I looked around at our advisory board meeting the other day and couldn’t help but feel very proud to be sitting amongst such a group. Four out of six of us are women. Two Thai women, two American women. And two Thai men. This is the group who helps us do what we do at Friends of the City. They make sure we stay in budget. They make sure we stick to our goals. They encourage and teach and guide us. They look out for us and work with us to accomplish this wonderful vision we have.
And it dawned on me - in this era where women are really speaking up for themselves, what a privilege it is to serve alongside these women in missions.
Our partner organization, Servant Partners, has published a book about the experience of women - particularly women of color - in ministry (check it out here). I can’t even begin to describe the pride I feel to even know some of these women. They are people I look up to, strive to be like, and am happy to work alongside in God’s mission of reaching the poor for Christ.
When I came back to Thailand this time around, there was a definite shock coming from a country where women were beginning to speak out and prosecute men for sexual abuse in the workplace in America to a country where you could still buy a female prostitute off the street for a cheap fare. Reality stings.
Which is why I felt the need to highlight one small, seemingly insignificant reality of Friends of the City that many of you do not know - we have some fiercely strong women in leadership.
P’Kaew is a mother, a Christian, and leader in her community and in her church, and an absolute inspiration. She has worked tirelessly for her community for the last 15+ years to relocate them from a slum (due to an unjust eviction) to buying a new piece of land and building an entire community from the ground up. Her faith in Christ is her daily strength and she inspires me in so many ways to trust God even as you face very practical, real obstacles to very real problems.
P’Aut is also a Christian, a leader in her church, a working wife, and a friend. She joined our advisory board only after she got to see the realities of life in a slum community in Bang Rak. She is incredibly smart - especially when it comes to finances - and cares deeply for our well-being as a team.
Suzy is our team leader. She dropped a booming career in Physical Therapy when God called her to missions, sold all she had and left for Thailand to share the gospel with the least reached. She has spent 10+ years in Thailand tirelessly serving the poor. She is so gifted at oral storying and works hard to make God’s story real to Thai people. Her sharp, analytical mind has been an incredible asset to Friends of the City and she works hard to make sure everyone in Friends of the City’s care is receiving the best we have to offer.
We are so blessed to be led by strong women here at Friends of the City. We know God uses his people in all kinds of ways to bring His Kingdom to earth. In an age where women’s voices are much more loudly being sung in the choir, we at Friends of the City echo that hopeful melody as well.
What women in your life have inspired you lately? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!