2022 Focus

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The Importance of Prayer

First and foremost, I would like to thank God for calling me to work in His vineyard as the South England Conference (SEC) Women's Ministries Prayer Coordinator. Looking at the work God was calling me to do, I, like Moses, told God that I was not qualified for the work but let your will be done in my life as it is done in heaven. The Lord told me not to be afraid because He was not looking for the qualified but qualifying the humble who avail themselves. I trusted in His word and in prayer as He says in His word.

God calls us to pray without ceasing. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18. Watch and pray. Matthew 26:41. Prayer is as essential to growth in grace, and even to spiritual life, as is temporal food to physical well-being. We should accustom ourselves to often lift the thoughts to God in prayer. There is need of prayer,--such as David offered when he exclaimed: 'As the deer panteth after the water, so panteth my soul after Thee, O God' I have longed after  Thy precepts;' 'I have longed for Thy salvation.' Psalms 42:1

As we have been calling different women in our conference we have discovered that we need to connect with God in prayer as never before. Women are heavy ladden but I would like to herald to each and every one of us that prayer is the only solution to all our problems. We have seen that there are many challenges we are facing as women such as financial difficulties, marital problems, economic constraints, disobedient children, loss of jobs, illnesses and bereavement. All this shows us that the days are evil. I would however, want to encourage someone out there, that our God is able. Pray, pray and pray some more the gates of hell shall not prevail. There is need for us to pray. 'If the Saviour of men, the Son of God, felt the need of prayer, how much more should  feeble, sinful mortals feel the necessity of fervent, constant prayer.' (Steps To Christ p 93) . The one who said 'call unto me all ye that labour and are heavy ladden and I will give you rest'. Our God is a prayer answering God. Let us join hands together and pray for one another. We should not suffer in silence. If you need prayer call our SEC Women's Ministries Director and she will arrange that we pray for you.

Sis Sophia Munangati

SEC Women's Ministries Prayer Coordinator

Healing

'If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.' 2 Chronicles 7:14

The year 2021 was a year of picking up pieces of the devastation caused by COVID-19, along with the damage caused by other ailments, tragedies and misfortunes. We live in a time where many lives in our communities are broken, shattered, damaged and wounded. Women are grappling with physical health, mental health, social, emotional, spiritual, and economic issues. Several young women struggle with low self-esteem, self-identity, and self-harm issues. In addition, women and children silently and helplessly face the trauma of abuse and sexual violence they suffer at the hands of the people supposed to protect them. Moreover, stress and anxiety levels continue to rise as the future remains bleak for many women.

Our communities are hurting, and we, too, are hurting and in need of healing. True and holistic healing from our diseases and sins comes from God, Jehovah Rapha. The Lord is the one who heals our physical and emotional needs. However, it is impossible to experience God's holistic healing if we do not humble ourselves, confess our sins, turn from our wicked ways, acknowledge our inadequacies, and depend on Him.

Pride stands in our way to access and enjoy God's gifts of healing, forgiveness and prosperity. The scriptures are unambiguous on God's position; He resists the proud but uplifts the humble. Therefore, pride cuts off our access to receiving God's blessings, including the blessing of healing. When Lucifer, God's most glorious creation, allowed pride to reign in his heart, he lost his connection with God. It does not matter what position we occupy; if we allow pride to reign in our hearts, it cuts off our connection with our healer and life-giver.

Therefore, humility is a precondition for our healing. A humble spirit moves the heart of God. Nothing appeals to God as a sinner approaching His seat of mercy with humility and repentance. God's plan is changed, and His anger averted when a sinner approaches Him in humility and true repentance. For example, when the people of Nineveh humbled themselves in repentance, God heard, He forgave them and spared their land. When you are humble, you create space for healing to occur in your life, and you become an agent of healing to those you interact with. Humility averts heartaches and pain in our families, workplaces, churches and communities.

There is a close connection between healing and making disciples for Jesus. Discipleship is about connecting with people and delivering holistic spiritual, physical, social, and emotional healing. That is what Jesus did in His earthly ministry. We cannot influence people to follow Christ unless we take a message that delivers them from sin and other maladies. To achieve that, we need to be humble. Our Master calls us to learn from Him, for He is 'lowly and humble.' Though God, Jesus stooped low to reach and uplift the fallen human race. Likewise, we must exercise humility as we seek to deliver healing.

The SEC Women Ministries intends to make 2022 a year of healing, restoration and well-being. Our churches should provide space where the heavily burdened can find acceptance, social healing and rest.

I invite you to partner with us and experience personal healing as you take healing to others.

RESTORATION

'If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.' 2 Chronicles 7:14

Divine Healing

We live in a world where we all, in one way or another, experience suffering. We constantly battle with health issues and deal with emotional, social and economic problems. Besides our own suffering, we live in communities plagued with terminal ailments, mental health problems, domestic and sexual violence and social and economic issues. When you look around in our churches and the communities, you see people who are hurting. To some, the pain is enormous, and the grief is overwhelming.

The questions we, like many others, are likely to ask is, 'where is God when we suffer? Why does He allow us and other innocent people to experience suffering? Why does He let our loved ones suffer? Why does He take long to intervene in some cases and at times seem not to intervene at all?'

