Third Women's Ministries Congress, Equipping for Mission

Cameroon | WAD news | Armand Arnaud Yangman Avom | July 21, 2023

A graduation service for women completing Women's Leadership Certification training is held during the congress.

The city of Bafoussam, capital of the West Cameroon region, was the focal point for Adventist women for their third national congress. Under the theme "Clothed in the power from on high, I will reach out to the people around me," the event held July 4-9 brought together nearly 1200 women from all the country's mission fields.

Monday, July 4, 2023, was the day set aside to welcome and settle participants at the Third Cameroon Adventist Women's Ministries Congress. They were accommodated in the dormitories of Bafoussam Technical High School and in the city's hotels. Nearly 1200 delegates from the country's ten regions were settled in and ready to start the congress activities.

Among the guests and facilitators whose academic and professional standing enhanced the quality of the event were the director of Women's Ministries for the Seventh-day Adventist world church, Mrs. Heather-Dawn Small; the West-Central Africa Division Women's Ministries director, Mrs. Omobonike Sessou; Professor Wakata Annie, director of the École Normale Supérieure of Yaoundé; Dr. Mrs. Bouguia Marie Cécile, lecturer at the École Normale Supérieure de Yaoundé; Dr. Donfack Edwige, lecturer at the University of Ngaoundéré; Mrs. Moampéa Véronique, director of Société Camerounaise des Dépôts Pétroliers.

The opening ceremony, held at the Place des Fêtes in the city of Bafoussam, marked the beginning of the proceedings on the second day of the congress, July 5. A ceremony rich in sound and color, was presided over by Mr. Ngono Etene, head of the region's economic, cultural and social affairs division, representing the governor who was unable to attend.

The ceremony was divided into three parts: the addresses, the parade of participants, and the community service. In his address, Pastor Etienne Kamga, president of the West Cameroon Adventist Conference, welcomed the participants and guests to Bafoussam. He expressed his joy at the rebirth of this event after a five-year of inactivity due to the Covid-19.

The Cameroon Union Mission Women Ministries director, Mrs. Christine Bitti, laid emphasis on the importance of the Holy Spirit in mission’s fulfillment.

In his speech, the president of the Cameroon Union Mission expressed his gratitude toward the administrative authorities for their support in organizing this event. He welcomed the Women's Ministries directors from the General Conference and West-Central Africa Division. He illustrated and explained the theme of the congress through a quotation from Ellen G. White's book, Evangelism, "They may take their places in this crisis, and He will work through them. If they are imbued with a sense of their duty, and labor under the influence of the Holy Spirit, they will have just the self-possession required of this time" (418).

Mrs. Heather-Dawn Small stressed the need to use information and communication technologies to proclaim the Gospel. In addition to preaching the Gospel, we must also meet the needs of those who live in our communities, and she recalled the mission of the Women Ministries department within the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

The governor's representative, Mr. Ngono Etene, invited delegates to participate honorably and effectively in the work of this meeting, and then declared the proceedings open.

This segment was followed by the parade of the various delegations, with a notable procession of East Cameroon Conference and West Cameroon Conference delegations, who brought a special touch to the parade both by their numbers and by their demonstration of cultural diversity of their regions.

The day's community activities included a free market for internally displaced people from the prevailing security crisis in the northwest and southwest regions. More than 250 of them received food and clothing items.

At the same time, another team visited patients at the Bafoussam regional hospital. The visit was punctuated by moments of prayer and distribution of hygiene equipment and water.

The distribution of Christian literature by congress participants on Thursday, July 6, enabled women to share tracts, Adventist magazines, and the book of the year, The Great Controversy, in the city's streets and services.

Many sub-themes were taught such as "Living with a heart like Jesus,'’ by Mrs. Heather-Dawn Small; "Christian woman and feminine leadership in a prejudiced society," by Mrs. Moampea Véronique; Dr. Bouguia Marie Cécile spoke on "High society and the virtuous woman: myth or reality." Dr. Donfack Edwige explained the question of "Christian life and world influence." Professor Annie Wakata captivated delegates with her talk on "Quality education and training for young girls." Ms. Emilie Kabiwa, speaking on health, recalled the relationship between physical and spiritual wellbeing through the theme "Clothed in the power from on high, I will take care of the temple of the Holy Spirit." The Women Ministries directors from the General Conference and the West-Central Africa Division used moments of meditation to pass on their teachings. Workshops on sanctuary, mentoring, and time management were also organized.

A special place was given to prayer during the congress, following the morning meditations and the day of fasting and prayer on Wednesday, July 5, from 10am to 4pm. A special moment of prayer for the sick was also organized on Sabbath, July 8, from 7:00 to 8:30am by a team of pastors, under the supervision of the president of the Cameroun Union Mission, Pastor Assembé Minyono Valère Guillaume.

The activity reports presented by the directors were moments of curiosity and celebration. In addition to the evangelism and charity activities that generally filled the reports, the women of the Adamaoua Mayo-Rey Conference distinguished themselves by setting up a 20-hectares groundnuts and 15-hectares soybean farm. This achievement attracted the attention of the division Women Ministries director who promised funding to help.

In her closing sermon on Sabbath, July 8, Mrs. Heather-Dawn Small laid emphasis on the mission of the church, which is to proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom of Heaven. We are children of God, and we must share God's word. God calls us to go, He is the one who empowers us, and we must respond, "I will go." The congress ended with the presentation of awards and appreciation to those who had contributed to the smooth running of the meeting's activities.

Photo credits: WAD COM
By Armand Arnaud Yangman Avom, Communication department, Cameroon Union Mission of West-Africa Central Africa Division (WAD)

Published in Mosaic newsletter, 2023 Q3