The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

The Back-Bone Of The Mission Field: The Proverb 31 Women

By Quentin Peterson - Stronghurst

Being blessed to be part of One Family One Purpose, each year, scores of people, mostly men, but some ladies, come together as a family to surrender their time and money to help a family that has been over-come by disaster, build a home.

The disaster being a tornado that thrashed Seymore, Iowa. The bulk of the building process occurs in about a two-week span and their new home is presented to them, paid for from the generosity of innumerable people from all over, locally and several states away, churches included.

During this two-week time, I surely hear "thank-you', perhaps a hundred times or more, in the communities where we are serving. The focus of the thank-yous, is almost always centered on the men and our selfless sacrifice of time and talent.

But as hard as the combined effort and work is to do this project, there is something behind the scenes that truly enable everyone to function like a well-oiled machine, and that is the Proverbs 31 women.

Each day, before anyone is even up, and we begin stirring at 5:00 a.m. with our coffee buzzers going off, two and occasionally three ladies are up and preparing breakfast and drinks for thirty and even more, for almost two weeks.

But before the build even occurs, weeks and months ahead, they are preparing menus and lists of items needed, as well as soliciting funds for the cost of the meals, breakfast, and supper and desserts, which is large. Then there is endless dishes to do and in their limited spare time, they bring their sewing machines and make curtains for the windows of the new home.

Even with all this, they encourage us, smile and prepare coffee pots to take with us, as well as goodies. They never complain and are always concerned with everyone's welfare, aches and pains.

Then every day, different churches, businesses, chamber of commerce, 4-Hers, and some families, from local and surrounding communities, set their busy lives aside, and prepare meals fit for royalty and serve us, along with the praise that the Lord deserves ahead of us, and pay for all of it themselves and are genuinely glad we are there. They clean-up after us and at times, because of the snow and mud, messes occur and yet they smile.

Then there are the Proverbs 31 women back home, not to mention our kids, who manage things while we are away, and encourage and pray for all of us for safety and success. Each evening, we call our families back home, anticipating and longing to hear their voices and about their days.

Though it is only for a couple of weeks, truly, absence makes the heart grow fonder. Then we have the Proverbs 31 women within our home churches, and men, who pray for us while we are away and prepare in advance to help financially and in many other way.

Many on the build are in leadership roles within our church-bodies and while away, others step up in a variety of ways to handle what we normally would ourselves. And when we return, eagerly await our testimonies that encourage and strengthen their faith as well.

Then we have the Proverbs 31 young women. During the build, several young ladies came with family or friends to help where they could. They worked hard and are an encouragement to everyone as it makes us feel, that perhaps, we are being seen as what we hoped to be seen as: "Christ' in our actions and attitudes.

I'll close with the encouraging word that benevolence and charitable action is still alive. Twice while there, a local Presbyterian church served us lunch, unbelievable spread, like a Thanksgiving meal. The pastor was a woman and also a full-time teacher and sponsor of the student council at their school.

Both times, during the school week, the school allowed her to take 8-10 high-school student council girls out of school for the day to prepare a feast for all of us, pray for us and decorate all the tables with bible verses and thank-yous to all of us. They were all so genuine and I feel there is hope for this world by the actions of a school that graciously allowed this. Blessings to them.

Yes! The Proverbs 31 women are the back-bone of the mission field, and they are because they belong to Christ and by the power of the Holy Spirit, submit themselves in obedience to the Father. They are what they are and do what they do, as are we who build, because of "Him' alone! Praise Him!