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A "New Generation of Ruths"...a call to PAOC women from David Wells

David Wells

Our guest blogger today is David R. Wells, General Superintendent of the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada.  David has always been a strong supporter of ministering women within our fellowship and today he shares with us how his theology surrounding the role of women was "fleshed out" through the example of his mother.

by David Wells

I’ve pondered numerous times why I have the convictions I do regarding the shared place I believe women have to fulfill their calling in ministry to God and others.

I know I have worked through at various times the theological, philosophical and cultural considerations to come to those convictions.

I could reiterate most of them in a conversation…at least on a good day. In fact if I had written this blog when first asked I’m sure that is what you would now be reading.

But something happened in the meantime. My Mom passed away.

We should have a clear theological and philosophical basis for our convictions. With that understood my observation is that it is in the crucible of relationships and experiences that those convictions get fleshed out.

In fact if they are not reinforced in real life they simply become items of mental assent that do not pragmatically influence our lives.

Ruth Wells

So when we consider the shared place women have to fulfill their ministry to God and others actual persons come to mind, none more than my mother, Ruth Wells.

My Mom was not necessarily concerned about having a platform on which to publicly proclaim her biblical insights nor was she going to serve at many decision making tables. That said she certainly would have expected that women so called would have the freedom to do so.

She strongly believed in the Spirit’s gifts being expressed through both God’s daughters and sons.

If the evangelist was a women named Eunice or the worship leader’s name was Ruby that was great. Thus Mom’s daughters and granddaughters are free to be whoever God wants them to be.

Mom herself was of a generation where women were expected to marry, have children and make sure they were raised with love and discipline. She did all those admirably. Yet in the mid-1960’s with five young children economic circumstances and her own strong sense of responsibility motivated her to work full time. Nevertheless that did not stop her from volunteering in ministry at our church and run an open house full of hospitality and nonstop food. All that while helping children and eventually grandchildren to do their homework and get to their school and music lessons and sporting events.

This life of sacrificial service was rooted in the deep relationships of a close knit Danish immigrant community.

Her mother passed away when she and her two sisters were all eight and under. Their family’s relatives and the community rallied around her father and the girls. On immigrant farms in the 1930’s and 40’s there wasn’t a lot of debates regarding roles and responsibilities especially when tragedy had come knocking and survival was at stake. Work got done by young and old, men and women. Family looked after family, neighbor looked after neighbor.

Those values of mutual respect, hard work, hospitality and love for God and others continued beyond the farm to a marriage, a family, a church and multiple relationships.

As one man who knew my Mom when he was a college student wrote, “Mom Wells will always be in our heart and our thoughts. I will never forget how this Angel took care of me when I was without a place to live. She fed me when I was hungry and gave me shelter. She truly was My Angel.”

No one had to tell my Mom she was free to minister as she was called. Who was going to tell her otherwise? Now anyone who knew her, understood there was steel under that velvet!

I pray for a whole new generation of Ruths.

Women whose calling by the Spirit is forged by a sense of love for God and others that causes them to tenaciously do what they are called to do whatever anyone else says… all with solid theology and a good philosophy of ministry of course!

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Young Women on the Rise - Sydney Teichroeb

There are some pretty amazing young women rising in our network and today we feature one of them: Sydney Teichroeb

Sydney is a young woman who pursues Jesus with her whole heart. She is from Abbotsford, British Columbia and is currently working on completing her degree at Summit Pacific College majoring in Counselling Foundations. 

Sydney is the director of a girl’s mentorship program called We Cultivate which is based out of Abbotsford. The program’s purpose is to provide enriching opportunities for girls to reach their full potential and exceed their self-perceived limits. One of the ways Sydney and her team do this is through group and individual mentoring. 

Sydney lives to empower those around her and bring glory to Jesus in everything.

Here is a quick little interview with Sydney...

Tell us a bit about yourself:

My name is Sydney Teichrob. I was born in Kelowna, but grew up in Abbotsford, British Columbia. I had a Christian upbringing, went to a Christian School and attended church my whole life. The biggest thing I was involved in was dance! I have a large passion for dance, but I never thought I would be working with teen girls one day. Surprisingly that was not my intention at all!

