What Can a Single Woman Do When She Goes with God?
When that young-or maybe not so young-single woman in your church or family starts taking steps toward serving in mission, what thoughts run through your head? That it's too dangerous? That she'll never fit in? That she'd do better if she had a husband?
You aren't the first to have those thoughts, yet mission history is full of stories about single women counting the cost, going to the ends of the earth, and doing the unexpected. Think of Lottie Moon, Amy Carmichael, Mary Slessor, Elisabeth Elliot, or the army of indigenous "Bible women" who spread the Gospel across Asia.
Meet Megan-A Spiritual Mother
Megan has served on the edge of the Sahara for decades, and she recently told a local colleague that she has no regrets about being single. "I'm an evangelist, and not having a husband or kids I have much more time to get out and share the Gospel."
It can be a bit lonely at times. Years ago, as she was finishing her first term and about to go on home assignment, she told the Lord she wasn't sure she could come back if he didn't give her a husband or housemates to live with. "And He did," she says. "Housemate after housemate after housemate almost all of these years, or close neighbors who met my social needs. God is so real and personal."
Like other single women in her position, Megan has found the questions about her singleness a ministry opportunity. "Explaining to Muslims why I'm not married always opens doors for sharing my faith."
Though she focuses on her relationships with women, Megan has been surprised to see God give her a ministry among men as well. "It's not supposed to work that way, especially with Muslims, but God keeps bringing them my way and it's a blessing," she says. Every Friday for months she shared chronological Bible stories with a group of 25 men who met on the street outside a government office. She's led Discovery Bible studies with groups of young men. And she's distributed thousands of Gospel cassette tapes and micro SD cards to taxi drivers and men on the streets or in the marketplace; now she supplies local believing men who carry out most of the distribution efforts.
Sometimes these relationships go deeper. A man she led to the Lord years ago is like a son to her; he, and others, call her "Mama Megan." She made such an impact on a Muslim-background believer she employed as a guard that he, too, refers to her as his spiritual mother. Later he married, and Megan became friends with his Muslim wife. Last year, Megan spent hours with them providing marriage counseling during a difficult season. Her words made an impact on the wife who is now more open to the Gospel. "These things really encourage me," she says. "I've made mistakes for sure, and it's sometimes discouraging. But I have no regrets about serving among Muslims."
Being single is not for everyone. But it shouldn't surprise us to see God providing for and using single missionary women in places where their singleness would seem to disqualify or hold them back. He is God.