Back to NewsJune 24-25, 2011

Wilderness Experiences


The wilderness is mentioned many times in the Bible. Some people, like the Israelites, were there because they were being punished for disobedience; others, like Paul, were there because God was teaching and purifying them. While believers today may not be in the same sort of physical wilderness, God still uses "wilderness experiences" in our lives to punish or purify. Each person's wilderness is unique to them and to their circumstances. Sometimes it can be a relationship or a job situation; sometimes God uses physical affliction.

During the annual June Ladies Conference hosted by the Appalachian Bible College Ladies Auxiliary on June 24-25, women from over 30 churches gathered to learn principles to "Blossoming in the Wilderness." Sue Fallin, founder of Gathering Manna Ministries, shared what God taught her during her "wilderness," a twelve-year trial of physical affliction that brought her to death's door where God miraculously healed her to the praise of His glory and the amazement of her doctors. Sue shared that often God allows us to go through the wilderness to purge us of sin and force us to depend upon Him. When we emerge from the wilderness we will either be bitter or beautiful. The key? Choose to trust. Choose joy.

Accompanying the ministry of the Word was the ministry through music presented by the Appalachian Bible College Gospel Heralds. The nine ABC students which make up this team were a great testimony both as they sang and as they interacted with the ladies.

Ladies Gospel Heralds

Three workshops were presented on Friday afternoon: "Alone in the Wilderness," how to minister as a single woman and to singles in the church; "Away from the Wilderness," tips and tricks to planning a great vacation; and "Avoiding the Wilderness," using proper etiquette. Women laughed with each other as they practiced good manners. They cried as they listened to the testimony of Diane Malanick, widowed at a young age but still serving the Lord in full-time Christian ministry. They learned from AAA agent Wendy Bihler the best times and places to plan a vacation, ways to save money, as well as how to obey laws while in other countries.

Session Workshop

For those who chose to register at the early registration time, there were fun activities to fill their morning. Ladies could swim in the campus pool or shop at the vendors or ABC bookstore. Some participated in a basket-weaving class, going home with their own self-made basket. Others took the opportunity to visit the New River Gorge Bridge and visitor center.

Not only did the delegates feast on the Word, they shared fellowship around good food with great friends. Whether it was enjoying the scrumptious banquet or the snacks and silliness of the evening fun time, the ladies had their tastebuds tantalized. The best part of all? They never had to wash a single dish!

As the ladies left, some to return home to their own wildernesses, they had all been refreshed and better equipped to be "Blossoming in the Wilderness."

The Ladies Auxiliary is a volunteer group of women who have come alongside Appalachian Bible College to assist in their ministries. They provide scholarships and ministry to the current student body as well as host three events structured specifically for women each year. If you are interested in receiving information or participating in future events presented by the Ladies Auxiliary, please contact us at or call (304) 877-6428. You may also visit our Ladies Auxiliary page to see a schedule of upcoming events and ministry opportunities.

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