Women of Hope (WOH), a ministry focused on women with disabilities, is the newest organization to formally affiliate with the DNA global movement, and we at the secretariat office are so excited about this closer partnership! (See a list of current affiliates and learn what it means to be a DNA affiliate.)
Presently, the group’s operations are most active in Sierra Leone where the international director, Kim Kargbo, grew up with her missionary parents.
“As [a missionary kid] who grew up in the developing world and then worked there again as an adult,” says Kim, “it has long been evident to me that worldview issues are THE MAIN causative factor in poverty, illness, corruption, and the lack of the gospel taking root in much of the evangelized world. The emphasis on getting our worldview correctly aligned with Scripture and letting all other work flow from that resonated with me immediately, and the tools provided by DNA to do just that have been most helpful.”
Like many when they first encounter DNA’s materials, when Kim and her colleague Kelsey first read Discipling Nations, they were struck by the similarities of the book’s ideas to their own conclusions formed by years of ministry experience in Sierra Leone. Because their primary goal is to disciple their staff and help them apply a Biblical worldview to the issues they encounter every day in the field, Kim and Kelsey purchased Beyond the Sacred-Secular Divide, one of four books in the DNA’s Kingdom Lifestyle Series, and studied it with their staff on the ground.
“This study was transformational with our Sierra Leonean staff,” Kim says.
During that study, Adama, one of WOH’s staff members whose Christianity had been centered on her good works came to a deeper, more mature understanding of the gospel and Jesus’ once-and-for-all sacrifice. “She came to understand the magnitude of God’s grace on her behalf,” says Kim, “and I believe she came to true salvation at that moment.” Since then, that same staff member has seen tremendous growth in her spiritual life, spilling over into her personal and professional lives, and impacting the society around her.
What Women of Hope does
WOH intentionally disciples its Sierra Leonean staff who work directly with women with disabilities–some of the society’s poorest and most outcast individuals–replicating the Biblical worldview out in the community and showing the hope and dignity found in Jesus.
WOH uses the model of Community Health Evangelism created by the Global CHE Network (also an affiliate organization of the DNA). WOH runs support groups for mothers, helping instill the foundational truth that all humans are created in God’s likeness and for his glory. Micro-enterprise and training opportunities help women with disabilities exercise their God-given skills through dignifying work that supports them and their families. See a recap of their outcomes from 2013 here.
Isatu used to be reserved and reticent, keeping mostly to herself after years of shame and ridicule from her peers due to her disability. At her first WOH meeting, she was shocked to find community, friendship and solid Biblical teaching. Eventually, she was chosen by WOH staff to be trained as a Community Health Evangelist, and the training changed Isatu’s life.
“Once she realized that she was valuable, made in the image of God, everything started to change,” says Kim.
Isatu gained confidence in her abilities as special gifts from God and for his glory. She courageously branched into various forms of business and, while facing difficulties at first, she persevered and grew into a respected leader in her community, honored by other women and by her husband.
Like the DNA, WOH seeks to multiply itself and share what it has learned. As a result, Women of Hope Sierra Leone has branched off from Women of Hope International (based in Memphis, Tenn., US), fostering greater independence and expansion in the region. The Sierra Leone team is making plans to do outreaches each month to a community three hours north, in a remote area with very limited resources. Meanwhile, WOH staff members in the US are making connections with like-minded ministries reaching vulnerable people with disabilities all over the world. They share their resources through workshops, trainings and consultations, helping others apply what they have learned in their own contexts. Presently, Kim and others are brainstorming the creation of a curriculum or Bible study centered on a Biblical view of disability. “I was stunned when I actually began reading the Scriptures looking for disability at how much of Christ’s work on earth focused on those with disability,” Kim says.
You can contact Kim at firstname.lastname@example.org.