Each New Year causes us to reflect: What happened last year? Did I make a difference in my home, in the community I’m a part of, or in the world? Here’s a look at what God has done through you, as part of Women’s Ministries (WMCLB) this past year.

SWEET Retreat: Picture a young couple, leaving home, jobs, and friendship connections to follow the tug of God’s call on their lives to serve him in pastoral ministry. Every year, this happens at Lutheran Brethren Seminary. Some couples arrive as newlyweds, some come with lay-ministry experience, and others are stepping into a second career—maybe bringing a carload of children. Some seminary students are single. What do they all have in common? They want to serve the Lord!

How can we help them? Women’s Ministries has sponsored a SWEET retreat in the fall for over ten years. This provides Seminary Women with Encouragement, Equipping, and Training, and has proved to be an excellent kick-off to the year, helping them to bond together as a group.

This year the SWEET Retreat Speaker was Betsy Mortenson, pastor’s wife from Mayville, North Dakota, who spoke from Psalm 84. “The women really liked her—her teaching and also her gentle ways—lots of Scripture and lots of stories,” wrote one of the SWEET coordinators this year.

“The women loved being out there at Inspiration Point: some of their favorite things were time getting to know each other and time to just visit. This year we were able to meet with the Central Region pastors’ wives too, and that was a special time… worship time with Michele Foss is always a favorite. Of course they love the accommodations and the food. All are very grateful to have the opportunity to come out and get away.”

Beyond Suffering: This Focus Project, for the second year in a row, through you, has been making a difference halfway around the world in East Asia. Beyond Suffering includes developing materials to train leaders and churches to assist families who have children with disabilities.

Crisis Care Fund: Many have contributed to this special fund set up for emergencies faced by pastoral families. Several pastors’ families have been assisted this year as they faced a variety of urgent challenges. This confidential help is received with great gratitude to you!

HELP Fund: It’s the Household Equipment and Linen Project. This fund has benefitted missionaries for several generations, from quilts given in the 1950s, to Tupperware in the ‘60s, to current monetary gifts given to missionaries on home assignment, or—as they return overseas—to help equip their households.

Heart-to-Heart: Ruth Vallevik is the director of our national organization, WMCLB. Her excellent Bible teaching, passionate speaking, perceptive encouragement, wise advice in personal counsel, and leadership of the National Women’s Ministries Team has benefitted many churches and countless individuals. Through your monetary gifts, she has been able to travel and utilize her God-given gifts throughout our denomination.

You are making a difference beyond your own home, and around the world, through Women’s Ministries of the Church of the Lutheran Brethren!

Cheryl Olsen is the Faith & Fellowship correspondent for Women’s Ministries of the Church of the Lutheran Brethren.

Visit: www.WMCLB.com

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