Coronavirus curtails newfound freedom

Inge* facilitates a development work for unemployed women in Eastern Europe. While she loves them all, one woman has touched her heart in a special way: “Sara* always did everything one hundred per cent. She couldn’t be half-hearted. After her husband died, we met at his funeral. She was very, very strong, that much was obvious, and I liked her immediately,” shared Inge. “Although sad, she was free. Unlike the other women.

“After a time, Sara joined our development work for unemployed women. She wanted to be a volunteer, to help and serve in any way possible. And she did, more and more.”

For many women, and especially for those with no husband, the women’s groups became their new 'family', a place where they felt free and not judged by others, Inge explained. Many women told her they had not experienced this kind of freedom since they were little girls.

“We live in an environment where gossip rules,” explained Sara. “Many women, like me, rarely leave their house. They stay at home always, as they cannot handle the gossip. ‘There is no future if you lose your husband,’ they say here. And if you don’t have a husband and leave the house or find work outside the home, you’ll quickly be marked a prostitute.”

However, right from the start, the number one rule in this ministry was ‘no gossip’. If it becomes known that a participant has gossiped about private issues relating to another woman in the group, the gossiping woman is banned from attending. The strict rule has proven effective: From the very first time the groups met, the women were openly sharing with each other. They cried together, laughed and encouraged each other. Like a family.

And then the coronavirus hit the country. The groups had to close; no more meetings, telephone contact only. For Inge, it was difficult to call Sara about the news: “It came as a shock to her that all the projects were closing. She had hoped… her voice cracked, she was on the verge of tears and said: ‘What will we do, only staying at home…?’”

Her new family had to be shut down, and for Sara it meant back to the house, her ‘prison’, to the boring days without her new family. Yes, it is possible to connect through the internet. Yes, they make jokes trying to keep their spirit up. But it’s sad for the women who had relied on their community.

These women had discovered something new: grace, respect and value. Many had shared: “The most important thing I learned at the training was that I have value [that] I did not know. It was very important for me.”

Nobody knows how long it will take before the women’s groups and other development projects can re-open or what the world and the local situation will be like when this is over. Please pray.

*name changed

Share this Resource

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on email
Share on print

Leave a Reply

You might also like:

Short-term Project Mobiliser – Inspiro Arts Alliance International    Go & Live    As soon as possibleHelp mobilise artists into specialized, artistic short-term mission projects. Inspire, equip and connect artists globally into the right projects, internships and other short-term opportunities.

Inspiro Arts Alliance is cultivating and empowering artists globally to love through beauty in worship and witness.

You can play a key part in building this global movement of artists on mission.

Full Details
B4T Developer International    Go & Live    As soon as possibleAre you an experienced business owner or manager? Would you like to use your business skills, experience and contacts to build entrepreneurs?  Join us as a B4T Developer. You will work to grow Kingdom Businesses in some of the most needy parts of the world. Select entrepreneurs, train them in business skills, bring in investors; it is a tough job and not for the faint hearted. Our vision is to see Kingdom Business fulfill its vital role in the Great Commission.
Full Details
Financial Development Officer – Sportslink International International    Go & Live    As soon as possibleAre you a gifted, passionate and experienced leader and fundraiser who can build local and international financial partners to support our ministry? If you answered yes, we need you to help us raise necessary funds and resources for OM SportsLink International operational and catalytic initiatives. You would have a key role in developing creative strategies to generate sustainable income.
Full Details
Community Project Manager International    Go & Live    As soon as possibleAre you experienced in business training and coaching? Do you have community development experience? Can you encourage people as they start a business and form follow-up groups? These groups support and encourage each other and work together toward solutions to uplift the community economically. OM’s Micro enterprise business ministry is passionate about helping people transform, uplift and empower their communities through business. Help us renew hope and see lasting change in peoples’ lives.
Full Details
Video Editor – part-time International    Go & Live    As soon as possiblePlay a vital part in creating powerful videos or animations, which help OM teams communicate the gospel with specific people groups around the world!
Full Details
Event Manager (Run 4 the World – R4TW) International    Go & Live    As soon as possibleWe’re looking for an Events Manager to organize one (or a few) Run for the World (R4TW) events within the serving country/area. If you have skills in event planning, networking and organization, this could be your dream job. Run for the World (R4TW) is an open-source global sports event - running and making a positive impact on the world around you. It is a God-given opportunity to use sport to transform the lives of young people locally and globally.
Full Details
Communications and Media Manager International    Go & Live    As soon as possibleAre you a motivated, creative self-starter with innovative ideas who enjoys removing obstacles and solving problems? We need someone like you to direct and manage the communication and promotion of our products & services in the hearts and minds of our various stakeholder communities. OM’s Micro enterprise business ministry is passionate about helping people transform, uplift and empower their communities through business. Join us, help renew hope and see lasting change in people's lives.
Full Details
Video Editor – full-time International    Go & Live    As soon as possiblePlay a vital part in creating powerful videos or animations, which help OM teams communicate the gospel with specific people groups around the world!
Full Details
eBook Programmer (OM EAST – Literature and Media, Austria) International    Go & Live    As soon as possibleUse your skills to convert powerful Christian publications into downloadable eBooks that can travel to hard-to-reach places. Share the hope of Christ by making resources available in areas where there is little or no Christian literature in the local language!
Full Details
Director of Media & Communications – Inspiro Arts Alliance International    Go & Live    As soon as possibleDo you love to communicate creatively? Experience leading a team?

Inspiro Arts Alliance is looking for a leader for our Media & Communications Team to develop and deploy a variety of media to help mobilize artists globally to love like Jesus.

As director of media & communications you will be key to inspiring and equipping this global movement of artists!

Full Details
Catalytic Ministries Area Chief Finance Officer International    Go & Live    As soon as possibleWe’re looking for a person of integrity who is passionate about finance and about seeing people become followers of Jesus. In this key role, you will help OM’s Catalytic Ministries around the world impact the kingdom of God by providing accountability for financial transactions and reporting. Join us and use your skills for God's glory.
Full Details
HR Manager for International Relief and Development Partner International    Go & Live    As soon as possibleDo you believe in transforming lives practically and through the Gospel, but your skills are more in management and caring for people? We need someone to help our leadership ensure the health and well-being of their teams, who work in some of the hardest countries in the world, through community development and relief, serving hurting Muslim people. They need someone who has their back! If this is what you are passionate about, join us and put your gifts to use for the Kingdom of God.
Full Details