The Spanish program Woman of Hope is very popular in Latin America and is being broadcast in 17 countries on 17 AM stations (including Shine 800 AM Bonaire), 81 FM radio stations, and 27 online radio stations. One of the reasons this program is so important is the incredibly high level of violence against women in Latin America.
I had the wonderful opportunity to meet today with Dr. Peggy Banks and Susie Pek at the National Partner Conference for Latin America & the Caribbean. Dr. Peggy Banks is the global ministry director of TWR Woman of Hope, and Susie Pek is the coordinator of TWR Women of Hope in Brazil. Peggy started working with TWR in February 2016.
Here is an interview with both women:
Q: Peggy, what compelled you to focus your ministry on women?
Peggy: When I was in seminary, we needed to write down our mission statement for our life. Mine was this: Help hurting women around the world to find hope in Jesus Christ. Other women helped me to walk with Jesus when I was hurting. I have experienced abuse and violence myself as a child and as an adult. Now I want to help other women find their hope and identity in Christ alone. And when we walk in this identity we become the other things we want as well, like becoming good wives, good mothers, good workers, etc. When we hurt, we search for answers in our pain. This is also often the time that we are open to hear the gospel.
Q: How can TWR Women of Hope give hurting women hope?
Peggy: We help hurting women by talking about these difficult topics in our radio programming, when we pray, and when we meet at conferences. These are the things that can bring hope in their pain. When women meet in small groups they can help support each other.
Susie: Every fifteen seconds a woman is beaten in Brazil. When we have a woman’s conference, most women can relate to abuse. When we talk about domestic violence in our radio programs, we first introduce the women to Jesus. Jesus is so different than the person who abuses them. In our conversation we built a foundation of faith, then we encourage them to talk with someone they can trust. We also convince them that they are worthy of being loved and that violence is neither normal nor loving. Ultimately we want them to find the freedom that is found in Christ.
With domestic violence everything is so silent. No one talks about it. As TWR Women of Hope Brazil, we talk about these things. We teach people how these things happen, how they can protect themselves and how they can find freedom. Education is so important. We tell the women how precious they are. We educate, encourage and equip.
What does International Women’s Day mean for you?
Peggy: I love to stand for my sisters, especially those who are silenced. In some countries women are worth less than animals. Jesus didn’t silence women. Men and women are equal in the eyes of God.
What does TWR Women of Hope do better than any other women’s organization?
Peggy: The difference with other women organizations is that TWR Women of Hope has a reach that no one else has. With TWR, we can reach a potential of four billion people a day, right? That’s a huge reach! And there are seven billion in the world. I believe TWR Women of Hope is the largest ministry to women in the world!
Many people say Latin America is reached, is that true?
Susie: If you go by the statistics, you would say we have a high number of Christians in Brazil. However, many of them do not have a personal relationship with Jesus. We may look good on the outside, but on the inside of the people things are very different. We have many problems in Latin America. No, it is not true [that Latin America is reached].
Thanks to Peggy and Susie, we see that God is at work in Latin America through TWR Women of Hope. Please keep them and the conference in your prayers!
To be continued…
Marketing and Communications Director for Latin America and the Caribbean
Pictured Left to Right: Dr. Peggy Banks, Susie Pek, and Mariette Oosterhoff