In India we were responsible for teaching various classes (sometimes without textbooks) at the orphanage. School was Monday to Saturday. Every night we led church services with the kids. On Sundays and some evening we travelled to small towns to preach.
I loved it! It was hard- very hard, but amazing. The first month was very difficult and nearly oppressive. Early one morning I felt the heaviness breaking and rolling away. I found out that at that very time a NB camp friend had rallied a prayer meeting for us.
Our North American church travelling elders visited and set up a camp on the school grounds. The men had brought their wives for perhaps the first time and some young guys who had travelled with them before. Us girls had always begged to be allowed to go travelling with them but they only ever took guys. They said it was for modesty reasons.
“Women are beautiful behind a veil” one of the Travelling Ministries wives said to me.
“Only the elders can pray for someone to receive the Holy Spirit. Laying hands on someone is dangerous.”
The young men who came with them had been putting their hands on people so they could receive the Holy Spirit. One was a deacon but the other wasn’t. They were both encouraged to do so. Why the double standard?
I had gotten used to leading a service every night. Leading music, storytime, bible teaching, prayer and discipline for 104 children. Sometimes with two of us. Often alone as my friend had gotten really sick.
On my way back to Canada I stopped for a month in Taiwan. I met an Alliance pastor and had the opportunity to travel and visit different churches and outreaches. I often spoke to various groups and felt so alive.
(I returned home I found that some people had heard that I’d been in a prison. True, but it was to take part in a bible study. My friends had decided that I must have been evangelizing and been put in jail! Of course, some of them also believed the rumour that I was pregnant and engaged to a Buddhist monk. sigh- blind belief.)
When I got back to Canada I missed the freedom I had enjoyed overseas. At church camps boys as young as 12 were encouraged to practice leading services, but not girls. I now knew I was capable of teaching and leading, but now had less opportunity to do so. And even more guilt for wanting to.