Impacting the Kingdom
JEAN SHARES STORYBOARDING
What are some ways storyboarding leads to emotional and spiritual well being?
Taking Developing a Discerning Heart grew me spiritually and emotionally in unique ways. The truths I learned challenged me not to be the victim anymore. I know I have a choice to behave differently. These insights helped me to break generational curses and to be a better parent and wife. It is a journey though, and thankfully God is patient and kind with me and helps me every day!
"Given my background as a marriage and family therapist, I found Developing a Discerning Heart to be a powerful tool that churches can use to get more emotionally healthy."
I have been able to facilitate some groups in my community, and it helped me to pour into women in a significant way. Storyboarding is a great way to help people work through difficult pasts and frustrating present situations, ultimately challenging us about what we are finding life in other than in Jesus.
EMILY STARTS INTERNATIONAL HUB IN PHILIPPINES
The vision was cast right after I took Facilitating Relational Learning in 2015 in the U.S. I declared to Corrie, “We need this training in the Philippines. I will complete all four modules and let’s bring this to the Philippines.” I completed all the modules in 2018 and was appointed the Entrust hub coordinator for my country shortly after that.
We were set to begin FRL in January 2019 but some changes at the coordinating church forced a cancellation. I was devastated and asked God, “Why?” Guess what. The week we were supposed to be at the retreat house for this module, the nearby Taal volcano erupted. Had we been there, we would have been buried in ashes! Thank God, indeed!
The next opportunity was for an FRL in the south of the country in April 2020, which we had to postpone due to the pandemic. What about online? A super typhoon hit Legaspi, destroying homes and all communication/power lines.
The Philippines hub group (Corrie, Joycelyn, Trish Barrett, Ann and me) continued to meet and pray regularly, as did our registered participants. Finally, power and internet connections were restored.
The first-ever Philippines FRL took place online in the spring of 2021.
IS ONLINE WORTH IT?
A group of women overseas was planning on doing Developing a Discerning Heart in person in 2020. When that did not happen, we went online, but I was not sold on the virtual platform. As it turned out, it was truly above and beyond my expectations.
"One of the great blessings included a long-term worker joining us. While she had been blacklisted in her country, she couldn't attend in person. Since the training was online, she could participate from her temporary residence."
She was such an encouragement to all of us and a real mentor to several of the women who participated. To God be the glory!
KATHRYN PACKS HER TOOLBOX
As an Air Force family, the Ditsons embrace the adventure and challenge of moving around the country meeting new friends along the way. Kathryn homeschools their three children and dives into women's ministry wherever the Lord leads them.
Passionate about bringing women together and growing in community, Kathryn came to Entrust Equipping Women to add to her ministry tool box to facilitate meaningful discussions and bring depth to her small groups.
"This will have a huge impact on the way I do ministry. This is a totally different way to do group study and I am excited to practice and see God work through it."
Kathryn continues to participate in trainings to build her ministry toolbox. She desires to learn more about coming alongside women as they wrestle with their identity in Christ and following him faithfully. The trainings are equipping her with the tools to disciple women by asking helpful open questions and providing spaces for women to process through a biblical grid.
LATVIAN TEAM CELEBRATES FINAL TRANSLATION
The year 2021 was a landmark year for Entrust’s women’s ministry training, known as Sieviete sievietei, in Latvia. It’s the year in which a process 13 years in the making came to completion.
It started in 2008, when the Latvian Baptist Union’s women’s ministry translated Entrust Equipping Women's Walking with Christ (WwC) discipleship course into Latvian. Women’s ministry leaders took the course in Latvian and began to offer it to women in their churches. After completing WwC, many women wanted more.
At the request of the Latvian Baptist Union, teams of North Americans began to travel to Latvia to facilitate Entrust Equipping Women's four core modules. Facilitating Relational Learning (incorporating WwC) was offered in 2014, followed in subsequent years by Developing a Discerning Heart and Discovery Bible Study. All the study materials and the intensive training events were in English, meaning only women fluent in English were able to take part. Soon it became apparent that this training process needed to become Latvian, both linguistically and culturally.
