Touching Hearts through Women's Challenges

GCWM Delegation at the CSW, United Nations

We know that women around the world face many obstacles. We also know that if we are to reach our sisters with the gospel of Jesus we must first touch their lives at their point of need. In 1990, the General Conference Women’s Ministries (GCWM) identified six challenge issues that women face: abuse, poverty, health, lack of leadership training and mentoring, literacy, and woman’s workload. These issues affect women in and out of the Church, sometimes with equal intensity. They impact women in all countries of the world, although often to different degrees. These challenges are opportunities for outreach and witness—they help define many of the needs women face.

During the week of February, WM leaders from the General Conference, North American Division, and some overseas divisions attended the CSW (Committee on the Status of Women) Conference at the United Nations. This conference is held every year at the United Nations and is the only yearly international conference held in the United States that focuses solely on the global issues that women face.

One of the highlights of this year was networking with women from other countries and other NGOs (non-governmental organizations) that have projects or raise funds for projects to help women. Networking with these women gave us an opportunity to share information about GCWM and our initiatives in various countries. It was interesting to find out how little others know about what we do and how surprised they are that we do so much to help our sisters around the world.

Women attending from Indonesia

Since the focus of the conference was “Financing for gender equality and the empowerment of women,” it was good to be part of discussions with regards to sourcing funds for women’s projects—whether from governments, community, or NGOs.

This year GCWM presented a statement on issues women face and shared packets of resources that we have created such as our abuse brochures.

Heather-Dawn Small and Raquel Arrais
meeting new friends.

We left the conference loaded down with helpful information to share with our leaders around the world as well as a greater awareness of the immensity of the needs of women globally. What a privilege for us to attend and keep updated on these critical and challenging issues and to increase our awareness of issues women face. But even more, what an opportunity for us to increase our knowledge and stay relevant as we reach out to our sisters.

What can you do in your church and community to minister to these needs?




Focus On The News

Euro-Asia Division

Women's Missionary Congress Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine

One-hundred-forty people from Ukraine, Moldova, and Russia attended the Women’s Missionary Congress, “Touch a Heart, Tell the World,” February 1-3, 2008. The theme was from Isaiah 62:11, “Indeed the LORD has proclaimed to the end of the world: ‘Say to the daughter of Zion, ‘Surely your salvation is coming; Behold, His reward is with Him, and His work before Him.’”

As walked forward dressed in national clothes, carrying the emblem of the congress: the hand of a woman embracing the earth. These Ukrainian women in the national dress inspired the participants of the Congress.

Tomara Moldovanu shared the message of what women can do, about their courage, about their eagerness in God’s work, about love, mercy and self-sacrifice. All the participants were moved by the story of Vasilina Shvedova. This diseased woman was near death and yet she suffered that she couldn’t serve God. Because of a miracle she was healed in the Adventist sanatorium and witnessed to the representatives of different denominations. During her illness many Catholic, Orthodox and other churches prayed for her. Today she’s full of energy and eager to work for the Lord.

According to one participant, “It is wonderful to know that sisters have no barriers: ethnic, social, cultural, because they are united by the Holy Spirit, the spirit of love, mercy, kindness, and the great aspiration to help the people to know God and be saved for eternity.”

—Natalia Lastjuk

Southern Asia-Pacific Division

Leadership Training, Philippines

Many women in the South Philippine Union Conference were impressed with the Women’s Ministries (WM) Level 2 Certification when they attended training at the Naomi’s Botanical Garden in Ozamiz City, Western Mindanao, January 17-19, 2008. The theme was “Doing Your Best in 2008.”

The 229 women leaders who attended were attentive and eager to learn. Most of them were professionals working in government services, as teachers, hospital workers, business women, or others, but all were WM leaders in their local churches. Young women were especially welcomed and encouraged to invite more young women.

Women shared soul-winning stories. Alicia Requillo Buyser from the Guipos Adventist Church says, “It provided me the spiritual knowledge…true dedication to the ministry as well as the change of my behavior which I really needed at this point of time through the help of God.”

Leadership Certification Level 3 training is scheduled for September 2009. Elsa R. Jalem from the Pangabaun Church shares, “I am very confident that I can now go forward…for I am now fully equipped. Next year is too long for me to wait for the third level seminar.”

—Helen Gulfan, SSD WM director

Euro-Africa Division

Women Serving

There is joy in a small group of women in EUD; around ten ladies of at least eight different cultures are united in love for the Lord and for the others. They meet in small groups or alone and minister in several different ways. Each week they attend trainings on the theme, “To Know Oneself Better to Better Serve,” to improve their skills in witnessing, Bible study, and prayer groups. They practice witnessing by visiting orphanages, hospitals, and the elderly. Every lady is using her own unique, creative talents with her spirit focusing on service for the Savior.

