Impacting the Kingdom
EQUIPPING AND MULTIPLYING IN ZAMBIA
When Ramonda Lunsford, invited Renée Watson, a fellow SIM ministry worker, to take Developing a Discerning Heart, in Zambia she was excited to learn more. This course, developed by Entrust Equipping Women, attracted her because the main purpose of the course is to equip women to walk in their God-given identity and relationships and then use what they have learned to disciple other women. It has always been her desire to work in women’s discipleship ministry, but she felt quite ill equipped. Renée knew that this was her chance to jump right in to be better equipped.
The training was long and intense. The training days started at 8:00 in the morning and continued until 18:30 with lunch and tea breaks in between. Most of the theoretical content was not new to Renée. To her surprise, she benefited the most from the practical exercises and discussions. Her group consisted of nine women and three facilitators of various ages, languages and backgrounds. Their diversity gave them so much color and flavor. She thoroughly enjoyed learning in this environment. In particular, she learned about facilitating a diverse small group by the humility and patience modeled by the facilitators.
In addition to the material that they discussed, Renée learned about the variety of Zambian cultures. The older women in the group listened patiently as she asked questions. They gently explained the intricacies of their culture. Because of their example, she learned to listen more and not be so quick to give her input.
By the time they reached the end of the course, Renée wrestled inwardly with mixed feelings. She felt ready to be back home with her husband but dreaded saying goodbye to these precious women. She had new sisters and mothers that had influenced her life in such a special way. On the final day they had a “graduation” ceremony where they received their certificates and invited someone from their family or church to bear witness and celebrate with them. Saying goodbye was bittersweet. She trusts that these new friendships and lessons will remain for years to come.
Equipped with new tools, and nurtured by new friends, Renée was ready to return to her ministry in Chavuma, South Africa to put into practice what she had learned. Renée is a living example of Entrust’s key verse found in 2 Timothy 2:2, “And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.”
ROSE FINDS COMPLETE JOY IN CHRIST
One evening, while in a Bible study, the only thing recorded in my mind was this: “Be willing to be uprooted.” God had plans for me and here’s my story.
Outwardly, I had been acting like everything was fine but deep inside my world was falling apart. I was always trying to hide the real me. In February of 2022 I participated in Developing a Discerning Heart (DDH). Trust was built in the group, so I slowly began to share some things I had previously kept secret. At one point we were asked about the false places of trust God revealed to us during our lessons. I decided to share. Despite my hands getting cold and the shaking I felt inside, I found myself sharing that my relationship with my boyfriend was a false place of trust.
As I processed ways to apply the new truths I was learning, I put it up like this:
“I’ve learned that I should allow God to fill the emptiness in my deepest being instead of finding someone to fill that void which only God can fill.”
Only during DDH did I finally admit this to myself. Indeed, God used this training together with the facilitators to bring about the change I ultimately desire in my life. My confusion and sadness are slowly fading away, leaving me with complete joy in Christ.
Through daily surrender and fervent prayer with the help of my fellow DDH participants and our facilitators, I am healing. I am forever grateful that God allowed me to be part of this training. I treasure the people he used during this heartbreaking time in my life.
Written by Rose, DDH participant from the Philippines
DAILA FACILITATES DISCOVERY BIBLE STUDY IN LATVIAN
Together with my sisters in Christ, Ilze and Agnese, I worked on detailed lesson plans for Discovery Bible Study (DBS) in Latvian.
What is special here is that DBS happened for the first time in our language. It is difficult to properly use the inductive Bible study method [in Latvian], but it is twice as difficult if you have to do it in a foreign language. English is very often the third or even fourth language for Latvians.
What’s more, our group of three facilitators and seven students was, unfortunately, not able to meet in person. The second wave of COVID spread in Latvia, causing us to cancel physical meetings in October 2020. We were hoping to come together in person within 3-6 months, but it was not possible. As the situation remained quite unpredictable and even though it seemed really hard and not very comfortable, our training continued on Zoom.
The Holy Spirit was with us despite long distances between participants using this online platform. We could still pray for each other, cry and laugh together, give our testimonies, and study the Bible with great passion. The best part of all is that our seven participants finished the course the weekend of July 3-4.
