The last worship song to conclude the Sabbath service was about to start. An attendee listened to the tunes while struggling to structure all her thoughts and everything she had just heard about the women of the Exodus. Nothing seemed familiar in the tunes. The title, “Miracles,” also didn’t speak to her. The song started; the lyrics, the tunes, the music—it came so close to her. She suddenly stopped herself from thinking of anything else and just wanted to absorb this final song. The song was over, but it had just begun to make sense to her. The whole idea of a National Women’s Ministries Conference—the very real role of the woman in society, church, the family—the miracle of simply being there—would impact anyone.
The weekend of April 28–30, 2023, drew over 170 women, a few men, and children to an event that was very much needed in Arbanasi, a village surrounded by mountains and situated near the historical city of Veliko Tarnovo, the former capital of Bulgaria.
The sermons “Being Enough” (Friday evening) and “The Women of the Exodus” (Sabbath morning) brought so many questions to many attendees’ minds and still prompts reflection on everyday implications. Dagmar Dorn, director of the Women’s Ministries department for the Inter-European Division, shared God’s Word with attendees, as well as her personal experience of both not being enough and being too much.
On Sabbath, Dorn focused the audience’s attention on those special women of the Exodus, around the story of the “prince” of Egypt, Moses. “Today, we are those women of the Exodus, waiting for the Prince of Peace to deliver us,” she said.
Bilyana Valchinova, Women’s Ministries director for the Bulgarian Union, addressed the audience with a series of provocative questions: “Is it enough to just gather good memories from this event? What happens when you all go [back] to your own churches? What will you do?” And then she shared that the mission of the Women’s Ministries Department is to encourage and support the local women’s ministries and pray for God’s wisdom and guidance in doing so.
Sabbath afternoon and Sunday morning were the interactive parts of the event, in which six women and one man led six different workshops. Each participant could join three workshops out of the following: 1) To win him without words; 2) An interview with a Bible girl; 3) To learn or to stay; 4) Intimacy and long-term relationships; 5) Emotions’ prevention in crisis; and 6) The cherry of the Forum.
The discussions continued around the table, in the garden, after dinner, and in between sessions. The air was filled with life, laughter, and prayers. Witnessing what God has done through them and in them, those women of faith called the experience “heaven on earth.”
This program of the Bulgarian Union’s Women’s Ministries Department for 2023 emphasized communication between women, which gives personal support and is the core of the organized ministry. The name of the program refers to the female nature, needs, and everyday life in personal and social aspects.
The ladle, personally, is a symbol of routine: everyday tasks, motherhood, housekeeping, etc. In the social aspect, it presents the mission work organized by women and their ministry for the benefit of society.
The heels symbolize personal care and development—the vision, the feminine tune, self-esteem, relationships with the opposite sex, and, in the social aspect, the activities organized by the department to meet women’s needs.
To borrow: the exchange of accessories, items, services, ideas—this is typical for the female world. It is also a symbol of support, assistance, acceptance, and cooperation in the organized ministry.
On a more global scale, the name of the program addresses the big issue of balancing “the ladle and the heels.” This is the ever-existing choice women have to make between time for personal care and time for caring for others. In general, for the ministry, this is the balance between inreach and outreach.
A Charity Project to Share
This is a project of the Bulgarian Union’s Women’s Ministries Department for 2023. It is a typical woman’s form of service, which naturally combines the “ladle” and the “heels”—two opposite sides of female nature, needs, and everyday life. The project aims to raise funds by creating and exhibiting a trading area of quality secondhand items that women usually possess. It creates a friendly environment, allowing for closer communication. Its purpose is to provide finances in benefit of a particular cause and bring much joy to both the donors and the beneficiaries.
All steps for how to organize and implement such a project at the local level and request the equipment for it from the union’s Women’s Ministries Department is detailed in a brochure that has been shared with each participant.
“I hope this event will be repeated soon,” shared Tanya, one of the participants.
Regarding the question “What would you say to those women who could not make it to the event this year?” Dorn naturally exclaimed, “Come next time!”