Our annual 2014 EMS Widows seminar just ended and 53 widows attended.
by Rev Stephen Panya Baba
Just before we started the seminar session, I received call from a supporting mother (herself a widow) who gave N200,000 (two hundred thousand naira) for the widows without her knowing about the seminar and that I was right with the widows at the seminar! Talk of the Spirit moving! The widows were specially encouraged with the good news of the support that came in.
Also, another woman gave brand new wrappers gifts to the widows. The widows were greatly encouraged, they prayed, wept and signed up for chain prayer and fasting for EMS of ECWA Missionaries, staff and supporters.
Thanks for your concern, love and support for EMS Missionaries' Widows and God bless you all.
To God be the glory!
Your Preacher of the Word
EMS OF ECWA Widows Seminar in 2011
by Bill Foute
Thirty-eight EMS widows met for mutual encouragement in Jos from August 1 to 5 in 2011. (EMS is ECWA's missions arm, sending Nigerian missionaries to work in unreached areas inside and outside the country. At the moment, more than 1,200 missionaries are working in Nigeria, Benin Republic, Cameroun, Chad, Ghana, Niger Republic and Togo.)
Some of the widows have been widowed for 20 or more years. Others lost their husbands this year, including two whose husbands were martyred for Christ. One husband died while bringing his son back to the EMS school in January. Another, Isma Dogari, was killed and his body burned in Bauchi in April. All told, eight husbands had been killed through motorcycle or car accidents, one died of snake bite, one drowned, three were killed as a result of persecution, and the rest died of various illnesses. Fourteen of the 38 widows have their own farms, 24 have their own home, while the rest pay rent.
During the workshop, several presenters encouraged the widows from God's word. They also worked through the trauma healing workshop. Each one shared her painful journey and was prayed for by the group. Behind the scenes, they encouraged each other so that the feeling of isolation and that no one cares melted.
This was the first time EMS has gathered their widows for such a workshop, a fact that did not go unnoticed by the ladies. They were very very appreciative of EMS for this effort. Fiona Crook's mother, a British physician, along with Miriam Singer and Katie Moore, gave medical exams as well.
One of our personal highlights was when some of the ladies performed dramas. One drama focused on the role of the widow helping her children by listening to their problems. It was a touching moment when the mother lovingly embraced her daughter after she confessed she was pregnant out of wedlock. Another highlight for us was the closing ceremony when many tears were shed as the ladies released some of their sadness, hurts, anger and frustration to Jesus. They wrote these on slips of paper, nailed them to a cross and then removed and burned them.
During the workshop God was at work in other hearts as well. In response to Internet updates by the EMS Director with stories of what was going on in the workshop, people began to respond with monetary assistance. One donor is taking on the support of 15 EMS widows at about $35 each monthly. EMS has been giving their widows this stipend since January. Another donor gave money for each widow to receive a sewing machine. When these gestures were announced the ladies burst into singing and dancing!
The widows were asked about help in the future. They listed such things as vocational training such as how to make soap, lotion, caring for goats and chickens, farming and tailoring. They would love a field trip to the zoo, and they welcome visitation from EMS and SIM. They want help with dealing with their youth. Farming is important to many of them and they would welcome gifts of fertilizer! Several said they'd like to continue to serve as missionaries with EMS as widows.
The widows face problems with relatives, lack of support, serving communion, and being misunderstood by pastors' wives. One of the most difficult issues they face is their husband's relatives who often take everything they own, including the kids, after the husband dies (this is customary in most of Nigeria). Several widows come from Muslim homes or their husbands came from Muslim homes. These are pressured to marry Muslim relatives and bring their children up under Islam.
It was humbling and a privilege to facilitate in the healing process with these precious ladies of faith. EMS hopes to continue to bring them together in future years for further training and encouragement. We know some EMS widows were not in attendance, but we hope they can attend next time.