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Finding Community as a Single Woman in Mission

By Maggie Watts  ·  3 minute read
Learning Center  »  Finding Community as a Single Woman in Mission

Submission in Each Season of Need

Serving as a single woman overseas.

In 1 Corinthians, Paul writes that it is better to remain single for the sake of the Kingdom; “To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is good for them to remain single, as I am.” He goes on to say, a few verses later, “The unmarried or be trothed woman is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit. But the married woman is anxious about worldly things, how to please her husband,” (1 Corinthians 7:8, 1 Corinthians 7:34).

Being a single woman on the mission field is clearly of great value. But, of course, it also comes with challenges. Are you a single woman with fears or anxieties about pursuing your calling in missions? Well, you are not alone. According to data from Pioneers, single female missionaries have vastly outnumbered single men since 1900. Pioneers also reports that 70 – 80 percent of single missionaries are women.

Rebecca is one of these single women. Two years ago, she went to Angola as a single woman with SIM USA and lived in a rural village in the West African nation. Being an unmarried woman was not common in the culture, and she said she often felt out of place.

“It was a bit of a struggle at times to be a young woman in the context I was in,” Rebecca said. “I didn’t know anybody in my area who was an unmarried woman in her twenties and didn’t have kids. It just doesn’t exist.”

Local Community

Two other missionarie s lived in the village with Rebecca, but they left for five months. Although this was initially challenging for her , she learned to pour into the local community.

“I was the only missionary there, but I wasn’t alone because I had a community,” Rebecca said. “Invest in your local community . You’re never going to have the same kind of relationship necessarily with a local as you would with other Americans, missionaries, or single women. But they’re still just as valuable and can be as fulfilling.”

Rebecca leaned into her neighborhood and found a fulfilling community. She formed friendships with the local Portuguese teacher, gardener, and a hospital administrator. When she struggled, she could even go to a neighbor’s house for prayer.

“Having those people around, I didn’t feel like I was alone in the middle of nowhere in Africa because I had this community of people who weren’t going anywhere,” she said. “It’s so helpful to become part of the local community.”

Ministry Partner

When Rebecca needed a ministry partner, God provided.

After Rebecca had been the only missionary in the village for a few months, another single female missionary came to partner with her in community health evangelism. This was when Rebecca felt she needed a ministry partner most deeply.

“It was God’s provision. I really needed somebody to work with me. We were able to do so much in that time, and she was just such a blessing,” she said. “It was refreshing and encouraging to have a partner in ministry and someone passionate about the same things.”

God clearly provided for Rebecca in each season of need. He gave her a community through the local villagers in her neighborhood and a ministry partner when she needed one the most.

Single women on the global mission field face challenges, but God sees them, loves them, and provides for them.

“Don’t be scared! God takes care of you,” Rebecca says to other single women considering entering the global mission field. Community and ministry may look different for a single female missionary, but it is present. You just have to seek it out and trust God’s guidance

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