Godiva Chocolates in an M&M® World

Godiva Chocolates in an M&M® World — sounds good, doesn't it? More than 125 women from all over the Idaho Conference thought so, too. Cheri Gatton and the Idaho Conference women's ministries team presented the fourth-annual, one-day retreat in Boise, Idaho, on Sunday, March 6.

Women of all ages, from teenagers to grandmothers and great-grandmothers, walked into a room decorated with brightly-colored balloons and chocolate. Add in two massage therapists who gave complimentary chair massages, an enthusiastic host (Gatton) and beautiful worship music, and it was a perfect recipe for empowering women to even greater ministry for God.

The sub-theme, Discover the Best in You, was supported by several breakout sessions regarding spirituality, relationships, finances, marriage, couponing, conflict resolution, leadership, friendship and finding balance. Two of the most popular sessions were by Jim Berglund, Caldwell (Idaho) Church pastor. Berglund presented conflict-resolution skills useful in marriage, both in dealing with conflict and in preventing conflict in marriage through communication. Berglund kept women laughing, using some of his own experiences to illustrate points, such as the fact men like to parade their household accomplishments. More than humor, though, he struck a chord with the audience, as heads nodded in agreement and exclamations of discovery were heard when the five levels of communication were presented.

Liz Thomsen, wife of Anthony Thomsen, The Experience Church (an Adventist church in Meridian, Idaho) pastor, shared her journey of finding a healthy balance for the emotional, social, intellectual, physical and spiritual areas of life. Just how does a woman balance the roles of wife, mother, employee, friend and woman? It's not easy. Thomsen shared the only way she accomplishes a healthy balance is to put God first. Psalm 9:10 in the New International Version affirms this: "Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you."

Not every woman who attended the retreat was from the Adventist Church. Marilyn, a member of the Boone Memorial Presbyterian Church in Caldwell, Idaho, attended Gatton's Leadership in Women's Ministries session. She asked several questions, including: "How do you empower the next generation for ministry, especially ministry to women? How do you move people from receiving ministry to participating in sharing it with others?" Several women in the session offered ideas and encouragement. Marilyn learned "sometimes you have to take a break to find the purpose God has for you." She also made connections with other women, including Gatton, who attends the Caldwell Church. One of the leadership principles Gatton shared was from 1 Corinthians 12 — we are all part of a body and we cannot be all parts ourselves.

The day ended with a drawing for a hot-stone massage, compliments of Cherie Hansen. The lucky winner, Lorraine Pia, was the envy of everyone.

May 01, 2011 / Idaho Conference