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Day of Mary F. Scranton
  • October 08, 2016

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My Life as a Christian
  • September 25, 2015

Today's PeopleSocial Transformation through Women's Education

September 07, 2015

My name is Koeurn Chhoeurt and I am 23 years old. I graduated from the Royal University of Phnom Penh on 12 June 2015, majoring in Physics. I am originally from Siem Reap province, which is a famous province in Cambodia. I am a second daughter of a big family with seven members: one older sister, two younger brothers, an old grandmother, and parents. My father is 48 years old; he is a solider and a farmer. My mother is 47 years old; she is a farmer and housewife. My older sister is 25 years old. She graduated from high school, but she was not able to pursue her Bachelor at university because my parents could not support her studying. She needed to find a job to support the entire family. She now works at the Siem Reap International Airport. My two younger brothers, who are 18 and 16, are students in high school. I graduated from my high school in July 2011. In September, I moved to Phnom Penh to pursue my Bachelor in the university. Although my family cannot financially support my studying, I could attend university because I got a scholarship from a foundation. It is called the Harpswell Foundation and leadership center for Women University. Their mission is to empower the young women in Cambodia to become leaders. The Harpswell Foundation is a kind of women dormitory that provides me food, housing and variety of classes. If there was not this dormitory, I could not pursue my bachelor degree, and I could not stayed in Phnom Penh because it is not easy for a girl to stay alone in the City without any relative.This is a  stereotype for being Khmer traditional women. Khmer women are supposed to be modest, soft-spoken, "light" walkers, well-mannered, industrious, belong to the household, and act as the family's caregivers and caretakers and financial controllers. In the past, women in Cambodia were rarely allowed to study because the elderly people were afraid that they would have written love letters or had voices against the men if they got the higher education.  In recent years, things have changed, the girls are able to obtain education, but only some girls in rural areas can get the high degree. I am very lucky having a chance to get the education. As I moved to Phnom Penh and attended variety of classes in my school, I have realized that the life as an educated woman is completely different from the life of my peers who cannot get chances for higher education. I have been given more opportunities to explore my country and the world; I have also gotten many chances to know more about my society, mainly political issues. Thus, I can make a decision and solve problems properly based on what I learned and realized from my studies. According to my culture norm, making decisions are most likely men`s roles. Therefore, it is not easy for women to propose ideas challenging the status quo. Since I attended my university, I have noticed that male classmates seemed ignoring the female students who have little knowledge. After seeing that, my friends and I have changed their stereotypes on women. We showed our abilities during classes, and earned higher scores than men in every test. Moreover, my friends and I always shared our ideas and learned from mistakes. We never stopped studying and learning new things. On the other hand, being an educated woman enables me to obtain my rights as a woman and consider what is right and wrong. For example, I avoided getting married at a younger age and have become brave enough to travel to other places and works.  With the education I have received, society can achieve gender equality properly, especially in welfare. Moreover, I recognized that the educated women’s roles in the society are very important. They have their own rights to promote peace and stop violence against women and children. The countries with a majority of educated women are able to boost the social transformation because women are one of the factors to develop countries through their knowledge. Therefore the education for women and girls are very vital.Being a Scranton`s scholar means a lot to me as I successfully graduated from my bachelor degree because Scranton provided me with tuition. After I got the support from Scranton, my family could extend their capacity to support younger brother’s education.  Scranton scholarship not only has helped me, but it also has supported my whole family. Moreover, Because of Scranton scholarship, I have known new friends and other Scranton’s scholars from Asian countries. My dream is to pursue my Master degree in Physics in South Korea. I am glad that my dream is coming true and I am very thankful for the support of the Scranton Women Leadership Center.I believe that I am on the way to reach my goal and I have an ambitious vision to a make change in my community, society, country and the entire world. After I earn my master degree, I want to work in a University as a Physics lecturer because I know that education is the weapon to develop a country and its human resource. I will share my knowledge in natural sciences and my leadership to the next generations in my country, Cambodia. Moreover, I want to be a founder of an organization that provides education and food for homeless children as to give them better lives. Then, my success is not only mine but a valuable resource to my community and my country.Photo Credit:Photo #3: https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/provide-384-women-and-girls-education-in-cambodia/updates/?subid=21787

