The Oklahoma Conference has been blessed to be trained and equipped for ministry through the Native Ministries Department for many years, but 2022 has been an especially active year. The Native Ministries team was expanded to include Deborah Warden as the Native Women’s Ministry leader. Warden has coordinated several training events with more on the way.
In March, Native Women’s Ministry invited speaker/author/musician Jennifer Jill Schwirzer, LPC, EdD, to present a mental health training weekend at Wewoka Woods Adventist Center (WWAC). The response to that event was so positive that Oklahoma Conference president James Shires invited Schwirzer back for camp meeting. During camp meeting, Schwirzer presented a women’s ministry seminar and a general session each day focusing on mental health. Native Ministries has provided Schwirzer’s Anxiety and Depression Relief course materials to churches whose members have attended the trainings so that they can offer these life-changing seminars to the community.
At Oklahoma Camp meeting in July, the members of the conference were able to see the intersection of the many ways the work is being supported by the team. During camp meeting Joni Bokovoy, DrPH, presented a refresher training on Diabetes Undone. Many Oklahoma churches have already run this diabetes reversal program in their churches and communities successfully, with many more classes preparing to start this fall. Dr. Bokovoy also provided food samples from the Diabetes Undone cookbook at the Native Ministries booth and offered a 22-day plant-based eating and exercise challenge that 46 people joined.
On the final Sabbath of camp meeting, there was a baptism held at the swimming pool, and four native people were baptized with a fifth person being baptized a few weeks later. We praise God for how He is changing lives through His church.
It is clear to see that many types of ministries are popping up across Oklahoma as a result of the work of the Native Ministries team. During camp meeting, Deborah Warden also held an information session to share other ways that churches can reach out to their communities. In addition to the Diabetes Undone and depression relief programs, Native Ministries is planning to offer churches the 22-day health challenge, stop smoking seminars, domestic abuse seminars, and a widow’s ministry. This fall Warden is organizing a special “Celebrating Life in Recovery” training with special guest Cheri Peters, hosted by Native Women’s Ministry, from September 23-25 at WWAC. Registration is now available at www.okadventist.org/native
For more information about how you and your church can partner with Native Ministries to reach your community visit the Native Ministries page and fill out the contact form.