History Speaks - Do we care enough to listen?

Last week’s disturbing events in Charlottesville shake us, and yet history shows that time will pass and little will be learned. Christian women leaders change that history when we passionately inspire another generation to love God and to love our neighbors.

Deuteronomy reminds us that we need to be diligent in teaching our children and grandchildren to remember the past and to learn from it.

“Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.”

⏤Deuteronomy 4:9 NIV

Some history should be repeated. I got home from church yesterday to learn that on Tuesday night, Rose Reeves, one of the first Southern Baptist missionaries to Thailand, passed away in her sleep at the age of 93.

Though she passed quietly, she lived life on purpose. 

She and her husband gave selflessly of themselves and helped start Immanuel Baptist Church, the Baptist Student Center, and Calvary Baptist Church, all three of which are thriving ministries to the people in Bangkok today.

Long-term love

During her years in Thailand, Rose worked aggressively for the benefit of the Thai people. I am told that she and Harold worked closely with a Christian lawyer. After a choir from Baylor came to sing and have an audience with the highest official in Thailand at the time, she had the idea to ask that official for some land. She persisted until a piece of land was granted for the building of the Baptist Student Center, which is now strategically located at a sky train stop right in the center of the metropolitan city.

I had the privilege of meeting Rose when she and her husband, Harold, visited Thailand at the 50-year celebration of our Thai church, which they helped to start. Even though they were honored at our church, Rose had another agenda for our lunch together afterward. She had shared the gospel with a Thai couple on her trip and she wanted my husband and me to continue a relationship with the couple until they could grow strong in their faith. I could tell that the couple was not particularly happy to be meeting with us, but this is how Rose did things. 

She did not wait for an invitation; she made things happen.

She knew that Thai people are taught strong values, one being that they love and respect their elders (a lecture for another blog!), and she acted on that. She knew that the couple would be obligated by their respect for her to follow her instructions to meet with us, and that is exactly what happened.

Meeting Rose and Harold was very significant to us. We spent 26 years in Thailand and we were recipients of the love of our church family at Immanuel Baptist Church because of the groundwork they had established. The Thai Christian family at Immanuel taught us how to love Thai people, Thai culture, Thai food, and the Thai language. Many missionaries go into a new culture believing that they have all the answers to teach to their neighbors, failing to realize that they need to be learners, not just teachers. Rose’s visit helped us understand how loving others enough to care for them and connect them with a community of believers was an essential part of loving our neighbors as ourselves.

Long-term examples

Christian women have impacted our history throughout time. They did not neglect to teach their children and their grandchildren to love God with all their hearts and to love their neighbors as themselves. They taught not only with words but also with actions. They did not crumble when they faced obstacles and when they were oppressed. They stood with values, shared their faith, and loved others in the name of Jesus. We as Christian leaders must do the same. 

Would you like to learn about other Christian women who have impacted history? Join our four-week online course and learn about 25 Christian women from around the world. Women Leaders from the Past, taught by Dr. Melody Maxwell, leads participants to discover the rich heritage of Christian women who have led by spreading the gospel, working for justice, using their talents, and overcoming obstacles. The Story of Lottie Moon (WMU), by Cathy Butler, is the course textbook.

By: Claudia Johnson, Leadership Consultant