I’m so full of gratitude for the way God is using our weaknesses and showing us the way in every situation. In spite of our frustrations with not being able to meet in person, God gave us strength, passion and wisdom.
"I’m grateful for an amazing experience of facilitating the course. It’s completely out of my comfort zone, but it turned out to be the most fascinating and fulfilling learning time for me."
I was always amazed as I learned the real love of Christ through my own facilitators (Trish B and Laurie L) when I was a participant in DBS (in English, in Latvia). They were loving, but also giving honest and straight-forward feedback in the same way that Jesus once did. Now I experience the same unity, the same support, the same love from my co-facilitators Ilze and Agnese, and that’s something I value so much. I thank God for all the things he let me experience and all the things he let me do for his glory. For all things I believe I cannot do, he guides me through them.
Written by Daila R.
Editor’s note. One of the goals of any Entrust training is that the learners pass along new understanding and skills to additional groups of learners. We’re delighted to introduce Daila, a second-generation learner, and her experience of equipping a third generation of women in Latvia.
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!
Written by Trish B, Entrust Equipping Women Lead Facilitator
SCHOLARSHIP ENCOURAGES ASHLEY TO PERSEVERE
Ashley Schillinger recently joined our Entrust Equipping Women’s team as the Equipping Women Certification Process Coordinator for the United States. Ashley has served on the South Texas Hub Leadership Team. Then earlier this year, she joined the Entrust team because “Entrust has been life-changing for me, and I am excited to be a part of equipping other women.”
As part of her on-boarding, Ashley needed to take the support development training. Finances were tight, and she considered calling Joycelyn to rescind her decision to join the Equipping Women team. Then everything changed, and her calling was confirmed. She received a phone call telling her that she was going to receive a partial scholarship to help cover the training expense. Ashley was thankful and felt like the Lord was giving her the green light to move forward.
When asked what she might share that would encourage others to donate to the Equipping Women scholarship fund, Ashley replied, “I know a lot of women want to be equipped and used by the Lord. However, the reality is that it’s not always financially possible to attend training or even start a role with the ministry where there is a lot of cost involved. By donating to the scholarship fund, you are giving a woman the opportunity to say yes to what the Lord is inviting her into.”
Consider how you might help other women answer God’s call on their life by donating to the Equipping Women Scholarship Fund.
NAVY MOM PACKS MINISTRY 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.
SANDRA STEPS OUT IN FAITH TO FOLLOW GOD
Sandra serves as a women’s ministry leader in her church in Zambia. She came to Entrust Equipping Women's Facilitating Relational Learning in Zambia as the very last one to register. Another participant had to drop out, opening that last space for Sandra. Completing her pre-work was quite an accomplishment because of her late registration. But faithfulness and diligence are character traits that define Sandra.
On the first day of the training, when asked to write concerns for the week onto sticky notes, she posted a note about her need for finances for the training.
Throughout the week, Sandra engaged in meaningful discussions, befriended someone in the group who felt unseen and worked tirelessly on her lessons to make them effective. Late in the week, she got the great news that her finances for the training were covered through a gift. Her praise and thankfulness went straight to the Lord. Joy completely covered her face and she told everyone who would listen of God’s great provision.
“Me coming here was not originally intended,” she told us. “God’s plans were for me to be here even though it was last minute. I have been able to learn so much and enjoy making new friends. I had encouraging facilitators who wanted us to learn.”
Sandra finished the training strong and plans to go back to her home church and pass on what has been given to her.
Written by Jen Frey, Entrust Equipping Women U.S and Canada Director
OPEN TO A NEW PATH
I love facilitating Module 2 - Developing a Discerning Heart (DDH). 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.
Written by Linda B, Entrust Equipping Women Lead Facilitator
ANGIE DISCOVERS 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 FEELS BURDEN LIFTED
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 IN ABORTION RECOVERY
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 EQUIPS LOCAL BUSINESS LEADERS IN 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.