Today's PeopleThe Will of the Person will Achieve Great Things

August 25, 2015

 “And we know that all things work together for good, to them that love God to them who are the called according to His purpose. “ - Romans 8:28 King James VersionI am Aiko Canales Eugenio, I am 25 years old and a graduate of the Bachelor of Science major in Psychology in Trinity University of Asia from the Philippines. As I recall my college years, I am blessed with an achievement of a Dean’s Lister from School Year 2008 until 2011. This feat is a category granted for students who reach a specific general weighted average (GWA) that must be maintained within a given academic term or year. I am able to gain one of the highest averages of 1.61. Not only have I been able to keep this achievement, but also I am an active member of different academic and non-academic organizations of my alma mater. The organizations I am a part of are the Psychology Society, College of Arts and Sciences Society, Honor Society and Trinity Center for Community Development. All support the University in carrying out its vision and mission to a life that is God-centered and in service to the community. These social-learning programs aim for the students, faculty and administration to extend their services to people of need. There is one outreach experience I had in rural mountain place of Olongapo City that made me attentive to the children scarce of basic needs and educational resources. We have provided them gifts including school supplies, food and clothing. As a young lady, I have learned to deal and appreciate the poor community with patience and integrity. I thank the Lord because He used me to share and proclaim the gift of salvation to my friends, classmates and teachers. I know that this is the best accomplishment I’ve earned so far; that is to be a shining light, have a good testimony and have an excellent performance in school.  I believe that there is really a rainbow after the rain. After four long years of hardship, I am now graduate and facing the world of service by the grace of God. I am grateful and thankful to God because He placed me in the educational setting to work. Right now, I am currently working at Grace Christian College’s Kindergarten Department as an Office staff and an occasional Substitute Teacher. In this institution provided by the Christian environment, I actively partake in different tasks and responsibilities. I am happy to share that I have lots of accomplishments like being involved and active in GRACE PROMOTION, GRACE-TASK-FORCE, GRACE LANGUAGE COMMITTEE wherein all these activities cater the needs of parents, students and even the foreign students who come to our school.   In my home church, The Lighthouse Bible Baptist Church, I am a consistent donor of blood every 3 months in our “Blood-Letting drive” project. I also continue to teach high school girls in Sunday school and play an active part in children’s club ministry, choir member and as a leader in our Single Working Young People program. In the career ministry, we do “Handog Kalinga,” meaning helping children suffering from cancer by giving gifts and foods to them during Christmas season. And every Saturday after I work in the office, I spend my time teaching children in our “Saturday Bible School“. These are all my accomplishments and I will still continue to dedicate myself beyond my capacity as an individual because I believe that this is an opportunity and privilege to serve God and we should use our talents by sharing it with others.   My passion is people; I want to be of help to those who struggle in different areas of their lives. Because of this passion, I want to pursue a Master’s Degree in Family Studies and become a Counselor to further understand the proper behavior in families and its effect on individuals in our society. From my studies, I noticed that many people have imbalanced personalities mainly because their families were not able to offer proper care and love. They lack the training they need from the family and as a result, their behaviors affect the community. I look forward that someday I can achieve my goal to become an effective Counselor not only in school, but also in my country and to the world. Scranton Scholar has been that answered prayer; it really benefited me a lot. Scranton not only helped me financially in my studies, but it motivated me to strive and excel in every endeavor of my life.  It has been my inspiration in all circumstances and successes I have encountered. I never thought I can come this far and pay for my tuition fees prior to encountering Scranton Women’s Leadership Center. I know that meeting this organization is God’s sufficient grace.What a great opportunity to be part of Scranton. When you’re a member of Scranton you are inspired to study because all your duties and efforts are acknowledged and appreciated. Everything in my life has changed; they were all there from the very start of my journey and still concerned about my career in life to this very day.  There is no indicated time or age to start striving hard; it is the will of the person. To achieve greatness is never late to anyone who wants it. You just need to have faith and desire.  -Aiko C. Eugenio I am proud to say, I am a Scranton Scholar and because of people like Scranton I now have a brighter future!   

