After 5 years, Sister Care returns to India and Nepal

This article was originally published by The Mennonite via TMail.

It was “Meena’s story” that most intensely touched the hearts of the 325 women at the All India Mennonite Women conference in 2012. Although it used a fictitious name, “Meena”* was the real-life story of a pastor’s wife whose husband became verbally and physically abusive to her, especially on weekends when he started to worry about the Sunday service.

Many women responded to the story, saying with tears, “I am Meena.” Indian women leaders advised Sister Care teachers, Carolyn Heggen, psychotherapist specializing in trauma healing, and Rhoda Keener, Sister Care director for Mennonite Women USA, to teach that violence against women is a sin and that it is not a Christian wife’s duty to submit to her husband’s violence. Participants said they had never before heard this. Continue reading

In Motion With Marlene: Shhhhhh

This article was originally published in Timbrel, Fall 2017.

Do you hear it? Ticking, engines, chirps, music. Sadness, fear, tension, grief. Inspiration, community, satisfaction, reciprocity.

On my deck, I hear the first set of sounds. I hear the next two sets when I am in a different kind of listening mode, that of prayerful and careful attention to another while they speak.

This kind of deep listening is thoroughly Christian and quite counter-cultural.

Compassionate listening is one of the areas of Sister Care for College Women that is most appreciated. We offer guidelines, do some coaching, and then have the young women experience intentional care with each other in pairs. Here are some of the phrases I encourage them to use as they listen deeply.

“Let me make sure I understand you.” Seeking to fully understand shows how you value the other person. Paraphrasing what they said is one way to ensure this happens. Continue reading