An excerpt from...
Thinking Outside the Church Walls
Women’s Ministry in PeruBy Cathlene Strong, Missionary, Peru, and Tracy Dubois, Support Staff
In the States, people bond over coffee, but for women in Peru, their relationships are formed over tea. In 2008, Cathlene Strong and Ann Seaney (Bolivia) held a Christmas tea for the women in the church. This was followed by a Mother’s Day tea in May 2009.
“We desired to get the women together to be encouraged from God’s Word,” Cathlene shared.
After the Strongs and Ann returned from homeland ministry assignment in the fall of 2010, the ministry began to take shape. Now, about 10 women meet the third Sunday of each month at Cathlene’s home. Whether they are learning to make cookies, sharing parenting advice, praying for each other, or encouraging unbelievers to accept Jesus, trust is being earned.
“I see this ministry as a vital means of encouragement,” Cathlene stressed. “We try to discourage them from bringing their children so it can be a time of just women talking, fellowshipping, and learning together. We endeavor to create a safe environment where they can share their struggles. I feel inadequate and yet blessed to be God’s channel of encouragement as I listen to, hug, and pray with them.”
An ongoing goal is to get the women to think outside the church walls and minister to others. Christmas has been an ideal time for such outreach as the women spearheaded projects that included the youth and entire church. They held a clothing drive, donated small gifts, bought bread, prepared hot chocolate, and donated school supplies in a small community outside Cusco. They have also made and delivered Christmas baskets to needy families and handed out goodie bags to patients at two local clinics. Playing Christmas carols with handbells during the events also brings smiles to many faces.
“In the end, young and old participated, but it was the women who organized the events,” Cathlene said. “What a blessing to see the church work together to reach out to others.”
GO: Cathlene is organizing a retreat for her women’s group. If you’re interested in helping, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.