When I (Helen) read Half the Sky earlier this year, I was struck by the stories of so many women around the world who faced great obstacles. These women faced adversity simply because they are women; in so many parts of the world, women are considered less valuable than men. As a result, health care, business opportunities, and education are less available to girls and women, though offering such equality would not only radically change the lives of these women, but the fabric of entire nations.
All have been made in the image of God. Genesis 1:26 says, “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.’” The word “man” here is a generic term for mankind – for humanity. Notice that God says “let them have dominion” over the earth. Men and women have been created equally in the image of God, yet without this truth as the foundation for culture and society, so often women are treated as less-than. As a result, policies, attitudes, and what is culturally-acceptable, reflects inequality.
It was Half the Sky’s stories of women suffering with fistula that inspired me to raise funds for fistula-repair surgeries. God put it on my heart to raise $400 so that one woman’s life would be transformed. Fistula is completely preventable, but in areas of the world where prenatal care is not available (or a priority), and where women are often left to deliver on their own, or with an unskilled attendant, it is all too common. While the best solution to the problem of fistula is obviously a shift in priority towards health care for women (a shift that would see midwives and obstetricians raised up in areas of the world where few are practicing, which would eliminate fistula as it has been eliminated in the developed world), fistula-repair surgery is necessary in the meantime. When a woman receives fistula surgery, she essentially gets her life back. She is no longer subject to the ostracizing that comes from her incontinence and odor; she is once again welcomed by family, friends, and society. Each surgery costs approximately $400.
I was completely overwhelmed by the response to this fundraiser. In February, Michael and I hosted a prayer time in which we presented this opportunity, and that same day, I was approached by the Leadership Team here at YWAM Turner Valley, who said that as a ministry, YWAM TV would match all donations raised. As of April 1, the deadline for this fundraiser, we raised $1600, including donation-matching! This means that not one, but FOUR women will receive surgery that will transform their lives. Praise God! And thank you to everyone who gave. You are a part of changing women’s lives, and hopefully, the fabric of nations.
Would you join me in praying for these four women? I don’t know their names, I don’t know what country (or countries) they live in, but God knows. Pray that if they don’t know Jesus, they would come to know Him as they receive the gift of surgery through Christian Blind Mission. Pray that if they do know Jesus, this surgery would be an opportunity for them to share about His goodness with their family and friends. Giving is just the beginning – let’s pray that as God changes the lives of these women, He would raise up believers to advocate for the equality of women, so that fistula and all other symptoms of inequality, would become a thing of the past in all parts of the world.