January 2018 - Leaders: South Asia
What better way to “go deeper” in 2018 than to spotlight a few of the gifted women who lead TWR Women of Hope around the world?
These women are on the front lines of ministry as they often fulfill multiple roles and interact with the listeners.
To start the series, we interviewed Sasha* in South Asia (name and country are withheld for security). TWR Women of Hope started broadcasting Women of Hope in the local language of this country in 2008, and Sasha faithfully leads the women’s ministry team and produces programs.
Sasha is an invaluable member of our global team, and we are delighted to share her story with you. Despite earthquakes, difficult terrain and cultural discrimination, God is bringing hope to women in this region.
What is your role within TWR Women of Hope, and how did you find out about the ministry?
My role is coordinator of the women's department and producer of Women of Hope in my country. I found this ministry through my church when it announced a vacancy from the TWR national partner office. Right after learning this news and relaxing during a break, I came across the TWR program. So I became impressed with this ministry even before going to apply for this position.
What are three of your favorite hobbies or interests?
- I love to serve the people who are really suffering and need God since they often are confused in their own lives. I love to counsel and pray for hurting people - especially women.
- I love to be involved in God’s work connecting with other people in different places through communicating with excellence.
- I love to make new friends, play badminton and basketball, do social service, travel in different areas, and visit people. I had a desire to produce news as a radio programmer, but I am blessed with a greater opportunity in this ministry.
What excites you about working with TWR Women of Hope?
What excites me is getting the opportunity to serve suffering and needy women by giving a message of hope in Jesus through the Word of God over radio and TWR Women of Hope. I had an inner desire to serve God, but this ministry is a really amazing, fruitful journey for me.
How has Jesus brought you hope in your own life?
I have an amazing testimony. While my social studies teacher taught about different cultures and religions of my country, at the same time she taught us about Jesus – how he died for us, then he was put in the grave and rose again, being fully alive. I was really surprised with that news: it generated many questions. But, I could not ask them to my teacher because I was afraid of my teacher.
After one year when I was in 10th grade class, I reviewed that topic. I asked my friend since I could not get an answer to my question. She was a Christian, my classmate from 6th grade, but I was so surprised about her faith. She didn’t give an answer, but she took me to her church. I continued attending church with my friend as she guided me. My parents wanted to restrict my attendance, but I never stopped going to church even though they persecuted me for many years.
But while attending church, I came to know the true God: after one year, I believed and took him as my personal Savior.
Then I became confident in God’s grace - one of my sicknesses was healed after receiving Jesus when I stopped going to the witch doctor for treatment. Even though my parents took me to the doctor for my menstruation problems, it never worked. After accepting Jesus, this problem of many years was resolved. A skin problem treated with many injections and medicines also went away. I came to know Jesus as my true God, and nothing can separate me from my Jesus. God is merciful: He really has done many powerful miracles in my life. I will trust Jesus forever. I can’t express through writing all the reformation, changes, and blessings in my life. It is beyond my comprehension.
Thank you so much for giving the chance to write these few words about my life testimony.
Your region is South Asia, correct? What countries are in that region?
Correct. Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Afghanistan, Maldives, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka also are in this region.
What are some common issues for women in your region of the world?
- Sexual (or gender) discrimination is common in families, especially in remote regions. Sons or males are given more priority than girls and provided better education. That is why women are backward in many areas, a major factor for poverty.
- Women are treated as second-class citizens. In fact, they are considered as child producing machines.
- Dowry system problem
- Poor health
- Domestic violence
- Kidnapping or marrying a young girl for human trafficking, primarily by males.
- Women or girls are only given priority for household and farm work.
- In rural areas, there often is no education facility provided for women and young girls.
Young girls often get married at an early age and have many babies. If the baby is female, they used to be forced to have an abortion. Her husband and his family do not listen to her wishes.
How does TWR Women of Hope minister to these women in your country?
Women of Hope programs have been helping hurting women find hope and meaning of life in Christ. Thus these programs have not only been a blessing for reforming and empowering these suffering women spiritually, but also imparting better knowledge practically in their family, health, hygiene, and management.
What are some of the challenges that you face, both personally and as a ministry?
- Due to tough and inaccessible terrain (especially in terms of roads and transportation), it is hard to follow up and visit with listeners in hilly and mountainous areas. It takes days to reach these locations on foot.
- Funding to air programs and to follow up with listeners is an ongoing need.
How has God grown or matured you personally since you have been working in this role?
I had some experience with women's issues through working in different organizations, but once I accepted this position in the women's department, it gave me more exposure and understanding of real issues and challenges for women and how to address them spiritually, emotionally, and intellectually. God is teaching me how to grow deeper and cope with ministry challenges in my leadership role.
Do you have any stories to share about what God is doing in people’s hearts?
Yes, I have multiple stories! Let me share one with you: Shirisha* participated with us in shoe and sandal making training while we shared the gospel and TWR Women of Hope. She started to listen to the radio program. Due to constant follow up and counseling, she accepted Jesus as her personal Savior a few months later.
Samyukta* and Niharika* are getting regular fellowship through our radio program. They are the only believers in their families. They are very inspired and encouraged in their Christian walk and journey through TWR Women of Hope. It is playing a vital role to transform lives of many women in my country.
*Names of listeners have been changed for privacy and security.
How can our readers be praying for you, for TWR Women of Hope, and the women of your region?
- Pray for the deliverance and comfort of those women who are being oppressed physically and mentally because of their faith in Christ.
- Pray for God’s control over politics and the government’s policy affecting minority Christians.
- Pray for resources and facilities for the TWR Women of Hope department so that program will continue to bring hope for women.
- Pray for the provision to use more FM stations to air programs and form radio home groups among women.
- Pray for spiritual protection to produce more impactful, meaningful programs so that I may find effective ways to spread the word about our Women of Hope radio program to change our listeners' lives in Jesus Christ.
- Pray for our understanding of the cultural differences and communication issues we face as we visit our listeners in different areas of the country.
- Pray for our outreach ministries, such as literacy and sewing classes, shoe and sandal making tutorials for Women of Hope listeners. Many of the students have problems getting adequate food and shelter. These classes provide a way for them to generate income.
A big "Thank You" to Sasha for opening her heart to share with us.
We hope you are encouraged by Sasha's testimony and will pray for her and her requests. Watch for our next leadership interview in February!
- If you have not joined our prayer movement yet, you can download this month's prayer calendar for South Asia and sign up for emails to receive future calendars.
- If you are led to give a donation to help Sasha and her team, you can support the ministry here.
Be sure to let us know what you think of this interview and what kinds of questions you would like us to ask other leaders. To leave a comment, you can message us on Facebook or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.