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October 1, 2012 
Donna Jackson
Donna Jackson

From the pen of Donna Jackson... 


When my eyes first gazed on the Taj Mahal in Agra, India, I gasped, "Poetry in marble!" But when I caught the first glimpse of our newborn (prior to the days of parents getting ultrasound pictures) and my hands touched our beautiful, responsive, precious firstborn, Dena, my soul found no adequate words to portray my wonder and praise.
Psalm 139, written many centuries before the discovery of the science of anatomy, has been described by some Bible commentators as one of the most sublime songs of praise for our omniscient, omnipresent Creator. David addresses his Creator with profound gratitude and awe as he meditates on God's purposeful, intimate, attention in his life prior to conception and onward.  
How much more should we! Now, imaging technology allows us to view with our eyes what David could only do with his Holy Spirit - inspired imagination. Now, we know that we each are made up of many trillions of cells (the estimate stretches from 10-100 trillion, depending on what source you're reading) and that our three-pound brain has approximately 86-100 billion neurons, and that each neuron connects to 5,000-10,000 (and possibly many more) other neurons. And that tiny dendritic spines, bulging like tiny light bulbs, are where synapses get input from nearby neurons. 
Read More.


Sandi Case
God's Word Is for Everyone!

Sandi Case, a ministry spouse for more than 45-plus years, shares her testimony of how God's Word offers hope and makes an incredible difference in her life. Listen here.

We'd like to hear from you, too. Take your smartphone or iPad, and ask someone to film you sharing a short testimony or story about what God is doing in your life. Email your video clip to us.

Cynthia Mercer
Quick Romance and an Unexpected Turn


"Keeping it Real" was aired as a live TV program for ministerial spouses on the Hope Church Channel, in 2011. In "Increasing Spiritual and Emotional Intimacy," the second segment of a six-part series, listen to the remarkable story of Cynthia and Rick Mercer whose quick romance quickly led to an unexpected turn. Watch here.

Adam, Joshua
and Laurella Case
Planning Family Time in Ministry Homes


Life can be hectic at times for the Case family, ministry team at the Wisconsin Academy Church. To keep their family relationships strong, they schedule a weekly family day, couple's date and father-son date. 


The Cases find it helps to inform the church family of their scheduled family dates. Read the letter they recently shared with members in their church newsletter.  


We welcome your proven parenting tips, family worship ideas, financial tips (low budget anything!), family management ideas and de-cluttering strategies. Submit your ideas here.

De Leons
Carolann and
César De León
What if That's not My Gift?


As a new ministerial spouse, there are often invitations and expectations to serve in areas of ministry in which you may not be comfortable in or feel gifted. In this video clip, the De Leóns share suggestions on how to handle the members' expectations, tell why churches may have those expectations for the ministerial spouse, and provide ideas on how to be authentic and transparent in your ministry journey with Jesus. 


Click here to submit questions to the counselors, Carolann and César De León.

Jose Hernandez
Jose Hernandez
What To Do When the Pastor Has a Husband?


When your wife is called to pastor a church, what is your role as the pastor's husband? How do you help the church adjust to the fact that the pastor has a husband? What do you do when the welcoming committee gives you a corsage and hands you a bouquet of roses at the first Sabbath service? What do you do when you are invited to the conference's pastor's wives afternoon tea meeting? What do you do in that moment of awkward silence when a church member realizes you are not a visitor but, rather, the pastor's husband? Read more.
Dottie Cauley
Coaching Skills Training for Ministry Spouses


In 2011, a training program was initiated in the Florida Conference to teach coaching skills to spouses of pastors. On July 23, at Camp Kulaqua, in High Springs, Fla., Dottie Cauley asked some of the spouses to share how the training they received personally benefitted them and their families. Click here to listen to their responses.

To learn more about the Florida Conference coaching intiative, click here.
Michigan Conference
Ministry Spouses
New Officers
Ministerial Spouses Fellowship and Enrichment 


See photos from Michigan Conference Ministry Spouses events.


See photos from the Rocky Mountain Conference Workers Retreat.


In each issue, we will feature highlights of events for ministerial spouses that take place throughout the Division. Please share your photos and stories.

Nicolle Brise
Jeanne Nicolle Brisé
God's Desire 
for His Daughters


Jeanne Nicolle Brisé, chair of the NAD Ministerial Spouses Evangelism Committee, shares her story of God's leading in her life, her involvement with evangelism and training women, and invites ministry spouses to consider how God might be calling you to the high calling of leading others to Jesus.
I praise God for the gift of life. Since the day I could remember, my parents have always told me how my life was miraculously spared three times from birth to nine months of age. The Lord defied natural and scientific laws to give me life. My parents always concluded their testimony by saying, "God spared your life because He has a special mission for you." Read more


Your ministry exploits will inspire others, please share them with other ministry spouses!  
We need your help!


The first quantitative survey, to our knowledge, targeting all NAD spouses of employed pastors has recently been developed by a team of Andrews University and Southern Adventist University researchers. 


