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Native Ministries Workshop focuses on Mental Health

Native Women's Ministry is a new addition to Native Ministries in the Oklahoma Conference.

We hosted our first event the weekend of March 21-23 at Wewoka Woods Adventist Center. It was a power-packed weekend featuring Jennifer Jill Schwirzer, who presented a Train the Trainer workshop for her Anxiety and Depression Relief Program, beginning Friday evening.

Each of the six sessions started off with prayer led by Elder Shires and followed by special music by Del Jeanne Mathews, many of which were written by her and selected to correspond with the topic of each session. JoDee Schoffner accompanied her for a mini-concert on Sabbath afternoon.

We were abundantly blessed to have young Jasmine Martinez come from the Coalgate Church in her beautiful ribbon dress to sign "The Lord's Prayer" in the Choctaw Language. The audience was challenged with the fact that if this little girl could get up and do what the Lord has called her to do, so can adults. Jasmine was followed by Elder Fred Rogers blessing us with an enlightening sermon titled, "Were Native Americans Stressed," in between sessions on Sabbath morning.

Elder Rogers has a new Bible Study Guide coming out soon and a Facebook page titled, First Nations Learning Center with videos on it that are both interesting and informative.

Wewoka Woods' resident chef, Sam Hutchison, really did an outstanding job of preparing our meals using the recipes from the Plant to Plate Cookbooks that accompany the "Diabetes Undone" and the "Anxiety and Depression Relief" workshops. Participants were able to "taste and see" that the Lord is good, and that eating healthy not only makes you feel better by improving symptoms of anxiety and depression, but can be delicious as well.

Time for a walk was scheduled after each meal, to subtly reinforce strategies encouraged in the "Diabetes Undone" training. These strategies are also helpful in combating anxiety and depression.

As a side feature we added a Prayer Room where people could take their burdens to the Lord privately, write them down and physically nail them to the cross. This was a powerful experience for all who participated.

For our closing session on Sunday, we challenged the audience to prayerfully consider what the Lord has called them to do and pursue it. Suggestions were made for ministries such as adult literacy, bible studies, abuse seminars, recovery classes, and several more emphasizing that there is a ministry for everyone. Then Amanda Miller signed to the song," Go Light Your World." Elder Shires ended our session with a call to ministry and 75 people came forward to be anointed for ministry! That was powerful!

Many of our churches are now training their congregations in presenting "Diabetes Undone" and "Anxiety and Depression Relief" in preparation for presenting these outreach programs to our communities. The next big "Train the Trainer" event is scheduled for September 23-25 with Cheri Peters presenting the "Celebrating Life in Recovery" program. Mark your calendars and plan now for attending this much needed program.

You can register now by contacting

By Deborah Warden

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