Conference teaches women to share their faith


Brisbane, Australia

Hundreds of Adventist women leaders from across the South Pacific have been empowered to spread the Gospel through a world-first conference held in Brisbane on August 16-18.

Every nation in the South Pacific Division (SPD) was represented at the Adventist Women’s Conference.

Every nation in the South Pacific Division (SPD) was represented at the Adventist Women’s Conference—themed “Touch a heart, tell the world”. The 630 attendees included 230 women from Papua New Guinea—the largest group.

Hosted by the SPD Women’s Ministries Department, the conference was the first of its kind, according to department director Erna Johnson. “It’s a first for Women’s Ministries the world over,” she said. “They have done retreats before but never a conference to show women how to do outreach.

“The whole reason for the conference was to teach the women first of all to have a relationship [with God] and study the Bible for themselves, and then be able to share that with others.”

Guest speakers included General Conference Women’s Ministries director Heather-Dawn Small, La Sierra University (California) Associate Professor of New Testament Studies, Dr Kendra Haloviak Valentine, and SPD president, Dr Barry Oliver. A series of workshops was held throughout the weekend on topics like discipling children, friendship evangelism, spiritual gifts and leadership.

The Sabbath offering collected more than $A9000, which will support ministries for teenage girls and young women including GIGI magazine. The Saturday night closing program included a challenge for the women to go out and share the Gospel in their communities.

Ms Johnson said the sad fact was that many women across the South Pacific think they have nothing to contribute to church life.

“They are capable women, they have gifts and talents which would enhance the ministry of the Church,” she said.

“One thing that has always been my goal is to help women realise their potential. I will be encouraging them to do outreach and I will be supporting them as much as I can.’’

Tracey Bridcutt is copyeditor for RECORD.

“I’ve found it very inspiring. The messages have been touching. I feel we have been elevated to another level.” —Lalen Simeon (right), Pacific Adventist University, PNG, pictured with Glennes Anis.

“Just coming here with all the ladies of the Pacific gives us a little foretaste of heaven.” —Orette Collen, Sydney, NSW.

“It’s been really awesome. I’m enjoying meeting all these women from all different cultures. It’s just amazing and the messages are powerful.” —Malvinas Penland, Cooranbong, NSW, pictured wtih her six-month-old daughter Misper.

“We just had a wonderful session on prayer. It’s given us something to take home and work with.” —Maggie Ballew, Devonport, Tasmania.

“Some of the topics have been so amazing. It has personally made me more fully realise the responsibility the Lord has entrusted to me in Women’s Ministries.” —Glenda Locop (right), Women’s Ministries director, South New Zealand Conference, pictured with Sarah Aratai, Women’s Ministries director, Cook islands.

“It’s been very, very interesting. I’m happy to learn all these things about our Lord.” —Mathilde Basset (right), Tahiti, pictured with Sylvie Falchetto (left) and Elisabeth Thery.