by Stephanie Dobbin
In January, I was privileged to host the third annual Baptist World Aid Women in Leadership trip. This year, the trip took us to Bangladesh and was attended by eight incredible leaders of Australian Christian women.
I count it such an honour to travel with these amazing ladies, all of whom have platforms to influence and inspire our Christian community across the nation – so, even though I’m the one “leading” the trip, I’m always very aware of the company I’m keeping.
When it comes to discussing difficult topics, like understanding God and suffering, I have to be honest… I feel very under equipped to lead these ladies in that space!
But I think that’s the value that they bring to these trips themselves… and, for me, sitting under their leadership is always one of my favourite parts of our travels together.
But the thing which seems to resonate the most for me every year, is that moment when these leaders – these women – begin to see some of themselves in the stories they are told in community.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my time here at Baptist World Aid, it’s that we are not so very different from one another… and it’s a real joy to witness the women that I travel with discover the same thing.
That moment of shared commonality could be as simple as the number of children that they have, or as important and undefinable as the love they feel for their family. Whatever it might be, that shared understanding always deepens the impact of the next, inevitable realisation:
These women are just like us. They’re poor through no fault of their own. It’s simply the circumstance they were born into.
Baptist World Aid is so fortunate in its partnership with the national Baptist Women ministry.
Every year, Baptist Women uses its women’s conference platform to fundraise and bless vulnerable mums and their precious children living in poverty… and it’s making a real difference!
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and burdened by the complexities and challenges of the stories we hear, but hope in those same stories is also incredibly encouraging… take Mossammot, for example.
Mossammot was married as a little girl. Heartbreakingly, a generation later, her elder daughters also suffered the same fate… but when she became involved in a project generously supported by loving women, here in Australia, she learned the importance of keeping her youngest girl in school.
Now she is determined to make sure that little *Anbini will never know the same horror of becoming a child bride!
I walked away from the Women in Leadership trip feeling hopeful for the future of these women, their children, and their communities… and incredibly thankful for our partnership with Baptist Women, which is helping make this work possible!
So many of the women we met on our trip had been robbed of their childhood when poverty forced them to become child brides… but thanks to the loving support of women, here in Australia, their daughters will never have to.
To find out more about the work supported each year by Baptist Women, or to give to this work yourself, go to: baptistworldaid.org.au/vulnerable-children-fund.