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All hands on deck

By Mercy Kambura

A meme has been doing the rounds on social media. It’s a man and woman at the starting point of a race. The man’s track is clear, while the woman’s track is cluttered with hurdles she must jump over – babies, a heap of laundry, a washing machine and ironing board – yet she’s supposed to run and complete the race.

While external pressures on a woman in missions are many, they can be maneuverable by strategic changes in routine, location and household help.

5.1 nossa tukura

Mrs. Nosa Tukura

However, there’s one silent obstacle that many women face, and few get to talk about. It is the internal fear of inadequacy. Who? Me? Really, Lord?

 Yes, you too.

Nosa Tukura is a woman and leader at the heart of missions and mobilisation. She has met innumerable women in ministry and leadership who face this fear. She is passionate about helping African women achieve their God-given roles.

AfriGO Managing Editor Mercy Kambura spoke with Nosa.

 What are your roles in missions?

I’m a physicist by training. I serve as Deputy International Director for resource mobilisation in the Nigeria-based Mission Supporters League (MSL) that I pioneered with my husband. MSL encourages working professionals to participate fully in missions.

I also serve with Movement for African Nationals Initiative (MANI) as the Executive Coordinator of the African Women in Missions Network (AWIMN).

I am passionate to help women see themselves as God intended them to be, not as the world defines them.

 Is the fear of inadequacy common?

I have met many women in leadership and ministry who are hurting and disillusioned. During the 2019 Global Mobilisation Conference in Brazil, I spoke with a woman who was hurting because her leadership was not respected.

Reading a self-help book does not address the deeply buried source of fear of inadequacy which, sadly, affects most women in ministry and leadership.

In my part of the world, there’s a general misunderstanding of a woman’s role and her call. A leader once rebuked my husband for letting me ‘represent him’ at an international conference. I had attended in my own capacity as a female leader in ministry.

How do you see things through God’s lenses?

My freedom and encouragement come from Genesis 26-27, where God commissioned both man and woman. That gives me the confidence to do what I do. The main thing the Lord taught me was not to let anyone define me. I had to learn who I am from God’s Word.

God deliberately created the woman in his image and likeness as Ezer (‘helper’ in English, and the same word used to describe God). A woman is a strong helper, not a weakling. Together with men, we make a God-designed, formidable alliance that makes Satan shiver.

Churches must look beyond their cultural views of women and read the Bible in an unbiased manner. God plans to use male and female alike; the work will not be finished by less than 50 per cent of the church. We need “all hands on deck” to fulfil the Great Commission.

Women’s gifts are to be identified and nurtured to enrich the body of Christ. Opportunities to use their gifts go beyond cultural and religious limitations. Women are full participants in God’s mission, not add-ons or appendices.

 How do you connect with other women to find strength for your journey?

There are numerous ways women can bond to train, encourage and educate one another about missions and overcoming challenges.

The AWIMN is a strategic network emphasising the mobilisation of women to play their role in the Great Commission. We encourage women to go to the least-reached peoples worldwide. Women are also encouraged to partner and relate with women’s networks in Africa. As the Executive Coordinator of AWIMN, I seek to empower them to discover their role in God’s missional purpose and facilitate a process of radical transformation.

There is also a WhatsApp group being formed for women in ministry, so they can have real-time contact with one another.

A request to join can be sent on WhatsApp 0805 7553 778.

The Business and Professional Women International (BPW) develops the business, professional and leadership potential of women through advocacy, education, mentoring, networking, skill building, and economic empowerment.

I have been enriched as a person and my skills as a leader have been honed by the Christian Women for Excellence and Empowerment of Nigerian Society (CWEENS) and the Global Leadership Summit of Willowcreek Church in Chicago, USA. I encourage women to seek them out.

Seeing women embrace their role and overcome cultural and religious constraints is my greatest reward. In a way, we all are “unschooled, ordinary (women)…” but we’re working with Jesus.

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