The rest of the Belarus story
While sitting in a hospital waiting room, Margarita is invited to a women's ministries congress
Her baptism four months later brings great joy to the heart of Raquel Arrais who talked with her at the congress and provided continued email encouragement during Margarita's Bible study.
Euro-Asia Division (ESD)
[Belarus] Margarita was sitting in a hospital waiting room when she was invited by an Adventist sister to attend the women's ministries congress held in Minsk in June 2018 (see original congress news below). Margarita agreed to go. She loved what she experienced. Raquel Arrais, associate director of General Conference Women’s Ministries (GCWM), guest speaker at the congress, met Margarita and prayed over her. Before Arrais left Belarus, she asked Margarita if she were willing to take Bible studies. Margarita said yes.
While the woman who first invited Margarita to the congress studied the Bible with Margarita, Arrais also kept up an email correspondence with her. Arrais found many opportunities to guide Margarita to choose Jesus during the time between June and October.
“My heart is happy!” exclaimed Arrais when she found out that Margarita was baptized October 13, 2018 in Minsk. She quickly adds that God be praised for the sister who in that hospital waiting room was impressed to invite Margarita to the women’s ministries congress.
This story tells us that not only should we invite our friends, neighbors, and relatives to join us at women’s meetings, but we are also called to invite those whom we don’t know but who are the women we meet as we go about our daily activities. We never know when someone is seeking God and open to our invitation. Don’t miss the opportunity to introduce others to Jesus.
Contributed by Raquel Arrais, associate director for General Conference Women’s Ministries
Published in Mosaic 2018 Q4, Fall issue
"My Tree of Life" program touches the seasons of a woman's life and also their hearts
For the first time, WM leaders and pastors' wives in the Eastern European country of Belarus meet a WM representative from the world church headquarters.
Euro-Asia Division (ESD)
[Belarus] Three happy days of congress meetings, June 2018, were held in Minsk for women’s ministries department leaders and pastors’ wives of Adventist churches in Belarus. A highlight of the event came Sabbath afternoon when the talented Yulia Romashko anchored a program, "My Tree of Life." Sisters from different congregations prepared interesting activities on the most normal of women’s topics and tied them to the seasons, symbolizing the seasons of a woman’s life–childhood, youth, adult and sunset years. Raisa Ostrovskaya, Euro-Asia Division Women’s Ministries (ESD WM) director, then presented a correlating seminar, also titled, "My Tree of Life."
Another highlight was the visit by Raquel Arrais, General Conference Women’s Ministries (GC WM) associate director. For the first time, a GC WM leader visited Belarus Union of Churches, giving women, who were representing each congregation in the country, the opportunity to hear from the world church headquarters.
Zhanna Patsukevich, WM leader in Belarus, carefully prepared decorations for the meeting hall on this important occasion which provided spiritual encouragement for participants. Svetlana Buchneva, Shepherdess International (SI) leader in Belarus, skillfully created brightly-colored flower peonies to decorate the stage.
Following Sabbath School and a performance of the youth choir, Vivere, the church leader in Belarus, Vyacheslav Buchnev, enthusiastically greeted gathered sisters and thanked them for their dedicated time and active ministry in local churches.
These women of the local congregations are involved in many evangelical initiatives of the world church. They lead seminars, share literature, work with children and teenagers, lead cooking classes, assist financially and accomplish much important work. However, all of them are united in the work of women’s ministries. The experience helps them gain confidence, feel the support of a church family, listen to intimate needs and problems of other people, and share their personal stories as witness for Jesus. This is part of the process for receiving needed support and strengthening their faith.
After Raisa Ostrovskaya introduced guest speaker Raquel Arrais, all attendees listened attentively to her sermon about Christ’s ministry in the heavenly sanctuary as our High Priest.
Raquel made the scripture text, Hebrews 4:15-16, accessible and applicable to the women in the audience. She highlighted the meaning of righteousness through faith. That morning participants felt the touch of the Holy Spirit on their hearts. They heard the voice of Jesus calling them to have closer relationship with Him. They understood they needed this relationship in order to receive power, mercy, forgiveness, and righteousness through our High Priest Jesus Christ.
A vocal duet from the Buchnevy sisters and a violin solo by six-year-old Anghelina Gavrilovets graced the evening meeting. All musical numbers in the program prepared listener’s hearts for the penetrating words of Raquel Arrais regarding the importance of such Christian qualities as patience.
A prayer service was held Sunday morning by Nina Ostrovskaya, prayer ministries coordinator for the Union of Churches in Belarus. Afterward, participants attended seminars presented by Raquel Arrais and Raisa Ostrovskaya.
The main theme uniting all of these blessed meetings can be expressed with the following words from the Spirit of Prophecy:
“The Lord has a work for women, as well as for men. They may take their places in His work at this crisis, and He will work through them. If they are imbued with a sense of their duty, and labor under the influence of the Holy Spirit, they will have just the self-possession required for this time. The Saviour will reflect upon these self-sacrificing women the light of His countenance, and will give them a power that exceeds that of men. They can do in families a work that men cannot do, a work that reaches the inner life. They can come close to the hearts of those whom men cannot reach. Their labor is needed”—The Review and Herald, August 26, 1902.
The labor of women is needed! It is commonly understood that the Department of Women’s Ministries was created for establishing and upholding Adventist women church members in their worldwide church ministry as Jesus Christ’s disciples. The primary goal of Women’s Ministries is to help women, both in the church and outside of it, to discern their needs, to discover their talents, and to come close to the hearts of those whom men cannot reach, and to share the gospel of Jesus Christ and the three angels’ messages with every tribe, race, language, and nation.
Contributed by Zhanna F. Patsukevich, women's ministries director for Belarus Union of Churches Conference
Published in Mosaic newsletter, Summer 2018