AdvocacyHome for Former Sex Workers

July 07, 2015

When they were young, they were lauded as heroes, having sacrificed themselves and contributed to the economy after the war. The government told them that the money they brought in would rebuild a ravaged Korea. Fifty years later, these heroes are literally being pushed from their homes, unable to pay the heating bills. “Now that we’re old, we’re discarded,” said Ms. Sook Ja Kim.Ms. Kim is a former sexual worker, exploited by her country and the US servicemen who lived on the military base. While there is a stigma in sharing her story, this “grandma,” as she is called in an endearing term, is telling her story in the hopes of achieving justice for the hundreds of women like her. Ms.  Kim told of how she was driven into prostitution by an abusive mother who would wait by the bedroom door to collect the money her daughter made. The subsequent abuse came not only from her family, but from her government. Among other atrocities, for years, she was under surveillance and prodded internally by government-mandated twice-weekly gynecological exams.Ms. Sook Ja Kim, center, shares a smile after a tear-filled meeting, recounting the struggles of former prostitutes in Korea. Ms. Soon Duk Woo, director of the Sunlit Sisters’ Center, supports Ms. Kim and the other 70 women in their 70s and 80s who come for fellowship to share their stories, dance, make art, share a meal, and worship in Anjung-Ri near Camp Humphreys. The women pray together at the center because of the social stigma in attending church. Many of the women are aging alone, having given up for adoption any children they birthed. Harriett Olson, United Methodist Women, receives a thank you from Soon Duk Woo for the support of Sunlit Sisters’ Center in Korea, a place of advocacy and hope for marginalized women who worked on American military bases. “We want these women to live with smiles on their faces,” said Ms. Woo, Ed., who received her master’s degree from Ewha University, a university begun by a Methodist missionary and supported by United Methodist Women. Ms. Woo credits Ewha with giving her the courage to open the center. (Ms. Woo received a scholarship for her studies from the international ministries committee of United Methodist Women. Indeed, the Sunlit Sisters’ Center was built with a ten thousand dollar grant from United Methodist Women.)Ms. Woo described the immediate challenge facing these elderly women. They receive approximately $400 from the government, yet their rent is $300. The $100 left in their budget is not enough to cover the heat. As the military base continues to expand and create housing for US military families, the elderly women are forced to move, leaving them destitute.Ms. Woo asked for allies on behalf of two struggles: the first is for financial support to pay the heating bills in the women’s one-room homes; and the second is to support a lawsuit filed on behalf of 122 women, who are seeking compensation from the South Korean government for the atrocities committed upon them.Although the civil war ended decades ago, there is still no peace. “It is because of the stalemate that the US can have military bases in Korea. It is a human rights issue,” said Sung-Ok Lee, associate general secretary and deaconess, United Methodist Women. More than sixty years later, Ms. Lee said, “The Korean War has not officially ended.”The ones who are paying for the war are the “grandmothers.”

