Women’s Ministry in our worldwide Church has been created to nurture, facilitate, and support women in their Christian lives as disciples of Jesus Christ and members of His World Church (GC WM Department). Women, being active in church as Sabbath school teachers, deaconesses, pathfinders’ leaders, choir conductors, etc., are striving for excellence in the work of God, and they recognise their need for effective leadership skills training. That is why on one beautiful Sabbath morning in October about 75 women from Latvia and some from Estonia came together to take part in a Leadership Seminar in Riga led by Clair Sanches – Schutte the Director of TED Women’s Ministry Department.
Ladies were welcomed by Latvian vocal band Signature Sound Quartet Latvia. Their performance reminded us in a beautiful way where our strength lies, and who is our hope in storms – Christ alone. Starting with prayer we moved to the first topic – how to study the Bible. As Adventists we like to think about ourselves as about people who love reading and studying their Bibles, but do we really, and do we know how to do it? For the beginners, a good formula was given: For a 15-minute Bible study 1) Relax (1 minute), 2) Read (4 minutes), 3) Reflect (4 minutes), 4) Write down anything that comes to your mind (2 minutes), 5) Pray about what you have read, written, and how to apply it into your life (4 minutes). For a longer study, questions were introduced, e.g. what is the topic of the passage, which text stood out for you in the passage, what are the promises we can rely on, etc. In groups, women took time to study one Bible passage of their choice.
The next topic was women’s self-worth. Low self-esteem can influence a person’s life in many negative ways; it can be the cause of eating disorders, self-harming, harming others, and even depression. In the world, self-worth is often based on appearances, success or possessions, but healthy self-worth comes from our worth and uniqueness in Christ, which cannot be changed. A contact with God transforms our negative emotions (Isaiah 61:3).
In the afternoon Clair told us about the living conditions of women in the Bible times. Several times we could feel how much more fortunate we are to live in the 21 century. But there are women in the world who suffer even nowadays. Clair handed out papers from which the participants cut out little houses that symbolised safety and homely warmth, and then, hand-in-hand prayed for women in Syria; for God to give them safety, peace and the knowledge of loving Father in heaven.
The seminar continued on Sunday with very practical topics, like: communication skills, public speaking, and advertising Women’s Ministries, during which participating ladies, using paper, newspapers, magazines, scissors, markers and glue, came out with advertisements to draw public’s attention to their events and ventures. At the end they had to brainstorm for a vision and purpose of the Women’s Ministries in their local churches.
All the participants, who were persistent enough to come on both days, received a beautifully designed certificate, which was a nice addition to the knowledge, skills and ideas everyone could take home with them.
A big thank you goes to Marite Lipska, the Director of WM Department for the Latvian Conference, and her team, for organising such a good seminar; to Clair who came all the way from England to help us to grow as women and as leaders; and to God for teaching us again through His word and showing His tender care and mercy.