East-Central Africa Division
* The Kenya Lake Field Ministerial Director, Pastor Hesbon Omune, organized a one of its kind retreat January 30 to February 2, 2003. Taking the word of Jesus "Let us come apart and rest a while," all the employees of the Kenya Lake Field attended the retreat at Kumuru Museum View Hotel. The retreat was objectively organized to bring together the pastors and their spouses for fellowship and a professional growth seminar. There was time for relaxation and a tour within the town.
* Maeve Maurer, Shepherdess Coordinator for the Euro-Africa Division, held the Division Advisory in beautiful, sunny Portugal. Coordinators from Unions and Conferences reported on their local activities and shared ideas and experiences in their services to local ministry wives. Maeve planned an extraordinary program with a variety of reports, exchanges, sightseeing, seminars, and a memorable Sabbath day.
* Galina Stele, Euro-Asia Division Shepherdess Coordinator, held her advisory at Zaoksky Seminary. Exciting reports from the regions accented the blessings of God granted to the local pastors' wives despite difficult circumstances. Glenda Prime was a special guest. Sharon Cress presented seminars.
* Ministry wives from the Moscow area hosted a tea on a Sabbath afternoon. Lovely tables of delicacies set the mood for a delightful afternoon of fellowship. Sharon Cress was the speaker.
* Led by Patricia Allen, Jamaica Shepherdess Coordinators met to report and plan for the future. Meetings were held on the college campus in conjunction with the Ministerial Advisory. Shepherdess business and constitution were discussed, and a special time of recognition and affirmation closed the meetings on a spiritual emphasis.
North American Division
* Retired workers celebrated the glorious panoramas of Pine Springs Ranch at their California gathering. John Rhodes planned and hosted the event. Carol Derry Bretch provided delightful music, and fun and good food was enjoyed by everybody.
* Minnesota Conference Shepherdess enjoyed the beautiful country scenery of a Christian retreat center for their annual event. Karen Mayberry planned the casual atmosphere, which provided a haven of rest and relaxation for the women. Ann Carlson, Union Shepherdess Coordinator, was a special guest. Sharon Cress from the General Conference was the speaker.
* Texico Conference (West Texas and New Mexico area) held their second pastoral wives' retreat, February 15-17, at the Hilton Garden (Airport) inn in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Guest speaker Mary Maxson (NAD Women's Ministries Director) blessed the ladies with humor and practicality each day as their devotional speaker. Hope Bushness, pastor's wife from Central California, shared a plethora of ideas and demonstrations to enhance the ministry of each wife based on the theme "Hospitality on a Shoestring." A special highlight for each lady included making her own devotional basket emphasizing her personal relationship with Jesus, as well as demonstrating how much fun it is to make gift baskets. Thanks to many contributions, the baskets were filled to overflowing. A Victorian Tea in Old Town Albuquerque and time for developing friendships has increased the bond of this special group of ladies. Each one is looking forward to sharing what she learned,
South Pacific Division
Samoan PIM Retreat Sandra Roberts, Partners In Ministry for Trans-Pacific Union, reports: Picture Paradise! Blue-green ocean, white sand, palm trees, a picturesque little Samoan resort at Vavau on the island of Upolu—this was the location of our Samoan PIM Retreat held from 28-31 March 2003. About 20 ladies from Western Samoa and American Samoa gathered together "At His Table" (the theme chosen by the Samoan ladies for the retreat) to enjoy fellowship and spiritual refreshing to support their ongoing journeys as pastors' wives. Pastor Sam Afamasaga (President of Samoa Mission) and his wife Emma have organised these retreats over the past few years, and I happily accepted their invitation to share this one with them.
The devotional times were special, ending with a sincere prayer session for each other and the families. Mrs. Puaga Solofa (Emma's assistant) gave us a novel object lesson each day as we sewed a new stitch onto our "prayer cloths," each stitch signifying something different. The blind hemming stitch helped us to remember to be blind to the faults of others, cross stitch reminding us of the cross of Christ and blanket stitch teaching us to stand together and support each other. At the end of the weekend each lady took home a beautifully embroidered cloth to remember the lessons of the retreat.
We were encouraged by talks on God's Providence and Leading, Difficulties and Joys of Team Ministry, Leadership, Our Value to God and Finding Our Personal Roles in Team Ministry. Some of the PIMs shared their wisdom, experiences, joys, and hardships from their many (or few) years of ministry. One could not help but notice the respect shown by the younger PIMs to the more senior ladies, and also the caring and understanding that the older ladies showed to their younger sisters.
Each meal, of course, was a feast of Samoan fruit, vegetables, and delicacies. The interesting part was that the ministers had reversed roles with their wives and did the entire food preparation for each meal. "How humiliating!" one minister was heard to joke (or was he joking?).
The balanced program included craft activities, a well-received temperament test that helped the ladies see where their particular strengths were, volley ball, swimming and other recreational pursuits which left us with sore sides from laughing and a great feeling of knowing and appreciating each other better.
Finally, goals for the future were set. A cooking demonstration, as well as a longstitch demonstration, together with the customary and moving presentation ceremony, completed our wonderful weekend. Everyone voiced their appreciation of the retreat and the opportunity to share a few days with other ministers' wives who understand our unique calling and who left with renewed strength for the task.
