Following Shiphrah and Puah
Before Moses and Aaron, there were Shiphrah and Puah, two midwives who stood up to the most powerful leader in the world at the time (Exodus 1). Pharaoh isn’t named. The author draws the contrast between the powerful and the powerless: a powerful tyrant against the poor oppressed, one elite man against two marginalized women.
Without Shiphrah and Puah, there would have been no Exodus. Moses would have been killed at birth. The Israelites would have continued in slavery. These midwives stood up to power, injustice and slavery. In contrast to Pharaoh, they brought new, miraculous life into the world. They were original abolitionists. They helped create new futures.
Today there are others like Shiphrah and Puah. Women who stand up to injustice. Women who lead the way. Lillian and Yvonne in Kenya are educating hundreds of young people about gender-based violence and the worth and value of women. Amber, Tammy and Alex in Jackson, Michigan, have opened a home for homeless female youth (myplacejackson.org ). Mayra in Colombia is investing in the lives of hundreds of children to help prevent human trafficking.
Ginger, Annie and Lorna have been persevering for more than five years to help women find hope and healing at Eden’s Glory (edensglory.org). Camille and Bonnie have helped foster families and youth while blessing social workers in Seattle for more than a decade. There is also Vicki, Felicia, DeeDee and many others.
Over the generations, God continues to raise women (and men) who follow Jesus into the dark places, who speak up and act out, and create new futures. Many of these leaders will never be recognized. They are dedicated and tenacious. They serve, they lament, and they excel in hope.
The Set Free Movement has big, audacious plans for the future. Over the next five years, we hope to see more than a million people influenced toward freedom. We want to see hundreds of thousands of youths protected. We desire to help launch more independent ministries like Eden’s Glory and MyPlace. We expect God to use us – to set slaves free and allow the oppressed to experience hope and healing. It’s going to take a mighty tribe and millions of dollars to accomplish our goals. God being our guide, and with your partnership, it can be accomplished.
I do not doubt that humble, God-fearing women will follow in Shiphrah and Puah’s steps and lead the way.
By Kevin Austin, Director, Set Free Movement Director
Created in His Image
In the imago Dei, the image of God, this was how God created us, male and female. Transformational churches around the world are reaching out to men, women, boys and girls in their communities with the good news that all are created in the imago Dei.
So what does this look like in practical terms? For SEED Livelihood Network, the Set Free Movement and International Child Care Ministries (ICCM), it means we work for equity for all people. Many times, and in many places, this means intervening for disadvantaged women and girls.
Some life-changing disadvantages often come to girls when they start menstruating. For girls growing up in poverty, this time can be confusing, fearful, embarrassing and full of obstacles. One of the obstacles in many countries is insufficient supplies to absorb their menstrual flow. Some sit on dirt piles, some use rags, and some may be lucky enough to buy cheap and ineffective supplies. Not surprisingly, this often leads to shame.
Shame can lead to marginalization and make girls more vulnerable to abuse, exploitation and human trafficking. Yet God affirms women’s bodies are good, created by Him with excellence, knitted together in their mother’s wombs, wonderful. We want every girl connected to our churches and schools and in our communities to know the beautiful picture of God creating us. We want them to know personally the God Who created them in His image.
For You shaped me, inside and out.
You knitted me together in my mother’s womb long before I took my first breath.
I will offer You my grateful heart, for I am Your unique creation,
filled with wonder and awe.
You have approached even the smallest details with excellence;
Your works are wonderful; I carry this knowledge deep within my soul.
You see all things; nothing about me was hidden from You.
(Psalms 139:13-14, The Voice)
SEED, ICCM and Set Free continue to work toward launching a sustainable menstrual-supplies project in Kenya and then in other countries. We want to help girls stay in school through locally made, sustainable menstrual supplies created by church-based sewing centers. We plan to combine this with discipleship-oriented education emphasizing the image of God in each of us. Join us in praying for the effective launch of this project.