Translation—along with some re-writing to make the content relevant to Latvian culture—editing and formatting of the module workbooks began. FRL was completed in 2017, DDH in 2019 and DBS in 2020. Then, at long last, in July of 2021, the fourth and final core module, Equipping Women to Serve, was finalized and put into print.
“We had a great team to accomplish these five courses,” says Lasma Asme, Sieviete sievietei director.
Fourteen team members had a hand in various aspects of translation and contextualization over the years of work. The final translation is not the end of the story.
“Our vision is to equip as many women as we can to facilitate those courses in local churches,” Lasma says, adding that the desire is for “participants see new ways how to pass it on … new facilitators who can train others and make new facilitator generations!”
The vision continues. “We hope for online courses,” she says. “We hope for regional hubs (training centers in strategic parts of the country). We hope that God will continue this work. As Psalm 90:17 says, ‘May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us—yes establish the work of our hands.’ “
BIZUNESH AND ASTER NURTURE BELIEVERS IN ETHIOPIA
After taking Developing a Discerning Heart with Ramonda, Bizunesh and Aster desired to pass it on to women in their region. As they launched the course, 21 of their zonal women's leaders and five women from that national church office in Ethiopia attended. Ramonda coached and mentored them as they facilitated for the first time to help them prepare and grow in confidence in the Lord. Together they prayed the participants would have understanding and humble hearts to share and learn together.
OPEN TO A NEW PATH
I love facilitating Developing a Discerning Heart. I have watched God use it in powerful ways in the lives of women, but when I heard it was being offered online, I thought about all the things the ladies would miss by not meeting in person. Then COVID-19 came and, in my limited vision, I thought, "Online DDH is better than no DDH!"
When I was asked to facilitate DDH online, every Saturday morning for 16 weeks, I thought, "Are you kidding?" But I told the Lord I was willing for him to change my mind.
And he did.
"My limited vision momentarily forgot that this course is HIS tool. He provided it. He can use whatever platform he chooses to accomplish his purposes. He doesn’t need it to happen in person. In my limited vision, maybe I wasn't seeing God's larger plans.
"So what might be his larger plans?"
Going online opens the course to women who would not travel to a training facility, take time off from work, leave their families or pay for a week at a retreat center. Maybe they are caregivers, struggle with health issues, have a nursing baby, feel intimidated by an in-person training or cannot prepare the entire course beforehand but could prepare one week at a time. What do I know about their situations?
Maybe he wants to remind me to get out of his way and instead focus on the privilege of being part of his work in the lives of my sisters in Christ, and in me. Now I can’t wait to see what he is going to do during this online Developing a Discerning Heart. It’s up to him, as it always is. I could write a long list of things he has shown me that make online training equal if not superior to in-person training.
ANGIE'S MINISTRY AS PERSONAL TRAINER
As a fitness instructor and stay-at-home mom, Angie felt like a fish out of water among full-time ministry workers attending Entrust Equipping Women's trainings.
"After discovering my spiritual gifts, I realized that God could use my gifts of encouragement and mercy to serve him outside the walls of the church."
Over the next few years she followed God’s call to use these gifts to pursue a career as a personal trainer. Angie comes alongside clients as a curious listener, asking open questions and encouraging clients as they share their fitness struggles with her. She loves her job and is assured that she’s doing EXACTLY what the Lord designed her to do.
POLLY INVITES OTHERS TO THE TABLE
Whether it's creating Bible study questions for incarcerated women or piquing her goddaughter's curiosity about the creation story, Polly uses her small group skills to invite people to the table.
Polly first experienced Entrust Equipping Women's training in the Fairfax County Detention Center. Once a month, Polly joined a team who led women in worship and Bible study. She noticed in particular that the Bible study portion was led through a series of questions inviting the women to engage not only with the Bible, but with each other. Building trust didn’t come easily, but the questions cleared a space for trust to grow.
