We are thankful for you!

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Thank you, Bay Leaf!

On November 16, hundreds of Southeastern students gathered at Bay Leaf Baptist Church to do some early Christmas shopping.  Each year, Bay Leaf hosts an event called the Toy Chest that blesses SEBTS families by allowing parents to shop for VERY low cost gifts for their children. Some students arrived as early as midnight or 2 am to participate in this incredible event!  

This year, the church raised $39,162 to purchase gifts that were made available to students for a fraction of the actual cost.  There were so many toys!  Parents could purchase bicycles for $10, enter raffles, enjoy snacks, and browse the hundreds of toys available for about 10% their original cost.  Any money raised at the Toy Chest is donated to the Lottie Moon Christmas offering, which in turn supports many SEBTS families who are now serving on the field.  Over 315 children from 131 families will receive gifts purchased at this year's Toy Chest.  
Check out the pictures below to see the excitement of the morning.


Thank you, Bay Leaf, for supporting our students! Your gifts have truly blessed us!

Connecting Point events at SEBTS are designed to bring women together and to impact our communities.  At our Connecting Point event on October 21, 2013 (Engaging Our Own), we prayed over missionaries in the U.S. and around the world who have been sent out from Southeastern.  

We also wrote them notes of encouragement and sent the wives of the North American church planters each a special gift. 

Dear Ladies of Connecting Point,

After a long, emotional week in the life of church planting, being a mom, and being a wife, a glimpse of hope came in the mail!  Your words of encouragement and talk of prayer could not have come at a better time.

To not feel alone in this mission for one moment was like fueling up my empty tank of passion for this calling.

I recall, during my short stay at SEBTS as a student wife preparing for the field, feeling so full of passion and energy for those that do not love our Lord. Being surrounded by Christians 24/7, neighbors, work, church, classes … I fed off that energy and spoke to missionaries every chance I got.  I wanted to know everything, ups and downs, challenges and struggles.  They all warned of the loneliness.  I doubted that would be the case for me. I make friends easy.

But at the end of our two years here in a very lost corner of the USA, I found myself lonely.  As I am finding joy in my love for God and love for the people God has called us to, I am also finding joy in little things I might not have found so joyful two years ago.  And now I am praising our Lord for working through the Connecting Point ministries to reach out and hold me and warm me up through a hot cup of joe!

Thank you ladies for being such the encouragement I needed on that very moment I opened the letter!

Thank you,
Darlene Dryer


I love, love, love (you get the idea!) teaching women the Scriptures.  It is one of my passions and brings me great joy.  To see women understand Scripture and have it change their lives is an indescribable thing.  Since the moment I received Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, I’ve wanted to be a part of something that would change people, especially women, to the core of who they are.  Back home in Florida, I was blessed to have small group leaders who recognized that God has gifted me in this area, and they gave me opportunities to teach on multiple occasions. 

Since moving to N.C. last summer, starting school, trying to meet new people, and attend a new church haven’t left me much time to put this gift into practice.  This semester, though, God has given me two different opportunities to exercise the gift of teaching.  I have the privilege of being a D-group leader to three beautiful Southeastern college women, and I am a member of the LEAD{women} team. Since you can read about D-Groups here, I am going to tell you about LEAD{women}!

Ladies Engaging and Discipling women is a ministry of Southeastern that serves the women in North Carolina’s local churches while providing valuable, practical ministry experience for Southeastern’s female students.  As churches call the Women’s Life Office with requests for women to lead upcoming women’s events, the Women’s Life office contacts the LEAD team and works with the team to select the appropriate person(s) to fulfill each church’s request.  The churches benefit from the passionate, well-trained women who staff the event, and the LEAD team benefits from the experience of hands-on ministry involvement.

My first opportunity to serve through LEAD{women} was at a WMU meeting for the women of Norlina Baptist Church in Norlina, NC.  I was asked to share about a recent mission trip and how the Lottie Moon and Annie Armstrong offerings impact missions.  This past summer, I participated in a trip to Indonesia that Southeastern offered, so I was able to share about my experiences, lessons learned, and the challenges I faced on that trip. 

Leslie Hildreth, the Women’s Ministry Coordinator at SEBTS, went with me for support and to provide feedback on my talk.  We had the opportunity to eat with the women before I spoke and to get to know the pastor and his wife.  All of the women made me feel very special; they even had corsages for Leslie and me to wear! 
The event at Norlina Baptist Church was a learning experience for me.  Since I did not grow up in a Baptist church, my understanding of Lottie Moon and Annie Armstrong were limited to what I had learned through the Cooperative Program class Southeastern requires.  It was so much fun to research and learn a little more about these women and to share what I learned with the women of Norlina Baptist.  