SHERRY INSPIRED BY COMMITMENT
Sherry was with Entrust from the beginning when we were known as Biblical Education by Extension over forty years ago. She trained women in Romania to study the Bible and facilitate small groups, while flying under the radar of the Communist government. Sherry knows commitment. Yet she is still moved by the commitment she sees in women today who invest in the equipping they need to equip others.
"Our intensive Facilitating Relational Learning training in northern Virginia has surprised me once again. God moved several women to take on the commitment of this training in spite of already full schedules. The training involves 40 hours of preparation and 40 hours of in-person sessions — a huge responsibility in light of work, family and church commitments. No one forces these women to equip themselves to lead other women, but they have chosen to serve and lead others.
I’m honored to rub shoulders with women who see the pain in our world and take action to meet it head on. "
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 last November, destroying homes and all communication/power lines.
The Philippines hub group (Corrie, Joycelyn, Trish Barrett, Ann and I) continued to meet and pray regularly, as did our registered participants. Finally, power and internet connections were restored.
The Philippines’ first-ever FRL will take place twice a week, April 6 – May 15, online, coordinated by Greenhills Fellowship Church, Legaspi, southern Luzon.
RAMONDA SHARES GIFT OF SCHOLARSHIPS
Over three-quarters of the women who come through Entrust Equipping Women training modules in Africa come on a scholarship. Ramonda Lunsford, Regional Leader for Africa and Country Leader for Zambia, says, "God has blessed beyond what we even imagined."
After Ramonda took Developing a Discerning Heart (DDH), God began to open doors for her to share first in her church in Tomball, Texas, then in Ethiopia. From there, doors opened for hub training in Nairobi, Kenya. As women returned to their countries from the training, other African countries opened. Ramonda and her husband, Tom, now live in Zambia. They have developed an Entrust Africa Team and Entrust national teams in Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, and Zambia.
When a woman applies for a scholarship, she is asked, “How much of the registration cost do you think you will be able to contribute?” Each woman is required to contribute part of the cost of the training. Often their churches also help toward the registration fees.
One of the things Ramonda appreciates most about working with scholarship recipients is how appreciative the women are. They are getting an opportunity to see themselves as chosen from all the other women in their particular denomination. Those women who cannot go to training say, “Go learn all you can, and then come back and teach us.”
“Scholarships,” Ramonda excitedly says, “are a way to lay a solid foundation for discipleship because these courses are that good and life changing. I have seen that firsthand.”
ANNA GROWS IN SKILLS AND GRATITUDE
“Tell her about me.” Anna knew the voice in her heart was that of the Holy Spirit. She and her friend had participated in the January 2023 Discovery Bible Study (DBS) in Clearwater, Florida. They were now at the airport waiting for their flights home. Anna immediately knew to whom the Holy Spirit wanted her to talk. Several minutes earlier, she met a woman in the security line and spoke briefly with her. Now she was being urged to find her. Anna and her friend tried to find the woman but were unsuccessful. Anna said, “It was so encouraging to hear God’s voice speak to me and to have someone so willing to partner together in this divine appointment. We continued to pray for our new friend’s salvation and put her in the Lord’s hands as we parted ways again until the next time the Lord brings our paths together.”
Anna had already taken Module 1 - Facilitating Relational Learning and Module 2 - Developing a Discerning Heart and found the training to be helpful, informative, and “just really well done.” She wanted to continue to learn as much as possible from the curriculum. “I wanted to grow in my skills in studying the Bible in the way they taught.” It was an insightful, sometimes intense week. There were also moments of togetherness. There was plenty of laughter at mealtimes and relaxing, calming walks on the beach, but the highlight for Anna was the fifteen-minute message. She had no idea how it would come together, but because of how the curriculum is facilitated, the message’s development came together succinctly and clearly. She was so encouraged that everyone in the group could complete the assignment and learn from one another!
Anna already used the skills learned in FRL to develop lesson plans in Philippians for her small group this past fall. They are currently using the Character of God study in their group. Anna is “going to use this spring and summer to develop lesson plans for next fall’s study. I have approached our fellow small group leaders to see if they would like to participate in the mini-module 1 workshop to learn to be a better facilitator, and they all agreed.”
