July 2018 - Leadership Spotlight: Joud in the Middle East (Part 2)
Joud* is the program producer, host, and regional coordinator for TWR Women of Hope’s ministry to Arabic women. We recently asked her a few questions about her life and ministry in the Middle East. If you missed the first part of her interview, you can find it here.
What are some of the issues that women in your region face and how does TWR Women of Hope help?
"There was a high need in the Arab world to speak hope to Arab women because women in our region, especially the non-Christians, are suppressed, looked down upon, and not treated equally as men on all levels. They are used as sexual objects and are considered less intellectual and less competent than men.
This oppression creates frustration and internal hatred in women's hearts, which results in a low self-image, distorted understanding of a woman's value in God's eyes, and hopelessness that only God can heal and restore. With this in mind, TWR Women of Hope for the Arab world was born after many years of prayer and preparation to speak hope to these hopeless Arab women.
TWR Women of Hope is helping the Arab women in these different aspects:
- As its name implies, the program gives HOPE to hopeless women, who have given up on life and their situation.
- Women of Hope gives Bible and practical guidance on parenting, marriage, women's value, women's priorities, relationships, women's challenges and solutions, etc. For the majority of Arab women, they hear these topics for the first time in their lives and they are so much encouraged that there is someone who cares about their needs, who knows what they are living through, and who is really interested in their inner being and worth.
Identity and What it Means to be a Woman of God
- Women, all over the world, are being bombarded with distorted images about feminism. Media is trying to show women that her value and worth are in her physical appearance: being slim, cosmetic surgeries, fashion, career, etc. Women of Hope speaks hope and shows that the real value of woman can only be found in Christ. With the rise of many false voices and messages given to women, Women of Hope is a voice of truth and the voice of God's Word that can fill her every need.
TWR Women of Hope gives a platform to women who have no place or no one to turn to. Many Arab women live in isolation:
- Emotional (their husbands only perceive them as bodies and not souls);
- Spiritual (their religion dictates on them to practice their beliefs without any relationship with the living God);
- Social (they are completely veiled and isolated from the society; they are not allowed to receive an education or grow in their intellectual potential).
- TWR Women of Hope gives a platform to women who have no place or no one to turn to. Many Arab women live in isolation:
TWR Women of Hope gives these women a chance to express themselves, to ask questions about their faith, beliefs, religion, Christianity, Jesus, marriage, parenting, and other things. Listeners send us messages through emails, text messages, and social media to share their concerns and heart with us. In return, the TWR Women of Hope follow up team answers the women and eventually leads them to Christ. In many cases, TWR Women of Hope is like a church to these women, especially those who live in very restricted areas where Bibles and churches are not allowed."
Do you have a story that you can share about what God is doing in people’s hearts?
"Ghada* is 35 years old and lives in Jordan. She has been listening to Women of Hope program for some time.
Ghada is abused by her own father. He beats and verbally abuses her, and now he is forcing her to marry. She is fighting against her parents’ will for this arranged marriage.
Her depression is severe, and Ghada feels stuck in her abuse and being a single woman in an unmerciful society.
Ghada kept listening to the episodes and sending us her comments and questions. She reached a stage when she felt comfortable enough to share with us, 'even if my father beats me up, even if I feel alone with no support from anyone, I feel that your prayers and programs are lifting up my tired soul and heart. I believe that Jesus is the only way that would make my parents change their attitude towards me, if they followed Him, but meanwhile I know that He is my only Hope and refuge. Keep praying that His peace dwells in my heart always.'
Ghada continues corresponding with us, and recently sent, 'I am telling other ladies about [the] Women of Hope program, and some came back to me with positive opinions and encouraged spirits because what they heard touched their hearts. Thank you so much for being there for us, for speaking up on our behalf, and for caring to the tiniest details of our lives. We love you'."
Joud, what is one thing that you wish to share with our readers about you and your region?
There is much insecurity in the Arab world: political, economic, social, and others. However, we believe that God has put us in this region for a purpose. We are a minority population, and only 4% of the Middle East and North Africa claims to be Christian. If Christians leave the Middle East, who will speak hope to the non-Christians? How will they know of Christ?! Despite the BIG challenges we face daily in our region, we rejoice that there's a reason for our existence and presence here.
So, next time you hear about the Arab world or the Middle East, whether on the news or through social media, do not think of terrorists, the political conflicts, the continual and endless wars, the economic problems, the refugees crisis, or lack of freedom. Don’t think of the darkness that hovers over the region. Instead, think of how God is using TWR and Women of Hope in the Arab World to speak H – O – P – E!
H - Healing broken hearts
O - Overcoming challenges and difficulties
P - Penetrating silence and darkness
E - Equipping seekers and believers with God’s Word
Thank you to Joud for sharing her heart and ministry with us! Please, share this information with someone who has a heart for Arabic women and don't forget that you can get these more content like this delivered straight to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.
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*Joud’s and Ghada’s names have been altered to protect their privacy. Image is credited to Ebi Zandi on Unsplash.