The Adventist Woman
On a recent trip to a tropical country I was surprised to find a woman solo pastoring. This was one of the countries we have all been told has a culture that would not tolerate a female leading in church. Yet, here she was pastoring in the village where she grew up. I asked her how she was accepted. She said the first two years were difficult but now in her forth year some of those most resistant were her strongest supporters.
Here at AAW we want to use The Adventist Woman to highlight strong Adventist leaders. I was raised by a strong woman. She raised three kids. She went back to school to get her Physical Therapy degree. She headed the Physical Therapy Assistance Program at Loma Linda University. She designed a geriatrics class to teach empathy. When she still had kids at home she found the local grocery store throwing out food that was about to expire. She convinced the clerk to sell it all to her for $1 and, despite being almost midnight, drove it to a homeless shelter in San Bernardino. So started a daily, 11pm, ritual. Methods eventually changed but for more than 20 years she collected excess food and delivered it to shelters in need. When she died she had delivered 65 tons of food that would have been thrown away!
This is what I learned from my mother about Adventist women, you can't suddenly be accomplished. It takes going to the store everyday for years. Second, you have to go to some pretty scary places to be a leader. Lastly, in this time of polarization, it's hard to argue with a life well lived.
There are millions of Adventist women working hard each day to fulfill the gospel commission; feeding the hungry, clothing the poor, healing the sick and sharing the grace of Jesus. Many people have dismissed these roles as serving not leading. But Jesus taught that those who serve really lead.
At the Association of Adventist Women we believe that it's time we started calling out women's work for what it has always been, leading in the Christian life. This collection of stories is only a small representation of Adventist women following God's call into leadership. May we all be inspired to live out lives to God's fullest potential.
- Nerida Taylor Bates
Women have always held up half of the Church