Women Lead First Hope for Big Cities Meetings in Indonesia

Between 2,500 and 3,000 people attended the meetings each night.Source: Adventist News Network

Seventh-day Adventist women in the Southern Asia Pacific region led the first major outreach effort in the church's campaign to connect with residents in large cities. With the theme of "Journey to Joy," the February 17 to 24 public meetings featured speakers from several of the church's Women's Ministries departments.

The main speaker each night was Heather-Dawn Small, director of the Women's Ministries department for the Adventist world church, while Helen Gulfan, Women's Ministries leader in the region, spoke on family life.

Months before women at 66 out of 109 churches in Jakarta helped prepare for the one-week meetings with community outreach activities, Bible studies and smaller public meetings at local churches. The culminating meetings were the first connected with Hope for Big Cities--a world church initiative to reach out to the billions of people living in large cities around the world--in that region.

"Women had never done evangelistic meetings on this scale in Jakarta before," said Small. "But women should do more of such meetings because they are good at reaching out. They are already great at one-on-one personal contact and touching lives where it hurts."

Small pointed to 2006 statistics that show Adventist women have been responsible for more than 100,000 baptisms around the world in that year alone.

Some 2,500 to 3,000 people attended the meetings held at Jakarta Adventist Center each night. Johnny Lubis, president of the Adventist church in Indonesia, noted that at the end of the week there were 1,143 visitors--people who were not members of the Adventist church--more than have ever attended an Adventist-led public meeting in that city before.

"That first Sabbath we baptized 127 people," Small said. " And we are still baptizing people. For those who had just been introduced to the Adventist church that week and wanted baptism, we didn't baptize them then. We invited them for more Bible studies at the end of which they can choose to be baptized."

In addition to the nightly meetings, the Adventist health ministries department in the region sponsored a health fair each night offering free health screenings to members of the community.