Women's History Month, Part 3
Although Women's History Month is typically a celebration of women's right to vote in America and many achievements of women in the secular world, I thought it appropriate to take the opportunity to share with you a recent article in "The Global Advocate" (September/October 2020) written by Don Dennison, Church & Missions Consultant, about five women whose faith in action impacted their world in significant and eternal ways. This is the last of three posts which will be published throughout this month. I am certain you will be as inspired as I have been in reading their stories!
Before It Was Popular, Part 3
by Don Dennison
Converted at eight years of age, Evelyn Shuey became an active member of the Progress Church of God. Like many young people, her summer camping experiences at Camp Yolijwa were especially meaningful to her and contributed to her spiritual growth. But it was a variety of persons and experiences—missionaries who visited her home church, local pastors and teachers, and exposure to ministry opportunities—which led to Evelyn committing her life to missionary service in East Pakistan.
India to provide much-needed relief to missionaries who were overwhelmed with the work. There Evelyn supervised the school work and taught the Junior Christian Endeavor group. She evangelized among Hindu refugees living in Uluberia and accompanied the local Bible Women to minister in neighboring villages.
Following a six-year hiatus back in the USA, Evelyn returned to Bogra in 1972 to teach missionary children and serve as curriculum coordinator and instructor in the Nurse’s Training School. She served for the next twelve years at Bogra doing whatever necessary to fulfill the mission of raising a new generation of Christ-followers. Evelyn maintained that the primary goal of the missionary was not to do all the ministry but instead educate the nationals to do the work themselves. During her life of service, God allowed her to see entire villages enter the waters of baptism. She witnessed hundreds of entire families committing themselves to follow Christ.
Accepting Christ as Savior at the age of 12, Lois Habecker began to sense God’s call to Christian education ministries through her participation in her high school’s Bible club, the local Youth for Christ organization, Christian Endeavor activities, and the conference’s youth camping program. But it was during her college years that Lois began to realize she would fulfill that calling in a foreign land. By 1958, she was on her way to East Pakistan.
In those early years, she lived at Bogra while she acquired the Bengali language and worked with school children. In 1961, Lois was transferred to Khanjanpur where she would serve the next ten years. There she worked with the village schools and later with the Khanjanpur Mission Girls’ High School teaching English and Bible classes. She also ministered among the women and children in their Christian meetings. School enrollment increased dramatically under Lois’ care. More classes were added, and more rooms had to be built to accommodate the increase in girls. During those years, many Christian youth were sent to schools to prepare to become teachers, nurses, doctors, and pastors. Lois had a major role in developing these young leaders.
Back home in the States in 1971 at the height of a civil war in East Pakistan, Lois responded to a call to join Mary Hershey in Haiti in the early stages of our Churches of God Mission known as Project Help. There she served as administrator of our mission schools until 1987 when a Haitian national had been trained to take over that responsibility. Lois frequently covered vacancies left by departing missionaries but, at heart, she was always an educator. She thought nothing about investing hours in preparation and then riding horseback up the mountains to teach teachers and church leaders. Frequently she lived in the mountains with a lay pastor’s family so she could be close to the work she loved. Over her 25 years of sacrificial service in her new-found-home, Haitians considered Lois as one of their own.
The fruit of the labor of these five was boundless and continues to shape the work of the national church to this day. Only eternity will reveal the full impact of their lives and ministries. Thousands of souls were forever changed because five single women (and many more like them) dared to respond to God’s call and believe that He could use (even) them.
May all of us gain a profound respect for those who have paved the way for present-day missionaries and national church leaders. The world was not worthy, but it didn’t matter to these women. They did what needed to be done…as women usually do. May others follow in their steps.
Copies of the book may be ordered directly from the CGGC website at https://secure.cggc.org/missions?pagenumber=2; or email Kris Cupp at KrisC@cggc.org; or call Kris at 419-424-1961. The per book cost is only $6 plus shipping. [the price is intentionally low to get them into the hands of our people.]