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15 Pastors Spouses Work Together in Phoenix

On October 9-15, 2016 fifteen pastors’ wives and their husbands came together in Phoenix, Arizona to win souls for Christ in the ‘Our Great Hope Summit.’ Planned, prepared, and prayed for during the year prior to the event, this project attracted a diverse audience: Burmese, Chin, Congolese, Karen, Karenni, Ethiopian, Ghanaian, Kenyan, Haitian, Filipino, Japanese, Korean, Laotian, Samoan, and Tongan.

Elder VicLouis Arreola III, director of the NAD Asian/Pacific Ministries and the Pacific Union Conference Asian/Pacific Ministries, was the main speaker while his wife, Imelda, was the health educator. The diverse group of pastoral couples participated in the pulpit, music, translations, health expo, and the children’s class. Many of these ministerial couples (including employed and lay pastors) had never met previously so the time together helped forge bonds of friendship and networking. Those pastors’ spouses who participated include:
Burmese (Chin) - Sai Tai Tin, Karen Delia Paw
Congolese - Francine Mpabwanimana
Ethiopian - Duguna Dedefo
Filipino - Nica Sta Ana, Rebecca Abcede, Arlene Merginio, Ana Lopez, Magdalena Tio,         
                Cecile Velarde
Ghanaian - Mrs. Owusu
Haitian - Maxine Wilbens
Korean - Sunok Esther Jung
Laotian - Mrs. Pheng
Tongan - Siunipa Telefoni

Before the nightly meetings, attendees flocked to the health screenings to be attended by a team of nurses. Hypertension and diabetes were exhibited by a large percentage of attendees. But the desperation that was seen in their faces early in the series changed to eagerness to learn how to get well. Asked by their respective leaders what their favorite part of the meetings was, their unanimous response was, “The health lecture.” To strengthen the health message among the refugees, a follow-up is being planned to educate their children at the Refugee Center sponsored by the Pacific Union Conference and the Arizona Conference.

Jesus tells us in Matthew 24:14, “And the gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” Revelation 14:6 says, “….having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people,” Missionaries used to go to other countries and tell people about Jesus. Right now, they are in our backyards.
Because of the sufferings refugees experienced in their homelands, the communication gap that confines them to themselves and prevents them from getting jobs in order to support their families, and the ailments they suffer due to lack of knowledge, they have become stoics. A servant-leader’s reward is seeing them being transformed into responsive people, still with real life challenges but with hope in their faces. It is a reward to see them respond to a smile, a handshake, a hug, or just a hopeful look in their eyes. Above all, the ultimate joy and reward was witnessing ten precious souls accept Jesus and be baptized on Sabbath, October 15, 2016. These are for whom Jesus shed His blood and died on the cross.

Our Great Hope Summit was sponsored by the NAD Asian/Pacific Ministries in collaboration with the Pacific Union Conference Asian/Pacific Ministries.






Imelda Arreola, DSc, CHES,
NAD Asian Shepherdess Coordinator