Colorful costumes, inspiring testimonies and the opportunity to dig deep and support Australia’s drought-stricken farmers were all part of this year’s Breathe conference, held on Sabbath (September 22) at Waterview in Bicentennial Park (Sydney Olympic Park).
Around 500 women gathered for the event, hosted by Sydney Adventist Women, and were uplifted by personal stories, warm fellowship, singing and prayer. Many wore the national costumes and colors of their heritage as a way to celebrate the rich diversity of Adventist women in Sydney.
Two offerings were generously supported: the first raised around $A6000 (4300USD) for the work of women’s ministries in Sydney. The second, supporting ADRA’s drought relief appeal, raised $A24,000 (17300USD).
The Korean Ladies Choir and the Samoan Ladies Choir provided special music on the day. A designated prayer area was available for those who wanted someone to pray for them.
The theme for the conference was “Chosen”, with South Pacific Division family ministries director Trafford Fischer the keynote presenter. He conducted three engaging sessions: Chosen to Love, Chosen to Live and Chosen to Lead.
In the first session, Fischer spoke about the ultimate act of love shown through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross.
“For God so loved the world that He gave. His Son was a gift—you don’t pay for a gift, as soon as you do it ceases to be a gift,” he said.
“God gave freely. That’s what love does. And there lies the secret of great love: it’s something you give away.”
In the second session, Fischer reminded the women that the promise of an abundant life in Christ doesn’t mean that it will be a comfortable one.
“An abundant life with Jesus may not be an easy chair and a cuppa and a good book life. An abundant life won’t always be a holiday at the beach . . . nowhere in Scripture will we find the suggestion that the Christian life will always be a walk in the park.”
“However, when our lives are anchored in Jesus, “then we deal with whatever life gives us as best we can”.
“When you and I accept the fact that we are anchored in Jesus Christ—sealed, guaranteed—out of that setting then we step into life and we have a crack at life and we try to make it everything we can.”
Reflecting on the day, Greater Sydney Conference women’s ministries director Beryl Landers said her heart was full of joy and praise.
“We experienced the presence of God at Breathe 2018,” Landers posted on her Facebook page. “I love the fact that when the women of Greater Sydney Conference gather things happen, compassion flows and community is changed.”