I have always been quiet in nature and reluctant to speak to strangers. I don’t have an outgoing personality. But I am one who has a special interest in people. I like to meet people but I would only have a few close friends. I am not a hospitable person. I am more of an introvert but love to communicate with people in my own quiet way. Although I was trained and encouraged to be a leader I have never thought of myself as one on top. I would say, God uses me in a second place only. I would gladly assist someone in fulfilling his/her duty or dream. But I didn’t have the confidence that my own dreams will come true. Because our organization believed that women are to be the helpers only and would chose men as a leader even if there’s a woman equally competent as one. To cover up my frustrations, I have that I don’t mind not being the head because being the neck, I can always turn the head in the direction I want it to turn.
I blamed other people for the lack of growth or lack of advancement in ministry and wondered why they don’t have the knowledge that I have, or why they don’t see what I see. When I found out that God has given me a special gift of discernment, I began to understand why I would see the big picture before anybody else did. And I was very proud of the gift. I looked at people around me and thought of myself as better. I offered my advice without being asked and in doing that, I pushed them away from me. I didn’t realize I was stepping on some people to get other people’s attention. I have thought that I was offended or oppressed by the leaders while it was me who has been offending them all along.
But through what I learned from MAOL, I became aware of my pride, the negative attitudes and disrespect that I have shown towards the leaders and co-workers. I realized how rebellious and disobedient to those whom God put above me. I learned where I went wrong and how servant leadership works.
I thought I have come to a place where all I need is step into a brighter future with a new heart, being dealt with the worst attitudes that has hindered me to blossom as a leader. But then, through the courses like Integrity & Finance, Ethics for Leading and Living, Conflict Management, I found God digging even deeper into my heart. Watching the short clips as well as the movies about Nelson Mandella and the conflicts between Hutus and the Tootsies, documentaries which portrayed what forgiveness can do, has especially touched me and confirmed the conviction that I suspected God has been stirring in me for quite a while.
In August 2013, I was offered the role of a Branch Manager in Myanmar for a company based in India. In other words, I was offered a role to represent Myanmar in building networks for this company whose mission is “To Encourage, equip and connect business and professional people in global partnerships that grow enterprises and create sustainable jobs, transforming the lives of all involved.”
This may not make sense to others but it means a whole lot for me. That is –
- I have been plotted by our Father God to take this unexpected role as a ‘head’, not the neck.
(More than half of my time serving with Campus Crusade, I have worked with businessmen and professionals and since I have left Crusade, I thought I have nothing to do with business people anymore but to explore new territories in ministering the hurting women.)
- I am to serve under the mentorship of an Indian Businessman whom I found to be very gentle, friendly, humble, clean and one who loves the Lord.
(I was convicted of my attitude towards Indians was to do with racism, during one of the reading assignments in Ethics. One case study, talks about “submission to a lesser brother”. And it hits me directly to a part, snuggled away deep inside my heart. I have always looked at Indians with a lesser-than-me attitude. I saw them as ‘hostile’, dirty, lowly persons. I would avoid walking across a group of black skinned youth hanging out on the streets. I had goose bumps when I see a group of Muslim male talking together. I would never take a cab when I see an Indian at the driver’s seat. And one afternoon during the residency, somebody hailed a taxi for me and it was too late when I saw the driver was a Muslim with a beard. I remembered our facilitator’s assignment for us was to communicate with a person whom we see as “other” than ourselves. I was so grateful to find myself speaking to him with an ease like never before. I found myself seeing this Muslim guy for the first time in my life as a brother, made in the image of God. )
- And all the other Branch managers in his region are Indians. (six branches within India and another branch in Sri Lanka ) I am the only yellow skinned partner among them. And I realize they all practice Business as Mission and I need partnerships that grow enterprises and create sustainable jobs for the women I am helping.
It still makes me smile each time I think of how God has dealt with my pride and my prejudice against people with dark skin, just before He gave me this assignment as Branch Manager / an affiliate with Partners Worldwide.