Ministering through Hope

Ministering through Hope

by Christine Davis and Debbie Hargett

 

Singing, praying, laughing, learning, listening and crying. It all happened! Women from all over North America gathered to celebrate all that God is doing, spend time together, learn and encourage one another, and strengthen the threads that tie us together in fellowship.

Christine Davis and Debbie Hargett were privileged to represent SDB women at the North American Baptist Women’s Union (NABWU) Assembly last October in Nashville, Tenn. NABWU is one of seven continental unions that make up the Women’s Department of the Baptist World Alliance, forming an amazing network of women circling the globe. As SDB women, we are a valuable part of this world tapestry. As we identified ourselves as Seventh Day Baptists, some were familiar with us; with others we had the opportunity to inform who we are and why.

Each large group session began with praise led by an awesome, animated woman. As a musician, Chris was amazed by the way she made the piano come alive with no written music! Then we were informed and challenged by women who were on the frontlines battling human trafficking and prostitution, helping refugees, girls at risk, incarcerated women, and mobilizing women of the church. These are issues that break the heart of God and should break ours!

During these meetings there were no fists raised demanding more power to women, but a call to brokenness and servant leadership as our eyes were opened and hearts stirred to the needs of women and girls for whom Christ died. “Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed. Rescue the weak and needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked” (Psalm 82:3-4 NIV).

Being drawn to cross-cultural experiences and friends, Chris enjoyed conversations with a Chilean couple who were missionaries to Kentucky, and with Karin refugees from Burma who faithfully shared the Word while in the refugee camp. One workshop, “Hope at the End of the Refugee Highway,” related the story of Matthew Houses—places that welcome refugees and give hospitality, housing, and resettlement assistance in several Canadian cities.

Several panelists on the subject of human trafficking and prostitution in North America reminded us that this tragedy is happening right here—perhaps in your city or town! An organization called “BE FREE” ministers to native Americans living on the Pine Ridge Reservation, the site of one of our SDB missions. International trafficking can often be found in major metropolitan centers in the U.S. “Atlanta is ideal for international trafficking, with immigrant communities, frequent business conventions, large sporting events, and the interstate from Maine to Miami.” 1  In the U.S., 1.6 to 2.8 million children run away annually, half of which are girls. Within 48 hours of hitting the streets, one third are lured or recruited into prostitution or pornography. 2

We learned about “Traffick Stop,” a ministry started by Tomi Glover in Dallas, Texas. God called Tomi to leave her full-time job to “be a bold voice for voiceless children.” Abused as a child by her father, she has great passion for the ministry that addresses the problem of human trafficking.

Debbie enjoyed hearing Faith Holwyn, a psychiatric nurse, teach a workshop about the “Groups of Hope” program that she developed in a remote area of northern Ontario for First Nations Communities. It is a simple 8-week program, not connected with the government so she has freedom to mention Jesus. It is a safe place for people to come, get off drugs, and find hope in Jesus. She demonstrated how she conducts a group session using a Bible story where she presents a simple drama and illustrations.

It is easy to become discouraged when we think about the evil present in our society, but the sessions and workshops at the NABWU conference gave us hope. Women can be used by the Lord to touch lives and bring the message of salvation and grace to those who are hurting in the world! May we commit to finding a place in our church or community to reach out to women or girls who need healing in their lives.

 

1 Hidden in Plain View: The Commercial Exploitation of girls in Atlanta, 2005.

2 KlaasKids, Klaas Action Review, 2008

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