News from the Baptist Women’s Union of the
South West Pacific
Bula Vinaka! Apa kabar! God blessem yupela! Gidday! Hi there!
Dear Baptist sisters
Christmas greetings to you from New Zealand! I expect you are well occupied at present with less than 10 days until the 25th. I confess I am behind with all my Christmas tasks (does anyone else have that problem?) but no doubt all will be well as long as we keep the Main Thing the main thing.
It’s been an exciting year for many of us in the South West Pacific. Below are some highlights:
We had a great report of November’s World Day of Prayer in PAPUA. Welena Wenda, President of the Women's Department of the Fellowship of Baptist Churches of Papua, reminded us that on the Sunday before the World Day of Prayer it is now the custom in their churches for the services to be led by women.
“Personally,” said Welena, “we think this is a way of supporting gender equality and empowering women, as one of the Millennium Development Goals.”
So, after two months of preparation, in every church around Papua a team of women preached, prayed and led the singing. Many testified how God had helped them in this. For example, Mrs Salomina Wenda and her team who served at Gethsemane Baptist Church in the Wamena District, said, “I saw and felt when I was preaching the Word of God that hundreds of people were being blessed. “ In addition, they were invited to visit some sick people in their homes and to pray for them.
PAPUA NEW GUINEA
The PNG Day of Prayer event was well attended as always, with women walking several miles over rough terrain, just to take part. Our BWUSWP secretary, Anne MacCarthy, paid her first visit to PNG last September, and was encouraged by the vibrant faith she observed among Baptist women there. Pictured at belows is Anne getting ready to depart, having just packed a suitcase full of knitted vests for the babies of PNG.
The Baptist women of Fiji welcomed me last September. It was a busy four days and we crammed in plenty! What a joy it was to meet my friendly sisters in that city and how grateful I was for their hospitality, especially that of the Baptist women’s president, Kesa Naivalurua, pictured below. Church women in Fiji do amazing social work. One morning we took part in the ministry at the women’s prison, followed by a visit to the Homes of Hope for teenage girls with babies. Well done, Fiji!
In August BWUSWP treasurer Judith Searle (from Cairns) and I flew to Brisbane to attend a She Is conference. The Baptist women of Queensland put on several She Is conferences every year, chaired by Queenslander Sue Peters who is also the President of Australian Baptist Women. This one was in Mapleton, on the Sunshine Coast, and more than 300 enthusiastic women attended the event, which was booked out. (I enjoyed catching up with former BWUSWP president Lorraine Walker while there.) The keynote speaker was dynamic and diminutive Suzie Botross from Victoria, a successful author and motivator. Below: Elissa Macpherson demonstrated the importance of “emergency glitter” in times of stress. (Yes, we all received a box, just in case.)
In Auckland we held two Day of Prayer events in early November – a prayer dinner at Remuera Baptist Church and a prayer breakfast at Windsor Park Baptist – and similar events were held in other centres around the country. Baptist women in the Auckland region also gathered In May for what we call the “annual Baptist women’s do,” six hours of inspirational singing, testimony and encouragement.
A small team of dedicated hard workers, led by Olwyn Dickson, has been meeting all year to plan for the big event of 2014, the quinquennial BWUSWP conference. Read on.
BWUSWP CONFERENCE, AUCKLAND, 14-17 MARCH 2014
This is just three months off, and we hope you’re all coming! If you enjoyed past conferences in Cairns and Fiji, you’ll love this one. To be held at the Baptist Tabernacle, in the heart of the city, it’s an event not to be missed. Already a team of 17, plus a nine-year-old girl, are planning to come from Papua New Guinea! You’ll get to meet Raquel Contreras the Baptist Women’s World President, as well as Patsy Davis, the executive director, both from the USA. We’ll have colourful presentations from each country and a progress report on one or two of the Millennium Development Goals from each region. Plus fun events and celebrations to keep every foot tapping. Our theme “Soaring With the Spirit” is based on Isaiah 40:31. The deadline for registrations is 24 February, but don’t leave it till the last moment! The cost is $300 per person, and accommodation (not included in the price) is available from the Kiwi International Hotel, practically next door to “The Tab.” For those on a budget, backpacker accommodation is also handy. To register contact Fran Benfell <firstname.lastname@example.org> who will be delighted to hear from you.
Much more could be written but know that our thoughts are with you all at this time. Judith, Anne and Kaa join me in in wishing you every Christmas blessing. May the peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be upon you in this busy season, and grant you a happy and refreshing time with your loved ones.