Saturday, July 30, 2011

Women's Ministry in Paidha

The church floor was sloped so that an amphitheater-type experience enabled everyone to see the preacher well. Women trickled into the building on Africa time. Three times as many filled the church shortly after we began. Praise and worship rang through the tiny town before beginning the ministry program. Women on the drums…awesome! My hope was to use the film NOOMA She as a starter to ministry but, as usual, the power failed us. The content of the accompanying study guide allowed for the ministry to continue.

Amen is the women who housed and fed me
while in Paidha. I love her Coca-Cola dress!

The film uses the imagery of an African mother fetching water from a far away source for her children every day and likens that work to the maternal impulse to care for her family. God is described as having created that impulse in his own image. He was described as compassionate and as representing a number of other somewhat female or motherly characteristics. We talked about how we tend to view God as a man, but learned that God is spirit and that God transcends or perhaps includes both male and female qualities. This realization led to the discussion that women are not “second-best” and that without her voice in the conversation something is lacking.

Women in Africa often have a sense of being less than valuable, perhaps because of an ingrained cultural history. Yet I see women working hard…I mean hard. They wake early and fetch water, dig in the garden, prepare meals, do laundry, and more every day of the week. Their hands and feet are rough and calloused from the hard work and I’m convinced the short lifespan in Uganda (54) is due at least in part to the hard work and the fact that these women have simply worn themselves out. Having been created by God in his image, we changed our paradigm so that we could see ourselves as valuable and worthwhile creations.

Following the time of ministry, Augustine pointed out that this is the first time a woman has ministered to the women in this town and that the women don’t tend to receive ministry…at all, let alone ministry tailored just for them. I am so thankful for the opportunity to meet with, worship with, and pray for these ladies. God is so good.