One of the women says, “We need your prayers for our Women’s Ministries leaders, for the ministry of our sisters in the church, and all the women. Only God can change the hearts of these persons so that they come to Christ and enter God’s kingdom at Jesus’ second coming!”

(back to headlines)

Keeper's Page: Inspiration for You

Be More than a Leader—Be a FRIEND

Effective leaders value people. Romans 12:10 encourages us to “Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.” We have a responsibility to befriend those we lead. Here are a few reminders to help in this process.

Expect nothing in return—By accepting others unconditionally, we give room for the Holy Spirit to work freely in and through us. Remember, “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19).

Show a genuine interest in others—Begin by being considerate. Then, look for the best in others. Make an effort to learn what is happening in the lives of those you lead. Galatians 6:2 tells us to “Share each other’s troubles and problems, and in this way obey the law of Christ.”

Take time to understand others—People are as unique as snowflakes—no two are ever alike. With such variety, we should take time to appreciate the differences in one another. So be patient and keep learning!

Learn the art of listening—Hearing is one thing; listening is quite another. Listening requires focus and attention. Listening also means we care enough to comprehend what the other person is actually saying.

Treat everyone equally—James asks, “My dear brothers and sisters, how can you claim that you have faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ if you favor some people more than others?” (James 2:1). True friendship shows no favoritism.

Be an encourager —Hebrews 10:24 says we are to “Consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” Encouragement is powerful, and when used correctly it frequently produces positive results. Give encouragement liberally.

Show you care—Don’t just say you care—show you care. Actions speak volumes. Make it a point to give a hug, remember a name, give a card or note, open a door, pray for and with a friend, ask about her and listen to her answer.

Emphasize the positive—Philippians 4:8 instructs us to fix our thoughts on what is true, good, and right. We are to think about what is pure and lovely, and dwell on the fine, good things in others. As we do, we recognize characteristics in our friends for which we can praise God and be glad.

— Arlene Allen

Traits in Leadership

by Ellen White

Kindness: The Power of Kindness—We may never know until the judgment the influence of a kind, considerate course of action to the inconsistent, the unreasonable, and unworthy. Christian Leadership 7.1.

Humility: God Exalts the Humble—He is most fit to carry responsibilities and command who most resembles God in Character, – in goodness, mercy, and staunch loyalty to the cause and work of God. Letter 39, 1898, p.13.

Integrity: Position does not Make the Man. It is the integrity of character, the spirit of Christ that makes him thankful, unselfish, without partiality and without hypocrisy – it is this that is value with God. Testimonies to Ministers, 356.

Influence: Every word spoken, every work performed, will have an influence that corresponds to influence of heaven. Review and Herald, April 28, 1903.

Trusting God: To wait patiently, to trust when everything looks dark, is the lesson that the leaders in God’s work need to learn. Heaven will not fail them in their day of adversity. Prophets and Kings, 174.

Leadership Certification Level 4

The fourth and final level of the GC Women’s Ministries Leadership Certification Series is now available. Level 4 was developed especially for leaders who are mentoring other leaders. If you are a local church leader who would like to train the women in your church, you can use this material to encourage them to become leaders.

Order from:
(800) 328-0525

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GC Women's Ministries Newsletter Calendar & Prayer Request

APRIL 2008

Women's Challenge Issues—Illiteracy

If They Can't Read, They Can't Read the Bible

  • In the world today there are over one billion adults who cannot read. Over 650,000 of that number are women.
  • The world population is over 6 billion. The complete Bible is now available to 90% of these people in their mother tongue. Yet 45-55% of these people cannot read. Non-readers comprise the vast majority of the peoples yet to be reached with the Gospel.
  • Non-readers are captive: they cannot fill out job applications; they cannot open a checking account; they cannot use a phone book; they cannot read any Christian literature or the Bible.
  • Literacy Volunteers of America has defined a literate person as one who is able to use printed and written information to function in society, achieve her goals, and develop her knowledge and potential. This may apply to a second language as well—the language of commerce.
  • Where 50% or more of the population cannot read, teaching literacy is the best way to plant churches.

How to get involved. What the church can do:

  • Create a literacy awareness in your congregation
  • Assess what type of program is still needed
  • Make a financial contribution to a literacy program
  • Set up a program
  • Provide tutoring space in your church
  • Become a tutor
  • Direct a program
  • Provide baby sitting service during the tutoring session
  • Give a gift of reading materials
  • Get involved in your community’s education system
  • Be knowledgeable about your local board of education
  • Advocate for equal education for all

Source: If They Can’t Read – GCWM Mentoring Brochures

Prayer Corner

  • Women who don't know how to read
  • Raquel Arrais travel to EUD
  • Heather-Dawn Small travel to NA


  • April 7—World Health Day. World Health Day this year focuses to protect health from the adverse effects of climate change. More information:
  • May 31— Scholarship applications due to GCWM

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