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Michigan Conference Ministry Wives Sleepover
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"Putting one's feet up" means "to relax and have a rest." That is what ministry wives did on their sleepover, and it was a restful, peaceful weekend. What a blessing to spend a weekend in a beautiful home on the Grand River with 28 women. The house, decorated with hundreds of lighthouses, was a grand place to:

•   Spend time together in Christian fellowship
•   Incorporate new ministry wives
•   Engage in Bible study and prayer
•   Heal emotionally-weary women
•   Laugh and relax
•   Experience and offer mentoring by different generations
•   Worship
•   Enjoy home-cooked food
•   Make deeper friendships that last
 
During the weekend, Laurie Snyman, Michigan Conference Ministerial Department assistant, shared the meaning of being “soul sisters” and “It Takes a Village,” and told about significant people who encouraged her to follow Christ. Retired pastor’s wife, Dorothy Toppenberg, and her daughter, Elsena Benson, of the Big Rapids, Edmore and Lakeview churches, spoke about “Being Married to a Pastor.”  Myrna Earles, retired Women’s Ministries leader and pastor’s wife, shared experiences of her years in the pastorate. Throughout the weekend, many ministry wives shared a favorite children’s story they have presented in their churches. Many testimonies brought tears to the eyes, including Ruth Hood of the Waterford and Livingston churches, when she told about the recent health crisis she had just come through.

Saturday night was spent in active games and laughter. Home-cooked meals were provided throughout the weeked by Linda Gallimore, wife of the Michigan Conference president, Laurie Snyman and Linda Nelson, Michigan Conference Human Resources assistant and former Ministerial Department assistant. Here are some of the comments from a few participants:
 
“All the retreats and weekends our conference offers are very special and appreciated, but these sleepover weekends are the most special. They allow us to be with our fellow-wives, and give us the chance to get to know them on a deeper level. Not only that, the laughs and recreation were such a stress relief for me. I just loved the weekend!” —Kim Dowell, Charlotte and Grand Ledge churches
 
“One-by-one, we filtered in [and there was] a hug and smile for each new arrival! What a treat to be able to reconnect with fellow ministry wives in a stress-free environment! The smell and sight of food already prepared and displayed so beautifully, the sound of happy voices and chatter, and the time to enjoy all of this so freely made each moment an unbelievable treat and blessing! From the worship thoughts to the testimonies to the open discussions, our hearts were knit together with the common bond we share. We found that we are truly "soul sisters" and that our unity and bonds serve to encourage and strengthen us in our roles. At our best, we may strengthen our husbands' ministries and their effectiveness as we minister with them, heart-to-heart. Their ministries are our ministries. Ours is even a shared identity in ministry with our spouses, with all the complications and joys that come with it. We sang, we prayed, we talked. And after Sabbath, we had a special time playing a group game together! Fun! In short, we had time to be in each others' presence without any other interruptions, to be with some of the finest women in the Michigan Conference. And be blessed.” —Annette Metz, wife of the Publishing director
 
“I was glad to get better acquainted with other pastors' wives. The friendly chatter around the table as we were eating helps us bond more closely with our fellow sisters in ministry. Then, there was the hearty laughter during our game time — wouldn't have missed that for anything! Thanks for providing this mini-vacation time where the gals can let their hair down without having to live up to 'expectations.' Special thanks to Laurie Snyman, Linda Gallimore and Linda Nelson for all of their efforts!  It was much appreciated, and I wish a special blessing upon them for their kindness to all the ministry wives! —Dorothy Toppenberg, interim pastoring with husband
 
“I was very blessed by the Ministry Wives Sleepover this past weekend. It was so refreshing to have home-cooked meals that I didn't cook, inspiring and fun activities that I didn't plan, and a comfortable home that I didn't clean. But the very best part was fellowship with other ministry wives —some older ones who mentored me, some in the same stage of life as I am, and some younger who I want to encourage and bless. I love my Shepherdess friends and our time together. —Sharon Szynkowski, Manistique, McMillan Northwoods and Sault Ste. Marie churches
 
“Thank you Laurie S., Linda G. and Linda M. for spoiling us this weekend. We had a great time!!!” —JoAn Hodet, Edenville, Estey and Gladwin churches


Ministry highlights and photos shared by Laurie Snyman
Michigan Conference Ministerial Department assistant