Southern Asia Division
* Gladys Jones from the Prakasapuram Church reported that nearly 70 Adventist and non-Adventist women attended the women's meeting on December 16, 2002, organized by Mrs. Gladys Jones, the church pastor's wife. She reported it was a wonderful sight to see all the women in green uniform sarecs. The meeting started with a lively song service. Messages were given by Flora John, South India Union WM director, and Huldah Paulasir, South Tamil Conference WM director. After the meeting, all the ladies participated in games that reminded them of their childhood days. Twenty poor women were given groceries and a dinner was served. It was the first meeting of this kind at Prakasapuram. It was a great blessing to all who attended.
* Stanley Samuel, President of North Kerala Section reports: The tailoring school at Kulamavu came to reality because of the financial assistance extended by Shepherdess International of the General Conference. At present, 12 families have benefitted from this project. Among them three families are Adventists and two more are going to be members soon,
Director Usha Suresh Babu and her team give first preference to God and His word in the program. God's word is being taught every day in the institute, as well as to the interested people around. We want to sincerely thank Mrs. Hepzibah Kore, the Division Director, for helping with Bibles to be distributed to them to study it deeply.
We have given Bibles to 20 ladies connected with this program. Very soon several of them and their families will be accepting the truth. Through their efforts, several other families in the society are receiving light through God's Word.
We are happy to inform you that several families are getting interested in the truth from that place. There is a nearby place called Muthiyamala from where there are people studying in this tailoring school. Pastor Suresh P. Babu and his wife, Usha, are constantly visiting these people and studying the Bible with them.
* Huldah Paulasir, Shepherdess Coordinator, South Tamil Conference, reports: "Committed to Serve" was the theme of the weekend for the Shepherdess Retreat conducted on February 7 and 8, 2003 for all the Shepherdess of former South Tamil Conference. On Friday evening, the meeting started with a lively song service. Hepzibah Kore, SUD Shepherdess Coordinator; Flora John, SIU Coordinator; and Huldah Paulasir, STC Shepherdess Coordinator, were the resource personnel. Flora John gave the introductory message. Six Shepherdesses narrated the characters of Bible women. Mrs. Flora John also taught new songs from the newly-printed Tamil songbook, Song of Zion. Alice Devadass, a Shepherdess from Chennai, gave a thrilling witness about her successful soul-winning in spite of her full-time teaching job.
The topics presented were One to One Evangelism, Small Group Ministries, Friendship Evangelism, How to Give Bible Studies, and Discipleship.
The consecration service was conducted by the conference officers. All the Shepherdesses rededicated their lives to serve the Lord in spite of the political difficulties. Each delegate was presented with a beautiful bedspread. We acknowledge the generosity of Mr. Paripooranaraj Samuel (NRR1) for sponsoring this retreat.
* Alice Devadass, a Shepherdess from Chennai, South India Union, gave Bible studies for one year. Then she began house visits in Erukkancherry and became friends with many housewives. So she began giving them Bible studies. Seven people were baptized. These new members began gathering at a friend's house on Saturday afternoons. Nine more people were baptized. Soon they became a small gathering. However, soon they lost their building and had to meet under a tree. Last year, an evangelistic meeting was conducted and 28 more members were added to the Erukkancherry Church. Now they are strong in the Lord, and God has abundantly blessed Mrs. Alice Devadass and her work in her community
Southern Asia-Pacific Division
* The Shepherdess Evangelistic Meetings in the Bangladesh West Mission at Luxrnipur Village were held by Pastor R. K. Biswas, Treasurer of BAUM; Mrs. Dorothy Biswas, Shepherdess Coordinator, BAUM; fission President, Pastor R. N. Haider; Mrs. Roseline Haider, Mission Shepherdess; Mr. Robin Mondol, Districts pastors, Mrs. Cecilia Kisku, Mrs. Shephali Roy, Mrs. Ritchil and all pastors' wives were also present for the program.
We thank God that He has helped us bring 37 precious souls for His Kingdom.
* Ellen Missah, Shepherdess Coordinator for the Southern Asia-Pacific Division, has just graduated from her Ph.D. program. Congratulations, Ellen!
* Under the leadership of Mrs. Shephali Baroi, Shepherdess Coordinator, Shepherdess evangelistic meeting were held February 1-12, at Madonpur, in the Shatkhira District of the South Bangladesh Mission. The regular audience was about 300. The audience was from Hindu, Muslim, and Christian backgrounds.
Al the end there were 70 who were baptized and accepted Jesus Christ as their Saviour. The meeting was very peaceful. One Sabbath day there was a call for the Tithe Day, and people brought rice, coconuts, and vegetables from their farms. God blessed the meeting,
* Shepherdess Evangelistic Meetings were conducted in the North Bangladesh Mission by Mrs. Dorothy Biswas, BAUM Shepherdess Coordinator; and Mrs. Kanti Ritchil, NBM Shepherdess Coordinator. The meeting was attended by all ordained ministers and their wives, district pastors and their wives, totaling 25 members. There were about 150 members who attended the meeting.
Two baptisms was held—one at NBM Headquarter in Mymensing totaling 20 souls, and the second one held at Jalchectro totaling 50 souls. So in these Shepherdess meetings, 70 souls were baptized. Pastor R. K. Biswas, the BAUM Treasurer, was the chief guest and baptized the candidates; many of the ordained ministers assisted him in the baptism. We thank the Lord for His blessing for the meetings.