Women Missionaries -
Who are They?
Women missionaries can be defined in various ways. You're probably
interested in my definition before you read the rest of this page.
most fundamental answer to the question is any female who enjoys a
personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, and obeys His command
to "go everywhere in the world, and tell the Good News to everyone", is a
When I was a child we sang a couple of choruses I still remember that used this definition. The words to one were:
Be a missionary every day,
Tell the world that Jesus is the way,
Be it in the town or country or the busy avenue,
Africa or Asia, the task is up to you,
So, be a missionary every day,
Tell the world that Jesus is the way,
The Lord is soon returning,
There is no time to lose,
So be a missionary, God's own Emissary,
Be a missionary today.
The second said:
I can be a little missionary,
If the gospel story to the lost I carry,
I can work for Jesus in the homeland,
Lord here am I send me.
Both songs share important Biblical truths about who a Christian missionary is, and what they should be doing.
However, the major topic discussed on this page will be that of foreign women missionaries. Women who actually have gone to "Africa or Asia", or in my case, Puerto Rico.
In my experience, and from the reading I've done, it appears there
are three major categories of women missionaries who serve in foreign
countries around the world. They are:
- Single women missionaries-
These ladies go "alone" to other countries to spread the Good News that
Jesus loves every individual and has provided a way of escape from Hell
and eternal destruction.
I put alone in quotes because although they are alone humanly, the Lord never leaves them alone.
Some famous women in this category have been Amy Carmichael and Mary Slessor.
Single women missionaries I've known and worked with have included Barbara Lake, Iris Grau, and Joan Whiteheart.
you may well have heard of the first two, you aren't likely to have
heard of the individuals I've known, and personally worked with.
I assure you, as of this writing, there are hundreds, and probably
thousands, of single women missionaries just like them serving the Lord
around the world.
- A missionary wife -This is a missionary lady who has gone with her husband, a missionary as well, to serve in other countries. Many
of these ladies have died on the mission field long before their
husbands, while others have outlived their husbands and continued in the
foreign country as single women missionaries after their husband's
The example that comes to my mind immediately is Elizabeth
Elliot, who stayed in Ecuador with the wives of the other men who were
martyred with her husband. They were able to reach the Auca Indians, now known as the Wuarani,who
had killed their husbands, with the gospel within a few years of their
Missionary wives I've known while serving in
Puerto Rico have included Ann Cortes, Joy Sprunger, Dali Garcia, and Ann
Buchanan. Of course these aren't the only missionary wives I've known,
but they are the ones I've known and worked with the most.
missionary wives serve in a multitude of capacities in the mission work
with their husbands, their first responsibility is to their husbands as
wives, and to their children as mothers.
Consequently, they are
sometimes limited in their abilities to accomplish other things, by the
needs of their families.
- Short term women missionaries
This category of missionary is really a modern phenomenon, since until
recently transportation wasn't available to make this type of missionary
Usually short term women missionaries
have specialized skills that can be used on a part time basis. Examples
might be doctors, nurses, or teachers who could go to the mission field
for a few weeks to a few months to meet a pressing need, or fill in for
someone who needs to come home to visit supporting churches, or to take
care of medical needs.
This is my current role when my husband
and I go on our short term trips, but he is the one who does the
electrical work, while I am somewhat limited in my ability to be
involved in ministry, by the short duration of our trips. However,
I'm always able to pass out many gospel pamphlets while I'm there.
Lord only knows how much or how little is being accomplished through
these efforts, but we all know the Holy Spirit is able to use His Word
to reach hearts, so I know it is an effort worth making.
Additionally, I'm able to get a lot of work done on this website, so I'm sure we are communicating with our prayer supporters.
The ministries accomplished by women on the mission field are probably almost as varied as the women themselves.
Amy Carmichael started homes for girls and women she saved from Hindu slavery and prostitution.
Another single woman missionary I've met named Ann Livingston is a medical doctor and runs a clinic in Haiti.
Dali Garcia, in addition to being a wife and mother, runs the Awana
program in their church, and oversees all the ladies ministries in the
church. She is the wife of Pastor Garcia, the man we work with on our
short term trips to Mayaguez.
What did I do as a single missionary?
answer to that question is a quite involved, so I hope you have a few
minutes. In Levittown, I taught first through fifth grade in the
Christian school. I also organized a Junior church program for the
children, and trained twelve to fifteen ladies in the church to work
In Fajardo, I taught in their Christian school, on the
fifth and sixth grade level, and worked in the church with visitation,
soul winning, and extensively with discipleship training of new
I tried to pick up the slack and do what the pastor's
(missionary's) wife didn't have time to do, since she was raising five
It has been over twenty years now since I've been
working as a single missionary, so I'm probably forgetting as many
responsibilities as those I'm remembering, but these still stand out in
How to Pray for Them
Pray that they will:
- make time to grow in their
relationship with the Lord. It is easy to get so busy serving the Lord
that you never have any time to spend with the Lord in friendship,
fellowship, and worship.
- depend on the Lord for strength and wisdom in service rather than trying to serve Him in their own strength.
the "grass is always greener" syndrome. If you wonder what I mean, it
is where you are always wishing you had what the Lord has given to
someone else. If you are a single missionary, you wish you were
married...If you are a married missionary you wish you were single, so
you'd have more time for ministry.This is just one example,
but when we fall into this syndrome, it hinders our ability to serve,
because we are doubting God's goodness, and His sovereign will in our
lives. If you think this would never happen to missionaries, I
can assure you, you're mistaken. They may not be willing to share, but
many do struggle with this problem.
- have balance in their lives and ministry. It is easy to get so caught up in the work that you begin to work non-stop. This
problem undoubtedly contributed to the health difficulties that
necessitated my leaving the field for medical reasons after ten years
- find a relationship with the Lord that will
provide their mental, emotional, and social needs, so they can be
constantly giving in their relationships with others, without becoming
- not be frustrated by the necessity of
daily living. When I first went to the field I was greatly frustrated by
having to cook, clean, mow the lawn, and take care of the other
responsibilities of life. As a missionary, I wanted to spend all my time reaching people with the gospel and helping them grow.I
needed to learn I could glorify God "whether I was eating, drinking, or
whatever I was doing", as long as I dedicated my life and its
activities to Him.
- have safety as they travel back
and forth to the field they serve on, and as they live and work, (alone
if they're single) in a foreign country.
It is a privilege to serve the Lord in mission work. The message of
Christ provides liberty and dignity to every human being, male or
Perhaps that is why women make up such a large percentage
of the missionary workforce. However, it is only by God's grace and
power that women can minister effectively, in foreign countries.
every woman missionary needs prayer support. As a missionary I always
used to say, that if I had enough prayer support, the finances would
take care of themselves, and I always found it to be true.
more prayer support a missionary has, the more effective her ministry
will be. So we can all have a vital part in the ministry of women
missionaries, as we pray for them regularly.
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