How did you start "We Cultivate?"

For me it was so much more then just wanting to work with girls and start a "girls group". It grew from my passion to wanting to work with people and see them grow as individuals through a mentorship perspective! I wish that I had time to do both boys and girls, but I felt at that time I only had resources and Time for one gender! That is why we cultivate is now a girls program and I'm so thankful for that.

Did you always want to work with young girls?

I did not always want to work with young girls! I had no idea that God would lead me to do that, and it is amazing how once we are obedient to God he uses us to our full potential.

What would you say to someone starting out a group like Cultivate?

I would say - grab a good team and go for it! We try many different things, styles, games, ways to do things and we are still learning. Even after we try things I am happy that we went through it all as a team.

How do you get past the rough parts?

I am thankful we are doing the work despite when challenges come, you will have golden moments that remind you why you are doing what you do and it makes it all worth it! Having great teammates also makes the difference, knowing that if a bump comes in the road you do not have to walk through it alone is the best feeling. I also know when we do not act like we are perfect we will not have the pressure of feeling down around the rough parts, because we are striving to be as real as possible. And real life is not perfect haha!

What motivates you the most?

What motivates me the most is the exciting possibilities that working with girls gives. Also the scary facts and percentages that girls have to grow up with encourages me to keep going. We do not live in a world yet that caters to a wholesome upbringing for girls. That is what keeps me going - the conversations with young girls I have, the encouragement they need and the mentorship they crave. I love what I do and I think others should do the same!

How can people help out?

They can check out our Facebook, we also run something called Rewarding Wardrobes to help fund our activities with the girls. How it works is I get clothes donated, I wash + organize them into different sizes or styles + I put them online. Then other girls get to buy nice clothes that other girls did not want, + we benefit from it financially. I would say this is a huge breakthrough for us, + I encourage people to keep helping youth out even with no budget. There are always ways around needing a big budget to be successful! So if you would love to donate clothes that would be amazing!

Our future is bright with young women like Sydney!

Check Sydney's team out online:

Facebook:

www.facebook.com/wcultivate

Instagram: @wecultivate

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A Day in the Life... Sharon Thomas (My Normal is Someone's Crazy!)

My Normal is Someone’s Crazy!

My regular day starts much like everyone else's - to the sound of the alarm clock! I get up, walk around the house and turn off the outside lights, plug in the fans, turn on the internet box, turn the house alarm system off and make cup of tea and read my bible. I like to have a little time alone before the activity of the day consumes me.

I then get my set of keys and unlock the doors and bars. every window and door has bars. I go for a walk around the outside of the house to make sure the guard dogs were not poisoned during the night. I check the cistern and make sure we will have water to shower and clean with that day. I check the pump that takes the water from ground level to the roof holding tank and make sure it is working properly, this is important because when the power goes off- which it does everyday at some point- there needs to be water. I then check to make sure the guard dogs have water and are fed. I also look around the yard for any fruit that may be ready to be picked- mangos, avocados, cherries, oranges or coconuts-it is nice to find a little blessing to start the day.

It is hard to believe that we have been living in the Dominican Republic for 12 years. We arrived with 3 small children and now two of them have returned to Canada for university. Most people think of beaches and resorts when they think of the Dominican but we are located in a small town where there is no tourism. We are one of the very few foreigners that live here. I like it that way, the real culture, in a normal community without the “vacation-here for pleasure” mind set that destroys so many communities and families close to the resorts.

Each day brings something new- the routine is there is no routine. You just never know what the day will bring. In the morning I home school my daughter. I am not a homeschool mom by choice- but there isn’t another option for her here- up to grade six she attended a Spanish school and was an honours student. But when we were in Canada on furlough she went to public school and they put her in an ESL class. So now we are working with her to bring her English up to grade level so she can complete her high school courses in English.

Our house has a steady stream of people coming and going each day as office staff arrive for instructions, pastors pass by with requests for prayer or materials for ministry. If it is Monday, Freddy the shoe shine boy, my daughter’s childhood friend, stops by for a meal and something to drink as he looks for work in the area.