The good news is that God is aware of every pain and suffering in our lives. No single tear drops unnoticed. God is sad when we suffer, and He does not want our suffering to continue; He has a plan. The reason Jesus came and died was to one day bring all this suffering to an end. God plans to 'restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish' us in perfect health and everlasting happiness. God's restoration intervention in addressing our suffering is at two levels; the interim restoration, which is temporary and the ultimate restoration, which is eternal. The interim restoration takes place while we are still in this life and world. The ultimate restoration takes place in eternal glory at Jesus' second coming. When we receive interim restoration, God temporarily heals our diseases, alleviates our sufferings and restores what we have lost. The life of Job provides a perfect example of interim restoration. So does the life of Lazarus and all the people healed and resurrected during Jesus' earthly ministry. However, if, like John the Baptist, we do not receive interim restoration, God still cares. He confirms us and gives us strength to endure what we are going through, knowing that we shall receive eternal restoration at His glorious appearance.   

From the time Adam sinned, God is continuously in the business of restoration. The reason Jesus came to earth was to restore us. 'The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind. To set at liberty those who are oppressed' Luke 4:18. Jesus' ministry focused on holistic restoration. Likewise, the ministry of the apostles was significantly enriched with actions of restoration. The gospel preached by the disciples brought healing from sin and diseases, freed people from evil spirits and restored people's mental health in addition to breaking the shackles of death.

Though we usually focus on preaching, the mandate of the gospel is much broader; we are commissioned to preach the gospel that brings total restoration. 'Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons'. Mathew 10:8.

2020 and 2021 were challenging years and took a toll on women's physical, emotional, mental, social, and spiritual health. Several women are experiencing trauma, stress, depression and anxiety, among other challenges of career and parenting. The SEC Women Ministries department aims to implement programmes that enhance resilience, support recovery and cause restoration in the lives of women, their families and communities. The department intends to implement the following interventions, among others:

  1. Create awareness on mental health issues, domestic violence, sexual violence, financial abuse and emotional abuse and support victims to seek help.

  2. Establish support centres where women from the church and the community can support each other on various issues.

  3. Provide hardship funds to women who are experiencing financial challenges.

  4. Make churches a safe place where people struggling with mental health issues, addictions, and brokenness can feel welcome, accepted and supported.

  5. Create trust and build resilience among women by providing a safe space to experience healing through talking. This can be done by establishing clubs such as the 'The Hannah speak out club' where women can talk their way to emotional healing.

  6. Train women leaders in local churches on how to establish and manage support groups.

WELL-BEING

'Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.' 3 John 1:2   

God does not only care about our spiritual health; He is also interested in our general well-being. 'I have come that they may have life and that  they may have it more abundantly.' (John 10:10). Right from creation, our well-being mattered to God because He wants us to be happy and live fulfilled lives. When God created Adam and Eve, He gave them everything they needed for their well-being; a pleasant home, excellent vegan diet, access to fresh air, clean water, work, exercise, rest, disease-free bodies and a good relationship with each other and trust in Him.

However, sin, diseases, lifestyle, troubles and cares of this life continue to degenerate our well-being. As women we are more affected, especially in times of crisis and hardships. In such times, the impact usually hits harder because we are at the frontline in many ways. In the last two years, the physical, mental, social, spiritual and economic impact of COVID has caused a significant degeneration in the well-being of many women. Several of us operate on empty tanks; we are physically exhausted and emotionally drained as we work, care for our families, and meet expectations. As we get absorbed into providing and taking care of others, we often forget to care for ourselves. We take from our lives much more and find no time to replace what is drained out. We give priority to all other things and other people except ourselves. While we have our issues to worry about, we overload our system with extra worrying about our children, spouses, jobs, and parents. Yet we have no mechanism to off-load. Even when we are sick, we have no time to allow our bodies to rest and recuperate. As a result, our physical, emotional, mental and spiritual lives get run down as our stress and anxiety levels continue to mount higher. This has paved the way for opportunistic and lifestyle diseases, which further wreck our lives.    

The SEC Women's Department recognises that our well-being greatly influences our spiritual, physical, mental, emotional, social, and professional lives. It recognises that well-being is about the state of mind, willingness to connect, noticing what is around us, keeping active, taking ownership of self-management and making decisions that lead to a holistic happy life.

In line with this, Women Ministries Department intends to implement programmes that support women to take decisions and make lifestyle changes that promote good physical, emotional and spiritual health.

The programmes will, among others, include the following:

  1. Establish lifestyle centres at selected churches to support women in the church and community as they engage in activities that promote good health and reverse diseases.

  2. Introduce wellness coaching programmes to help women make changes that lead to restoration.

  3. Implement cooking and diet programmes that lead to the prevention of major diseases and foster reversal and recovery.

  4. Actively engage in the post-pandemic mental health ministry by establishing mental health needs among the women and designing and implementing programmes to meet the needs.

  5. Encourage jogging or walking clubs for women in churches and the community

  6. For churches with adequate facilities and volunteers, establish 'drop and shop' centres where especially single mothers can leave their children for a few hours and run errands or get the 'me time' to off-load stress and recharge.