In This Issue...
- A Theology of Humor by Cheryl Taylor
- Ministering With Humor by Stephanie Nance
- Christian Leaders Having Fun? by Pam Morton with Kathy Jingling
- The Health Benefits of Humor and Laughter by Dwenda Gjerdingen, MD, MS
History of Women in Ministry
From the beginning of the modern Pentecostal movement, women have made vital contributions. Though the spiritual outpouring came at a time in history when, culturally and socially, women were not afforded great freedoms, the women of the Pentecostal movement took their mandate from a higher source — "Your sons and your daughters will prophesy..." (Joel 2:28, NIV). This mandate, coupled with a sense of urgency of the soon return of Christ, presented opportunities for ministry based not so much on gender as on the anointing of the Spirit.
The following articles relate the stories of many of these women.
Rediscovering the Pioneer Spirit by Carolyn Tennant
A discussion of how, throughout Assemblies of God history, women have evidenced a strong pioneering spirit in ministry.
Women In The Pentecostal Movement by Joyce Lee and Glenn Gohr
Brief sketches of several women who made significant contributions to the modern Pentecostal movement.
Spiritual Chain Reactions: Women Used of God by Barbara Cavaness
A presentation of women who initiated or figured prominently in many of the spiritual chain reactions emanating from the Azusa Street revival.
"Laying a Straw in Her Way"; Women in Pentecostalism by Susie Stanley
Traces the theology that guided early Pentecostals in the expansion or restriction of the use of women's gifts in various avenues of ministry.
Known and Yet Unknown: Women of Color and the Assemblies of God by Jessica Faye Carter
Inspiring vignettes of Pandita Ramabai, Lucy Farrow, Cornelia Jones Robertson, Aimee Garcia Cortese, Maria de Fatima W. Gomes, and Maria Khaleel.
Liberated and Empowered: The Uphill History of Hispanic Assemblies of God Women in Ministry, 1915-1950 by Gaston Espinoza
An examination of the origins and early history of Hispanic clergywomen in the Assemblies of God.
The Lillian Trasher Orphanage in Assiout, Egypt, began in 1911 when a dying mother gave her baby to Lillian to raise. Over the next 51 years, Lillian cared for 8,000 other orphans. The orphanage she founded has been home to over 20,000 of Egypt's unwanted children and continues to provide hundreds of boys and girls with food, shelter, clothing, vocational and spiritual training and the love that transforms lives.
In 1936, Anna Tomaseck heard the voice of God asking her to care for the unwanted children of Rupaidiha, a village in the mountains of North India near the border of Nepal. She founded the Nur Children's Home, known as "the last house in India." In this remote location, she spent the next 33 years raising 420 Indian and Nepalese children, many of whom now minister throughout Southern Asia. These children were among the first to bring the gospel into Nepal.
Throughout some of the most tumultuous years of China's history - the Japanese invasions and the rise of Mao Zedong - Anna Ziese lived as one with the Chinese in Taiyuan. When all other missionaries left in 1948, Anna refused to go. From her arrival in 1920 to her death in 1969, Anna Ziese left China only once. Her final years of ministry remain mostly shrouded in silence, since government censorship precluded her from offering details about the work. Still her enduring legacy is revealed in these words written about her by a Chinese believer: "We Chinese will gratefully remember forever those missionaries who left their homelands and came to China to preach the gospel."
Hilda Olsen and Peggy Anderson
In 1950, two single American women pioneered the Assemblies of God work in Lesotho, Africa. Working out of a speed the Light trailer, Hilda and Peggy held services, started a Sunday school and established a medical clinic and bookstore. With the help of national workers, they ministered in prisons, a hospital and a leper colony in the capital city of Maseru. Their 36 years of faithful service prepared the way for the Assemblies of God work that flourishes in Lesotho today.
Alice Wood arrived in Argentina in 1910 and never left until her retirement 50 years later. In a town called 25 de Mayo, she founded a church and a Sunday school where she faithfully ministered to both the rich and the poor. Her work touched the lives of doctors, lawyers, bankers, storekeepers and field workers. Her efforts in Argentina helped lay the foundation for the revival that continues to transfigure this nation today.
In 1924, Florence Steidel had a vision of throngs of sick people in a place she did not recognize. Thirteen years later, her vision became a reality as 68 lepers moved into New Hope Town, the leper colony she founded in Liberia. Until her death in 1962, Florence worked in New Hope Town, which at one point was home to 1,000 lepers. An average of 100 lepers was released each year "symptom free," and 90 percent of those who came for physical help also found a new life in Christ. During her 25 years of service in Liberia, Florence Steidel introduced hope and life to thousands who were dying, both physically and spiritually.
As a single missionary in 1949, Mary Orphan arrived in Greece to help the fledgling national church. That same year, as supervisor of the Assemblies of God work, she began pastoring a church in Pireaus, visiting churches on various Grecian islands, conducting Bible studies, running children's camps and serving on the national church board. Many of those who accepted Christ as their Savior during the early years of her ministry became pastors and officials within the Assemblies of God of Greece. Mary and her husband, Gerry Metaxatos, participated in the Bible school, evangelistic outreaches, local church ministry, and church planting efforts throughout Greece until her death in 1986.
Reprinted from the February 25, 2001 issue of Today's Pentecostal Evangel. Used with permission.
See the July/August 2007 Women in Ministry update "Shoes to Fill" for more articles and interviews of women in Assemblies of God history.
A brief history of the Assemblies of God can be found on the Assemblies of God Web site here.
For more on the history of women in ministry, including articles, videos, podcasts and more, visit the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Web site, www.ifphc.org.