Women’s Ministries congress equips women for outreach

Wonderfully Created, a special magazine, was printed for distribution during the Health Expo outreach activities.

Trans-European Division (TED)

[Latvia] Adventist women of Latvia gathered in Riga, April 4-6, 2018, for a Women's Ministries congress. The theme "Closer to Home" invited the 160 congress participants to walk more closely with God as they journey closer to their heavenly home. "We want to go home [heaven] but not alone," said one attendee. "Latvia needs Jesus."

Guest speakers Heather-Dawn Small, director, and Raquel Arrais, associate director of General Conference Women’s Ministries, encouraged women to joyfully wait for the Second Coming. The messages of our assurance of salvation and our home in heaven triggered responses of overwhelming joy.

A special magazine for women, Wonderfully Created, was printed with the purpose of being distributed during the weekend congress. The open-hearted interviews, life stories and other exciting articles, advice for families, and recipes gave the congress attendees a tool for interacting with their friends and strangers. These women of the Baltic state want to share the hope of Jesus and His soon return with as many friends and neighbors as possible. The congress itself gave opportunity for our sisters to become involved in several kinds of outreach ministry.

Friday's Health Expo touched the surrounding community and gave congress participants the opportunity to meet non-church members and provide information about improving physical and emotional health. Congress women were excited that people who received the invitation to the expo just one hour before closing came hurrying to see it. Some visitors stayed for the Friday evening program immediately afterwards.

Sabbath concert performances by a youth choir, string group, and choreography, a band, and sand cinema film served as a source of funding for Christina and Elisabeth, a mother and her blind daughter. A memorable feature was "The Lord's Prayer," performed three ways: music, movement, and word.

Women had time Sunday for displaying beautiful items they created for the Charity Market. Sales income was donated to Rikard, a boy who needs monetary help to improve his health. In Sunday's workshops, attendees chose seminars about topics of their choice; such as, reading the Bible with understanding and excitement, avoiding co-dependence, caring for their skin, and Bible art journaling led by Heather-Dawn Small. Women, young and old, were led into creative activity that helped them savor their time in the Word and deepen their understanding of it.

All activities during the congress provided Adventist women opportunity to connect with other women and gave them opportunity to share hope and healing . . . and their assurance of being "closer to home" because of the soon coming of our Lord and Savior.

"The congress was a great success, logistically and spiritually, due to the inspired and skillful talents of Marite Lipska, Women's Ministries director of Latvia Conference, and Alla Nommik, Women's Ministries director at Baltic Union Conference," reports Raquel Arrais. Both administrative offices of the union and the conference are located in Riga, Latvia, location of the congress.

During the retreat we asked women about their greatest benefit from the it. Here are their answers!

Maija Paulina: I am encouraged to serve, to be with God, that He loves us endlessly. I was reminded about Bible principles related to serving others and attitude to others.

Estere Muceniece: Two things from the retreat will stay in my memory. The first is songs. Singing together gives power. That is amazing! The second is the zeal of Raquel and Heather in each one of their sermons. That was really inspiring!

Agnese Pilke: In the retreat I received great joy and inspiration. All three days I am smiling inwardly and outwardly. I experienced God personally. I could talk to a sister – we could share our experiences and get encouragement. I was strengthened – spiritually and emotionally.

Karolina Rudzionyte: Everything was organized with such a love, I felt loved and surprised. I heard God’s calling to go out for the lost. God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called. With His calling I have received everything that is needed and encouragement to serve Him. Thank you so much!

Kristīne Kaire: I was strengthened for my everyday life. I got motivation to cleanse myself both inwardly and outwardly. I got to know how to make Bible as something more special. I got inspiration to be closer to God. I am grateful to everybody who organized and served during this retreat.

Contributed by Mārīte Lipska, Seventh-day Adventist Church in Latvia, Latvijas Draudžu Savienība

Published in Mosaic newsletter, Spring 2018