Observing, interpreting, and applying the Scriptures have been invaluable to Anna. She says, “I will be able to use these skills my entire life. I will also use the feedback the facilitators gave me in being a ‘co-learner’ as opposed to setting myself up as the ‘teacher.’ They also shared some more feedback to help me be more personable and humbler in my facilitating. I am so grateful. Entrust has developed some rock-solid modules for learning to study the Bible. I would highly recommend everyone who wants to grow in this skill to participate in any of the Entrust modules.”
DOREEN AND HILDA GRADUATE IN EAST AFRICA
In November 2022 the East Africa HUB celebrated its first 6 women who have completed all 4 of the Entrust courses! Since the HUB began training women in 2017, we have been praying and working towards this moment, and so have the women! What made it so special was hearing each of the women talk about “personal transformation” describing who they were before they began these trainings, and who they are now!
Hilda Kabagoni is a farmer from the Copperbelt in Zambia. Doreen Munyeu is a pastor’s wife who was also living in the Copperbelt. Together God has been using these women to change the culture of discipleship across Zambia. After taking their first course in 2019, they went back to their home church and began equipping small group leaders with the lessons they learned. Women responded and were eager to be involved. At first, women were a bit ‘jealous’ that they were not chosen to go and get training, but after they saw that Hilda and Doreen returned and shared freely everything that they had been taught, they sent them off expecting good things after their return. They haven’t been disappointed and now they are also talking about the personal transformation that is taking place in their own lives that has come as a result of studying God’s Word together.
What are some of the ways God is changing women to be more like Him? Women who were known for having a sharp tongue are now being described as kind and generous. Women who were too insecure to talk or share with other women are now talking about their identity in Christ with boldness and confidence. Women who used to care more about themselves, now care more about what God thinks and says about things in their lives.
Through these two women, more than a hundred women in their local church area have benefited from the Entrust courses. Doreen was given the opportunity to share with several thousand women in the Evangelical Church of Zambia’s October conferences how she identified with the Samaritan woman’s story. “Like her, I’ve allowed God to change my story. I’ve become an evangelist leaving everything behind to go and testify about my God.” Hilda concurs, “My testimony has become music in my mouth.” May the Lord continue the good work he has begun in their lives, and use them fully in the lives of others.
*Doreen serves on the Entrust Team Africa and has traveled from Zambia to Kenya and Uganda to help us facilitate workshops and trainings.
RHONDA FINDS FREEDOM
“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. (John 8:32)”
Florence Littauer, Christian author, and speaker, once challenged her audience to go the second mile, “It only takes a little to be above average.” I took the challenge; her words became my mantra. Figure out what the average person would do, and then do a little more.
That works for the most part. But sometimes, in the doing, my desires get tangled with my goals and throw my world into chaos. Learning the difference between the two at an Entrust Equipping Women training, Developing a Discerning Heart, set my heart free. It’s a simple concept that every Christian woman needs to know, and it helped me figure out what is God’s responsibility and what is mine.
Christian counselor Dr. Larry Crabb maintains that the secret to contentment “is keeping our goals and desires straight.” A desire, simply spoken, is something that you want, but it is not within your control alone to make it happen. It requires the cooperation of another person. A goal, on the other hand, is something that you want, and it is within your control to make it happen. Goals help you move toward a desire.
I desire that my son and his wife come to know Jesus Christ as their personal savior. I want that more than anything. For that desire to become reality requires movement on their part. I cannot force them to believe. Badgering only pushes them further away. Manipulation says, “Move out of the way, God. I’ve got this. After all, I love them more than you do.”
My goals (within my control) are to pray for them daily, to be Jesus with skin on to them, to love them unconditionally whether they make a decision for Christ, and to remember always (per Dr. Billy Graham) that it is God’s job to judge, the Holy Spirit’s job to convict, and my job to love. Oh, and did I mention prayer?
I identify my desires, pray, and then leave them in God’s hands.
I identify my goals. I take responsibility by figuring out what I can do, do it, then pray for wisdom, opportunity, and strength, and let it rest.
Now that, my sisters, is freedom!