Once lunch time comes everything stops from 12 to 2 pm. At first this drove me crazy to have this long break in the middle of the day. But now we enjoy the large mid day meal of rice, beans and chicken. It is normally very hot and humid so it is too hot to continue to work during these hours. Once the hottest time of the day has passed we spend the remainder of the day in one of many ways. Sometimes we visit pastors in their homes, or we check on the construction of the homes being built for needy families, or preparing for a conference or seminary that is coming up. Other times we prepare for a team to arrive from Canada.

But for me I love to plan ministry activities for the pastor’s wives and women pastors. Often times they live in very remote areas with very little resources and support. Each month there is something going on! I hold either bible study, a fun girls night with great food and games, or an outreach in their community. One pastor, Marianne, who pastors a little church in the hills outside Nagua, is a great example of the exceptional women of the Dominican Republic. Her church was holding services under a piece of tin outside her house. We came along side her and built a church building and she ran with this new ministry tool. She was holding retreats and activities in her community and it has been forever changed. We saw her one day in the market and she ran over to us-beaming with joy- 30 new people were coming to church now because of the miracle of the new building!!! She now attends our Bible Seminary and continues to reach her community for Christ! Simple tools put in the hands of pastors to help them complete their vision!

We often enjoy a Canadian supper of something that reminds us of home, pizza, tacos or pork chops and potatoes. In the evenings there is very little to do outside of ministry. We are usually visiting a local church or involved a unity service. When there isn’t one -you are at home. There is nothing open at night here outside of restaurants and bars. So we often spend time working on administration for the ministry, or creating family times. We can’t leave our home empty so we can not just decide to go out at any time. If we do need to go out we have to have an armed guard come to watch the house. Two days after arrived back from our furlough our daughter Courtney was outside with her friends, catching up after being away for two months. The we heard a shot right out side our house. We ran to see what was happening. We opened our gate to find our neighbour struggling to take a rifle from a older drunk man who had shot himself in the foot. The children of the neighbourhood had run and hid, except one little boy who was frozen in fear in the middle of the street. Parents came out, the man was taken to the hospital and we all returned to our homes realizing it was only God’s protection that a child was not harmed. So each day we gather together and pray as a family- for God’s continued provision and protection.

Some Relevant Statistics: 

Approximately 30,000 children and adolescent are involved in the sex industry. Two thirds of those are girls. The main reason for entering prostitution is to support themselves, their children or their family.

Teenage pregnancy within the Dominican Republic is high with 13.3% of fifteen to nineteen year olds becoming mothers and 403 babies born to girls under fifteen in 2003. With little opportunities to earn money, girls enter prostitution.

According to a study by Dominican Today, out of 3,400 women, approximately 44% have been victims of domestic violence, with domestic violence defined as both physical and nonphysical abuse.

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A Day in the Life... A Taste of Trujillo - Kim Hodgkiss

A Taste of Trujillo

by Kim Hodgkiss

Four years ago I came to the small coastal community of Trujillo (Tru-HEE-yo), Honduras as a volunteer English teacher. I learned to adapt to the climate, the culture, the food, a new language, a lack of basic services, a myriad of bugs, and many types of isolation. Through it all, God confirmed my calling to share my life and faith with others.

Two years ago I became the director of the residential Training Centre for teenage girls who cannot afford to attend high school. Once a week the students bus in from rural communities outside of Trujillo, travelling from 1-4 hours each way, and stay with us from Monday to Friday. Our two-year program includes vocational training in sewing, including pattern making; cooking, including nutrition and hygiene; computer and business skills, and English. In addition, we teach the Bible and Christian values; many of our girls come to know Jesus personally and grow in their faith during their time with us. It is amazing to see them blossom before our eyes!

Left: Girls at the Training Centre - changed for this life and eternity! 

Right: Teens learn marketable skills and Christian values.

As an added benefit, our graduates receive treadle sewing machines to take home to their villages as a potential source of income. For those who are academically inclined, we offer scholarship. Past grads have helped support themselves through sewing and have gone on to study in careers such as Tourism, Business, or Computer Technology.

Despite our weekly schedule at the Centre, no day is ever the same. Seemingly mundane tasks can take a turn, circumstances change at a moment's notice, and one always has to be ready to bend. I often joke about how daily life in Trujillo is an adventure. As an example, here I outline "A Day in the Life" - what I did yesterday - to give you a taste of Trujillo.