Today's PeopleSearching for the Vision of Life

April 09, 2015

[STEP 2-2. Global Justice Volunteer]   At the same time, I also felt thankful with what I have but that is not really thankful thing. It was about sorry. I started to think about what do I have, how should I live and what should I be. What kinds of leadership can be created in this field? Above all what is the leadership?   And soon as, I realized that how I am privileged person. How I have such a great power and ability. And I thought about, what can I do with what I have, how can I live with my power that God gave me. How can I use it?   Aha! Empowering and encouraging others! That is the leadership. I can give my power and interest to promote and seek justice and peace by contribution, dedication, commitment, responsibility, and way to being with the people. That is empowering leadership. And that is why we are so privileged and powerful. Because privileged means same as responsibility. We have to use our resources to work together and live together with others. That is a one of ways to show and use our leadership to make better God’s world.   [STEP 3. Scranton Women’s Leadership Center ]   After that, I went back to Canada for a while, and I applied for an internship program to Scranton Women’s Leadership Center while I was in Canada. Because I wanted to be flowing water which means I wanted to contribute to raise young women leaders and create their leadership through the center. I was appreciated what I have learn from the center and connection, so I really wanted to give my hands.   While I work at the center I was trained as an administrative worker by the center. We coordinated and managed various programs to develop women’s leadership which were very meaningful and valuable jobs. So we had to see what other people cannot see. I had such a wonderful time there with my colleagues for a year. And moreover I have met so many amazing grown and growing women leaders during I was in the center,   At that time, my issues had been changing. I was still thinking about what is real justice and peace is in the world, but more like, where should be my standing point? What kinds of filed should I focus on. Because there are so many kinds of different or related justice and peace issues in this world and society. So I wanted to find my own area of justice and peace. That was the point which makes me to move to the next step.   =================================   [STEP 2-2. 국제정의봉사단]   그 당시에, 저는 제가 가지고 있는 것들에 대해서 감사하게 생각하기도 했지만 그것은 정말 감사한 것만은 아니었습니다. 그것은 죄스러움이었습니다. 저는 제가 무엇을 가지고 있는지, 어떻게 살아가야 하는지, 어떤 사람이 되어야 하는지 생각하기 시작했습니다. 어떤 분야에서 어떤 종류의 리더십이 창조될 수 있는지, 무엇보다 리더십이라는 것이 도대체 무엇인지 생각하게 되었습니다.   저는 곧 제가 굉장한 특권을 받은 사람이라는 것을 깨달았습니다. 제가 얼마나 큰 힘과 능력을 가지고 있는지 말입니다. 그리곤 저는 저의 특권으로 무엇을 할 수 있는지, 그리고 하나님의 주신 저의 영향력을 어떻게 사용하며 살아갈 수 있는지 고민하였습니다.   아하! 다른 사람들에게 힘을 나눠주는 것. 그것이 바로 리더십이구나! 제가 가진 힘과 관심사를 ‘기여, 헌신, 책임 그리고 다른 사람들과 함께 함’으로 정의와 평화를 위해 사용할 수 있다는 걸 알게 되었습니다. 그리고 그것이 우리가 특권과 영향력을 가진 이유입니다. 왜냐하면 특권은 곧 책임이라는 뜻이기 때문입니다. 우리는 우리의 자원들을 다른 사람들과 함께 일하고 사는 것에 사용해야 합니다. 그것이 더 나은 하나님의 세상을 만들기 위한 우리의 몫입니다.   [STEP 3. 스크랜턴여성리더십센터]   GJV가 끝나고 저는 다시 캐나다로 돌아가서는 스크랜턴여성리더십센터의 인턴십 프로그램에 지원했습니다. 저는 센터를 통해 젊은 여성 리더들을 양육하는데 기여하는 ‘흐르는 물’이 되고 싶었습니다. 센터로부터 제가 배운 것과 네트워크에 매우 감사했기 때문에 저 역시 센터에 기여하고 싶었습니다.   센터에서 일하는 동안 행정 실무자로서 훈련을 받았습니다. 우리는 여성 리더십을 발전시키기 위한 다양한 프로그램을 개발하고 관리하는 가치 있는 일을 했습니다. 그렇기 때문에 우리는 다른 사람들이 보지 못하는 것을 보아야만 했습니다. 센터에 있는 다른 동료들과 저는 일 년 동안 매우 멋진 시간을 보냈습니다. 무엇보다 센터에 있는 동안 저는 영향력 있는 여성 리더들과 현재 성장 중인 여성 리더들을 만났습니다.   그 당시에 저의 이슈는 변했습니다. 저는 여전히 이 세상에서 무엇이 진정한 정의이고 평화인지 고민하고 있었지만 무엇보다 어느 곳이 제가 서 있어야 할 자리인지에 대해서 고민했습니다. 어떤 분야가 제가 집중해야 하는 곳인지 말입니다. 왜냐하면 이 세상과 사회에는 너무나 다양한 정의와 평화에 대한 이슈가 있기 때문입니다. 그래서 저는 평화와 정의에 대한 제 자신만의 영역을 찾고 싶었습니다. 그것이 저를 다음 스텝으로 움직이게 한 원동력이었습니다.  

