Largest ever Women’s Ministries congress in West Africa draws more than four thousand women.
Women attending the division-wide congress bring with them an abundance of color, music, prayers, and energy to the many activities held during the six-day congress.
West-Central Africa Division (WAD)
[Ghana] More than four thousand women representing the twenty-two-country territory of the West-Central Africa region gathered at Kwame Nkrumah University’s stadium in Kumasi, Ghana on July 29 to August 3, 2019 to attend the Women’s Ministries convention themed “Saved to Serve.” The event attracted thousands more daily spectators to the stadium stands, particularly during Friday and Sabbath services.
At a Glance—Highlights of the busy congress by the numbers:
- More than 4,000 women registered and in attendance at the largest ever Adventist women’s congress in West Africa
- Graduation of 1,140 women from the 4 levels of Women’s Ministries Leadership Certification training
- Community outreach activities that included 36 groups of women campaigning for the enditnow initiative, and 17 groups of women distributing food, books, Bibles, and sewing machines
- Transporting women to outreach activities required 54 buses
- Distributed items valued at $37,000 USD
- One day for fasting and prayer
- Choosing from 16 workshops to attend and the full-scale wilderness Sanctuary model to view
- Launching Balm of Healing, the first ever Adventist women’s devotional book written by African women for African women and published in West Africa
- Dynamic guest speakers, 2 of which are Women’s Ministries leaders from the Adventist world church
- Pre-evangelistic series held in Ghana in 220 cites with 200 Ghanaian women speakers and 20 women speakers from outside Ghana, resulting in the baptism of 1,026 souls
The Parade of Nations marked the opening ceremony Monday evening with the presence of the Ghanaian authorities and West-Central Africa Division leadership. The colorful variety of cultural-specific costumes beamed brilliantly in the stadium lights.
Mrs. Omobonike Adeola Sessou, Women’s Ministries director for the West-Central Africa Division and organizer of the event, launched the West-Central Africa Division's women’s devotional book for 2020, Balm of Healing. This is the first devotional book written by African women for African women. It is published in English by the Advent Press of Accra, Ghana.
Tuesday was reserved for fasting and prayer. Prayer sessions punctuated the intent for spiritual reconnection, and women could choose from sixteen workshops to attend during the day. Near the stadium throughout the duration of the congress, a full-scale model of the wilderness Sanctuary of Moses provided visitors with an incredible experience visualizing the tabernacle through its size, details, and sanctuary furniture.
Wednesday’s activities centered around volunteer community service with seventeen groups visiting orphanages, hospital, prisons, rehabilitation centers. They delivered food, books, Bibles, and sewing machines with the value of 200,000 Ghana cedes (about $37,000 USD). Another thirty-six groups campaigned for enditnow awareness, visiting homes and shops to share the message that Seventh-day Adventists say No to violence, particularly the domestic abuse of women and girls.
“We have never experienced this kind of massive community service before," said Vida Linda Gyasi, Women Ministries director in the hosting territory of Northern Ghana Union Mission. It was also her responsibility to contract with fifty-four buses to transport the women to the various service sites.
In the Friday graduation ceremony, 1,140 women received Andrews University certificates for completing all four levels of Women’s Leadership training. Glynis Bradfield, director of distance student services and associate professor of curriculum in the School of Distance Education, came from Andrews University in Michigan, USA, as keynote speaker for the graduation and to award certificates to graduates with General Conference Women’s Ministries leaders, Heather-Dawn Small, director, and Raquel Arrais, associate director. These certificates represent three hours of continuing education in each of the four levels.
Sabbath services attracted many guests who were blessed along with the participants through the uplifting musical presentations by women’s groups and choirs and Mrs. Small’s message, “Saved to Serve by Grace,” which was led by God to move hearts toward the Mission and the Master.
The Sabbath afternoon program was dedicated to tributes and special thanks to those who cooperated for the success of the event, particularly to the guest speakers and the dedicated team of WM leaders.
Pastor Elie Weick, president of West-Central Africa Division, gave a stirring consecration message. The WM leadership team gave the charge to their participants by sharing light from their candles to others who shared to others until many lights were shining in the night.
All the Women's Ministries directors in the unions and conferences of the West-Central Africa Division would like to give honor and thanks for the leadership and dedication that Mrs Sessou showed as she worked continuously to ensure the success of the largest ever congress with its many activities for more than four thousand women, even while she delivered a newborn baby just two weeks before the event began, July 29.
Reported by Irineo Koch, director of Communication for the West-Central Africa Division
At a Glance by the Numbers list by Rebecca Turner, Mosiac editorial assistant
Published in Mosaic newsletter, 2019 Q3, summer issue