Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Do you have a heart for the women of the persecuted Church?

Christian women are suffering for their witness in nations hostile to Christ. Some are incarcerated in prison cells, without their basic needs being met. Others are forced to labour under great duress. Still, many are subordinated and sexually abused, discriminated against and mistreated. Release Women, a ministry of The Voice of the Martyrs, seeks to connect women in Canada with persecuted women worldwide.

Ingrid Hajen, the Director of Release Women, was recently interviewed by Simone Da Costa. Below are excerpts from the interview.

What is Release Women’s (RW) mission?
This ministry is dedicated to connecting women in Canada with women in nations hostile to Jesus. We pray and remember our suffering sisters and their families, and as we pray for them they become part of our lives. We also share their stories in our small groups, churches, bible studies etc. Our circumstances in Canada may be very different but we can still identify with some of their hardship and pain. What is most exciting to me is the fact that we can do something small yet significant in order to directly minister to and bless our sisters in the Lord, and without leaving the country! At the moment we are working on a couple of exciting hands-on projects. For example, in a couple of months, our RW volunteer team will be meeting a group of sisters that defected from a hostile nation. We will actually meet ‘face to face’ using technology similar to Skype. Testimonies will be shared and scripture passages read that will show them that God loves and values women as well.

There have been many success stories, I’m sure; can you share a brief one?
I was sent to Colombia recently, to meet with pastors’ wives and widows and learn about their needs. I took along hand-made cards that contained notes from women in Canada to encourage them. One of the women I met and prayed with is “Natalia” (not her real name). Natalia became a part of the guerrilla movement, preparing explosives and cleaning weapons. Soon after she gave birth to her son, he was diagnosed with a medical condition that needed attention. Since Natalia could not get the help her son needed in the jungle, she requested permission from the commander to relocate to the city. The commander approved her request, but also gave her a new assignment: to recruit teenagers for the guerrilla cause and teach them how to track potential targets such as pastors, tourists and military. Some time later, while battling an addiction to drugs and alcohol, Natalia became pregnant again and gave birth to a second child. During this time, Natalia’s first born began attending church with a neighbour and heard about the return of Jesus Christ. One day her son told Natalia that he was worried about what would happen to her when the Lord returns. That night she dreamed that Christ had returned—but not for her. Troubled by her dream, she went to church and eventually received Christ. Natalia is now in hiding and learning a trade to support herself and her family. Having a safe house available to Christian such as Natalia and her kids is often the difference between life and death.

How can someone be a part of Release Women?
If you have a heart for the women of the persecuted Church, the following are the various ways you can get involved with Release Women. Your involvement can easily be adjusted depending on your time and your gift and abilities.
  • Attend a Release Women conference for a time of prayer, action and encouragement. Designed for women, the conference is free of charge and gives you the opportunity to learn about and support your sisters in chains.
  • Pray for the ministry of Release Women. Pray for God’s wisdom and guidance for its leaders. Pray for the women planning and attending the conferences. Pray especially for women persecuted for their faith; pray the Lord will bless and keep them in whatever situations they face.
  • Join the Release Women volunteer network across Canada. Organize a prayer group in your local area, help plan Release Women conferences or assist with administrative duties.
In whatever capacity you volunteer, you will be supported with prayer, guidance and resources. We would be pleased to learn how your time and talents can bless Release Women and our sisters in chains.

To read the full interview, click here. For more information about Release Women and how you can get involved, please visit our website.

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