God loves women! We were made in his image (Genesis 1:27). Women followed Jesus and ministered to his needs out of their own means (Luke 1-3). After his resurrection, Jesus revealed that he was alive first to a woman (John 20:11-18), and then commissioned her to carry the message of his resurrection to his apostles. Throughout the Bible God has used women leaders like Esther, Deborah, Ruth, yes, even Rahab to save his people and preserve the Messianic line.

International Women’s Day is March 8th.

In light of this, last Wednesday (February 28, 2018), UN Women published the blog article “Eight Ways You Can be a Women’s Rights Advocate Today & Everyday”. Amongst their suggestions were: raise your voice, support one another, share the workload, get involved, educate the next generation, join the conversation and give to the cause.

We want to take their advice in joining the conversation by creating a WOW’s top 5 International Women World Shakers (Acts 17:6) list as a salute to our incredible African women partners and to illustrate how they are impacting their communities and changing the world one step at a time!

Alice Achan: (Uganda) Born one of 27 children to a polygamist father during the LRA’s uprising in Uganda, against all odds Alice finished her education at age 23 and began working as a councillor at camp for internally displaced peoples. As girls who had been taken captive by the LRA , forced to become child-soldiers, and often coerced  into marriage with members of the LRA, began to return from captivity, Alice saw the need for the girls to have access to education as a part of the reintegration process. The barrier: many of these girls were coming back pregnant or with infants and therefore not permitted to return to school. Further, many girls were reluctant to leave their babies behind in order to return to school. Alice’s solution: open a boarding school with a quality child care centre. http://www.takepart.com/article/2015/04/03/alice-achan-girls-school-uganda

Jean: (Malawi) Jean is the head volunteer for our home based care program in Mgona who lost her husband just five months ago. She volunteers providing home based care to the sick and dying three days a week, providing them with love and dignity where they have often been abandoned and neglected with no one to care for them. 

Jean says her volunteer work, which includes simple chores like laundry, house-keeping and meal prep is her one joy, and attributes this compassionate work to healing her heart after the loss of her husband.

Esther Reuter: (Zambia) A registered nurse from Germany, Esther had no idea how God had planned to use her as she accompanied her husband Helmut to Zambia to pursue his dream of becoming a missionary with a mandate to become a lecturer at a Zambian Bible college in 1982.

Once the Reutter’s arrived in Zambia, there were many challenges to overcome to realize Hemult’s dream, nevertheless, almost immediately God put Esther to work ministering to the medical needs of sick friends and neighbours. Soon there was a long line-up of patients in front of their house, and Esther quickly turned their front room into a clinic, while registering as a practitioner with the Zambian government. Even then, the health needs which arose during the peak of the HIV crises forced them to add an addition to the front of their house, and later even pushed the clinic out of the space. Worse, the mission organization who commissioned the Reutters to Zambia did not align with an evangelistic health care model. Due to Esther’s persistence and perseverance, the Reutters have a thriving health evangelism ministry today which include the Mobile Medical Clinics you support!

Suitbertha: (Zambia) Suitbertha is not only a widow herself, but also the head registered nurse and midwife at our Mobile Medical Clinics which bring primary healthcare to hundreds of vulnerable patients in more than 20 communities in Zambia. She also tirelessly runs workshops to help local people identify the first signs of illness and give primary care allowing communities to watch out for each other’s health.

When the hospital is far away and doctors are scarce, these skills are literally life- saving. Suitbertha is more than just a healthcare provider. She is a source of emotional support and comfort to people who are struggling to survive!

Theresa Malila: (Malawi) A single mother of five who started her ministry of visiting the terminally ill (primarily those affected by HIV and AIDS) with all she had: a Bible and a vial of oil. Since then Theresa has become a champion for women’s rights having opened one of the first Gender Based Violence counselling centres in Malawi. Theresa also initiated her community’s anti-gender based violence campaign: Silent No More, and ushered in changes in judiciary legislation which now ensures that men who perpetrate acts of sexual violence against women and young girls are prosecuted, and in her own words that “a girl is worth more than a chicken”.

We are thankful for all the women of WOW!

For more biblical reflection of God’s heart for women follow the links below:

5 Things Jesus Wants Women to Know

Biblical Equality: God Created Both Men and Women in His Image