6:00 am

- Throw in a load of laundry even through it is raining and I can't hang it to dry. For the past several weekends we haven't had running water and have no tanks for storage at the house, so i need to take advantage of having both electricity and water at the same time.

6:45 am

- Meet with Juan, our new watchman and groundskeeper. Juan has a passion for yard work and is undertaking a big clean up on our beachfront property as well as regular maintenance at the Centre. He and Berta moved in last month and it is a blessing to have them on the team!

7:15 am

- Breakfast at the Centre, touch base with our housemothers, Rosa and Lidia.

7:45 am

- Share devotional Heb 11:1 "Faith is being sure of what we hope for." Recount the faith of George Mueller, evangelist and orphanage director who cared for over 10,000 orphans in the late 1800s while never asking for support from anyone but God. Also tell the story of the villagers plagued with drought who gathered at the church to plead with God for rain, and only one small boy had the faith to bring an umbrella. Help us Lord to demonstrate our faith as well!

8:15 am

- Teach English class to 2nd years, 1st years continue pattern making and sewing.

9:00 am

- Part way through our class, Cablevision comes to install a new system.

10:00 am

- Search in vain for a spark plug for the weed eater. Pray the old one into action again. Bring Juan gas for the lawnmower. Most of the streets in town are dug up, and mud is flowing in the rain. The construction isn't marked, so I end up circling around and backing up for blocks when the roads end in a chasm or a pile of broken cement.

10:45 am

- Return to the Centre, sign the birthday cards for three of the girls, wrap their gifts of soap, shampoo, lotion, etc.

11:15 am

- Up to the bank - can I make it in time? Nope, not enough time to get through the line.

Noon

- Come back for the birthday party - celebrating three who were born this month. For many of our girls it will be the only birthday celebration they have.

Top: Core staff bonding time - back: Rosa, Dilma; front: Lidia, Santiaga, me.

Bottom: Celebrating birthdays on the beach! For most of the girls, this will be their only celebration. 

2:00 pm

- Computer teacher taught extra classes the day before, so we're free to take the cupcakes to the beach (it's still sprinkling off and on). We visit a local restaurant, and the girls squeal with delight on the water slide and enjoy the lounge chairs while the teachers relax around the covered tables.

3:30 pm

- The girls practice their dances while I head back to the bank for the mid month pay. I remember the pharmacy and pick up drops for the dog's eye infection. Prepare the bus fares for this morning.

4:30 pm

- Give English test to the first years while the second years make supper.

5:30 pm

- Enjoy supper of refried beans, grated white cheese, flour tortillas and a slice of avocado. Mmm!

I've come to love the traditional meal of beans and tortillas!

6:00 pm

- Review the dances and select the best ones to perform.

6:30 pm

- Mark the tests and record the grades. Meet with a scholarship student and review her grades too.

7:00 pm

- Youth group - the girls perform three songs.

The girls ministering in dance at the youth group.

9:00 pm

- Arrive home. Give Juan the medicine for the dog, retrieve my laundry, and hang it all indoors over chairs and railings and set the fans to dry it.

9:30 pm

- Prep for tomorrow, and relax!

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Sue Wells on "Being Scared"

Sue Wells

I watch people live their lives.  I find it fascinating because people tell us in all sorts of ways, who they are and what they are living for. In watching Sue Wells' life for many years, I can say confidently that people are important to Sue.  She shows this through her choices and priorities.  She organizes her life in such a way to connect people to the life that is found only in Jesus.  Sue, (wife of our General Superintendent David), recently chatted with ZOE Projects.  We wanted to pick her brain and hear what she has been up to lately.  May it inspire you!

Leanne and the ZOE Team

PS - If you want to stretch yourself to the point of "Being Scared" like Sue, check out www.zoeleadership.org...because we can help with that!   

Interview with Sue...

 

Who are you?

Depends.

“Nana” is my favourite label, along with wife and mom.

Professionally, I’m “The Decorating Coach”.

Walking, biking, gardening, decorating and reading are my favourite pastimes.

 

Where do you ministry/serve?

First, I don’t identify ministry as what I do within a church context.

