When Kim Kerr went to India in 2000 for the first time and saw the plight of persecuted women there, she came home a changed individual.
“I knew for me, it would be no more business as usual,” she says.
Kerr is Director of Partners International Women – a global Life that works to create and grow communities of Christian witnesses, partnering with God’s people in the least Christian regions of the world.
“Here in the states we can go to church whenever and wherever we want–there are so many resources for us here,” Kerr says.
“We go to Bible study after Bible study; we freely attend singles groups, marriage conferences or parenting classes. Yet there are Christ followers in other parts of the world that just don’t have any resources at all and are often persecuted if they follow the things of God.”
Kerr, is based in West Palm Beach, yet she and members of Partners International Women serve Christian partners in Africa, the Middle East and Asia.
Partners International Women is part of Partners International, an organization that has been committed to missions since 1943.
Kerr poses this question, “Imagine sharing the Gospel under the watchful eye of a Communist government, without any opportunities to gather with other leaders for encouragement and training?”
Kerr receives prayer requests from all over the world. Recently a woman in India requested prayer saying how much she would like to meet another Christian woman she can talk to.
“The women of India, out in far away villages are so hungry for the things of Christ,” says Kerr.
“They are so competent and eager,” she says.
Kerr has visited more than twenty countries and has seen first hand how God is using women of all backgrounds and educations.
“One woman gathered 40 kids, took them to a relative’s home and taught them three languages!”
Training and Education
The organization provides prayer support and a variety of educational training programs to equip women with business principles in order to eliminate poverty where they live.
“Some women may know how to tie-dye, but they need a lot of help turning their skills into a business.”
The organization provides a lot of spiritual training, support and encouragement as well.
“This week we are sending a South Florida pastor and his wife to Africa to teach a marriage conference,” Kerr says.
“Some of the people are illiterate; it’s not like speaking to church audiences here in the states,” she explains.
“They use stories from the Bible just like Jesus taught. And they involve the learner with songs and skits; they are very comfortable with the oral arts and enjoy acting things out and using dance to express themselves.”
Circle of Hope
Partners International Women has developed a program, Circle of Hope, giving donors the opportunity not only to give, but to receive.
Many women and groups of women are adopting a project that they can contribute to and be a part of–they see how much they are impacting the lives of others and they are impacted in turn.
Kerr explains, “For example a group of 10 women can give $1,000 each and when they put together a $10,000 gift, they can do extraordinary things to transform the lives of women and children in these communities.”
Recently a group of women in south Florida gathered as volunteers to assemble much needed health kits.
“There is so much we can do,” Kerr says. “We have partners in 120 nations and 60 active programs.”
In the Middle East, the organization is working on a reconciliation Life between the believing Jews and believing Muslims.
Kerr says, “We really want to help these women become all Christ has for them. In many countries, the women work under such persecution and denigration, the culture has a huge impact on them.”
Leaving a Legacy
At a recent event in Palm Beach County promoting Partners International Women, Ruth Graham challenged the women of south Florida by saying, “You can change your legacy today,” encouraging them to get involved with the group.
“We often see such great needs in far away places on TV; this is a way [the Circle of Hope] we can leverage our resources and change those places we hear about on the News,” adds Kerr.
“We sit here clothed and we have homes and access to health care–these women don’t have anything.”
In the last five years Partners International Women has trained 3,000 women across the globe, in health matters, literacy, Bible and business.
Kerr says, “There’s a saying, when you train a woman, watch out!”
For further information see www.partnersintl.org