The NAD Ministerial Spouses Association kindly requests that all Conference Shepherdess/ministerial spouse leaders forward, either by email or by mail, the following link to this survey to the spouses who they serve. Be assured your opinions are very important and will be kept strictly confidential; no one in your Conference or Union or the NAD will have access to the responses collected, unless you supply information that identifies yourself. The results of this survey will assist Conference, Union and NAD ministerial spouse leaders to better understand and minister more effectively to the ministerial spouses they serve.


  • If you haven't already done so, please access the survey by clicking here. 
  • If you have any questions about this project or any research-related questions, please email Dr. David Sedlacek  or phone 269-471-6375. 
  • If you have any questions about your rights as a research participant, you may contact Andrews University, the School of Graduate Studies and Research, Institutional Review Board (IRB) at 269-471-6361. The IRB is a group of people who review research studies to protect the rights and welfare of research participants.
Thank you to all who submitted names for the Ministerial Spouses Association bimonthly newsletter from the North American Division Ministerial Department. We hope you like the committee's choice of Fresh StrengthPlease forward this email to a ministerial spouse and urge them to subscribe to receive this newsletter and any or all of the Best Practices newsletters.    
In This Issue
God's Word Is for Everyone!
Quick Romance and an Unexpected Turn
Planning Family Time
What if That's not My Gift?
When the Pastor Has a Husband
Coaching Skills Training for Ministry Spouses
God's Desire for His Daughters
Ministerial Spouses Survey
Prayer & Praise
Don't worry about anything; instead, pray 
about everything. 
Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 
Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6, 7 NLT
Share with other ministerial spouses how the Lord has given you peace this week, on the MSA Facebook page.

Submit a personal prayer request. Each request will be prayed for individually.
Rave Reviews
God Wants to Hear 
You Sing!
  by Ruthie Jacobsen
with Rodney Griffin

Stories of hope in the face of adversity, God Wants To Hear You Sing! is author Ruthie Jacobsen's 11th book. In it, she col-laborates with Southern Gospel legend, Rodney Griffin, to create a powerful message about the electrifying encourage-ment of hope. Each of the 15 easy-read chapters in God Wants To Hear You Sing! tells the true story of someone who faced challenging and difficult circumstances. Read more.


We welcome your review of a great book or resource. Submit here.

Artistic Musings

Damaris Carbaugh performs with the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir
We want to feature what you have created in this section: a poem you've written, a painting you've completed or original music you've performed, etc. Submit here.
Fit for Life
Fitness Tip

Water benefits your body in many ways. It eases digestion,regulates body temperature, may ward off crankiness, and is a natural appetite suppressant. 

Read more at the Healthy Life Info website, the site for Adventist Wellness and Health Information. 


"Zucchini Boats"

by Debi Pedersen


Debi Pedersen is a ministry spouse who lives in Napa Valley, Calif., with her husband, Jim. They enjoy working side-by-side in the kitchen, and both have a passion for the culinary arts. Together, they authored Meatless Easy-Oven Cookbook and the Meatless Fast and Simple Cookbook. Both cookbooks are available at your local Adventist Book Center or online


  • Share health tips that work for you, like how you lost weight; healthy, quick, delicious recipes; depression busters, etc.

    Laughs & Gaffs

    The Organist's Surprise


    The minister got into a big hurry as he dressed for the baptism of his male convert. Instead of putting on the baptismal gown with the weighted hem, he inadvertently slipped into a black choir robe. When he entered the water, the organist stared in horror. The organist was the only one who had a full view of the baptismal tank where the minister's gown had floated up to the surface, revealing his undergarments. 


    P.S. The organist who reported this incident was, luckily, the minister's own wife.

    This section needs your funny stories from the parsonage or your family. Since "a merry heart doeth good like a medicine," with your help, we want a medicinal dose in each issue. Share your laugh or gaff here.


    Look for these Apps 

    on your iPhones or Android smartphones



    VeganXpress: Find all your favorite franchises and vegan items on their menus. ($1.99)
    Gasbuddy: Research gas prices at stations near you. (Free)
    Drink-O-Matic: Receive reminders to drink water until you get your 6-8 glasses finished. (Free)
    Adventist News Network: Keep current on SDA world news. (Free)
    Tap-N-Tip: Quickly calculate restaurant tips. (Free)
    AnyList: Create lists, e.g., grocery lists, and share them with your spouse phone-to-phone. (Free)
    Mvelopes: Track personal or shared family finances using an online envelope method for easy tracking.(Free)
    Way of Life: Identify and set goals, and track personal habits and progress in an online journal. (Free) 
    Please share your favorite ministry, healthy lifestyle and family apps here.
    Fresh Strength is published by the Ministerial Spouses Association of NAD Ministerial. Publisher: Ivan L. Williams; Editor: Donna Jackson; Managing Editor: Diane Thurber. Copyright 2012 North American Division Corporation of Seventh-day Adventists. v(301) 680-6418