VIVE: Empowering Women to Share Jesus With Women
Amazing things happen when women connect to their life purpose and mission as disciples of Jesus Christ and realize there are many women in their spheres of influence who don’t yet know the peace and joy of having Jesus as their friend, Savior and life companion.
Jaqueline Cilio, a registered nurse and wife of the Washington Conference Hispanic coordinator, Wagner Cilio, became excited about training the Hispanic pastors’ spouses and all the women they represent in practical and effective ways to reach out in friendship to the unreached women in their circles of influence. The philosophy behind the VIVE women’s outreach project is: “Every woman ... a disciple.” The purpose of this ministry is to encourage and empower Adventist woman to illuminate at least one women’s life with the good news of the gospel, every year.
“We had placed our Women’s Spring Encounter on our 2020 calendar and had chosen the theme 'Heal Me Lord,'" relays Cilio. “As part of this annual event, we had planned to launch our VIVE women’s evangelistic project. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, we had to cancel our event.” Thankfully, Cilio and her team of pastor’s spouses were determined to not let this woman’s evangelistic project die off due to shelter-at-home mandates.
They regrouped and quickly pulled together an alternative online event and renamed it “VIVE — Stay Home.” On May 3, 2020, 170 Hispanic women connected online for the Heal Me Lord women’s spring event that included, among other special features, speaker Carolann De León and a beautiful mini concert by Kristal Picos. A stirring highlight was the openhearted personal testimony of Cilio, as she shared her faith journey amidst her recent cancer diagnosis.
Cilio reports they followed up their May event with four consecutive online Sunday women’s meetings in each one of their church districts. These offered continued spiritual encouragement as well as practical tips given by various Adventist professionals from Central America and South America on how they could stay healthy, navigate and even capitalize on the “stay-at-home” mandate. About 140–180 women from all their church districts joined these inspirational Zoom follow-up events.
On May 31, Cilio and her team of pastor’s spouses began holding monthly “Zoom Tea Parties” as ongoing opportunities to engage with and minister to the needs of the women they have befriended. This October, there is a Zoom women’s retreat planned where, among other features, their new friends will be invited to join a Bible study.
Sharing Jesus with others helps us grow. The inspired pen says: “One of the divine plans for growth is impartation. The Christian is to gain strength by strengthening others. ‘He that watereth shall be watered also himself’ (Prov. 11:25). This is not merely a promise; it is a divine law, a law by which God designs that the streams of benevolence, like the waters of the great deep, shall be kept in constant circulation, continually flowing back to their source. In the fulfilling of this law is the secret of spiritual growth ...” (Ellen White, God’s Amazing Grace, Aug. 24). May we remain open to the providential opportunities God opens for us to connect, to share a kind word or gesture intended to bless someone and lead them to the only Fountain of peace, joy and love!