This teaching opportunity came at just the right time in my life.  Though I was struggling emotionally with some things, our ever gracious and loving Father used the very lessons I had learned in Indonesia to remind me all over again of His grace, strength, and love.  He reminded me that He will never leave me and that carries me through rough patches of fear and doubting in my relationship with Him.  The Lord also challenged me through this talk to stay committed to praying for those serving on the field.  I was reminded to pray about why I should stay, about how I give to missions, and about being intentional to live missionally every day, right where I am.   

I am so blessed to be a part of this team, and I am thankful that Southeastern has provided such an incredible opportunity to grow and develop my skills while preparing for ministry!

For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.  As Scripture says, “Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.”  For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”  How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in?  And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard?  And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?  And how can anyone preach unless they are sent?  As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”  Romans 10:10-15 (NIV)

A few years ago, I went to the Women’s Life Office and the receptionist was talking about her Discipleship Group. When I inquired about the groups, Denise O’Donoghue asked me if I would be interested in leading one!  She assured me that it would be a valuable addition to the Biblical Counseling degree that I was pursuing.  I prayed long and hard about becoming a D-Group leader, since I am in my late sixties. The Lord and the Holy Spirit guided me to lead a D-Group. This reminded me of Philippians 4:13 . . .

I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.

With the Lord’s guidance, I could move forward more confidentially.

Discipleship Groups, which are commonly known as D-Groups, are required of every first-year college student at Southeastern.  According to the Office of Discipleship and Spiritual Formation,

“The D-Groups are an incredibly effective forum where students are encouraged, challenged, and equipped to better pursue an authentically Christian way of life.”

The curriculum that the students work through orients them around the beliefs of the Christian faith. It explains why and how our beliefs should be lived out as we love God and love one another.  After the first year, students who have participated in a D-Group should be equipped to start leading their own D-Groups, whether in the local church or here at Southeastern.

In 2011-2012, I decided to lead my first D-Group. We were permitted to use the conference room in the Women’s Life Office for our meetings. Four young ladies worked through the D-Group materials and discovered the challenge of diversity.  The second semester, one of the ladies decided to complete her D-Group requirements at a local church.

In 2012-2013, I again volunteered to be a D-Group leader. I was assigned to co-lead the group with the (then) Women’s Ministry Coordinator, Carrie Gilliam. We actually already knew one another! Carrie and I were assigned four young ladies who helped to make our sessions very stimulating.  Once again, we met in the Women’s Life Conference Room. During this year, we realized the necessity of encouraging consistent attendance. This time all of the girls remained with us for the second semester. We were thankful that they realized how important studying I & II Timothy would be in equipping them for discipleship.

Each year is different than the last. In 2013-2014, I volunteered for another year of D-Group activities. This year, I was assigned another co-leader, the new Women’s Ministry Coordinator, Lesley Hildreth. Lesley thought that she would be the oldest women in the room, but we really have a great generational cross-section.  I am seventy-one and Lesley is 43 (and not the oldest one in the room!). One of our ladies is a 35-year old spouse of a seminarian with 3 children. Another young woman is 21 and has spent some time in Costa Rico. Our youngest group member is eighteen, but she has already traveled to India a few times because her father is from India.

One thing that is important for our group this year is that each person respects the others’ ages and opinions.  Further, it is interesting to hear how things are different from one generation to the next.  Sometimes, we are not able to finish our lessons exactly the way that we plan because of other concerns that we need to address. We are thankful that the Office of Discipleship and Spiritual Formation  has given us enough flexibility in the lessons to discuss such things. Our goal in all of our lessons is to glorify God.

Another neat aspect of our group this year is that we are able to help each other in so many different areas.  For example, Lesley can help the ladies with parenting questions relating to both sons and daughters, because she has both.  I can help answer questions about daughters, because my own daughters are 48 and 46, a little older than Lesley.

As D-Group leaders, we prepare well for our lessons, because we know that we cannot glorify God with a poorly prepared lesson.  We pray on a regular basis for members of our group. We talk through assignments together and offer suggestions to make things easier. We are encouragers and mercy-givers. We love to nurture people in the Lord and we enjoy helping people grow in their Christian walk.

