The AD2000 Women’s Track
Mobilizing women around the world
Women from many parts of Russia gathered at the Black Sea at Stalin's former KGB resort in May of 1996 for a prayer and evangelism seminar sponsored by the AD2000 Women's Track. Many of these were Adygs, Dagestans, Tatars and Bashkirs, all representatives from unreached peoples. From across the sea in Muslim Turkey came forty Christian women. Most had never been out of their country; many were apprehensive about meeting Russians whom they stereotyped as austere and rigid.
Before the week was out, barriers had been broken and new friendships formed. Above all, a prayer burden for those within their countries who didn't know Christ flourished.
The Turks confessed their trepidation about coming. The Russians shared from their hearts how in the previous few years, as they'd come to Sochi for retreats, they'd often come to the water's edge early in the morning. There they lifted their hands across the sea to Turkey, and prayed that God would break the spiritual darkness. Now they were seeing their prayers answered. The AD2000 Women's Track seeks to help women around the world break barriers, and use their gifts to help fulfill the Great Commission. Luis Bush, international director of the AD2000 & Beyond Movement, appointed Judy Mbugua of Kenya and Lorry Lutz of the USA to form a women's track to ensure that women became part of the evangelism movement sweeping the world. In 1991 twelve key women from as many regions of the world met to develop a strategy to mobilize women for prayer and evangelism.
One of the first projects was to publish the Study Guide for Evangelism Praying, which Evelyn Christenson, chairperson of the North American Women's Track (also known as Christian Women United), wrote for the AD2000 Women's Track. To date it has been translated into 47 languages such as Karkalpuk, Malagasy, Uzbek and French.
A South African mother recently wrote that she had started using the triplet prayer concept taught in the Study Guide with her two daughters, 8 and 11. "We are praying every day for their unsaved daddy and two other unsaved relatives," she writes.
In the farthest northern city of Russia a woman wrote to Olga Spachil who produced and distributes the Russian edition, to say that they give one copy to each church and the women copy it to share with each other. Costs of mailing it even within Russia are prohibitive.
Iqbal Massey, regional representative for the Middle East and CIS countries has a goal of 5,000 prayer triplets in her region by the year 2000. There are already more than 1,000 in existence. It's estimated hundreds of thousands of women have studied the booklet in their own language and are praying in triplets for unsaved friends and relatives and for an unreached people. The primary goal of the AD2000 Women's Track is to be a catalytic force to mobilize, equip and release Christian women for evangelism, especially among the unreached.
Violet Mtegha, who served as regional representative for French speaking Africa until her death in March, 1998, had traveled to twelve countries, gathering women from all denominations and backgrounds to train them in missions. With over 200 unreached tribes in West Africa alone, the challenge is overwhelming. But Violet believed that women could do their part in prayer, taking vision trips into unreached villages and finding ways to present the Gospel.
Shortly after Violet's visit, a group of women in Gabon decided to go to two villages without any Gospel witness several days drive away. They loaded a van with supplies, bedding, even water. Along the way they picked up a Christian woman who lived in the area. When they arrived at the first village they held a meeting, gathered those who were interested and began a praise march. When they reached the second village a chief in the next village sent word he wanted them to come to his. By the time they held their meeting in the third village, the march had grown to over 200 women and many had accepted Christ. Now what to do with these new babes in Christ? The women gave a bag of caustic soda to the Christian in the area so that she could make soap and sell it to pay for her bus fare back to teach and encourage the converts. Sharing stories like this is part of the purpose of the Women's Track quarterly newsletter, Women of Vision 2000. The letter goes to women leaders in about 150 countries and is translated into French, Spanish, Bulgarian, Portuguese and Russian. In Manila the AD2000 Women's Track which works closely with the Commission on Women's Concerns of the World Evangelical Fellowship, has held several prayer and evangelism seminars. After a successful one in Manila the team decided to go to Iloilo in the province of Vasayas. There they encouraged a new team to put on a seminar. A women's band with several doctors, including a cardiologist as drummer, lead the worship.
In each seminar the team challenges women to pray for unreached peoples in the 10/40 window, especially those in Southeast Asia. Thelma Pantig, Southeast Asia representative and several others have ministered with her in Vietnam, Burma and Cambodia with the same vision.
Though the AD2000 & Beyond Movement has decided to close down at the end of the year 2000, the leaders of the Women's Track believe the opportunities to train and mobilize women have just begun. The growing network of women around the world needs the encouragement of knowing God is using women everywhere. They realize that women have unique problems and obstacles in ministry not the least of which is the poor self-image engendered by many cultures. Therefore at its biannual meeting of international representatives in May 1998, the decision was made to continue beyond 2000 with a new name but the same focus.
They realize that women can step out of their comfort zones to share Christ with those who have never heard. In Cote d'Ivoire a team of women adopted the Toura people. In December 1997 they spent a week in a Toura village. When they arrived they found there was no place for them to stay. The chief finally moved out of one of his huts and allowed them to sleep on the floor. All night the local witch doctor and his followers danced and shouted outside the hut, calling out to their spirits to stop the work of the Christians. But the women prayed and persevered. They treated the sick, visited from house to house, showed the Jesus film and saw 43 people come to Christ. As they had prayed in the months before the trip, God had led them to a young Toura Christian in the city who had a burden for his own people. They left him behind in the village, with a promise from the chief that he could build a house and begin a church. And they are now selling cakes and jam to help support him.
The vision of the Women's Track is to see women in all parts of the world seek opportunities to use their gifts to share Christ with those who have never heard.