Women in missions editorial
By Joanna Bogunjoko
It is my privilege to introduce this issue of AfriGO, which highlights African women in missions. In the following pages you will be introduced to some of Africa’s most intrepid female missionaries. They are proclaiming the gospel in heart, word and deed, with courage and effectiveness, where Christ is not yet known!
God’s calling of women into missions is not limited to one kind of woman. As you will read, He calls younger and older women, married and single women, women who are raising children, and women with every type of gift, skill and talent imaginable.
Women, the God who has called us has also promised to equip us to do what He has called us to do. As we read in Ephesians 2:10, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” God has already paved the road before us. So when we face our challenges, let us remember that Jesus will meet us there.
That said, there are true difficulties and hardships on the mission field. Becoming aware of the unique challenges women missionaries face shows us how to support them and how to prepare newcomers.
One of the great challenges for women missionaries, including me, is our identity. Sometimes there is a feeling of loss of identity, of not knowing where we belong. We know we do not belong to the host culture, but we also no longer fully belong in our own culture. In a sense, a woman loses her belonging to both her home culture and her adopted culture. This is when we must learn to live out our identity in Christ.
Men, I want to applaud you for taking time to read this issue. You could be reading or doing something else, but you are giving time to listen and learn from women — your sisters, wives, mothers, and daughters. By doing this, you are choosing to emulate Jesus; you are reflecting God because God values us.
The story of the woman with the alabaster jar of perfume in Luke 7 is told wherever the gospel is preached all over the world! Jesus accepted her worship though no one else thought she was worthy. Jesus revealed his risen self at the tomb firstly to women, whose testimony was not even valuable in court in that culture. His resurrection is a central doctrine and proof of the Christian faith, put first into the mouths of women.
God has filled the scriptures with women’s names and stories throughout the Old and New Testaments — Sarah, Naomi, Ruth, Phoebe, Mary, Mary Magdalene, Martha. The special place He puts women in history is mirrored in the special place He puts women in missions. Therefore, our stories, our struggles, our solutions are very much part of His Story — History!
God has called women to the mission field to be his very voice, his very hands and his very heart. So, let’s honour the role of African women in missions, and let us be intentional to establish mission teams and support systems that will allow women to flourish in their calling through the Holy Spirit’s strength.
Dr. Joanna Bogunjoko, from Nigeria, served as a medical missionary at Galmi Hospital in Niger. Today she ministers alongside her husband Joshua, a surgeon, in his role as the International Director of the mission agency, SIM. They have two children whom they raised on the mission field.