As we disciple young women around the world, we want them to know of the amazing Creator God and to affirm their bodies are good, every day of the month.
By Rose Brewer
Walls Coming Down
Human trafficking in your community? Most likely. Human trafficking takes many forms.
Josh Avery, a campus pastor and Set Free Movement leader in Canfield, Ohio, didn’t feel he could sit by and do nothing when he saw the injustices happening in his local community. After spending time in prayer and learning about their community, Josh and his Set Free Movement team felt called to move forward in three distinct ways: prevention of human trafficking, mobilization of the community and rescue work.
The Canfield team realized how traffickers often recruit women to work in strip clubs and then force them into trafficking situations.* In fall 2019, the team began working with local partners to minister to and mentor women in local strip clubs. Through intentional relationship building, they are preventing trafficking and creating new futures by letting the women know they are loved and created in the image of God.
Once a month a group of women from the Set Free team visits and builds relationships with women in three strip clubs, bringing meals or small gifts. The team’s men serve as the drivers and also watch and pray as the women are inside. The team partners with Rahab Ministries to ensure members are engaging in safe and thoughtful ways.
To date, team members have made monthly visits at three different clubs, a total of 12 times (with a short pause due to COVID), continuing to build relationships and create new futures.
Kelly, a leader of the strip club ministry, shares how she is seeing impact through these visits:
They [the dancers] see that we are there to develop relationships with them, and the key
words with these relationships are “unconditional love.” We hear them say to each other as they take their gifts and go back, “Who brings us stuff? … She remembered my name.” They share their lives with us … they tell us their dreams … we are seeing walls come down.
In the long term, this transformational ministry will help establish relationships necessary to help women get out of the industry. Please pray for this new ministry. Pray those at risk will be kept safe. Pray for life transformation!
Learn more about this ministry: vimeo.com/490995750
To learn more about the Set Free Movement, visit setfreemovement.com.
By The Set Free Movement Team
World Missions Prayer Calendar: June
01 Tuesday |Europe
Pray for the movement of the Holy Spirit in the hearts, homes, churches and nations of Europe.
Birthday: Lynn Sue Pierce
02 Wednesday | Colombia
Pray for Shane and Katie Jewel and their three children as they complete partnership building and prepare for deployment in Colombia. Ask the Father to strengthen and give them wisdom and peace as they prepare, make numerous decisions and anticipate goodbyes in the U.S.
Birthday: Shane Jewel
03 Thursday | Creative Access-BG
Pray for Pastor Derek as he offers leadership to the FM work in this country. Many refugees from neighboring countries are entering this already impoverished nation. Pray for opportunities to care for both their physical and spiritual needs.
04 Friday | Middle East
Praise the Lord for the opening of the Good Shepherd Middle School. This school is providing refugee teenagers with the opportunity for education when there were no other options.
05 Saturday |Taiwan
Pray for those actively sharing love, hope and faith with migrant workers, international students and new immigrants in Taiwan. Pray many will come to know Jesus.
Birthday: Sarah Clemente; Susan
06 Sunday | Ecuador
Praise the Lord for 31 active community house churches, including five new ones planted in the first quarter of 2021. Pray for 49 new believers in these house churches.
07 Monday | The Democratic Republic of Congo
Tribal conflicts and political uncertainty continue to plague this nation. Pray for peace in the DRC. Pray tribes will come together as one tribe in Christ.
08 Tuesday | SEED
Members of the SEED team plan to travel to Kenya this month to launch the Period Solutions project. Pray for God’s provision and direction for this project.
09 Wednesday | Japan
Pray for missionary Gene Hall as he invests in a handful of young men and women. Ask the Father to prepare these young people to lead the FM church of Japan into a bright and fruitful future.
