December Heartbeat

She Told Why

 

At 50 years old, I’ve probably menstruated over 2,000 days. That’s about five years of my life. Some are thinking, Too much information! And some are thinking, Wow, have I really bled that much?

Now that I have your attention, think of the woman who bled for 12 years. On His way to heal a good religious leader’s daughter, Jesus stopped the flow of the crowd.

 

“And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years,

but no one could heal her. She came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak,

 and immediately her bleeding stopped” (Luke 8:43-44).

 

In her shame, she tried to hide. Jesus said, “Who touched me?” He saw her, took time for her, and twice insisted she be seen and acknowledged by others in her community. He recognized her as created in the image of God. He created space and time for her to find her voice. He healed her. What a glimpse into Jesus’ heart for women – for marginalized women shunned by society, for women who bleed.

“Then the woman, seeing that she could not go unnoticed, came trembling

 and fell at his feet. In the presence of all the people, she told why she had touched him

and how she had been instantly healed” (Luke 8:47).

 

Since 2014, SEED has been listening, learning and working toward adequate sanitary solutions. We are working with church-based sewing centers to help women create solutions that work in their culture while also supporting women’s livelihoods. Assisting women with personal hygiene is an incredibly tangible way for a church to reach out with love like Jesus.

 

SEED, International Child Care Ministries (ICCM) and the Set Free Movement are working together with women around the world to find solutions. Pray for this ongoing project, for them to find wonderful solutions, and for the heart of Jesus to be made known to all women.

By Rose Brewer

Ending Shame and Offering Dignity

 

Menstruation  ̶  it is a taboo topic in many cultures! Menstrual health education and supplies are a dire need around the world. Shame and embarrassment, as well as lack of access to proper sanitation, education in hygiene and period supplies all marginalize girls and women. This marginalization makes them vulnerable to abuse, exploitation and human trafficking.

The statistics are staggering:

  • In India alone, over 23% of girls drop out of school when they start their periods.[1]
  • In Ethiopia, 56% of girls report missing school because they didn’t have a pad.[2].

Multiplied vulnerabilities, such as poverty and lack of access to proper hygiene supplies, strip girls and women of opportunity, making them susceptible to dangers such as child marriage. An estimated 15 million girls under 18 will be married this year; that’s 16 girls in the last 30 seconds.[3]

The power of investing in girls and women is evident. For example:

  • A girl who completes one extra year of school can earn up to 20% more as an adult.[4]
  • According to the USAID, “when 10% more girls go to school, a country’s GDP increases on average by 3%.” [5]

Prioritizing menstrual health education and providing sustainable supplies will increase opportunity and reduce the multiplying vulnerabilities to trafficking.

Partnering together with the Set Free Movement and International Child Care Ministries, SEED Livelihood Network is working with local church-based sewing centers to make and distribute reusable period underwear and products to create transformational impact in the lives of females.

This emerging program hopes to translate the love of God by helping marginalized girls and women know they are “wonderfully made” (Psalms 139:14).

By mobilizing the local church and partnering with national leaders, we can help address the root causes of exploitation and prevent human trafficking. Embarrassment, lost opportunity and fear can be transformed into dignity, hope and reverence for all of God’s people.

 

[1] Garg, S., & Anand, T. (2015). Menstruation related myths in India: strategies for combating it. Journal of family medicine and primary care, 4(2), 184-186. https://doi.org/10.4103/2249-4863.154627.

2 Tegegne, T.K., Sisay, M.M. Menstrual hygiene management and school absenteeism among female adolescent students in Northeast Ethiopia. BMC Public Health 14, 1118 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2458-14-1118

3 Girl Rising Curriculum Resources

4 Ibid. (Girl Rising Curriculum Resources)

5 https://www.usaid.gov/infographics/50th/why-invest-in-women, accessed Sept 23, 2020.

 

By Emily Hlavka Freed

 

 

 

Every Single Month

My story has a good ending. But that doesn’t mean it’s not a bit uncomfortable to tell. In fact, I’m not quite ready to let you know my name or where I live. But every word is true.

