February 19, 2019 | Miami, Florida, United States | Libna Stevens/IAD
Women’s Ministries leaders from throughout the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Inter-American Division (IAD) recently reaffirmed their role and commitment to reach and enrich the lives of other women in churches and communities this year.
The more than 200 women’s ministries directors from across unions, conferences and missions prayed, shared and networked together during a two-day training conference held in Miami, Florida, United States Feb. 10 and 12.
“God has put in your heart a special passion and energy to do what you do for the Lord,” said Pastor Elie Henry, president of the church in Inter-America. “You represent a very important force that perhaps is not as appreciated as it should be, but you are all important and have a place in God’s plans.”
“God tells us that He loves us and the act of loving means that we have a responsibility to be like Christ, that’s why He created us,” said Pastor Henry.
Themed “Chosen and Loved” drawn from Jeremiah 31:3, the event sought to remind women that they have been chosen and loved by God with a great purpose, said Dinorah Rivera, women’s ministries director and main organizer of the gathering. “When women find their purpose in Jesus they can be used by the church with greater impact because they are living that purpose,” said Rivera.
It’s about loving and nurturing those who are in the church before reaching more in the community for Jesus, said Rivera about the initiative. “We want women in the church to be strengthened and nurtured. That woman who may be following the bible doctrines, who attend church regularly but may be dealing with abuse, lack of identity, and more, and we want to reaffirm her value in Jesus,” said Rivera.
“Think of that daughter, that mother, that family member, that neighbor, that acquaintance, that work colleague, that adolescent girl and commit to reaching and enriching her life, and for Jesus,” said Rivera as attendees wrote name of persons on heart paper and prayed for them. “Be an agent of change for the good of society, a channel that can lead others to be the best versions of themselves.”
Being their best versions of themselves is what will allow a better witness for Jesus to reach more women in the community, Rivera explained as she challenged the leaders to commit to leading at least one woman for Jesus this year as the initiative entails.
Linda Kohn, children’s ministries director for the Adventist world church, greeted the women leaders on behalf of her women ministries colleagues who were unable to attend the event.
“All of us are chosen because God needs us and He has chosen us in spite of our strengths and weaknesses so we can be a light in our communities,” said Kohn. “You are chosen to be a disciple, chosen to bear fruits of mission, love and service to make other disciples.”
Attendees listened to presentations on forgiveness, being happy despite imperfections, how to overcome stress and exhaustion, and more.
Edna Alvarado, former women’s ministries director in South Mexico, was honored for her leadership service for the church in Inter-America for more than 34 years. She spoke to the delegation on the importance of being a Christian woman and the will to serve.
“God calls us to grow in Him,” said Alvarado. “You will only grow spiritually if you are determined to serve others.” God must be first in your life, said Alvarado, then you have to be well in Him before you can reach someone else and others too.
Minelly Ruiz, women’s ministries director in the Chiapas Mexican Union, was eager to pass on the training to the thousands of women across her region. With more than 97,000 active women throughout more than 3,000 congregations in Chiapas, the mission driven initiative will propel the committed women to reach and enrich the lives of so many more women throughout unentered communities across cities and towns there.
“The women are active in plenty of community outreach activities, in evangelistic campaigns in helping plant churches where there is no Adventist presence,” said Ruiz, but this initiative will inspire them to reach even more this year, she added. Last year, Ruiz said that there were more than 5,217 believers who joined the church as a direct result of women’s ministries. “This year we want to reach more,” she added.
“Women’s ministries is very strong in our territory,” said Ruiz. “Young girls and adolescents are brought in and trained alongside their mothers and church members and get involved in the mission of the church.”
Ruiz has already gotten together with the eight conference and mission field women’s ministries directors who attended the meetings and jotted down training dates for the hundreds of church district leaders for training in the coming weeks.
Debra Henry, women’s ministries director for the church in the Caribbean Union, looks forward to the initiative to bolster outreach efforts across dozens of islands. “Women in our territory hold the church together and they are quick to do projects and turn that energy into introducing Jesus in the lives of others,” said Henry.
Henry said women are very active in prison ministries, community outreach, care of the elderly, helping single mothers, and public evangelism, and will work closer together to focus on looking at the needs of women in the community.
“We are not just looking to add another number to our church membership but to nurture each life in Jesus,” Rivera said.
Guest speakers during the women’s ministries conference also included Laura Oros, a psychologist from Argentina, Judith McCalla, a psychologist from Miami, Abigail Chrisostomos, a therapist from Mexico, and Monica Diaz, editor at the Inter-American Division Publishing Association.
To view Inter-American Division’s Women’s Ministries conference, Click HERE
For a photo gallery of this event, Click HERE
To learn more about Inter-America’s Women’s Ministries programs and initiatives for 2019, Click HERE