More than four thousand women from 22 countries across the West-Central Africa Division (WAD) gathered from July 29 to August 3, 2019, in Kumasi, Ghana.
Kwame Nkrumah University’s stadium was the chosen venue for the congress. Besides the registered participants who came from various countries, thousands of other people joined the women under the theme “Saved to Serve.”
The Parade of the Nations marked the opening ceremony in the presence of Ghanaian officials and WAD leaders. Each Union region displayed outfits and cultural dances specific to their local culture.
As part of the event, WAD women ministries director and main organizer Sessou Omobonike launched a 2020 devotional book entitled Balm of Healing, written by African women for African women. The Advent Press of Ghana produced the book.
Spiritual reconnection was one of the key elements of the event. The second day was dedicated to fasting and prayer, with many special sessions of prayer throughout the day.
Every day, the program started with devotional messages by Adventist Church women’s ministries director Heather-Dawn Small and associate director Raquel Arrais. Participants also were able to choose among more than 16 workshops on topics such as Professional Careers, Victims of Abuse, and Women with Kids, among others.
On Wednesday morning, July 31, 54 buses took all the participants outside the campus for a day of community services activity. Women were divided into two sections: 17 groups visited orphanages, hospital, prisons, or rehabilitation centers, where they delivered food, books, Bibles, and sewing machines. Another 36 groups went for EndItNow advocacy, visiting homes and shops to campaign for the protection of women and girls against violence.
Northern Ghana Union Mission women ministries director Vida Linda Gyasi acknowledged, “We have never experienced this kind of massive community service before.” According to organizers, the value of items distributed amounted to more than 200,000 Ghana cedis (US$37,000).
On Friday, August 3, around 1,140 women received their leadership certificate from Griggs University and the Adventist Church women’s ministries department.
Omodan Victoria, from Nigeria, shared that she felt delighted. “The highlight of the event was the graduation ceremony, as more than a thousand women received a certificate,” she said. “And I am impressed by the hospitality of the people in Ghana.”
Sabbath services were unique, according to participants, with beautiful and uplifting songs and Small’s message, "Saved to Serve by Grace."
As the afternoon ceremony came to a close, Sessou expressed her gratitude to world church leaders. After the final charge by WAD president Elie Weick, event leaders led in sharing their light with each of the participants with a candle. Lights shone in the dark, dispelling the surrounding darkness.