International Women’s Day Greetings from our Operation Mercy International Director, Andrea Vogt
On the 8th of March we want to congratulate all the women working with Operation Mercy and all the women in our projects on International Women’s Day. It is a privilege to know you and to work with many women who are resilient and strong, and who, in the middle of difficulties, continue to serve their communities, care for their families and children, and make a real difference in other people’s lives.
We think of many women who are in great difficulty, women in Ukraine, which is not a country we work in, but it is close to many of us. Again and again, we see war, difficulties, and personal tragedy enter into the lives of women. Women become widows and have to look after their family alone and face a really difficult life. We're proud to continue to work hard at projects that bring hope into the lives of women, at projects that build the capacity of women, and at projects which raise up community for women and their families. Operation Mercy continues to be committed to the women in our countries and in our projects.
I recently read a story of two young widows. They had lost their husbands who had been foreigners, refugees to the women’s country. Even before the women had become widows, they had been marginalized because they had married foreigners. They had a choice to make. One of them decided to go back to her family and start over and hope for a better life. The other widow decided to stay with her mother-in-law and return with her to her country. This meant that the widow would now become a stranger, a foreigner, and a refugee herself. Why would she do that? She did it because she really loved her mother-in-law. We all know how special that is. It is often difficult to live in the same house as your mother-in-law. The widow trusted her mother-in-law and went with her to the new country because she saw something of God in her mother-in-law. She saw something of a God who loved her, a God who saw her and who had a future for her. As they arrived in this new country, the mother-in-law considered herself as bitter and lost. The young widow worked hard with integrity and showed a great ability to build something, she saw her own capacity. The people around her recognized it to the extent that they helped her to provide food and a place to live for her mother-in-law. Eventually she caught her attention of a man who married her, and she became a mother of a son. This son was the forefather of many great people in history.
This story happened a very long time ago, but I think the widow, Ruth, is an example for us. She was a woman of integrity, passion, and hard work who saw her own capacity to love her mother-in-law, to love other people, and to work hard because God loved her. That is my wish for all of you for International Women’s Day.