Nearly 200 women’s ministries directors from unions, conferences, and missions across the Inter-American Division (IAD) of the Seventh-day Adventist Church met for a one-day training conference in Miami, Florida, February 20, to worship, pray, network, and commit to personally reaching at least five women with the message of hope in 2020.
The women’s ministries leaders, who oversee thousands of local leaders throughout IAD, vowed to continue their role and commitment to enriching the lives of other women in churches and communities this year.
“This is a commitment you are making to bring people to the feet of Jesus,” said Dinorah Rivera, women’s ministries director for IAD and main organizer of the event. The conference follows 2019’s evangelism initiative momentum, which resulted in more than 25,000 new persons ministered to by the work of local church women’s ministries leaders, Rivera said.
Under the theme “Chosen and Loved,” drawn from Jeremiah 31:3 in the Bible, the conference sought to motivate women who have been chosen and loved by God with a great purpose, Rivera said.
“We have a tremendous opportunity once again to continue the momentum of this initiative that activated so many women to lead evangelistic campaigns and reach so many in the community,” she said. “I saw how this initiative took off throughout the IAD, and women are excited to continue touching the lives of so many more.”
The initiative encourages women to be intentional about loving and nurturing those who are in the church, finding out their needs, and extend that compassion and love to women in the community, Rivera explained.
“Seal your commitment with the Lord this year, let God cleanse, bless, and use you in His service this year,” Rivera said to the women leaders.
IAD president Elie Henry thanked the women’s ministries directors for being so involved in the mission of the church.
“We understand what that involves, for each one of you to continue in that calling,” Henry said.
It’s about a daily transformation in Jesus to be ready for the Second Coming while witnessing to others with the message of the gospel, he said.
That witnessing has to come wrapped in compassion and genuine care for the well-being of others, Rivera reminded them.
“We must be intentional in understanding the needs of all the groups of people in the church and make sure our programs, our efforts are all about nurturing and empowering others,” she said. First, the focus must start inside the church, and then it expands into the community, she added.
Rivera led a panel of three women — a young woman who was welcomed, nurtured, and trained to serve in the church, another who recently mourned her husband’s death, and another who has a son with special needs. Each of the women shared their own experiences and challenged the ministry leaders to extend their compassion even if they don’t understand each other’s circumstances.
“When we have not gone through certain experiences, we tend to minimize what others have gone through, but the Lord wants us to have the empathy and compassion and kindness that Jesus showed,” Rivera said. “It’s important that we pay attention to each woman who comes into the church, looking for ways to supply all their needs, because we do not know what each is struggling with.”
Arnaldo Cruz, an Adventist pastor in Miami, challenged the delegation of women to continue finding ways to impact the community with their God-given potential and their inherent sixth sense.
“The church needs women who will be spiritually mature, who not only see the negative in the church but see the positive things happening within the church,” Cruz said.
What is going to grow women’s ministries across the territory is not the budget but women filled with the Holy Spirit, he said. “This is the time to make a change, a mental change, a personal change, a spiritual change, and a change with your relationship with God.”
Cruz called on the women’s ministries leaders to depend on God’s transforming power to keep them strong in leading in the church and community even when they feel exhausted, stressed, and at times ready to give up.
With tears in their eyes, dozens of women came to the stage to be prayed for and recommit their ministry to God.
Guest speaker Greisy Murillo of Montemorelos University, in northern Mexico, reminded the delegation that they are vessels which the Lord fills and calls upon to be nurturers to those around them.
“You may see that your vessel may be broken, and think you can fix it yourself, but only God can fix it,” Murillo said.