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December 1, 2012 
Donna Jackson
Donna Jackson

From the pen of Donna Jackson... 


Dear Friends, 


Discover how fortunate we are to have such a gifted managing editor of this newsletter, by reading the inspiring, beautifully-written editorial below by Diane Thurber

May Jesus fill you to overflowing; and may you, as Wilma Kirk Lee writes, "family yourselves" during this Christmas season! 

Christian love,   




Diane Thurber

Stumbling Through Christmas?


A well-traveled footpath winds steeply upward to a vista named "God's Window," situated in the Blade River Canyon on the Drakensberg escarpment in Mpumalanga, South Africa." Arriving at my destination, I smell the floral-scented air that wafts up the sheer cliffs in the scenic splendor of this remote, tourist destination in "Paradise Country," which includes ravines, waterfalls and a panoramic view of mysterious, lush, dense foliage and private nature reserves as far as my eyes can see. I find myself holding my breath.


God's Window seems rightly named. It seems God is truly here, watching over His creation and sharing His handiwork with me. I stay on the mountain as long as I can, taking in the majestic views in the tranquil setting until prompted to return to the descending footpath that takes me to the bus below. As I hike, I attempt to file away in my mind images of the magnificent views, scenes I hope to long remember. Read more.

Paula Johnson
and Shonice Mitchell
A Faith Journey

Paula Johnson and Shonice Mitchell recently participated in a candid interview about Shonice's faith journey. Watch as Shonice shares this journey with Paula and explains how she learned dependence on God as a young child when her mother passed away.
Paula is founder/coordinator of Clergy Spouse Alliance. She has voluntarily served ministerial spouses for years, especially those of the regional conferences. Paula has been a wonderful mentor for younger ministerial spouses. She also is part of the General Conference Ministerial Association team.
Shonice is in team ministry with her husband, Kelvin Mitchell, the administrative pastor for Restoration Praise Center in Lanham, Md. She is a day care educator and the mother of two sons. 
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. Upload your video clip to a video-sharing site like or, and then email your video link to us.
Kim Kennedy
the Heart of God
Through Mission


When Kim Kennedy first participated in overseas mission service, she learned she needed the people she served as much as they needed her. She says, "I looked at them as poor, but what I learned was that I'm the one who's poor ... poor in Spirit. You will be inspired as you listen to Kim share her heartfelt testimony about how involvement in mission service overseas has changed her life. View here.

Kim Kennedy is in team ministry with her husband, David Kennedy, at Newday Christian in Parker, Colo. She is the mother of two sons: Luke, 19, a freshman at Walla Walla University, and Logan, 14, a freshman in high school. 
Your ministry exploits will inspire other ministerial spouses. Please share them. 
Wilma Kirk Lee
Making Memories


I'm not a quilter, but I am fortunate to belong to a family who has two master quilters. I have learned much about quilts from them, and I realize one of the things which makes quilts beautiful is the selection of colors. A quilt begins with the selection of both light and dark colors. This is much like creating memories in a family; there must be memories tied to joyous and sad times. The holiday season provides families, especially pastoral families, with opportunities to create memories in their quilt of traditions, an heirloom to pass down to future generations. Read more.


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
How do I connect emotionally with my spouse?


Question: My husband and I have been married for 13 years, and we have been in the ministry for the last eight years. We went to the seminary as a family, but have had serious economical issues since my husband decided to leave his profession and enter the ministry. 


My husband gets angry very easily and loses his temper frequently. He blames me for our financial struggles and thinks I should go to work. However, I believe in being home to raise our three children and available to offer the support they need as they grow. 


He doesn't talk to me much anymore, and rarely shares what's in his mind. He spends most of his time "doing ministry," and away from home. What can I do to get "into my husband's skin" to know what is going on with him, and somehow connect emotionally to him? --A Desperate Wife


Response: It sounds like your husband is overwhelmed with the demands your family is facing at this time. Anger and losing one's temper are often an indication of several negative experiences in a man's life, such as stress and frustration, or even fear about one or several areas of his life. Some men express their fear through anger, which is often unconsciously perceived to be a "more manly" emotion in the male emotional world. He may also be dealing with a sense of personal failure (failure to provide for financial needs of his growing family) or professional failure (any variety of ministry issues), which can be impacting his ministry, personal, spiritual and/or family life. In any case, whether the financial issue is a core dilemma or is just a valid but superficial issue he is using to vent some steam and frustration, he needs to open up and talk to you, and congruently and transparently share what is going on in his personal and/or ministry life.  Read more.


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

Indiana Conference
Ministerial Spouses at Retreat
A Refreshing


Click here to read about the fun and spiritual encourage-ment at the Indiana Conference Shepherdess Retreat, themed "Growing Up In Him." A photo of the spouses who attended the Indiana Conference Camp Meeting luncheon for ministerial spouses is also posted.


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

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 results of this survey will help Conference, Union and NAD ministerial spouse leaders better understand and minister more effectively to the ministerial spouses they serve.


To date, 276 ministerial spouse surveys have been completed.


If you haven't already done so, please access the survey by clicking here.

In This Issue
God's Word Is for Everyone!
Discovering the Heart of God
Making Memories
Connecting Emotionally with Your Spouse
Ministerial Spouses Survey
Prayer & Praise


But as for me, my prayer is to you, O LORD. At an acceptable time, O God, in the abundance of your steadfast love, answer me in your saving faithfulness.
Psalm 68:13
On the MSA Facebook page, share with other ministerial spouses how the Lord has answered your cries to Him this week.

Submit a personal prayer request. Each request will be prayed for individually.
Artistic Musings

"Mary's Song"

In this section, we want to feature what you have created: a poem you've written, a painting you've completed or original music you've performed, etc. Submit here.
Fit for Life

Are You Happy 
at Work?

Do you dread going to work in the morning, and then end up coming home at night exhausted, frustrated and drained?  Do you wish you had a better job, or at least could do something about the one you have? You may not be able to change jobs just now, but perhaps a few suggestions will help improve your circumstances.

Rae Lee Cooper, R.N., shares ten tips to help improve your work circumstances. Read more.


Soups and Stews 
from Around the World


Pacific Press has released a unique vegetarian cookbook by Nancy Lyon Kyte. A Taste of Travel is a collection of soup and stew recipes from more than 130 countries, from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe. Included with the recipes are customs, traditions and scenic highlights from each country. Read more


Share health tips

that work for you,

like how you lost weight; healthy, quick, delicious recipes; depression busters, etc.

Rave Reviews
  by Ginny Allen

A new sharing book for women comes from beloved speaker, ministerial spouse and prayer warrior Ginny Allen. God's Love Song is filled with stories of God's love through both the joyful and painful chapters in life. Ginny says, "God longs to draw near to each one of us with a song of healing grace. He loves us, changes us, and wants to use us to share His love with others." Read more.


Click here to listen to the Ginny share why she wrote God's Love Song.


Click here to download and read the first chapter of God's Love Song


Click here to learn how your purchase of this book will help support Hope for Nepal, a program that brings healing to thousands of women through life-changing surgeries and by rescuing young girls from human trafficking.


We welcome your review

of a great book 

or resource. Submit here.

Laughs & Gaffs

A Two-gun Welcome


Our first district out of the seminary was in a very rural section of Kentucky.  We were warned that we should never make visits during the evening hours, as we might be thought of as "revenuers" and be shot at on sight. (Shades of the Hatfields and the McCoys!)  We followed that advice and made visits to our members in the daylight hours. Read more. 



Since "a merry heart 

doeth good like a medicine," please share your laugh or gaff 

from the parsonage 

or your family 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