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Women in Inter-American Division called to enrich church and community

Miami, Florida, United States— More than 200 women leaders from across unions, conferences, and missions throughout the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Inter-American Division (IAD) prayed, shared, and networked together during a two-day training conference held February 10–12, 2019.

“God has put in your heart a special passion and energy to do what you do for the Lord,” said IAD president Elie Henry. “You represent a vital force that perhaps is not as appreciated as it should be, but you are all important and have a place in God’s plans.”

Themed “Chosen and Loved,” which is drawn from Jeremiah 31:3, the event sought to remind women that they have been chosen and loved by God with a great purpose, said Dinorah Rivera, who is the IAD Women’s Ministries director and was the main organizer of the gathering. “When women find their purpose in Jesus, they can be used by the church with greater impact because they are living that purpose,” she said.

“We want women in the church to be strengthened and nurtured—that woman who may be following the Bible doctrines, who attends church regularly but may be dealing with abuse, lack of identity, and more, and we want to reaffirm her value in Jesus,” Rivera said.

The leaders were challenged to commit to leading at least one woman to Jesus in 2019, as the initiative entails.

“All of us are chosen because God needs us, and He has chosen us in spite of our strengths and weaknesses, so we can be a light in our communities,” General Conference Children’s Ministries director Linda Koh said. “You are chosen to be a disciple, chosen to bear fruits of mission, love, and service to make other disciples.”

Attendees listened to presentations on forgiveness, on being happy despite imperfections, on how to overcome stress and exhaustion, and more.

Edna Alvarado, former women’s ministries director in South Mexico (now Chiapas Mexican Union Mission), was honored for her leadership and service to the church in the IAD for more than 34 years. She spoke to the delegation on the importance of being a Christian woman and the will to serve.

“God calls us to grow in Him,” Alvarado said. “You will only grow spiritually if you are determined to serve others.”

Minelly Ruiz, Women’s Ministries director in the Chiapas Mexican Union Mission, said she was eager to pass along the training to the thousands of women across her region. With more than 97,000 active women throughout more than 3,000 congregations in Chiapas, the mission-driven initiative will propel committed women to reach and enrich the lives of so many more women.

“Women’s ministries is very strong in our territory,” Ruiz said. “Young girls and adolescents are trained alongside their mothers and church members and get involved in the mission of the church.”

Henry said women are very active in prison ministries, community out-reach, care of the elderly, helping single mothers, and public evangelism and will work closely together to focus on looking at the needs of women in the community.

Rivera agreed. “We are not just looking to add another number to our church membership but to nurture each life in Jesus,” she said. [Libna Stevens, Inter-American Division News]

On International Women’s Day, ADRA Romania commemorates a decade of fighting domestic violence

Bucharest, Romania—The women housed at the Emergency Center for Victims of Domestic Violence, or Casa ADRA, were in for a surprise when the president of the Adventist Development and Relief Agency International, Jonathan Duffy, along with his wife, Cathy, attended an International Women’s Day event held on March 8 at Casa ADRA.

“For me, the topic of victims of domestic violence is a sad one,” said Duffy. “Over the years, nearly nine hundred people have been housed here. It is sad to think that there are nine hundred victims of domestic violence, but I am grateful that ADRA Romania has found an experienced team that has given them hope, safety, blessings, a place where they can renew their life, and where they can rediscover human dignity.” 

ADRA Romania executive director Robert Georgescu stated that ADRA Romania has been managing Casa ADRA since 2009. It focuses on the social reintegration of victims of domestic violence by providing them with shelter, social and psychological counseling, emergency medical assistance, food, and help finding a lawyer.

The women housed in the center experience a different way of living their lives—without physical, verbal, economic, psychological, sexual, or religious violence. They rely on spiritual values and cultivate healthy eating, exercise, training, and recreational habits.

Casa ADRA is one of the first and few Romanian centers for victims of domestic violence. Since its inception 10 years ago, the shelter has constantly improved its response, adapting it to each and every situation of violence,” added Valentina Sturzu-Cozorici, ADRA Romania project manager. 

Currently, the monthly expenses for each victim of domestic violence housed at Casa ADRA are of about RON 2,500 (about USD 600). During its 10 years of activity, the center has assisted more than 2,240 victims of domestic violence, while 896 of them were accommodated at Casa ADRA itself.

Those who would like to join the ADRA Romania team in the fight against domes-tic violence and help with Casa ADRA can do so through the ADRA Romania website at adra.ro/doneaza. [ADRA Romania]

Social media– based initiative connecting women from Ghana to the world

GhanaDebbie Asamoah Antwiformed Adventist Smart Women (ASW) in 2018. It has grown to more than 4,300 members from all over the world, including Ghana, Sierra Leone, Cameroon, Tanzania, Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, the United States, the Philippines, and Belgium.

The group’s primary objective is to make an impact on the lives of others through education, networking, collaboration, socialization, and empowerment. “The group is made up of professionals who help in resolving delicate issues as well as discussions based on Adventist beliefs, social issues, relationships, health, education, and many more,” group coordinators said. “Members with sensitive issues bring them onboard by using an anonymous link to hide their identity. To help the person, group members use professionalism, personal experiences, and biblical counsel.” 

ASW planned and held the humanitarian activity in Ghana dubbed “Project Touch a Life” in December 2018 with the purpose of bringing people closer to Jesus by meeting the physical needs of a community. Project leader Antwi and her coordinators contacted Nyinahin district pastor Michael Boateng. He welcomed the idea and made the necessary arrangements for the project to happen.

The group’s goal was to attend worship services with the church in Baako Ni Aba, provide for some needs of furnishing the facilities, and donate food, clothes, and toiletries to the surrounding community, Antwi said. Donations and fund-raising initiatives privately funded the project.

Schoolchildren in the area received exercise books and notebooks, pencils, pens, mathematical sets, rulers, and pencil sharpeners.

Antwi said she was thankful to God for making it possible for them to achieve the dream of touching the life of someone in need. “It is the duty of every Christian, something that Jesus commissioned us to do,” she said. “We hope this project will bring some people closer to Jesus.”

She also invited other Adventist women to join the group to enlarge their sphere of influence, as she thanked current members. “Thanks for your prayers, support, and donations,” she said. “Thanks to everyone supporting this project.” [Bernard Adjare, Central Ghana Conference]

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