When I travel with Dave across the world, my goal is to get to know our workers and encourage them any way I can.

Whether or not I do anything up front is of no importance to me.

Locally, I’m very involved in my church’s mission’s team and organizing our yearly mission’s event.

 

How did you start serving there?

Ministry at Burlington Glad Tidings church is kind of a miracle.

When we moved to Ontario, knowing that local church attendance would be random because of our travel, I was sad that it would be the first time that I didn’t have the regular connection of a local church body.

I got involved in project-based ministries, like kid’s summer camp and from there, other opportunities opened up.

 

What is your favourite part about your ministry?

I love speaking at women’s events, but what dominates my passion is how I can reach my community.

 

Who has been your greatest influence in your development as a leader?

I study leader’s lives outside the church context.

Eileen Stewart doesn’t reveal her age, but she just never stops.

I’m blown away by how she always finds ways to show her faith to strangers.

What would you say to people who are hesitant to serve in their community?

I would say that reaching out is “Christianity 101.”

Jesus didn’t make service an “elective” only if we feel gifted or comfortable and church involvement doesn’t give us a pass.

Assume that people want to hear about your faith.

I’ve talked to so many who don’t have a clue that people like us even exist!

Also, count on Christ.

You carry His presence with you and you don’t have to come up with all the clever answers.

When I share my involvement in global missions, my Buddhist friend asks, “Why?”

I answer that it is because “In the Christian faith, everyone is equally valuable to God.”

That is unheard of in most circles.

I just met my new dentist, who is a Muslim from Jordan.

As I tell him all that we are doing for refugees, his eyes fill with tears and he asks, “How can I help, what can I give?”

Instead of getting angry at losing the traditional greeting of “Merry Christmas,” in our Canadian culture, I organized a carol sing at my local café.

A university gal participated, but she didn’t know one song in the twenty-page booklet.

Sometimes, I freak out as to how I’m going to make the next steps happen in my relationships with people, but the Lord reminds me that He is the boss.

I repent.

 

What are your next steps for ministry in 2016?

I qualify for senior’s discounts! I also am writing a study/book about women being all the more valuable to the Kingdom as we age.

I want to make “being scared” part of the supernaturally normal.

It’s the only way to live.

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This is How I Lead - Michele Yackel

This Is How I Lead is a series on the ZOE Blog.  We love learning from others... so we have asked some good questions of great female leaders across the globe.  This week's post is from a good friend of ZOE...Michele Yackel.  Michele has led in ministry for almost 20 years as a youth pastor, global worker, ministry school director and now as a church planter in B.C. 

Michele is passionate about serving others, connecting in community and seeing people challenged in their faith journey & stepping into all God has for them.

We hope it will inspire you in your own leadership!  If you have some question for Michele, post it in the comments section.

Michele and Anthony Yackel

 

Who are you?

My name is Michele Yackel, I’m 41 and love adventure. I’ve been married to my best friend Anth for 13 ½ years.

We have 2 fabulous kids. Our daughter is 10 and our son is 8.

I’m a wife, mommy, leader, friend, pastor, cross-cultural worker at heart and I’m always up for change and adventure!!

 

Where do you minister?

I’m currently a pastor/church planter – both my husband and I Co-Lead Pastor UrbanRoad here in Langley BC – we meet at Cineplex Langley in BC and have just celebrated our 5th year as a church community.

Check it out HERE.!!

 

What is your favourite part of your job?

A favourite part of my job is connecting with people, hearing their story and celebrating who they are and stretching people to think more strategically about where they’re headed in life and what they have to offer.

The best part is seeing true life transformation in people, especially families – BEST thing ever!!!

That and people grabbing a hold of the creativity and limitless imagination God places within each of us and then stepping out to actually DO something with that – BONUS!!

 

Who has been your greatest influence in your development as a leader?

My life is made up of fingerprints of those around me. I have always said those who cross my path leave a mark – some have been impressive indeed, while others have caused pain. At the end of the day my life’s journey is made up of those interactions and the imprint others have left. I cannot say I’ve been solely inspired by 1 specific person – but rather the collage of those along the way. Everyone from Mother Teresa, mentors, colleagues, leaders I’ve watched from a distance and those who’ve personally journeyed with me.

