One of the neatest things about working on ZOE Projects is meeting incredible women from around the world. It is particularly fun to network people together. Have you ever met someone and thought: they need to meet so-and-so...because they are speaking the same "language"? That happens to us all the time at ZOE. So let us introduce you to a "woman you should know".
This is Sharon Thomas. She is one of our ZOE partners who works with women in the Dominican Republic. She and her husband, Adrian are passionate about strengthening local Christian leaders and their families. We recently caught up with Sharon...and she was "bursting" with some recent developments with women in her area. Have a little read...
ZOE: We understand that there has been some exciting stuff happening with women in the Dominican Republic lately...
Yes. We just finished a powerful week of ministry. A team from Canada came and we held an open event for the ladies of Cabrera and surrounding area. When we arrived at the church to set up for the event, the church was already full. We had to send the men to look for more chairs. Chairs were added inside and out in the sidewalk and street. As soon as we stepped out of the van we felt the expectancy from the ladies. They came expecting God to move in their lives, and they were not disappointed.
The next morning we held a breakfast for the female pastors and the wives of pastors..and it was awesome because many of these women carry the pressures and stresses of ministry alone. It was a powerful morning that equipped, empowered, and encouraged all who were there.
Gathering for the Women's Event
Sharon - you obviously love what you do...What do you find the most fulfilling thing in your work with women in the DR?
I do love what I do... which is surprising to me because I like air conditioning and pretty things. I hate bugs and spiders and believe it or not, I never liked Women's Ministry because it is just so messy. Women can be complicated and lead complicated lives. When we started ministering to the pastors and families here in the Dominican, many of the women would share with me very hard things... and I realized that so many felt alone. This made me see that we needed to link arms and cheer each other along! I love connecting them with each other.
I also love to see women move out in leadership. I encourage women to minister instead of relying on me. I now see that the hundreds of women we have invested in are reaching thousands of women and doing it better than I every could! When I see God taking them where I will never go, doing it better than I ever will, reaching more people with the power of God's love than I ever dreamed, that is when I am the most fulfilled, most blessed, most inspired to do more! Little is much when God uses it.
Investing in women in DR
This is so encouraging...and inspiring! Sharon mentioned fulfillment. We all long for fulfillment that sometimes feels elusive. We often try to obtain it through stuff or accomplishment. By definition, fulfillment is a deep satisfaction when one fully uses their abilitiesand develops their character. It is a sense of completion, a feeling that you are doing what you were created to do...
In The Message, Eugene Peterson says that "it is in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for". When we serve others, in the name of Christ, by being a voice for the voiceless and championing justice for women around the globe...a natural by-product is fulfillment. I love how that works. Don't look for fulfillment. Look for Christ and His heart...and do what He asks...and you will find yourself fulfilled!
We leave you with these words from Henri Nouwen...