Ann and Bruce serve as regional missionaries with partner Baptist conventions in the Asia-Pacific Region, including Cambodia, Indonesia, New Zealand, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam. They work alongside national leaders to build capacity in theological education, church-based community and economic development, servant leadership, social entrepreneurship, cross-cultural missionary training and ministry with refugees.
Ann writes – “Men and women are equal … but women are a little bit lower,” remarked the young man in a class I (Ann) recently taught. Bruce and I have encountered this attitude on at least three continents and seen how it hinders the church’s ability to participate in God’s mission. In response, one of my ministry threads has been to offer seminars on “Women in Leadership in the New Testament” – most recently through a Baptist convention in Vietnam and two Baptist groups in Myanmar, reaching a total of over 320 church leaders.
“You could open our eyes widely.” One evening, I spoke at the annual gathering of a group of amazing women leaders from all over the country. I was inspired by their example of faithful service, undeterred by limitations placed on them just because they are women. Together, we examined Jesus’ radical affirmation of women despite the pervasive misogyny of that time. We also re-discovered Paul’s surprising advocacy of women and his commendation of women in leadership in the church. The director of the national Baptist women’s ministry later told me my teaching had opened their eyes – widely (above).
“This topic is really needed for our community and churches.” It was a privilege to lead seminars with first, second and third year seminary students as well as at regional women’s gatherings, including one that drew women from six IDP (internally displaced persons) camps. One young man remarked, “This has given me a whole new perspective; I am going to think about this more.” May these seeds sprout and grow like a mustard seed!
You are part of how God is releasing all God’s people to share the good news of new life in Jesus in SE Asia. Thank you for being on this journey with us.