The Power of an Invite: A Look into Women’s Ministry in Maringa, Brazil
Tamba Abel shares the impact of the fellowship around God's Word. And how one invitation can be the tool that leads people to the church.
Lucia, from the congregation in Maringa, Brazil, participates in aerobics at least once a week. She has made that class her local outreach for the Gospel. Several non-Christian women have come to be introduced to the congregation because of Lucia’s invitation to the monthly women’s teas.
Every second Saturday of the month, the congregation at Maringa hosts a women’s tea. Tamba Abel, wife of missionary/Pastor Jonathan Abel, helps coordinate the women’s ministry at church – including the teas. Normally the event is held in the church, but other times in someone’s home or in a cafe. “We try to make it a special women’s event,” Tamba said, “We call it a tea but really some people drink tea but it's more coffee, cakes, treats. The women go all out, and they all make something to share.”
At the November and December gathering, Lucia’s friends accepted her invitation to join the women’s tea. There is always a genuine joy to have new ladies come, some who have never experienced a grace-filled church. When they came in November, “we invited them again for December,” Tamba said, “And we did it at church this time because we get a lot of exposure. They can start to feel comfortable coming to church; we were trying to reach people like that.” Tamba may never attend an aerobics session, but Lucia does. The church was able to welcome new women and share the gospel with them because Lucia simply extended the invitation.
After fellowship and plenty of delicious things to eat, they spend time studying Scripture together. Usually, Tamba shares the devotional, yet she is excited to have others step into leadership as well over the last year. Tamba expressed that the tea events are more than just spending time together. It is also a great opportunity to disciple women in the church. Remembering a recent phone call with a lady from church, Tamba said, “We talked for an hour. I was counseling her, explaining things, and trying to encourage her. She has a real heart after God and wants to do what's right.” Because of the relationships built, Tamba is able to be a mentor to women who need a listening ear.
Tamba emphasized the importance of women’s ministry to a congregation. “[Women] care for the church in a unique way. They have families or they have their mother's heart that they want to nurture and care for everyone. Strong Christian women know how to feed people, physically yes, but also, spiritually.” Many of the women that assist with the women’s tea also help with children’s ministries, VBS, and serve the congregation in other ways.
Like any ministry, there are challenges for the women’s ministry at Maringa. Getting women to commit to coming regularly can be difficult. Some of the women who have been mentors to younger women have struggled with health problems that make it difficult to serve at church. Women sometimes bicker and disagree. However, in all these things, God still uses broken people to build His Kingdom. One passage that has been on Tamba’s heart is 2 Corinthians 7:1, “Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” Women’s ministry, and every other ministry, should point every participant to Christlikeness. Even through challenges, Tamba has witnessed the women grow in a closer walk with Jesus. Tamba’s prayer is that the women would continue to mature in the faith. “I like to encourage people,” she said, “I might not be a superhero, but I'd like to encourage people to get closer to God and challenge them.”