From the time I was 11, I’ve been living in fear – not fear of violence or pain, but fear of humiliation, shame and embarrassment. Fear of missing school – every single month.

And I’m not alone. It’s the same for my girlfriends and many girls around the world.

Try to imagine with me what it’s like; with little or no money, it’s nearly impossible for me to purchase the needed supplies to handle my monthly flow. So, I do the best I can. Strips of cloth from used clothes, old rags, or if I’m “lucky,” I manage to get a few coins to buy the cheapest sanitary pads available. But they’re never enough to provide the protection I need. And incidents happen, every single month. It’s hard living in small quarters with siblings and extended family – no, it’s impossible to have privacy and keep others from knowing and seeing.

It’s so painful. Sometimes at school, if I’m brave enough to go … even if I’m extra cautious, things happen. It’s hard to concentrate on my studies, so it’s much more comfortable and less humiliating to stay away, every single month.

The good ending to this story? Things have changed. Last year my friends and I received kits with reusable sanitary products that provide way more protection than I ever imagined. I am so grateful. I’m not anxious or fearful every month. I don’t have to hide. I don’t have to “find money.” I can go to school and be confident, both in my studies and in knowing the chance of having an incident is so much less. I’m so very thankful, every single month.

By Anonymous

01 Tuesday / Togo

Pray for Pastor Dosseh Takpale as he continues to train leaders in the North of Togo, work among Muslims in the central region and assist leaders throughout West Africa. Ask the Lord to give him safety and good health, as well as wisdom and discernment.

02 Wednesday | Cambodia

Praise the Lord for a new church recently planted in a remote province. Ask the Lord to grant safety to Superintendent Daniel Sar as he travels by motorcycle to visit churches in remote areas.

03 Thursday | Portugal

The Barnabas Project provides food and assistance to low-income families and the homeless. As they provide for many affected because of the pandemic, pray many also will find food for their deep spiritual hunger.

04 Friday | Puerto Rico

Pray for Superintendent Mercedes Reynoso as she leads the Dominican church in implementing the new Latin American Pastoral Formation system and casts the vision for Community Church Planting across the island.

05 Saturday | Middle East

Pray for the spiritual impact of the Prepare the Way advent resources produced by Impact Middle East leaders in four geographical locations.

06 Sunday | Nigeria

The Adenekpa community, in Kogi State, is cut off by two big rivers. Several times a week, Pastor Adam and his wife slip on lifejackets and accept the challenge of crossing the river following God’s leading to reach the people of Adenekpa. Pray many will be waiting to hear the good news of Jesus.

07 Monday | Asia Creative Access-MR

Praise the Lord! Churches are still planted, and people are coming to faith in Christ despite no in-person gatherings since March. Pray for new church plants, the discipleship of new believers and spiritual growth as families gather for worship in their homes.

08 Tuesday | Hungary

Erin Kingsley is preparing to join the missionary team in Hungary as soon as possible. Pray for an increasing number of partners to join her in prayer and financial support as we approach 2021. Birthday: Erin Kingsley

09 Wednesday | Costa Rica

The church in Costa Rica invites us to join in prayer for healing politically, spiritually and physically in their country. Pray for revival in Costa Rica and throughout Latin America.

10 Thursday | Middle East

Use Psalms 16:11 to pray for majority background believers in this region. Lord, make known to them the path of life. Fill them with joy in your presence and reveal your eternal pleasures.

11 Friday | Seed

The Sense of Community livelihood project works with refugees in the midst of a regional humanitarian crisis. Give thanks for many who receive both livelihood and dignity through this project and can now bless others.

 

12 Saturday | FMWM Africa

Pray for the 11 countries FMWM Africa oversees: Guinea Bissau, Guinea Conakry, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Togo. Join Area Director Mike Reynen in praying for the Lord to touch the hearts of those He would choose to have partner with each of these countries.