Birthday: Gene Hall
10 Thursday | São Tome and Príncipe
Pray for wisdom in developing new ministries, the discipleship of new believers, and the ongoing church planting efforts in São Tome and Príncipe. Birthday: Jacione Souza (International Missionary)
11 Friday | Middle East
Praise the Lord for a new social media outreach. Pray for the Holy Spirit to open the hearts of those who connect and come seeking.
12 Saturday | Europe
Ask the Father to grant wisdom to Area Director Josue Fajardo as he explores the development of work in new countries and areas of Europe. Pray for new workers to be identified, trained and deployed, and for national leaders to be established.
Birthday: Josue Fajardo
13 Sunday | West Africa
Praise the Lord for the ways leaders in West Africa are partnering together and investing to send out workers for the harvest!
14 Monday | Hungary
Join Kati McNamara in praying for the children in the children’s homes she serves. Pray the children will continue to have good health and will increasingly have hearts open to the gospel message.
Birthday: Kati McNamara (International Missionary)
15 Tuesday | Africa
Pray for the safety and health of our African national leaders, especially those in countries where the COVID-19 vaccine is hard to get or not even available.
Birthday: Art Brown
16 Wednesday | Cambodia
New laws established in Cambodia are restricting and limiting certain church activities. Pray God will give wisdom to pastors and leaders as they navigate these changes and limitations.
17 Thursday | Greece
Pray travel restrictions throughout Europe will soon be lifted so Michael and Maria Long can again travel to visit their family members in England. Birthday: Maria Long
18 Friday | Haiti
Continue to pray for the political and social unrest in Haiti. Pray for peace, stability, and an end to the ongoing violence and kidnappings.
19 Saturday | Missionary Kids
Pray for several MKs graduating from high school or college. Ask the Father to given them grace, strength and wisdom as they say goodbyes and make difficult transitions. Pray they will find good mentors and friends for their period of transition.
20 Sunday | Zambia
Pray for the FM church in Zambia and its increasing vision for ministries to serve the whole person.
21 Monday | Thailand
Praise the Lord for new work in Mae Jong. God touched the heart of a man who donated land for a church and a pastor’s home to be built. Pray for Pastor Yaku, a bivocational pastor, and 20 new believers in this church.
22 Tuesday | Spain
The pandemic has had an enormous impact on many in Spain. Pray for the staff at the Mosaic Cultural Center in Rivas-Vaciamadrid as they work with students and families who have faced financial and educational setbacks in the last year. Pray the Lord will use this center to offer hope to many.
23 Wednesday |Set Free Movement
The Set Free Movement aims to see more than a million people influenced for freedom in the next five years. Pray slaves will be set free and the oppressed will find hope and healing.
24 Thursday | Middle East
Pray for wisdom, discernment, boldness and protection for workers across the Middle East as they continue to face scrutiny and intimidation.
25 Friday | Togo
Pray for work in the north of Togo as opportunities open for church planting in this area. Also continue praying for students at the Wesley Missionary Institute and the school’s ongoing construction.
26 Saturday | Asia
Pray the Father will call young leaders to the harvest field across Asia, giving them a vision to do secular work and plant multiplying house churches.
27 Sunday | ICCM
ICCM has two schools and two study centers in Rwanda. Pray for the two study centers where special-needs children receive practical training and physical therapy based on their needs and abilities.
28 Monday | Middle East
Pray refugees in the Middle East will hear the life-giving message of the gospel. Pray those once crushed in their spirits will know joy and gladness through Jesus Christ (Psalms 51:8).
29 Tuesday | Colombia
Pray for the new believers in the Rollers’ local house church and for this church to give birth to a new generation of house churches. Also, join Thad and Nikki in praying for the continued acculturation and friendship-making process for their daughters, Lily and Evie.
Birthday: Thad Roller
30 Wednesday | 360 Mission District
360 Mission District: Pray for the Leon family’s continued physical health and their ability to maintain healthy rhythms of work and rest.
Birthday: Dennis Leon (Costa Rica); Ginger Coakley (Set Free)