Each has influenced me to be the leader I am today and the leader I still aspire to become.

We were never created to walk alone and we cannot get there on our own!!

 

What is the biggest thing you’ve learned in ministry so far?

The biggest thing I’ve learned in ministry so far…..um, that’ll be in a book one day☺

Not sure how to narrow it down to be honest. I’d say “one of” the greatest things I’ve learned as a pastor is to not live my life to please others and the journey of life is ALWAYS worth the process.

We’re only ever called to live in obedience to what’s been put before us, to what God’s called us to – not what others think/feel we should be or do.

At the end of the day, it’s about the joy that comes from living in obedience, not convenience.

 

If you had one piece of advice to give to someone who wanted to do what you do, what would you tell them?

One piece of advice I’d give to someone who wants to be a church planter……be willing to risk and put it all on the line.

Ministry is never easy, no matter your area of influence, but being willing to take steps into the unknown and go for it takes a vulnerability and willingness to look failure in the face and be totally ok with it (let’s face it, it’s totally counter cultural!!).

It’ll be raw at times, exhilarating at others; and no matter what comes down the pipeline – always worth it in the end!!

DON’T GIVE UP!!!

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Haitians call me "Mama Boss" - A Day in the Life of Brigitte

We are pleased to begin a fun series on the ZOE blog that we are calling "A Day in the Life."  Have you every wondered what an average day looks like for our ZOE Partners?  We have.  

Over the next few months we will be invited into the everyday lives of ordinary women doing extraordinary things.  We begin today with Brigitte, who lives and serves in Haiti. Have a read...

by Brigitte

Haitians call me “Manman boss.” The reason is likely because I am passionate about children and I can get by doing many things. This has been a passion of mine since I was 9 years old. At that time I was touched by God in a moment of prayer. Since that day I have felt a burden for poor and unloved children. It was 30 years later that I experienced God’s plan for my life.

In 2013 I came to live in Port-au-Prince with my family. My husband is a pastor and I am supporting families of young children. We are also train young Christian leaders. We have a heart to help them develop their gifts and talents for God, so that they are transformed and have an impact in their country. I also work with the children of the church “La Forteresse” (The Fortress). I teach the Bible to 150-200 children under the age of 6. I love to console them and pray with them so that they can receive Jesus in their heart and so that Jesus will be their best friend.

I also set up a project called “Manman Se La Vi.” A few afternoons a week, along with Stephanie, I visit pregnant women and new mothers in their homes to help them thrive in their new role as mothers. My plan for the next year is to hire a doctor and regularly offer workshops for parents on all matters affecting motherhood. All this is done by integrating the Word of God and sharing the love of Jesus; This is the purpose of our mission.

However, I must tell you that I never thought I would be able to drive a truck, especially not in the streets of Port-au-Prince! I also never thought I would be able to repair a faucet, run a generator, or understand the function of an inverter. Or even to learn another language, be able to barter at a market selling vegetables, or accept living in another culture, but yet I have!

I learned to do things that I thought I was incapable to learn! Have you ever experienced a situation like this? I thought myself incapable, but because God put on my heart to do things for the people of Haiti, He gave me the ability to do so. Is it easy? No, it is very difficult! But is it worth it? Yes, without any hesitation! The every day life as a global worker is certainly a series of adventures, but I would encourage you to believe that “I can do everything through Christ who strengthens me.” Let God prove that you can do more than you ever thought possible.

In a few days, my children will move back to Canada. This is a difficult reality that still drives me in my personal limits, but again I believe that God’s grace will be with us since “all things work together for the good of those who love Him” (Romans 8:28).

You wonder why I continue? Because my heart burns for Haiti. I want Jesus’ love to be near to the children like a “p’tit nounours” (little teddy). I want His love to fill Christelle, who is an orphan waiting to be accepted and loved, and for Sherbie, who has a servant heart, and Mona, who is a young woman with a beautiful heart. Despite these girls’ rather sad histories, to God they are pearls of great value.

Brigitte

Further with Jesus, Highest thanks to God

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This is How I Lead - Kathy Bowler

This Is How I Lead is a series on the ZOE Blog.

