September 2018 - Leadership Spotlight: Elisabeth in Norway
Elisabeth Saeth is the national TWR Women of Hope coordinator in Norway. She uses her gifts of teaching, music, and encouragement to uplift Christian women and invite them to change the lives of others. Since the prayer calendar focuses on Elisabeth’s region of the world this month, we wanted to give Elisabeth the opportunity to share about what God is doing in the hearts of women in her area.
What is your role within TWR Women of Hope?
"I [Elisabeth] am the coordinator for TWR Women of Hope in Norway. TWR’s partner, Norea Media Mission has been involved with TWR Women of Hope for fifteen years now. First and foremost, we have been able to partner in raising funds and encourage and support the ministry in many other countries in the world. Norea was involved with initiating the TWR Women of Hope ministry in East Africa. We also distribute the prayer calendar and encourage men and women to take part in this huge and meaningful ministry.
From the beginning, we focused on the donor side of the ministry, but over the last few years, God has put on my heart that we also need to encourage Norwegian women. As a coordinator, I make sure that the prayer calendar is translated and distributed to our intercessors through mail, email, and social media. We have a wonderful team of volunteers who help. I visit churches and groups to share about the ministry, both to invite them to become supporters and prayer partners and to encourage women through the Word of God and music. Norea is also arranging a conference for women.
God has also opened doors for me to use my musical gifts to encourage people and to promote the ministry. Together with a team of musicians, including my dear sister, we hold concerts where we tell testimonies from TWR Women of Hope’s ministry around the world and share music and singing.
Until now we have not had a radio program for women in Norway. We have been praying and thinking about how to reach and encourage Norwegian women. This month, in September, we are launching a monthly podcast program where Norwegian woman share their personal stories on what God has done in their lives. I am one of the two program producers."
What makes TWR Women of Hope special to you?
"Oh, there are so many aspects of this ministry. God is doing amazing things. But I would say what makes it most special is the fact that the whole ministry’s backbone is prayer! It is encouraging to know that we are praying together across so many countries. I think we would never have seen this growth in the media and mercy ministries if we didn’t make prayers our priority.
One thing that I will never forget from my visits to different countries is how praying through the prayer calendar and radio programs are changing women’s attitude towards others. I could mention many different stories, but I want to share one experience from Ethiopia. I met a prayer group in Addis Ababa. They told me that when they prayed for women around the world with different challenges, God opened their eyes to women in their own community that suffered with some from the same things that were mentioned in the prayer requests. The prayer intercessors began to help widows, prisoners, and women with injuries after birth (fistula). God opened their eyes to see their neighbors through His eyes. It is my prayer that Norwegian women praying will and are experiencing the same thing.
Another aspect that I find so amazing, is that God is working in unique ways in different countries to address the challenges that women are facing. Therefore, I know that God also more and more will reveal how we can reach Norwegian women with the love of Jesus in their everyday lives."
How has God grown (or matured) you since taking on this responsibility?
"I was just talking about this with my husband the other day - the incredible journey of God’s love and strength the last years and how things have changed…
Eight years ago, we came home to Norway after having lived in Africa a few years. I was having a hard time. I was struggling with health issues and with feeling useless. I felt empty and tired. I felt that God couldn’t use me anymore. I even felt I never could stand before anyone to talk, sing, or preach, which I used to do.
When my husband, in his caring way, encouraged me to use my gifts, I denied having any, and I would not see myself doing anything “important” for the Lord anymore.
Little by little, God started a healing process in my heart. He also kept reminding me of the plight I had seen among women where I had lived in Africa, and he opened my eyes to see that Norwegian women have their challenges and need encouragement from the Lord.
In 2013, I was asked to join Norea to work with TWR Women of Hope in Norway, and I was ready to say yes. God helped me so much during these years. He has shown me that I am not to run before him but to wait for Him to open doors. He has led people into my path, people that encourage and serve with me in the ministry on their free time. He has given strength on days that have been tough.
Sometimes, I still can feel the enemy telling me that I am not good enough to stand before other to share or to sing. Many times before I have to preach or give a concert, I wanted to quit because I felt unworthy or felt I did not have the strength needed. But then, in His loving, quiet way, God gave me his peace and joy. Even the minute before it was time to enter the pulpit or piano, God has filled me with an incredible joy of being used by Him. That is what it is all about - being vessels, weak and fragile – but we are strong IN Him because of His grace, mercy and strength."
What are some of the issues that women face in your area of ministry, and how does TWR Women of Hope help?
"Norway is traditionally seen as a Christian country, but little by little this is changing. I would say it is becoming more challenging to be a Christian in Norway and to have the courage to uphold what the Bible says about different ethical aspects in life. We must pray for how we can encourage Norwegian Christian women to stand firm and bold in their faith and also bring them together to support and strengthen each other.
Another challenge that young women and mothers experience is the constant stress and pressure to be successful in every part of life: work full time, keep beautiful houses, have fit and slim bodies, cook beautiful and healthy food, take care of the kids, etc. It’s too much. We need to take time to breath, seek the Kingdom of God, and see ourselves through the eyes of our Savior."
Do you have a story that you can share about what God is doing in people’s hearts?
"One Saturday, we were doing a concert called “Hope for the women of the world.” We were sharing songs and testimonies to encourage the audience and to share about our ministry. A young woman approached me after the concert. She was not a Christian. Tears were running down her cheeks. She looked at me and said, 'I don’t know what it is with the songs you were singing, you were talking about my life…' What an encouragement! The Holy Spirit touched her and told her things about her life. The next day she came to church for the first time."
How has Jesus brought you hope in your own life?
"I grew up in a Christian home with both parents loving the Lord and serving Him in the local community. I remember some years ago hearing a recording from the ‘60s of my great grandfather was praying for his descendants. He prayed that we would also love God and serve Him. I am so glad that I came to know the Lord at an early age. Life has had ups and downs, but through everything I see Jesus holding me, strengthening me, and giving me hope for every day. Many times, I have experienced the fact that in my own weak flesh - I am not able. But, in Jesus, I am saved, made righteous, and made able to serve Him. As someone who has known the Lord and the Bible my whole life, I have so much to learn from sisters around the world who hunger for Him in every aspect of life. I pray for this hunger also in my own life."
How can our readers be praying for you?
- Pray for good health, energy and a thirst for the Word of God
- Pray for the ministry in Norway to develop the way God plans and for us to take the time to listen to his guidance and direction
- Pray for more women to engage in the prayer ministry and also to financially support so that we can be able to grow into new territories and countries where women still are living in darkness and without hope.
Thank you, Elisabeth! If you enjoyed this article, you can find more of our leaders from around the world on our blog.