ELISE TRANSFORMED BY THE POWER OF THE RESURRECTION
A mother of three and grandmother of two, Elise Kovacic, gave her heart to Christ forty years ago. She continues to know him more and to share him with others. She and her husband have been married for thirty-five years and make their home in southern California.
Linda first introduced Elise to Entrust Equipping Women. Linda uses Entrust Equipping Women materials in the Middle East to train national women how to lead. She enthusiastically encouraged Elise to take Equipping Women's four modules.
Elise took the first two modules online, “When I took Module 1 - Facilitating Relational Learning, I learned the art of developing and asking simple, meaningful, open questions that draw women out. Module 2 - Developing a Discerning Heart taught me to address my past in a way I have never done before. I found healing and a closer walk with the Lord. Module 3 - Discovery Bible Study was the next course. I have appreciated the small group approach and the leader-to-student ratio. The leaders are so knowledgeable and approachable, which has allowed my external processing self to understand the material in a deeper way.”
Her first in-person learning experience was with Module 3 in January of 2023. She was not disappointed, “Spending a week with eight other ladies in close quarters brought us together in a special way. We laughed, cried, prayed, worshipped, walked, ate, learned, and studied the Scriptures together. Each of us was unique and had our own stories, but we shared a love of the Lord, his Word, and a desire to share it with others.”
One truth stood out to Elise, “Realizing that to ‘know Christ’ better was not just to understand him and his character but to know the power behind his resurrection. That I have that same power because of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and it can be manifested for God’s glory. That is mind-blowing and will take me in a different direction as I desire to know him more.”
Corrie and Elise created and used a 12-hour Module 1 training for the leaders of Elise’s church. She is hoping to continue that and invite them back for practice. Module 3 allowed Elise to practice and better understand the art of developing and asking simple, meaningful, open questions. It all came together for her, and she feels more prepared to lead others in studying the Scriptures.
“The leaders of Entrust are each so unique, and each adds to the learning experience in different ways. I realized that I don’t have to fit a mold but can be myself, and the Lord can work through me differently than others but just as meaningful.”
BEATRICE LEARNS FROM OTHERS TO EQUIP OTHERS
Meet Beatrice. Diligent follower of Jesus, eager to equip other women like herself. Beatrice took part in Entrust Equipping Women’s first module, Facilitating Relational Learning in Zambia in April 2022.
I first met Beatrice at a farmer’s market in the heart of Lusaka, Zambia. Most people go to the market looking for fresh vegetables or fruit, but this time I was looking for a woman who had registered for our Entrust Equipping Women training. I wanted to meet her ahead of time.
Behind a market stand full of fruits, vegetables and every kind of spice you could imagine, a bright smile and a warm hello greeted me. I had found this precious woman of God and a new friend, Beatrice.
Beatrice has served many years as the women’s ministry director in her church in Lusaka. Throughout the last year, she has been passing her ministry on to the next generation. When she heard about the training that Entrust Equipping Women was bringing to Zambia, she knew it was equipping that she desired to receive. God opened the doors and provided for Beatrice to take this first module with us.
I watched her navigate through the module with great dedication and diligence. She came prepared and ready to contribute during each session.
As a facilitator, I prepare for the trainings with prayer and many hours of preparation for each lesson. The joy and reward that is given back to me through relationships with a woman like Beatrice is a priceless treasure.
At the conclusion of the module, she shared her takeaways from the eight-day intensive.
“The training has helped me to improve and change the way I used to share the word of God with my family and others.”
Asked what had been most meaningful, she said, “The group discussions, because of learning from each other and getting close to each other, thereby building confidence and trust.”
Beatrice plans to return to her local church with her new skills and understanding of equipping women for kingdom purposes. She will continue to come alongside her co-worker, who also attended the training, to equip the next generation of women in her church.
My final meeting with Beatrice took me back to the beautiful farmer’s market where we first met. She shared with joy and confidence about her experience at the training. We prayed together for all that God will do in this year in her ministry and in her home.
Written by Jen Frey, U.S. and Canada Director, Entrust Equipping Women
JEAN USES STORYBOARDING IN WORK AND MINISTRY
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 to not be the victim anymore. I know I have a choices 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 helping us to challenge what we are finding life in other than in Jesus.