Forty-nine dedicated Oregon Conference women’s ministries leaders came together in at the Village Green Resort and Gardens in Cottage Grove, Ore., March 4–6 for training and networking for the women of our church and communities. Many left feeling “spiritually renewed, committed, refreshed, and found lasting friendships with sisters in Christ.”
Friday evening started with praise worship, testimonies and Rachel Griebel, Corvallis Church women’s ministries leader, presented the message “Resiliency: Loved by the Father.” Carol Smith, Springfield Church women’s ministries leader, spoke on Sabbath, giving two messages, “Generous Overflow” and “Best Choices for Healthy Balance in Leadership.”
Melinda Fugate, Glide Church women’s ministries leader, gave a testimony of faith and courage in leading a women’s ministries group in her small church. She reported the following:
The women's group is a new ministry in our Glide Church, and, through much prayer and the guidance of the Holy Spirit and materials available through the North American Division women’s ministries, we built a foundation. Our motto text [is], "For with God nothing will be impossible" (Luke 1:37).
At our fall committee meeting I came prepared to share a project to provide personal care packages for the homeless women sheltered at a local facility, but it was not well-received. Prior to the meeting I was moved with the idea to go talk with the manager of this facility to ask if there was any way we could be of a help and encouragement for the ladies. She was very happy for my visit and shared the need for 65 care bags for the women and 30 for the children. I shared this information with my team. As I stated earlier, it was not well-received.
A couple of ladies and I stayed after the meeting and prayed about it and cast our burdens to the Lord. The following night I had a most wonderful dream. I dreamed that I was encircled in the arms of the Lord Jesus, and He was comforting me as I leaned upon His breast. It was the most wonderful experience. I could not see His face, but He assured me that He wanted me to move forward. He told me to trust Him and that He had my back. I awakened that morning with a renewed spirit and of good courage.
That morning I was at work and decided to start with asking my employer. I work in a lumber mill, and with a prayer in my heart I set out to ask for my first donation. I was really nervous, so I asked the Lord to be with my mouth just like He was with Moses. I told him all about our ministry and how we were trying to organize a project to help the homeless women and children. He asked how much it would cost for each package. I have to admit I was embarrassed that I had not thought to figure that, and I threw an amount of $10. He said, “How about I write you out a check for $5,000.”
Many contributions just kept coming in: cash donations from the church members, friends and family offered items, and one dear lady knitted and donated 100 hats. The items gathered were shampoo and conditioner, toothpaste and toothbrush, disposable razors, bar soap, hairbrushes, deodorant, and Chapstick. We also had the funds to purchase a brand-new pillow for each woman and included a new pillowcase in each package. Each bag was an inspiration of its own and were labeled with words of faith and belief in Christ. We attached a Christmas card with an encouraging greeting personally signed by the ladies at the Christmas event party. The gifts for the children were packed with a fleece, color books and crayons, toothbrush and toothpaste, blanket pajamas for the little ones, and a $50 gift card for each package.
I named this the "Samaritan Project" because this was the name of the facility where the homeless women and children were sheltered. We had the wonderful privilege of personally delivering the care packages Christmas morning, I had some awesome help from one of my team members. She was my right hand man [and] woman, as well as some other ladies helped us. And you should have seen the smiles, the hope, joy and love we brought to these dear women.
I praise God for His faithfulness, and I am so encouraged to keep on keeping on! He will help, He will open doors. He will make a way where we cannot see a way. He is God, He wants us to step out in faith and trust Him! When we do, then we can see the wonderful ways in which He wants to reveal himself to us. We had more than enough funds to pay for this project.
The beauty of this project was how it involved and impacted so many people for Christ. A stronger faith was born in the team, the church members, family and friends, all for the good of helping those in need and the opportunity to put a precious book into their hands that tells them of God's great love for them. No matter what our station in life is, He will use us if we let Him. We are not out of God's reach. He has an outstretched hand that can touch anyone, anywhere!”
The retreat weekend was the North American Division Women’s Day of Prayer Sabbath. The emphasis was on answered prayers and testimonies. “The testimonies and prayer time were so inspiring and was the most meaningful thing for me this weekend” was written by some of the attendees on their evaluations slips.
“My faith was so renewed this weekend. I spent time giving each of the burdens I have been carrying over to God to work out while I just wait in faith for His instructions,” stated one of the leaders.
Jackie Johnson, McMinnville Church women’s ministries leader, gave a seminar on “How to Plan a Women’s Ministries Retreat for Your Church.” Terrie Leen Griebel and Cheri Corder presented training materials and mini seminars on women’s ministries leadership.
“I felt it a privilege to attend the weekend seminar. It was beyond my expectations.”
“God speaking through everyone, the loved shared, the bonding and the inspiration, and relaxation.”
“Authenticity and willingness of the leaders and speakers to be vulnerable with us” were just a few of the thoughts and feelings of the women who attended this retreat.
Upcoming events for women’s ministries in the Oregon Conference:
- Women’s Ministries Prayer Breakfast, Gladstone Camp Meeting, July 23.
- 2016 Oregon Christian Women’s Retreat, Redmond, Ore., Oct. 28, 29, 30, celebrating the event's 30th anniversary.