Simple Reflections: Images of God’s Love—Netherlands (TED)

The first ever joint women’s retreat organized by the British and Netherlands Union Women's Ministries directors occurred March 28-30, 2008; 193 women attended. The Mooirivier Congress Hotel in Dalfsen, the Netherlands, was the setting.

Heather Haworth, British Union Conference WM director; and Clair Sanches, Netherlands Conference WM director, welcomed everyone on Friday evening. Raquel Arrais, GCWM Associate Director, spoke on the Holy Spirit. She encouraged women to form a unit as the disciples did, praying that God will help to open hearts to Him.

Haworth opened the Sabbath morning with worship and shared projects which are running in the British Union. Heather-Dawn Small, GCWM Director, spoke for the divine service.

In the afternoon the women had an opportunity to visit one to three workshops: “Creative Prayer” by Karen Holford; “Young Women’s Workshop” by Raquel Arrais; and Choir by Valerie Fidelia.

Arrais held her last presentation on inviting women to put Jesus first. The choir, Advocals from Arnhem, joined her to make the closing of Sabbath a wonderful experience. In the evening the ladies enjoyed painting, using wooden forms of tulips. Each tulip was different.

On Sunday, Sanches had the last morning worship service and closed the morning with four different prayer corners where ladies prayed for one another. Heather-Dawn Small spoke again, bringing laughter as the women were fed from God’s word.

 It is wonderful how God can help bridge language and cultural differences and make us one in Him.

Women’s Retreat Brings Great Inspiration—Israel

Fifty-six women from Romanian, Russian, English, and Hebrew churches of the Israel Field attended a Women’s Ministries retreat April 3-5 in Kibbutz Beit Alpha, Middle Galilee. Guest speakers were Heather Dawn Small, GC WM Director; Raquel Arrais, GC WM Associate Director; and Anne-May Wollan, Trans-European Division WM Director; they spoke on the theme, “Let Your Light Shine.”

The event started with a Galilee tour to places where Jesus began His ministry, and continued to Tabha, the place where Jesus is believed to have fed the four thousand, and then on to Capernaum. The tour proceeded to the National Park Sahne (Gan Hashlosha) where the Amal River traverses the length of the Gan Hashlosha National Park.

Small, Arrais, Usachev, and Wollan

During the retreat, the women participated in various activities: gymnastics, early morning walks, and blood pressure and blood sugar level check-ups. During the workshops Arrais talked about the six critical issues of women, and Small spoke about “Touch a Heart, Tell the World.”

In the afternoon, Small gave a demonstration on card making, and all were able to make two cards each. The Israel Field Women’s Ministries department plans to start a card-making ministry.

A Kabalat Shabbat led by Pastor Oleg Elkine welcomed the Sabbath, followed by a vespers devotional by Wollan entitled “It Is Not How You Feel, It Is How You Deal.”

After Sabbath lunch the delegates had opportunity for fellowship, prayers, testimonies, rest, and visiting nature sites on the Kibbutz. A non-Adventist lady who attended commented, “This has been beyond my expectation. The fellowship and the learning was inspiring; all of it has been worth it! During this weekend I have strengthened my decision to accept Jesus as my Savior and to be baptized.” Another woman who was attending this type of event for the first time said, “I am full of positive emotions! I feel love, warm relationships, and kindness. I want to attend a church to know more about Jesus.” Praise the Lord!

—Nina Usachev, Israel Field WM director

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