It’s a normal Sunday morning when you meet her. You are going through your normal routines when you look up from your place in the pew and see her. You heard something about a missionary coming that morning so you assume it must be the missionary’s wife. No one else is around at the moment, so you decide to see if there’s anything you can do to help her. Maybe she needs help finding the nursery or the Sunday schoolroom. The conversation might go like this:
“Hello, is there something I can help you with?”
“Oh yes. I’m a missionary. Could you possibly help me bring in my display board and tell me where I can find the pastor?”
“Well, sure. But I’m sure the pastor would like to speak to your husband and show him where he can set up your display.”
“Oh, I’m actually a single missionary.”
You might be a little confused and certainly a little embarrassed. Of course there are single missionaries, but you just assumed…..
You see, this young lady fits into a category that most churches really don’t know what to do with. A young lady who obviously loves the Lord, has the determination to accomplish things, is single and involved with the ministry. She just isn’t exactly what you expected.
Of course we know that God can use women in the ministry, and we all agree that women like Deborah in the Old Testament and Dorcas in the New Testament and modern missionaries like Amy Carmichael, Mary Slessor, and Gladys Aylward were used by God to accomplish great things for Him. So why are we so leery to support women involved with the ministry, especially in missions?
Think about your own church. What are your pastor’s main responsibilities? Is he the one who runs and manages the nursery or teach the children’s Sunday school class? Is he the one leading the women’s Bible study or even the youth group? What about special activities for the young girls in the church? No – he has too many other things to do; like preaching, soul winning, shepherding, and counseling. He just doesn’t have time for these things. And the pastor’s wife? Sure, she often teaches a class and conducts a Bible study, but even she doesn’t have time for all these things. Missionary wives do all this and deal with a different culture; often homeschooling their kids as well as keeping house, being a wife and support to her husband and the women in the church. By the end of the day she just has no time left.
This is where the single lady can be a huge help. She has few extra cares, such as a husband and kids. She can spend her time and salary helping others and filling in the gaps. She can teach the kid’s Sunday school class. She can organize Bible clubs and women Bible studies and special outings for the young girls in the church. Often times a missionary just doesn’t have a well enough established church that he can pull one of the married women out of his congregation and hand over these responsibilities too.
The single lady also often wants to help the missionary’s wife in any way she can. Though she doesn’t have kids of her own, it doesn’t mean that she can’t handle them or doesn’t love them. From time to time, it is good for the married wife to let the single woman step in and give her a break for a day. The single woman can take the kids out to lunch so that mom can get the house clean and have silence for awhile, maybe just spending time alone with her husband.
Or even the other way around, the single woman can offer to clean the house up and get dinner ready so that the family can just have a nice family outing. She often doesn’t mind doing this from time to time because she knows that it is offering something essential to the pastor and his family.
It may seem as though she is going out alone. But no – she walks with God constantly by her side. He is her constant companion, and she often has a relationship with Him that no one else can even begin to understand.
So the next time a single woman missionary walks into your church, embrace her. Tell her that there are many lives out there that she is going to be able to change. Encourage her to not be selfish with her time or money. Remind her that she has so much to give. She is precious in God’s sight.
By Claudia Miclaus