Women's Congress Main Speakers

Raquel Costa Arrais

Raquel Queiroz da Costa Arrais presently holds the position of Associate Director for Women's Ministries at the General Conference of SDA. Raquel is the wife of Pastor Jonas Arrais who is the Associate Ministerial Secretary at the General Conference and they have two sons: Tiago, and Andre and two daughters’ in-law Paula and Natalia and a grandson, Benjamin.  Raquel grew up in a pastoral family and is a third generation Seventh-day Adventist

Prior to coming to the General Conference she was Women's Ministries and Shepherdess associate director for the South American Division (2000-2003) and Children's Ministries director (2004 – 2005).

For 20 years Raquel worked as an educator and administrator in Brazil. In 1997 she got her master’s Degree in Pastoral Ministry from Andrews University.

Raquel loves reading, walking, playing the piano and collecting pictures of women’s faces. She enjoys spending time with women, ministering to them, and learning from them. 
She has a desire to see more women accepting God’s call and being involved with the mission of the church.

Her favorite word is courage and her favorite Bible text is Joshua 1:9.

Evelyn Brenda

Evelyn Brenda lives in Germany and her vision is to give hope to Women and Girls in her home country Kenya.

With the project You are Beautiful she gives support to women in her home country Kenya. Her service with ADRA Germany and Women's Ministry is on volutary basis. She is supporting 3 rescue centres in Kenya (Kajiado, Samburu and Bisil) and started support to women who suffer from Fistula in 2012. The costs are covered by donations. 

Evelyn is very thankful to her father who decided to protect her from FGM and to give her an education instead.

Evelyn works as freelance consultant with the European Union. She and her husband are blessed with 3 children, and one grandchild.  Every year she travels to Kenya in order to support her projects. Her prayer goes as follows: 'Lord, make me a vessel of your mercy, and let it be all about You.' 

Evelyn enjoys reading and, cooking and being a mum to not only her own children, but also to her 250 girls who call her mum.

Denise Hochstrasser

Denise Hochstrasser holds the position Women's Ministries Director, General Conference for the Inter-European Division. She is mother of 3 adult daughters and has 3 grandchidlren. Prior to coming to EUD for several years she was responsible for Women's Ministries in Switzerland. 

She spent several years in Newbold College, Bracknell, England and has an eduction in business. She was prepared to be a pastors wife. The early death of ther husband left a deep inpact in her life and she devoted her time to a ministry to women, in which she has been engaging for over 25 years now, long before this Department was established in our Church.

Denise loves her home in the countryside of the beautiful Berner Alps, in Switzerland, where she lives with her husband. She enjoys her beautiful garden and her family. She loves reading, swimming, walking near the lake or in the snowy mountains. She is the main organizer of this congress.

Her favourite topic is encouraging women to find out about their gifts and to motivate them to use these gifts and get ingaged inside and outside the Church.

Her favourite text is: Phil. 4,8 - Concentrate on what is beautiful and on what is positive in life.

Carla Gober Park

Carla Gober Park is the Director of the Center for Spiritual Life and Wholeness and an Assistant Professor of Relational Studies in the School of Religion at Loma Linda University. Dr. Gober received her undergraduate education from Southern Missionary College in two fields - nursing and religious studies.  She completed two master’s degrees from Loma Linda University, a MPH in public health education and a MS in counseling and family studies. Most recently Dr. Gober Park completed a doctor of philosophy degree in religious studies from Emory University (Atlanta, GA).

Carla has worked in the fields of nursing, health education, counseling, university teaching and administration. She was instrumental in developing several hospital-based multidisciplinary grief programs that have trained hundreds of professionals in the area of bereavement care. She is also instrumental in developing a website on wholeness and health for LLUH and the global community (www.lluhealth.org). She speaks throughout the world on topics related to spirituality, health and wellness and family relationships. She has an internet-based television program on wholeness and relationships entitled This Life! She has also developed a Bible study series for women entitledJourney of Joy: Healthy emotions, holy hearts. Her audiences describe her as warm, practical, able to touch hearts with new depth and humor, and a woman deeply committed to God.

She has published several articles and two book chapters, one on the topic of whole person care and the other on American Indian Religions and healthcare, in honor of her own American Indian background.

Dr. Gober Park enjoys biking with her husband (a Scotsman!), travel, writing, raising tomatoes, cooking, and reading.

Heather-Dawn Small

Heather-Dawn Small presently holds the position of Director for Women’s Ministries at the General Conference of SDA. She is the wife of Pastor Joseph Small and the mother of two adult children Dalonne and Jerard. 

She holds a BA in English from Andrews University and is currently completing her MA in Leadership with a minor in Pastoral Care to Women from Western Seminary, Portland, USA.

Heather-Dawn loves air travel, reading, embroidery, scrapbooking, and stamp collecting and she enjoys ministry to women. As she travels the world she has three passions

  1. To see more women involved in evangelism,
  2. To encourage women to be involved in ministry to others – especially young women, and
  3. To share the joy that God has given her in spite of life’s many challenges. 

Her favorite word is “JOY” and her favorite saying is “Don’t let anyone steal your joy.”

Cornelia Strunz

Dr. Cornelia Strunz is Medical Director and coordinator of the Desert Flower Center Waldfriede. She speaks about her practical work and her experiences with women who have gone through Genital Mutilation, which is not only a problem in Africa or far away countries, but is also taking place here in Europe. Here this practice is forbidden, but in spite of the clear laws young women are forced to go through this ordeal even today.


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