Bible Women: Changing the Lives of Women Around the World

( [email protected] ) Jan 22, 2004 11:55 AM EST

Bible Women, the charismatic female leadership group of the United Methodist Women’s Division in Global Ministries who are spreading the gospel across Asia, marked the baptism of 85 new Christians in Malaysia alone, last month.

Since its inception 3 years ago, the joint effort between the United Methodist Church and the Proliteracy worldwide, has touched the lives of over 3,000 people.

These bible women train themselves with the knowledge of issues such as HIV/AIDS prevention, community-based health care, micro-credit economics and domestic violence, based on what they feel is needed by their ministry region.

Erlincy Rodriguez, a pastor and deaconess, is one of the Bible Women who travel to rural communities in the Philippines. Rodriguez regularly visits five rural communities in Davao, the Philippines, to teach about health issues and also conducts three-day seminars on HIV/AIDS in Western Visayas.

Using a simple, learning-focused technique, she teaches rural women to make herbal bath soaps for their personal use and to sell for income. She shows them how herbal plants from their surroundings can be used for medicines. And she teaches them about HIV/AIDS and its prevention.

"'I belong to where I am needed' is my motto," Rodriguez said, following the traditional Bible Women motto.

Many times, women such as Rodriguez travel by foot into rural areas and town. While the brutal trek can take several days to walk, the women say they are committed and believe this is their calling.

The women themselves often meet together to study the Bible, specifically focusing on Jesus' ministry of healing, challenges and transformation.

This year, WM training sessions are scheduled for Laos, Northern India, Southern Cambodia and the Tamil areas of West Malaysia.

The Women's Division represents United Methodist Women, a million-member organization that focuses on fostering spiritual growth, developing leaders and advocating for justice. Members raise about $20 million a year for programs and projects related to women, children and youth in the United States and in more than 100 countries around the world.