South Pacific: Conference Teaches
Women to Share Their Faith
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, Australia.
Every nation in the church’s 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 represented.
CONFERENCE PARTICIPANT:Sarah Aratia, director of women’s ministries for the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Cook Islands, was among those participating in the women’s ministries event.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 women first of all to have a relationship [with God] and study the Bible for themselves; then to be able to share that with others.”
Guest speakers included General Conference Women’s Ministries Department director Heather-Dawn Small; La Sierra University (California) associate professor of New Testament studies Kendra Haloviak Valentine; and SPD president Barry Oliver. A series of workshops was held throughout the weekend on such topics as discipling children, friendship evangelism, spiritual gifts, and leadership.
The Sabbath offering collected more than A$9,000, which will support such ministries for teenage girls and young women as Gigi magazine. The Saturday night closing program included a challenge for women to go out and share the gospel once they returned to their communities.
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 that would enhance the ministry of the church,” she said.
“My goal has always been to help women realize their potential. I will be encouraging them to do outreach, and I will be supporting them as much as I can.’’
—reported by Tracey Bridcutt, South Pacific Division