent to help them get started. They praise God for this new awakening in Zaire.
* A new Shepherdess chapter in Cote d'Ivoire Mission in Abidjan has been organized. Ten pastors' wives from the local fields were present for the three-day retreat.
Topics discussed were: "The Pastor's Wife as a Housewife," "The Pastor's Wife as a Mother," "The Pastor's Wife in the Church and in the Community," "Worship in the Pastor's Home," "Prayer Life of the Pastor's Wife," and "How to Manage on the Pastor's Salary."
The ladies were enlightened on how they can help their husbands and requested a similar meeting along with their husbands. The Mission President promised to arrange to have a meeting for both wives and husbands in the near future.
There was a social hour Saturday night. The meeting closed with a consecration service on Sunday evening.
Asia Pacific Division
Four pastoral couples led out in evangelistic meetings in Iloilo City, Philippines, in May 1995. Almost 1,000 people have been baptized as a result of the "Team Ministry."
* A busy housewife for the Lord. Mrs. Joan Gacula-Arrogante, the wife of Pastor Ruel G. Arrogante, district pastor of San Francisco, Agusan del Sur, holds VBS classes in her home. She is a housewife, a mother, and a church school board treasurer, but in spite of these responsibilities, she can spare time ministering to the needs of the children in her neighborhood. Her ministry proves that all wives can be ministers to the children. Joan is a modern Martha but she has a Mary's heart.
North American Division
* Alaska Conference
Jacquie Biloff pilots a Cessna 180 to fly her pastoral-husband and others to appointments, making friends along the way. One of these friends is now attending church with her.
* Oregon Conference
Wedding gowns and hula hoops. Laughing women and crying women. Home-made truffles and store bought "Hugs" and "Kisses." Late night gab fests and an early morning trip to the hospital for the birth of baby Daniel. What do all of these have in common? They are part of the memories made at the 1995 Shepherdess Retreat held at Gladstone Campgrounds to "Revive the Memories.
Guest speaker, Raquel Santillana, reminded us that when God created the world it was good, but when He created woman, it was very good! God gave worn-en a very special place in His creation with unique qualities that balance men. We are valuable to God and called to His service.
Saturday evening each person shared a memory from their teen years while modeling items from a wedding dress to a hula hoop. One moment we were all in tears as Fran shared about being abandoned by her mother at an orphanage,. and then we shared hilarious laughter as nine-month pregnant Phyllis demonstrated her teen talent of hula hooping. (That night we whisked her off to the hospital where she delivered an 8 lb. 12 oz. baby boy who was instantly adored by all the shepherdess aunties!)
We revived memories and we made new memories. We will never be the same. God has chosen us as His women to live the memory of lives transformed by His call.
* Washington Conference
A sense of bonding and closeness not often achieved came about when 26 ministers' wives attended the Washington Conference Shepherdess Retreat at Warm Beach Christian Camp, February 24-26.
They arrived Friday afternoon at the camp, located north of Everett. As they settled into their rooms in the Olympic View Lodge overlooking the Sound, they found vases of colorful flowers graciously welcoming them.
Following a delicious dinner, Shepherdess President, Jan White, welcomed the women as they gathered in the lounge around a cozy fireplace. Erika Olfert led in singing songs of praise to God. Jan shared her thoughts on the importance of forgiveness and reconciliation, and illustrated it with the following experience that would be any woman's nightmare:
As an overture of friendliness to a couple in her church, who seemed to feel offended about something, Jan invited them to dinner one evening the following week, forgetting that she had offered to let the new school teacher and family stay in her home until they found a place to live. With the house overflowing from their combined families, they decided to take a picnic supper and go out for an excursion. Imagine Jan's horror when she suddenly realized on the way home that it was the very evening she had invited the other couple to dinner!
Not knowing what else to do, she called and apologized profusely. The next day she went to their home and apologized again, but she still sensed a certain coolness and skepticism in their attitude. So she went to the florist and ordered a beautiful bouquet of flowers to be sent to the couple. Although it took some time and continued effort, today they are good friends and can both look back and laugh at the incident.
She then invited others to share some of their embarrassing mistakes and the methods they chose to make amends. The meeting ended shortly after nine o'clock so that those who wished could retire early, but most elected to stay and visit a while. When they returned to their rooms, they found chocolate mints and devotional bookmarks on their pillows, reinforcing the delightful feeling of being pampered.
With breakfast at 8:00, the relaxed weekend schedule allowed for sleeping in on Sabbath morning, unless they wanted to take an early morning hike around the campground. Rozella Stroud and Karen Nuessle led out in the Sabbath morning worship experience, sharing their thoughts on the topics of answered prayer and women of the Bible, and they encouraged women to contribute from their experiences.
The brisk but sunny Sabbath afternoon was free for meditation, visiting, resting, and hiking. Several enjoyed walking on the mud flats and watching the flock of trumpeter swans feeding there.
Saturday night agenda included a "Hen Party," and a few took advantage of the opportunity to "dress up" in nightgown, wedding gown, national costume, etc. During the refreshments break of popcorn, juice and cookies, Jan White and Debbie Fogelquist announced a surprise—gifts for each shepherdess from the ladies in their churches. Excitement prevailed as the gifts were carried in and exclamations of appreciation filled the room. Everyone felt the love and affirmation the gifts represented.
After breakfast on Sunday morning, the women gathered in the lounge for a prayer circle. At Erika's suggestion, a decorated can placed in the middle of the circle was filled with written prayer requests, symbolizing that there are many problems we can't find a solution for, but "Cod can." Then the ladies participated in conversational prayer, interspersed with songs and tears. This brought the special weekend to a climax. The women returned home strengthened and inspired by their retreat. They expressed unanimous desire for another retreat next year, which has been scheduled for January 26-28 at Warm Beach. They hope that more of the pastors' wives will come to strengthen the bonds of fellowship and sharing.
The Trans-European Division Ministerial Council met for six days in Budapest, Hungary, August 28-September 2, 1995.
Almost 900 pastors and spouses came and enjoyed the plenary sessions, seminars, and programming geared to their personal interests. The Shepherdess meetings were hosted by Gaya Currie, Shepherdess Coordinator for the Trans-European Division, and Sharon Cress, from the General Conference Ministerial Association.
Pastoral spouses gathered in an airy sunlit room to fellowship and share together. We drank from the wells of Sandra Pearson, from the Office of Human Resources at the General Conference, and Jeannie Melashenko, from the Voice of Prophecy. Sandra led the women through organizing a devotional life and prioritizing their time to accommodate time with Jesus. Jeannie touched each of us when she shared her personal story of how she realized that Jesus loved her and considered her of worth. Her illustration of a broken vase and the light that shines through movingly illustrated how Jesus can use broken things.
Translators gathered the women around them and translated the seminars into the various languages.
Ron and Karen Flower's plenary session on Family Life was of particular interest to all the pastoral couples. Their humorous illustrations added memorable moments to the presentation.
The last day of the pastoral meetings provided a time for sharing and questions. It was moving to know that while there are specific circumstances that surround each woman, we share many of the same challenges and stresses. This World Ministers' Council will long be remembered for quality of programming and depth of fellowship.