13 Sunday | Asia Creative Access-NP

God’s work is not on hold in this country. New church plants and baptisms are consistently reported. Although our pastors are suffering due to a lack of necessities, they continue to share the gospel. Praise the Lord and pray for His continued hand of anointing upon them.

14 Monday | VISA

Because of the pandemic, all VISA teams were suspended. Pray for an end to the virus and issues complicating travel. As restrictions begin to ease, pray VISA teams will be able to travel in 2021.

Birthday: Jonathan Eccles (FMWM Ministry Deployment Coordinator)

15 Tuesday | Argentina

Rodrigo Rosado (new missionary to Argentina) is originally from Peru. Join in praying for his parents’ continued health during this time when COVID has hit Peru hard and the health care system is inadequate for the tremendous need.

Birthday: Rodrigo Rosado

16 Wednesday | Ukraine

Pray for the ongoing ministry of the Lighthouse of Hope Rehab Center where men are gaining victory over addictions and posttraumatic stress disorder while learning about the goodness and grace of God.

17 Thursday | Phillipines

Please pray for travel restrictions to be lightened and public spaces opened safely so the Sauder family can travel and continue their ministry more effectively.

Birthday: Christine Sauder

18 Friday | Burundi

Pray for the ongoing work of Hope Africa University and its mission to provide liberal-arts training to African Christians to impact their society.

19 Saturday| Mexico

Pray for the establishment of new churches in Mexico City, the largest urban area in the Western Hemisphere and fifth largest in the world.

20 Sunday | Serbia

Pray for the nine church plants and the pastors as they reach out to many impoverished people in their communities. Ask the Father to prepare hearts to hear the good news.

21 Monday | Set Free Movement

Pray for Director Kevin Austin and his leadership team as they pray and plan regarding mission and goals. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide them into creative and effective ways to fight trafficking and protect the vulnerable during uncertain and changing times.

22 Tuesday | Thailand

Pray for the work of God’s kingdom in Thailand. Ask God to provide additional partners to support the work of Connie and Corey Persing. Pray for their peace, patience and encouragement for travel and ministry uncertainties still existing due to the pandemic.

Birthday: Connie Persing

23 Wednesday | Kenya

Praise the Lord for the Tumaini Women Kenya organization working throughout Kenya, encouraging fellowship, accountability and support while providing a safe place to have access to low-interest loans. Pray for continued effectiveness in working with local churches and communities to find African solutions to African challenges.

24 Thursday | Israel

Pray the Prince of Peace will come anew in the hearts of all those living in the land of Israel.

25 Friday | Global Free Methodist Church

On this Christmas Day, thank the Lord for our Free Methodist brothers and sisters worldwide. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal new ways we can continue to partner together in proclaiming the name of Jesus.

26 Saturday | Philippines

After 11 and a half years of serving in the Philippines, Darin and Jill Land will transition to another location in Asia in early 2021. Pray for the Holy Spirit’s encouragement to adjust to a new location and ministry roles and develop new relationships.

Birthday: Jill Land

27 Sunday | Rwanda

Gabe and Olivia Sevigny plan to depart for Rwanda in January 2021 to serve at Kibogora Hospital and Guest House. Pray for peace, confidence and wisdom as they transition to the field.

Birthday: Gabe Sevigny

28 Monday | Paraguay

Pray for healthy leaders, especially among the large group enrolled in the Pastoral Formation curriculum. Pray for both current and future church leaders as they mature in their faith and leadership abilities.

29 Tuesday | Middle East

Pray for refugees who suffer physically because of the lack of access to medical resources. Ask the Father to provide both physical and spiritual healing.

30 Wednesday | Zambia

Pray for this young general conference, the increasing vision of ministries to serve the whole person, and their goal of reaching all 10 provinces in Zambia.

31 Thursday | Taiwan

Earlier this year, Tim Kinkead had surgery on his thyroid. Please continue to pray for good health. Also, join Tim and Lily in prayer as they disciple young believers in a deepening relationship with Christ.

Birthday: Tim Kinkead