July 15, 2010

The Surprising Way God Works

The Surprising Way God Works
A young member of the GC session Nominating Committee shares her experience.

By Kimberly Luste Maran, an assistant editor of Adventist Review One day about two years ago, Dorcas Wellio and her mother went to observe leaders being elected into the new North Botswana Conference, a field of the Seventh-day Adventist Church that had just gained this status. Wellio, treasurer for her church and a volunteer in health ministries, was surprised that someone had submitted her name when the conference was choosing laypeople to be part of the Executive Committee. She was even more surprised to become the third woman and the youngest person entrusted with a position on the committee.

“At first it was really overwhelming,” Wellio says. “I was scared, but our president had so much confidence in me. He told me, ‘Don’t be afraid of anything. I want you to always make a comment, always make a remark; your input is very important to us.’ He would say that at every meeting. I really appreciate that he had a lot of confidence in me.”

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A BRIEF BREAK: Dorcas Wellio, 29, from Botswana, gives her impressions of the General Conference session during a brief break from her duties with the Nominating Committee.

So when the time came to decide upon the delegation for the General Conference session, Wellio agreed to represent the Southern Africa-Indian Ocean Division as a regular delegate after being asked to do so by the president, secretary, and treasurer. As Wellio prepared for the session, she did more than plan what to pack. She asked other members with experience what they’d encountered at the session. They told her she would be very busy with meetings and deliberations, and that it is serious business because she’d be helping to choose leaders for the world church.

“I was overwhelmed,” Wellio says. “I just knelt down, and I had tears in my eyes. I prayed, ‘Lord, I don’t know what is going on, but I know for sure that You are the one taking me to all these places. Please help me in every decision that needs to be made, in everything that I say and do; please help me because I am clueless.’ That is what I did, and even when I got here, I just had to pinch myself.”

But the surprises weren’t over for Wellio. Shortly after the delegates divided into groups for the selection of the Nominating Committee, her delegation, according to Wellio, said, “We think it is obvious; you are going to be on the Nominating Committee.”

At 29, Wellio was likely the youngest person on that committee. “Walking into the room I just saw grown men all with gray hair and wearing suits. I was scared. I wondered who I should sit next to. But as I stood there I reminded myself that I was elected like everyone else, and I just needed to go in and let God do whatever He wants to do with me.”

Wellio was impressed with the spiritual emphasis exhibited in committee meetings. It wasn’t unusual for several people to offer prayer before a vote, she says. Wellio does think, however, that more women—and more young people—should be involved.

“I think giving the youth responsibility—things to do—helps them to grow spiritually, because they will have to be accountable at the end of the day. There is a time when we choose to stay or leave the church, and being involved—leading—can help us stay grounded in our faith.”