Attended by almost 200 women, the North New Zealand Women’s Ministries conference hosted its largest retreat in five years at Tui Ridge on September 20–22.
Lynelle Laws, Women’s Ministries director for the North New Zealand Conference, attributes the rise in numbers to word-of-mouth, because “past attendees have found it a blessing in previous years”.
Karen Price, a “student advocate” and special needs teacher for Avondale School (Primary) in New South Wales, Australia, was the speaker for the weekend, themed The Advocate.
Ms Price spoke at four sessions during the weekend, encouraging women to look beyond their perceived limitations and to remember the strength that God can provide.
“I just wanted the ladies to know that the Holy Spirit was given to us as an advocate and we do have the master key to access God,” says Ms Price.
On Sabbath afternoon, attendees, who ranged in ages from 14 to over 80, also had the opportunity to attend a number of workshops. Topics for the workshops included mental wellness, Bible journalling, candle making and green living tips, and were presented by different speakers from both New Zealand and Australia.
“There’s always something new to learn and I get to meet new people too,” says Christina Simamao, from New Lynn Samoan Church. “I look forward to [the women’s retreat] every year.”
Ms Simamao has attended every retreat since 2005, only missing three due to personal reasons.
“It has been absolutely amazing and really uplifting. I feel spiritually enriched,” said Lynyce Leuuin from Cambridge church.
Third-time attendee Anna Anderson, from Paeroa church, says the retreat was “refreshing, reinvigorating and encouraging in the Lord.”
$NZ1100 was also collected at a special offering for the “For the love of Phileo” project, a scholarship fund founded by Kay Judge to support female students attending Sonoma Adventist College in Papua New Guinea.
Ms Laws says the aim of the conference was to help the “ladies see their potential, that they’re not just a number and they can minister on their own rights. God is accessible to them.”
Ms Laws hopes attendees will be inspired and happy to bring all their friends—even those who don’t attend church—to future women’s retreats.