Posted by: janpierce | May 2, 2009

Women in Leadership, Missionaries and New Projects

I just got home from a wonderful day in Portland with women in church leadership held at Western Seminary. It was a Network for Women in Leadership event and was both refreshing and challenging. Georgine and Dan Rice led worship. Enough said there–it was beautiful. The two speakers spanned the years of a woman’s life from Heather Thomas of Imago Dei, a young leader, to the delightful and sharp-as-a-tack Pamela Reeve who admits to being in her 90’s. Both women shared from the Word about the struggles of staying the course in leadership. The title of the event was  Ministry:  A Worthy Mess.  Though I’m not leading women’s ministry anymore I relate to all the ups and downs of working shoulder to shoulder with other believers and navigating through disagreements and divisions. There was a lot of wisdom and encouragement shared today. Ultimately the ministry is worthy because Jesus is worthy. It was a good time.

Dhanu and Susie Reddy from Peddipalli were just with us for three days. We’re  seeking  grant money to rebuild the Indian Mission School in Peddipalli which we visited on our last trip. We were able to meet with one funding agency in Eugene while they were here and also had time to relax and talk with them learning about some of the history of the missions work in A.P. Susie’s parents were missionaries sent out to remote areas where they were the only believers around. Today Christian churches are scattered all over the area which is still largely Hindu. They talked about some early missionaries who traveled by oxcart from village to village setting up tents and camping out as they conducted Christian services and told the story of a loving God. Today Dhanu and Susie belong to a network of about 16 churches built over the last 25 years. Those churches grew out of a  small home group that first met in Dhanu and Susie’s living room when they were first married. Today Dhanu continues to be a leader in the churches and also the superintendant of the Indian Mission School while working full time for the local coal company.

One Handful of Rice is in the process of designing a scholarship program for students leaving 10th standard at the India Mission School. The scholarships will fund 11th and 12th grade(junior college) classes which prepare students to go on to degree college. Students have to pass rigid tests in their intended major areas before going to degree college in India. The Plus Two, 11th and 12th standards, focus on four different study areas and passing one of those tests is the only way to attend college. The government has scholarships for college but not for junior college. Poor children can only attend government schools to prepare for these exams and usually can’t pass them unless they pay to go to better private schools. The scholarship program will serve as a link for promising Christian students to continue their educations. It costs approximately $300 per year to attend private Plus Two schools. A total of only $600 can launch a bright student on their college career and open huge opportunities to them for future work and lifestyles. The goal is to help Indian people become self-sufficient and I believe that education is one key way to accomplish that.

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