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Wives to gain ‘Strength for the Journey’

SAN ANTONIO (BP)–“Strength for the Journey” is the theme for the third annual Pastors’ Wives Conference of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Pastors’ Conference in San Antonio, with several noted pastors’ wives sharing ways God has strengthened them in their life experiences.

The 8:30 a.m.-noon session on Monday, June 11, is free of charge and no registration is necessary. Doors open at 8 a.m. at the Lila Cockrell Theatre in the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center.

The Strength for the Journey theme is based on Ephesians 3:16: “That He would grant you according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man.”

Janet Wicker, wife of Hayes Wicker, pastor of First Baptist Church in Naples, Fla., said the session is designed to support women married to men in ministry, to provide a forum for sharing challenges unique to women in such roles and to allow women with many years of experience to share what they have learned with younger women.

“I promise that you will laugh and you will cry, you will learn and you will be encouraged,” Wicker said. “You will hear from the Lord and be renewed in your strength. Put it on your calendar now and make plans to attend.”

Kathy Ferguson, director of women’s ministries at the Church at Pinnacle Hills in Rogers, Ark., will be the session’s main speaker.

“God so often uses life’s valleys as the most fertile places for faith and trust to grow. We would rarely choose those valleys,” Ferguson said. “We would prefer lives that do not require much courage or tested faith. God can and does prosper our souls in losses and struggle as we discover His rich treasure found in dark valleys.”

Ferguson’s husband Rick was pastor of Riverside Baptist Church in Denver for a decade before his death in a car accident in 2002 at age 47.

“I could have easily said for many years, ‘God is good.’ That rolled off my tongue very easily and without much thought,” Ferguson said in a video recounting her experience. “But to say God is good in the death of the love of your life became very difficult for me. Larry Crabb made an insightful statement when he said, ‘No one will conclude that God is good by studying life. It’s a revealed work of the Holy Spirit.'”

Speakers also will include Anita Renfroe, a humorist and worship leader; Diane Nix, wife of Preston Nix, pastor of Eastwood Baptist Church in Tulsa, Okla.; and Susie Hawkins, wife of O.S. Hawkins, president of GuideStone Financial Resources in Dallas.

A panel discussion will explore ways to maintain healthy friendships within the framework of ministry. Panelists have been selected to reflect various sizes of churches and different ages of women.

“The Pastors Wives Conference is designed to provide a time of spiritual refreshment and fellowship among the ministry wives in our convention,” said Hawkins, one of the initial event’s organizers. “While this is a relatively new event (the third year), we have been thrilled to see the overwhelmingly positive response to this event and the excellent attendance. From the feedback we have received, the women who have attended have greatly appreciated the music and worship, the humor, but especially the spiritual challenges and blessings that our speakers have brought. It is our prayer that this event will enable our SBC women to know each other better, to encourage one another more and to take time to truly enjoy this journey that we are on together.”

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