This led Polly to participate in Entrust Equipping Women's first module, Facilitating Relational Learning so that she could grow in her skills of designing small group discussions that invited people to know and be known by God and others. She not only grew in skills, but also in a deeper awareness of the Spirit’s presence and guidance in each discussion.
During COVID, Polly now cares for her two young goddaughters each week. To spark their curiosity and invite participation, Polly creates a series of open questions leading them through the creation story. One can only imagine the imprint Polly is making on these girls as she creates a space for them to learn, imagine and grow closer to their creator who delights in them.
WHITNEY GROWS TO INVEST IN OTHERS
Whitney pursues learning passionately so that she can entrust what she’s learned to others. This passion led Whitney to register for Entrust Equipping Women's first module, Facilitating Relational Learning.
“Facilitating Relational Learning was fabulous, bar none, the best by far for equipping. It hit the big points in terms of adult learning and practical equipping. I used to feel pressure to perform and do all the teaching. Now I don’t feel like it’s all on me.”
Whitney recalls facilitators guiding the discussion, yet each woman playing a role in integrating the content by listening to the Holy Spirit in one another. Today Whitney continues to invest in others and grow in confidence using the tools and skills entrusted to her.
JANE INVITES DISCUSSION
Jane came to an Entrust Equipping Women course after years of serving in leadership at her church, with Bible Study Fellowship and Assist Pregnancy Center.
"What I found of immediate value in my training was being able to take the curriculum for the Abortion Recovery Bible Study and re-vamp it to make it more interactive and thought-provoking through good open questions."
Jane also has a heart for the Ukraine and traveled there in 2019 to encourage women in the faith. "My whole framework for the women's retreat in the Ukraine was informed by my Entrust Equipping Women's training to use questions to invite women to share their knowledge, stories and experiences. In a culture that doesn't value women's voices, I witnessed first-hand the tremendous impact this made in strengthening the women's relationships with one another and the Lord." Jane continues to take the Entrust trainings and faithfully support the ministry in many tangible ways.
MASTONA GROWS AND MULTIPLIES
Mastona is from Asia, but lives in Europe. Barb began discipling her a few years ago and they walked through Developing a Discerning Heart together. When Mastona began Facilitating Relational Learning online she was so excited to grow. "I love the challenges about multiplying disciples that I didn't think about before."
“I have grown more in the last 15 weeks than in all the rest of my Christian life. Now I think about the potential of the women in my group and challenge them to consider online courses, lead our group prayer and think about other women who don't know Jesus!"
Mastona shares how excited she is about what Jesus is showing her family also. "My mom is now studying the book of John with me!”
ESTHER TRAVELS TO ASIA FROM KENYA
After searching the internet for training opportunities, Esther came all the way from Kenya to take Facilitating Relational Learning in Asia in 2015.
Working for Sheepfold Ministries among unreached people in several African nations, Esther trains full-time Christian workers who are preparing to establish local sustainable businesses. She came to Asia desiring to learn how to apply adult learning principles to her training. She found so much more; not only new skills, but also fellowship and friendship with like-minded sisters in ministry.
Esther writes, “Some of the things that stood out for me were the idea of ‘giving voice’ to those who may be internal processors, use of open questions to stir discussion and generate shared learning, and preparation of lesson plans with objectives. I also realized that when teaching adults, I am not the only one with all the information, but there’s a wealth of information among adults. My role is to stimulate shared learning.
“This year (when I facilitated) I was more relaxed because I was better able to develop a lesson plan with objectives. Despite the fact we had to translate from different languages, I used a lot of discussion times and the participants were able to engage, generating shared learning. FRL gave me skills which made my work much easier. I enjoyed training much more.” Esther reports that, thanks to this training, ministry workers in Mozambique, for example, are more equipped and effective for the work God has called them to do.
Note: Barnabas’ Equipping Women International (EWI) partnered with Entrust in Asia, bringing the Women-to-Women Ministry Training (WWMT) curriculum (now known as Entrust Equipping Women) to an array of women in ministry.