Today's People[Media Contest Winner] The Tied 2nd Place_Ye Eun Seo

March 12, 2015

Hello, My name is Seo Ye Eun. I’m 22 this year. I graduated from Baewha University and my major is English Interpretation Translation. And now I transferred from Baewha to Kookmin University and I am studying law. Through 2015 Asian Young Women's Leadership Development in Cambodia held by Scranton leadership center, I became to be interested in human rights. And also I decided to be a person who helps the oppressed. Thank you. ================================ The Media Contest2015 Asian Young Women's Leadership Development in CambodiaThe Tied 2nd Place Winning Work Project Sector: ArticleTheme: Human RightsTitle: Voice matters because speaking out helps people to have human rights What are human rights? Human rights are rights inherent to all human beings, whatever our nationality, place of residence, sex and language. We are all equally entitled to our human rights without discrimination. However, while I am in Cambodia here and I went to Cambodia village for VBS and floating village, I could see that many people are destitute and neglected. Many children could not wash their hair because there is not enough water. People in floating village use dirty water for drinking water. They could not live a daily life. And also when I went to some developing countries including Cambodia, Thailand and India for missionary work, their situation was poor too. “Why cannot they live a daily life?” Those who are not in necessary conditions like education, health care and living have no power to keep their human rights. Because they cannot speak right voice, they have to put up with threat and discrimination and also their poverty is getting worse. If we ignore human rights of poor people, they cannot be free from poverty. However, as poor people can insist their rights, they can participate in the center of issues and can have the dignity to fight the options that make them poor. Human rights are related with poverty. The voice of poor people can give them human rights. It is the reason why voice matters.  I want to share my experience about voice. I had time to learn about military sexual slavery by Japan (comfort women) by participating Wednesday Demonstration last year. Wednesday Demonstration is to call for formal apology about military sexual slavery by Japan and admitting Japan’s war crimes to Korea. I realized two important things through it. First, when people having the same goal of justice are gathered for this demonstration, we can make a change even though it is very small. Participation can help to recover the human rights of comfort women and to prevent all women from being assaulted during war. Second is that speaking out is very important. The courage of Kim Hawk Soon who was a comfort woman is very powerful. She was the first woman who testified the real facts of comfort women and accused the Japanese Army. Her courage made other comfort women testify and many people pay attention to the problems. If she did not speak out with her courage, the problems about human rights of comfort women would be disappeared. I thought that voice is very important and strong, so we have to speak out with one voice for human rights. What we ignore about an infringement upon human rights and what we do not speak out are what we implicitly support an infringement of human rights. The more we know and insist human rights, the more our life can be protected and improved. Now I’d like to talk about my dreams about human rights. Through ‘Session2: Learning as Leaders’, I thought about ‘how can I use my gifts for our community as a leader?’ The challenge of Korea is ‘unification’ because problems about human rights and poverty in North Korea is the worst in the world. Unification is the most important thing to recover the freedom and human rights of North Korean residents. Furthermore, If Korea peninsula is not safe, the peace of Northeast Asia will be broken. Unification will give peace not only to Korea Peninsula but also to Northeast Asia. The vision of our generation is preparation for unification. What we need is to bring up people who are ready for unification in every section that we need. But nowadays many young people do not want our unification. So, I want to speak out why our unification is very important for human rights of North Korea residents and peace of Northeast Asia. This is the reason why I have to learn and teach what I learn. In the future, I will work for our unification, especially freedom and human rights of North Korean residents. If we are unified, I want to build a Christian school in North Korea. Through education, I want to teach them what their rights are and how they can live a daily life. And also I will help them not to be discriminated and pray for them with my voice and God. In this world, there are many things to do as a woman. Many women in the world have experienced sexual harassment. They need many women to help them and know their mind and pray for them. Women have to help each other for human rights. We saw the phrase on third session ‘It takes a village to raise a child’. I cannot do it alone. We have to work together and fight for human rights. As a Christian, woman and leader, we should speak out for keeping human rights. “I am a person who tries to learn to do the good and seek justice, especially ‘human rights’!”  

