The Auxiliary held its biennial International Auxiliary Presidents Conference this January 14th and 15th in Nashville, TN.
All 14 National Association presidents were in attendance representing Australia, Finland, Germany, Norway, Sweden, South Africa, India, Nigeria, British Isles, Brazil, Japan, Korea, the Republic of China and the Philippines.
Also in attendance were 37 of the 38 state Auxiliary presidents from the U.S., the four International Auxiliary Cabinet members and 10 International Auxiliary Cabinet Representatives.
The Auxiliary is made up of the wives of Gideons, but Mary Kiethley, Manager of the Auxiliary Department, points out that the Auxiliary is not a “women’s ministry.”
“We are a ministry that works together with our husbands to reach the lost for Christ. . . there’s not a lot of fluff. As we work beside our husbands, we can make a difference. God honors that. And we honor God,” says Kiethley.
For forty days prior to the conference, daily prayer requests for the event were sent from the Auxiliary Department at The Gideons International Headquarters to the attendees.
“As a result of that forty days of prayer, they arrived looking for what God was going to do,” says Mary. “It set the stage so well.”
But the planning for the conference began a year ago and since early October, the work that has gone into it has been virtually non-stop.
Conference Focuses On Gaining Momentum
The purpose statement of the conference was, “Sanctified. Useful. Prepared.”
The program messaging was focused on building momentum, increasing momentum and continuing momentum in terms of the work of the Auxiliary.
Mary says that the real impact of this conference will be seen in the months ahead, in terms of increased distributions, increased giving and increased membership.
The conference had a Faith Fund goal of $8,000. But through the faithful, sacrificial giving of the Auxiliary leadership, the total Faith Fund contribution received was $13,238, all of which will be used to purchase and distribute more than 10,000 copies of God’s Word to the lost.
Cindy Creel, International President of the Auxiliary, delivered a very inspiring message to the conference attendees.
Tying her message back to the theme verse of 2 Timothy 2:21b, “ a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work,” Cindy related stories about all the vessels in her own home, including her pottery collection.
“Ladies, as I look out at all of you, I see many beautiful vessels. I see vessels of honor . . . because I truly believe you have valued the prescription that Paul gave in our theme verse,” Creel said.
She reminded the women that through each of their own personal trials, God was in control of the potter’s wheel and that each of their lives is, “in the Potter’s hands.”
“He does not see us for what we are, but for what we can be or will be,” Creel explained.
World Auxiliary Presidents Are Inspired By Conference
Mrs. Kiethley says it was important for the state Auxiliary presidents from the U.S. to meet the Auxiliary presidents from around the world, and to see how Auxiliary members in other countries are risking their lives in some cases to share God’s Word.
Other guest speakers included Rene´ Lucas, the International Auxiliary Chaplain, as well as Dennis J. Donnelly, International President of The Gideons International and Craig A. Warner, Executive Director of The Gideons International.
“The conference was top notch. . . I finally feel like I have a clue about what I’m supposed to do as president,” said Sandra Parker, Auxiliary President for the state of Texas.
“It was truly the best conference I have ever attended. . . Auxiliary or otherwise,” said Mary Lynn Barrett, International Auxiliary Cabinet Representative. “As all the participants go forth around the world to share what they have learned and to do battle, may we never ever forget the feeling of the presence of the Lord this weekend. It was indeed a sample of heaven.”
Mary Kiethley acknowledges that the success of the conference wasn’t something she or anyone else in the Auxiliary could take credit for. It was all God’s work.
“The presence of the Lord was so real there. God has His hands all over this ministry,” says Kiethley. “Every single copy of the Word that goes out has the potential to change someone’s life for eternity. That’s what this ministry is about.”