We love learning from others...so we have asked some good questions of great female leaders across the globe.  We hope it will inspire you in your own leadership!  If you have some questions for these women, post it in the comments section.

This is How I Lead - Kathy Bowler

 

Who are you? 

I am Kathy Bowler, wife, mother of 2 children, physiotherapist and occupational therapist and director of Children of Blessing Trust.

 

Where do you minister?  

I live and work in Lilongwe, Malawi in Central Africa.

 

How long have you worked with vulnerable women?  

I primarily work with vulnerable children, especially those with disabilities.  I have been doing this since 1987, first in Canada, then Mexico, Botswana and now for the past 18 years in Lilongwe, Malawi.  As we work with the children here in Lilongwe, meeting their physical needs, we see many of their families are in distress.  Many of these families are single parent families, most headed by women.  We cannot work with the child in isolation but need to work together with the family in a holistic manner.  This has brought us to the place where we try and assist the families to be self sufficient, providing them with small businesses. We have been helping women on a very small scale for many years but have been scaling this up over the past year.

 

Using three words, how would you describe your leadership style?  

Passionate, Creative, Hardworking

 

How do you go about empowering women in your context? 

We want the moms of our children with disabilities to love their children the way they are and to see the potential God has given the child to grow and develop to become all that they can be.  We want the moms (and their families) to be able to thrive and not just survive.  First we model the love and acceptance of Christ to them and to their child with a disability.  We offer them hope for the child’s future.  We offer practical assistance in the form of therapy, education, special services and equipment.  We train the moms through our parent workshops giving them the skills they need to care for their child well.  We come alongside the families through the Child Care Plus Sponsorship providing whatever support the child needs including food packs if needed.  Then we identify those who are still very vulnerable and offer them small businesses.  We supervise and train them to run the business in an effective way, ensuring that there are funds available to continue the business.  We teach them to keep the money in the bank until they have enough to purchase the next set of goods only then taking the profits to spend on their families, thus ensuring sustainability of the business.

 

Who has been your greatest influence in your development as a leader?  (Dead or Alive) 

Jesus and the Holy Spirit!  I was called to the Mission Field connected to my love for children with disabilities.  It has guided and directed my path over the years.  I truly would not be where I am today if God had not placed his call on my life!

 

What specific ways have you worked to develop your skills?  

I have tried hard to be flexible and creative in the way that I interact with the families I work with.  I always look for the possibilities not the problems.  My husband has been a great resource to me as well as he is a Community Development Specialist.  His skill set is very different than mine so they compliment each other.

 

What is the greatest need you see in women around you?  

Hope for their future and for their children with disabilities.

 

If someone wanted to get involved, what could they do to help? 

We are looking for short or mid or even long term global workers to come alongside us to support the Administrative side of the work here.  We are looking for an Office Manager.  We also need professional help in terms of Physiotherapists, Occupational Therapists, Speech Therapists and Special Education Teachers.

 

If you had one piece of advice for someone who wanted to do what you do, what would you tell them?  

If God is calling you to come answer the call you will not regret it!  He is faithful to provide all that you need – usually much more than you can even dream or imagine!

Thanks Kathy... you are truly inspiring!

Want to help Kathy and leaders like her around the globe?

Donate Here.

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This is How I Lead - Sharon Thomas

This Is How I Lead is a series on the ZOE Blog.  We love learning from others... so we have asked some good questions of great female leaders across the globe.  We hope it will inspire you in your own leadership!  If you have some questions for these women, post it in the comments section.

Sharon Thomas

This is How I Lead - Sharon Thomas

 

Who are you?

This is a good question… like most women I am different things to different people. To the folks living in my house I am mom. To those thatlive next door I am the Canadian lady who does things a little differently. To my family I am the one who lives in another country and misses most family get togethers. To most people I am the missionary they get newsletters from each month. Really I am just one lady who is crazy in love with Christ and wants to see others have their life changed forever like mine was. This is my life… this is my passion.

 

Where do you minister?

I serve in the Dominican Republic - I know what you are thinking - nice! Well it is not really a trip to the resort. It is awesome if you like 35 degrees in the shade and 95% humidity, no AC in my house,  and plastic seats in your pickup truck - which by the way does not have AC either. If you like no hot water, power going off at random times for days at a time and centipedes in your bathroom - yeah it is a nice gig.