Today's People[Media Contest Winner] The Tied 2nd Place_Crisma Eve Inis Soliven

March 12, 2015

I am Crisma Eve Inis Soliven, born on December 24, 1989, 25 years old from Philippines. My Father is Rev. Goldy S. Soliven and my mother is Rev. Gemma I. Soliven, both of them are Ordained Ministers of the United Methodist Church. I am the eldest child in the family and my only brother is Gamaliel I. Soliven, 14 years old.  I finished Bachelor in Kindergarten Education at Harris Memorial College under Deaconess Program. At present, I am appointed at Casili United Methodist Church as a Deaconess and a Preschool Teacher. I am also currently studying Master of Psychology at Saint Paul University Philippines. By God’s grace, I will finish my studies next school year.In the North Central Philippines Annual Conference, I was appointed as the Commission on Deaconess Service Secretary; while in the Isabella North District, I was appointed as Chairperson in the Children’s Ministry and elected as the President of the Church Workers Children’s Fellowship. With these achievements and responsibilities, I bring back all the praises and glory to our God Almighty. ================================The Media Contest2015 Asian Young Women's Leadership Development in CambodiaThe Tied 2nd Place Winning Work Project Sector: ArticleTheme: EnvironmentTitle: MY NAME IS “ENVIRONMENT" Good day! My name is “Environment”! Who created me? The most God almighty! Yes! I am proud to say that I am God’s part in His master piece! In Genesis 1:31 it says, “And God saw everything that He had made, and behold, IT WAS VERY GOOD!”. Yes! I was created wonderfully: the plants are green, the waters are clean, the sky is blue, the air is fresh, the animals are free; good soils, gold and mineral are just around. I am a healthy, wealthy, clean and peaceful environment to live with and I am willing to share what I have to anyone as my role in this earth.              Genesis 1: 26 God said,” Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creep on the earth.” But what happened? They over used me, they destroyed me in order for them to meet their needs especially to get their wants. Humans fight each other because of me. They mistreated me and now, I am suffering from air pollution, soil pollution, light pollution, soil erosion, floods, noise pollution, water pollution because of their dynamite fishing, illegal logging, mining, throwing garbage anywhere, and anything that destroys me. It really hurts, I am really suffering, I feel sad on what I can see and feel now. I don’t want this to happen and I don’t want to give these to you. Mahatma Gadhi said, “Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s needs, but not every man’s greed.” Yes! I can provide your needs, and I can give more if you only know how to take care of me. When you destroy me, you will get affected. If you will take care of me, you will be prosperous too.             Before, I freely give to you my waters, but because of your actions, look what happened? It’s hard for me to provide drinking and clean water for you? You are now buying. I really feel sad about it. Now, please do not let that someday you will buy oxygen because my air will be too much polluted. It will be costly again especially to the poor if we you buy a gallon of air and will be put in your back while walking, many human may die because they cannot afford to buy oxygen. Please do not let also your children’s children generation be a tourist spot is a “one tree” only because of your illegal logging today and not planting trees! Please do not let worst things and situations to come because of your negligence to me.              I do not know what to do now to get better but I do not lose hope. The only thing that I can do is to pray to God to help me advocate my rights. With this letter, I feel better but it’s not enough. If you are reading this, get aware of the justice I deserve and DO something about it, I will really feel great for myself and also for the people and to their next generations. Above all, I believe that God the Creator will surely be proud of you because you are a “good steward of His creation”.  

Today's People[Media Contest Winner] 3rd Place_Hye Jeong Ahn

March 12, 2015

Hello! My name is Hye Jeong Ahn from korea. I graduated Methodist Theology University in Korea and my major is Theology. This winter I could participate in an exciting program in cambodia. And I could apply Media Contest of 2015 Asian Young Women Leadership Development. Also, I could meet various friends from Cambodia, Japan, Philippines and Malaysia. These experiences inspired me, so now, I'm thinking about what I can do again. After this program, I look forward to the growth of young women around the world and think about environment for next generation. ================================The Media Contest2015 Asian Young Women's Leadership Development in CambodiaThe 3rd Place Winning Work Project Sector: PhotoTheme: EnvironmentTitle: Earth for Youth  God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” (Genesis 1:28) God gives us the mission. “Be fruithful and increase” The nature from God is on our hands whether it will be fruitful or be destroyed.On our hands, seeds grow, sprout, flower come out, bear the fruit. On our hands, we can make hope for next generation. It is all starting our hands.Remember, we have responsibility from God.   

