Akemi Duarte, Women's Ministries director, Japan Union Conference, with her husband, Pastor Mark Duarte


Women want to be spiritually nourished and equipped for outreach ministry

Bilingual pastoral couple from Tokyo trains 250 participants, both men and women, at Japan's union WM congress.

Northern Asia-Pacific Division (NSD)

[Japan] The Japan Union Conference women’s ministries (JUC WM) expected and planned for an attendance of about 80 people at the nation-wide spiritual retreat held once every five years.

When the deadline for registering arrived, 250 participants signed up for the event. That number included women, men, some families, and quite a few non-Japanese attendees. Adjustments were quickly made. The theme of the April 2017 congress held on the island of Okinawa was “A Shelter in the Time of Storm.”

Guest speakers Pastor Mark Duarte and Akemi Duarte, director of women’s ministries for the Japan Union Conference, focused on revival and evangelism. In addition, Mrs. Duarte reports the priority of JUC women’s ministries is to plan every seminar and program centered on Christ, the word of God, and the counsel of the Spirit of Prophecy. God truly blessed over the weekend, and many attendees said they were revived to do God’s work more faithfully in their home churches.

Two spiritual retreats were held in 2016 for both East and West Japan Conferences to further study God’s word for inspiration regarding our mission of spreading His precious message of salvation to others. The running theme of women’s ministries has been the same as that of the General Conference and JUC: “Arise! Shine! Jesus is coming soon!

Pastor Mark Duarte of Tokyo Central International Church present bilingual seminars translated by Mrs. Duarte every third Wednesday of each month to a group of women who are studying the Bible in depth. Preparation for public evangelism in Tokyo heightens the desire for all members to be equipped for outreach ministry. A recent study in the books of Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther put emphasis on equipping women for outreach. The bilingual sessions give opportunity for non-Japanese living in Japan to attend the Bible seminars and become involved in evangelism.

The Japan Union estimates that nearly seventy percent of the active members in Japan are women, therefore, women play a significant role in the future of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Japan. Akemi Duarte believes it is important for every church member and pastor to understand that women’s ministries is not about promoting any kind of political feminist agenda, nor is it about women hijacking the role of men in the church or causing division among church members. Women’s ministries is about ministering to women, nurturing and training them so they can in turn be inspired and equipped to minister to others as part of the ongoing mission of the Adventist church. It’s about reviving a culture of evangelism in every local congregation, in every member, and in every church activity.

Excerpt from Northern Asia-Pacific Ocean Division magazine, News & Views, July / August 2017, pp. 8, 9. Read here

Published in Mosaic newsletter, Winter 2018