“It was AMAZING! The singing, the message, thousands of women in attendance! God really moved to make it a glorious afternoon!” – Rudo Ndia, a disciple from Kentucky attending her first West African Women’s Day. It is not every year that we get to have a women’s day in Abidjan.
If I could describe Women’s Day 2012 in one word, it would be life-changing! From the moment I walked into the Buckhead Theatre until the moment I left, I couldn’t help but feel the excitement buzzing in the fellowship! For those moments, I was surrounded by such amazingly beautiful women of God. Women who wanted to take their relationships with God to the next level. Women who wanted to see their dreams become a reality. Women who wanted to glorify God. Yes, I was surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, and it was the perfect way for me to reconnect with the very dreams I once had.
"From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live.“Acts17:26
Berlin, Germany on Sunday June 24th 2012 was the place where this scripture came alive for our family once more when our daughter Hannah was baptized.
In the summer of 2011 the Milan church was blessed with a group of ten college students who descended on two of our largest campuses (Politecnico and Statale). They arrived in May and returned to the States (mostly Boston students) in the first week of July. For approximately six weeks they shared their faith every day for six hours a day...
Julia Linnus was baptised in the church in Estonia more than fifteen years ago. She moved to London eight years ago to find work, and to do well financially. She did not realise how broken the London Church was. She kept coming but could not find, friendship,a sense of belonging, love or peace.
Two hundred and fifty five (255) women gathered on a Sunday morning for the church in Kinshasa Women's Day event: “TheTrue Happiness of Women”.
We live in such a fast-paced world! Every day we make countless choices of how we use our time. Often, we can feel these choices are made for us and that we don’t have time to think or choose. We can feel we are a “jack of all trades but the master of none.” Two women who were dear to Jesus were Martha and Mary, Lazarus’ sisters. In a way they represent most women - they too, had many things facing them. Martha worried and got upset over those things, but Mary chose to sit at Jesus’ feet to learn from him (Luke 10:38-42). Jesus said, “Mary has chosen what is better” (Luke 10:42). It is our choice to be constant learners - first, learning from Jesus and his word and then learning from each other as we help each other become more like Jesus.
“You is kind. You is smart. You is important,” are perhaps the most memorable words from a recent book and movie making its way around the world entitled “The Help.” The theme of this movie seeks to highlight the true value of each woman - no matter her background, age, status or color.
We matter. This was the idea and conviction Aibeleen, the star of this movie, wanted to communicate to the little girl in her care. It’s not a new message. From the beginning, God has communicated his belief in us and his deep love for us. In Isaiah 43 God tells us that we are his, he calls us by name, he has ransomed us, he honors us, and he loves us. Throughout his word, he strives to convince us of this incredible love—ultimately demonstrated by the sacrifice of his beloved son.
It all started befittingly on March 1 when I was invited to speak to a group of women at the International Church here in Delhi. These women come to India because of their job or their husband’s job. They are very well off by Indian standards and most of them really want to help while they are here. Many are involved in charity work, which is how I know them. They welcomed me and were very encouraging of the work HOPE worldwide and the church do here.
The next Women’s Day on March 9th could not have been any more different. I spoke to a group of about a hundred women in the Sanjay Gandhi slum where HOPE worldwide runs a maternal health program. These women are amazing. They lead very challenging lives, are extremely poor, yet have a resilience of spirit which is really inspiring. Under our guidance they have taken leadership roles in their community and are leading the way to fight poverty and prejudice. The joy and the zeal in that meeting was exhilarating!
The next day on March 10th I spoke to a large crowd of almost 600 women at the New Delhi Church of Christ’s Women’s Day. Many women attended for the first time. About 20 of my friends came along, some of whom were women I invited at the first women’s day I spoke at on March 1. The crowd was eclectic but focused on reaching out to the world as Christian women. The theme was “Beyond Beauty”. I spoke along with Parimala, one of the young women’s ministry leaders here in Delhi. We talked about true beauty, what it means, and how we can achieve it. True beauty comes from inside and is not ruled by outward appearance. We also addressed the issue of the women’s role and how women are treated in view of the recent rape case which has galvanised society in India and even beyond our borders.
The next day I spoke to the women who work full time for HOPE foundation and HOPE worldwide in New Delhi. These women are real modern day heroes, reaching out to the poorest of the poor day after day in very challenging conditions. We had a fun catwalk competition. We all decided we were a lot better at the “slum walk” than the catwalk. The slum walk involves avoiding holes in the roads, raw sewage, cow pats, dead rats, etc. These women love their work. It is a calling. They spread the love of Christ through their work and exemplify what a life of sacrifice looks like.
Finally the last Women’s Day event I spoke at was in Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal. Here again we spoke on the topic of “true Beauty”. Kathmandu and the women of Nepal hold a special place in my heart. They are gritty courageous women who live in harsh conditions, braving 18 hour daily power cuts, soaring prices in a challenging economic situation, frequent general strikes, yet they display a joy and zest for life which is so convicting!
I consider myself blessed and honoured to live in this part of the world and to be able to share with so many amazing women. The women of South Asia have changed my life. They are strong, resilient, and beautiful women!