Blog PostI am a human

January 12, 2015

It started off very personally. It shocked me and made me think for a long time with a bitter sentiment. The incident made me questions a lot about how we define human being and how exactly we interpret and apply the Bible in our daily lives. It started with a group photo on Facebook. In November, many people from my country gathered and attended an event. We really enjoyed meeting one another and the fellowship with people we regard as our own brothers and sisters. Another group of people from my space: country took our group picture posted it o Facebook and posted it again on their Facebook group calling us traitors of our own people. I can understand their political view but stay away from them because I don't agree with their view. It is their right to campaign for what they believe in and it is my right to choose my commitment. We have the rights to stand for what we believe, but posting our group picture on Facebook and accusing us as traitors was too much for me. I was just one of the group members in the photo that was posted but still it was public humiliation. It was a huge insult to me. I have the right to go where I want and it was none of their business whom I mingled with.  Therefore I went to their place and asked for the person responsible for that post. Shockingly nobody came out and took responsibility. When I insisted that person come out and take responsibility, more shockingly, one of the guys who was a theology seminary student in his early thirties told me that I should shut my mouth because I am a woman and confronting is not what I can do as a woman. His words stroked my mind and the incident prompted a fiery conversation. It is a shocking and sad fact that even these days, some people still think that women have no right to stand up for what she thinks is right or wrong. She can’t even speak out about how she was publicly humiliated. Many Theology students who are going to lead spiritually and morally to the next generation still think that women have no right to claim their human rights and to ask for respect. What a tragedy!!! It is no wonder that over the past 100 years people from our Chin state held a similar notion about women since all of them were illiterate and were Animists. But in recent years, most of the people have learned to read and end sentence with period. At least 50 % of the young population has graduated and is growing up as Christians as the fruits of the foreign missionaries commitment to our state. Many people, both women and men, have pursued post-graduate theological studies in different countries in the hopes of helping build our nation spiritually and morally. Still some so-called educated people think that women cannot lead, preach, or even defend her own reputation. Should a woman wait for a man to cover up her shame? Should a woman wait for a man to rescue her? We cannot generalize that everybody thinks the same way. However this incident has shown that there are many people who still think that women are just for domestic use, not human beings who have the same rights as men. Some people might say this is our culture. Some people will point out parts of scripture that they would interpret as the whole concept of the Bible even though they teach others to interpret parts of scripture is so sad that we have double standards in every aspect of life including the way we apply the Bible to our lives. We, as Christians, preach the gospel ‘Jesus died for every human being and saves us all from the bondage of sin. We all are free from all the bondage of sin only by believing and accepting Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior.’ We proudly take the Cross as a sign of being a Christian. But in reality, we put our own sisters, mothers, grandmothers under the bondage of so called culture and social norms and never allow them enjoy their human being as the perfect work of God that He created in His own image (Gen. 1:27). This is not simply a gender problem. This is a problem of defining human being. If a man thinks that he is the higher level human being and women are lower level human beings only between human and animal, that’s a huge insult to the creator of human beings. He automatically points out the Creator God as an unjust God with a bias towards men. If he thinks women don’t have the same rights as men do, I wonder what they think of their own mothers and sisters. Do they think of them as just property or animals? A man who cannot respect women automatically disrespects his own mother because they all share the same gender. A man who thinks women are just property automatically degrades himself as less than human because he comes out of a property and he is not a human if he is not of a human. With this very bad experience, I have learned some lessons which have helped me to understand and let go. 1) We need to be really educated. I believe that real education opens our eyes, helps us to see the diversity in our world, and helps us to learn how to respect our fellow human beings. 2) We need to know that respecting our fellow human beings means respecting ourselves. We all share the same image of God. Respecting some creations of God and disrespecting others is not a proper way to portray ourselves as the perfect creations of the very Just and righteous God. 3) The Bible should not be interpreted and applied with double standards: one for us and one for others. After all we are all human and we all make mistakes. We also need to understand each other and not hold grudges for a long time as well as let go of any bitterness. This will help us all to enjoy the life that God has perfectly created for us and that Jesus paid for with His own life.