Are you interested in D-Groups? Contact the Office of Discipleship and Spiritual Formation at gmichael@sebts.edu.

Thrive Mentorship

According to Merriam-Webster, a mentor is someone who teaches or gives help and advice to a less experienced and often younger person.

As a new student's wife, new mom, new to Wake Forest, with a new job and with no friends or family nearby, I needed someone I could talk to.  I needed someone who had been through the things I was going through, both past and present.  

I came across an email from the Women's Life Office of SEBTS.  The email mentioned that they had a mentorship program.  I looked into it and read through the list of faculty wife mentors available, wondering Do I really need this?  God kept pressing on my heart, Yes, Stephanie, you do.  Yet I decided to pray about it for a few days.

I did pray about it and found myself sending an email to set up a time to talk about the mentorship program.  God led me to pick the faculty wife who had been a missionary.  Why God would want me to pick the person with missions experience was beyond my understanding at the time.  But I did as God told me, all the time saying, Really God?  Missions?  Okay God.  You're gonna have to show me this one.  

Little did I know that it wasn't because of her mission experience that God crossed our paths this way; it was because of her "other" experiences that God allowed our paths to cross.  She had been where I was and was still dealing with them at the same time.  AMAZING how God works things out.

The mentorship program was exactly what I needed at that time.  Without it, I'm not sure where I would be today.  My mentor and I would set up times to meet over coffee, lunch, frozen yogurt, dinner.  It gave me a time to talk, to ask questions, tell her what I was struggling with (which is a hard thing for me . . .  I'm sure it's hard for most people to admit that they are struggling!), to ask for prayer, and to know I was truly being prayed for.  Not only did it help me with the things I was struggling with at the time, but I gained a new friend.  

Almost three years later, I'm still friends with my mentor.  Even though my family and I have moved more than 6 hours from SEBTS and I'm no longer a part of the program, I know that because of our mentorship, I have a forever friend.

Would you like to know more about the Thrive Mentoring program?  Contact Women's Life at 
919-761-2340 or womenslife@sebts.edu 
to see how you can be involved!

Have you ever wondered about a program offered by the Women's Life Office? There are so many things going on around here that it can be hard to keep track! As the fall semester draws to a close, we have asked a few ladies who have been involved with the Women's Life Office to talk to us about their experiences. In the coming weeks, we will have guest bloggers writing about:

Thrive is a mentoring program available to female students and student wives who attend churches that do not offer mentoring opportunities.  A dedicated team of mentors, women associated with SEBTS, have offered to spend intentional time with Southeastern ladies on a personal basis with the specific goal of encouraging practical and spiritual growth. Stephanie Bates, our guest blogger, will share her experience as a mentee and help you understand what such a relationship can look like.       

The LEAD{women} ministry was established by Southeastern Seminary in an attempt to serve the women in North Carolina churches while providing practical ministry experience for our female students. The LEAD{women} ministry team includes women pursuing degrees at Southeastern who seek to serve women in a speaking or teaching capacity. Kiersten Griffith will share her experience at a LEAD event this semester. 

D-Groups: Ladies from all over campus are involved in D-Groups through the Office of Discipleship and Spiritual Formation.  Over the years, the WL office has served as a meeting place for a few of these groups.  We love being a part of students' lives through these groups.  This year, Leslie Hildreth co-leads a group with Mrs. Faye Dunbar, who has written a wonderful post on her experience.

Connecting Point exists to foster fellowship and spiritual maturity among women of Southeastern. Connecting Point events are held 4-5 times per academic year. Each has its own unique flavor and is designed to encourage fellowship among the Southeastern women.  Our guest blogger will share from her experience attending one of this semester's Connecting Point events.

We can't wait to share these posts with you! The first post will be available next Tuesday, November 12 at 9am. 

Comment below and let us know what else you would like to hear from us!

The Women's Life Office would like to extend a huge 
to all of our vendors and the 500+ people who attended the Craft and Bake Sale this year. It was a beautiful day, and we loved having the chance to share the talents of our SEBTS family with the Wake Forest community.

Check out the pictures below for a glimpse into the day.


Some words from our vendors:

“Loved the opportunity to make extra money in a well-organized, quality environment.”

“Awesome fellowship! I met new people and got ideas for next year.”

“The Craft and Bake Sale got my name out there. It also gave me the opportunity to meet people & provide financial support for family”

Hope to see you all next year!