 

How long have you worked with vulnerable women?

I started working with the most incredible women on the planet about seven years ago - after being in ministry for 18 years and successfully avoiding women's ministry.

 

Using three words, how would you describe your leadership style?

Equip, empower, encourage

 

How do you go about empowering women in your context?

I minister to women pastors and wives of pastors. Many have no training and little resources serving in remote areas. I invite these leaders from 19 different denominations together and build relationship with them and with each other. We together work together to help them reach their communities for Christ, help develop their ministries to women.

 

Who has been your greatest influence in your development as a leader?  (Dead or Alive)

There are many people who have impacted my life and helped to develop me as a leader. Some through positive examples and have been a model for me, others through encouragement and others who have shown me the kind of leader I never want to be. All have been valuable and have helped shape the person I am today.

 

What specific ways have you worked to develop your skills?

I study not only other leaders but I seek them out and ask lots of questions. I copy what they do and then add my ideas for this context. I don't look just at what they do but how they do it. I read lots of books too.

 

What is the greatest need you see in women around you?

Many of the women I work with need resources, teaching, support and encouragement. These women are exactly where God wants them - they can reach their community 100% better than I ever could. But they are lacking the resources, encouragement and someone investing in their lives.

 

If someone wanted to get involved, what could they do to help?

There are many ways to be involved from bringing a team, providing funds for teaching, training and conferences. Helping to build a church building for a pastora changes their whole ministry.

 

If you had one piece of advice for someone who wanted to do what you do, what would you tell them?

Pray. Ask God to show you creative ideas to impact those in your world. EVERYONE has a place in missions, some give, some pray, some go for a short time, some go for a long time, some a great at raising funds, gathering resources and some are amazing encouragers of others to be involved. Find your place and DO IT.

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This is How I Lead - Linda Veldhuizen

This Is How I Lead is a series on the ZOE Blog.  We love learning from others...so we have asked some good questions of great female leaders across the globe.  We hope it will inspire you in your own leadership!  If you have some questions for these women, post it in the comments section. 

This week we feature Linda Vedhuizen.  We recently visited with Linda while we were in Asia.  Linda is the Director of Noah's Ark Ministries, located in Banaue, Ifugao, Philippines. She has been in the Philippines for the past 25 years and founded Noah's Ark Ministries, which runs a temporary Home for Children for orphaned, abandoned, malnourished, special needs and educationally disadvantaged children. Through this ministry the children are given a chance for a brighter future and have an opportunity to come into a relationship with God. Noah's Ark Ministries also provides educational scholarships to students, many of them young women. 

Linda is a hero to us! 

Who are you?  

I am Linda Veldhuizen working as a Global Worker for the PAOC.

 

Where do you minister?

I minister in a remote town nestled in the mountains of the northern Philippines.

 

How long have you worked with vulnerable women?

I have been working with vulnerable women in particular young people for the past 25 years.

 

Using three words, how would you describe your leadership style?

Passionate, Servant, Example

 

How do you go about empowering women in your context?

I am empowering women by providing a high school and college education for children who live in Noah’s Ark Home for Children.  These youth are from broken and very poor families.  Without our help they would not be able to complete even their high school education.  I believe education empowers women to be able to get a better job and to provide for their future families and end the cycle of poverty.

I am also empowering our staff in Noah’s Ark home by giving them a job and encouraging them through the personal difficulties they are facing.

 

Who has been your greatest influence in your development as a leader?  (Dead or Alive)

One of the greatest influence in developing my personal leadership is Rev. Gaye Norrie who has been a great influence in my life since I was 18 years old.

 

What specific ways have you worked to develop your skills?

I read books but mostly I develop my skills working through everyday situations that arise.  I have learned by making mistakes and developing what works in this culture.

 

What is the greatest need you see in women around you?

Most of the women I know here have a great desire to work hard and to provide for their families.  The problem they are facing is that there are no jobs and they do not have the capital to start their own business etc.  They seem stuck in the circle of poverty.

 

If someone wanted to get involved, what could they do to help?

They could help by maybe sponsoring a woman here to start a business.

If you are interested in helping Linda through ZOE Projects...donate here.

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