Blog PostSpecial opportunity of my life

January 12, 2015

I am Kou Bembo Dolo from Liberia. I am married to Mr. Perry S. Dolo with five children. I was actually called to ministry when I was very young. I started as a Sunday school teacher, later a choir directress, and now a pastor. It is a new sentence." It is a calling that I especially love as a woman." In my hometown is one word, I am the only female pastor. I have been in ministry for twenty three years.   What is the ultimate goal or vision of my life? First of all, I am thankful to the almighty God who has called me to His ministry.  My vision is to be a great woman leader at my Annual conference. I plan to follow the heart I have for young women on the streets and make them into important people in today's society by the grace of God, as UMC did for me to make me into the person I am today. God has always spoken to me in that direction. In my District Conference, I was chosen to move with the women group as a pastor. Through this we were able to establish a center for young women learning how to make clothes from the sewing machines and sell them for their own use. And through this center, young women were able to be converted to Christianity. In that center we didn’t only homophone: accept not except Christians, but non-believers as well. Our country is poor, so some young women who can't see a way do things like sell their body to make a living, which is a bad thing to do. Therefore I plead to God to help me lead young women in the same direction as my vision.   What different things I have before and after the study? Before coming to Korea, I have had leadership experiences through leading many churches in my Annual Conference. After this study I am going to be higher in ability, because here I have been able to mingle with people from different countries. I have also learned new methods of leading the church.  When I did the course ethnography I learned a whole lot of methods that gave me new insight into the church as well as NOT ", couple with" many other new things from other courses. Ethnography taught me how to give careful attention and give listening ears to your congregation. During this study I have been able to visit some important and historical sites here in Korea, which have taught me new lessons that I will not easily forget. After this study one of the things I will like to remember and carry back home is keeping with time.One main thing is with the issue of textbooks and materials to do assignments are very easy here for us. We also have easy access to electricity, which I cannot get in my home back in Liberia. Therefore this time of study here is a great experience for me. Lastly I didn’t wear trousers in my country to church. it has been a very new experience for me here, now that I am used to the trousers I cannot see myself wearing other clothes ever again, so now I wonder what I should do when I go back home. What is the Scranton Scholarship for me and my life?I will start like this:  The stone which the builders rejected as worthless turned out to be the most important of all. This was done by the Lord; what a wonderful sight it is! This is the day of the Lord’s victory; let us be happy, let us celebrate! Save us, Lord, save us! Give us success, O Lord!  May God bless the one who comes in the name of the Lord! From the temple of the Lord we bless you. The Lord is God; he has been good to us. With branches in your hands, start the festival and March round the altar. You are my God, and I give you thanks; I will proclaim your greatness. Give thanks to the Lord, because he is good, and his love is eternal.(Psalms 18:21-29). I said the above meaning I come from a very poor background and in the eyes of human beings will be nobody. However, see how God’s thinking is so different from human; he has chosen me from that background to bring me here. Therefore the Scranton Scholarship is a sign of victory for my call to ministry; this proves that God uses anybody regardless of his or her background. This Scholarship serves as an eye opener for me and my family and a challenge to my children and other women that someone my age with many children can go to school especially as African women. Now my life will change after graduation positively.  This Scholarship is taking me from grass to grace; it is modeling me into a new being in life. I extend my thanks and appreciations to Scranton Women’s LeadershipCenter for making me a new person in my family and community. May God continue to bless all of you who have made my life so beautiful in the Lord.  

Blog PostChallenge to my life!

January 12, 2015

It's been four years since I was an intern at Scranton Women's Leadership Center in Seoul, Korea. The lessons I learned and the people I met during my seven-month internship are still a big part of my life today. If I were to sum up my unforgettable internship in one sentence, I would say cherish the people in every moment. There is a saying I like to remind myself once in awhile.... "If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go farther, go with others." I continue to experience that communities and relationships are the key factors to success.    Before my internship, I was fixated on checking items off of my man-made list of to-dos. I have been conditioned to think that I need to go to school, graduate, find a job, get married, and start a family. Through this opportunity, I was able to step out of my comfort zone and think outside the box. It is no longer about the list for me but about the memories that I make with the people I meet on the way. I am no longer tied down by the pressures of this world. I know that when the time is right, items on my list will check off on their own.  

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