Be Steadfast, Daughters of Destiny
by Michealle Low
| A group activity
Be steadfast, ye daughters of destiny! This was the theme of Single Women Ministers' retreat for 2012, organised by the NECF Women's Commission in June. A group of women pastors, missionaries, full-time ministers in churches and Christian NGOs attended the two-day camp at the Bayu Beach Resort in Port Dickson. The aim of the retreat was to bring together women ministers for a time of rest, recreation and networking, to motivate them to seek God and stand firm in Him, and to encourage them to form a fellowship to continue mutual encouragement and spiritual growth.
The sessions were personal and powerful as they related to real issues and struggles single full-time women ministers faced. Pastor Nesam Ebenezer spoke on "God Wants You Whole" in which she reminded all of us that we are chosen by God as a precious vessel and called for a purpose. In her talk, she took us through the acronym of the word "Love", which stood for our Loyalty to God, Obedience to God's, Vision for God's work, and Expectations from God. She concluded the talk by requesting the participants to fill up a bookmark card with their individual commitment to serve faithfully as per the theme of this retreat.
| The "fashion models"
Yeo Pei Li, a qualified psychologist spoke on the personal life of a single woman minister. She got the group to ponder and reflect on some interesting questions: How old do you think you can live till? How do you differentiate between a job and a career? Her concluding point was that a life in service of God, whether it is full-time ministry or the marketplace, will never lack anything. Yeo also led us in activities that were designed to reveal our inner selves by choosing a colour card that reflected our feelings. She shared the six 'R's that are important life practices: Relaxation, Rejuvenation of our bodies, Relating to one another, Reprioritising commitments, Reconnecting with God, and Rekindling our fire. We also carried out an individual needs profile assessment to understand ourselves better. Finally, we reflected on the challenges facing single woman ministers and how we respond to these challenges.
We had plenty of fun, laughter and encouragement as we exchanged personal stories and experiences with each other while enjoying the pool and sea views over meals and as we engaged in create and humorous activities. On the final evening, all of us in our respective teams put on skits or mini-dramas based on Bible stories or Scripture passages.
There was also a fun session on fashion and we learned about selecting the right accessories to enhance positive features and to hide flaws! This session ended with a mini-fashion show, which each group having to select a member as a "model" and dressing her up by mixing and matching the accessories provided. This activity taught the group members how to make decisions on fashion together and as such, it was a good team-building activity.
| Praying for one another
At the end of the retreat, each participant was given a copy of the book Ordinary Women with Extraordinary Stories by Grace Hee, the head of the NECF Women's Commission. The book was published recently by NECF and is available for sale at its office. Before we broke camp, we ended our two days together with a prayer and sharing session. A special moment was when all of us formed an "anointing tunnel" by standing in two rows facing each other and raising our arms to touch each other's fingertips. Then we walked through the tunnel where at the end, Grace dabbed a bit of oil on each of our foreheads as a symbol of God's anointing. We then prayed for each other. Goodbye hugs were exchanged and we agreed to stay connected with each other after the retreat.
All the participants are extremely grateful to the kind sponsor who covered the retreat's expenses. Some caring churches had also sponsored door gifts for the women as well. Our humble thank you notes to the donors cannot repay their kindness.
Participants of the Single Women Ministers' retreat 2012