*Mary has been serving the Waha People since her internship in August 2019. Now on-board full time, she leads the NEXT internship program for the Wahaland site and coordinates short-term teams. Primarily, she is hands-on in the local community, building Gospel-centered relationships with local women and families. These relationships are built through teaching English, tutoring kids, partnering with local ministries, assisting in refugee resettlement and helping women study for the GED and citizenship tests. She shared the story below as a way to express how amazing and capable these women are, as well as to display the deep need so many in their community have for a Savior.

Our students were working to unscramble random sentences in English class. One of the sentences said, “I am not an engineer.” So I asked our students, “If you are not an engineer, what are you?”

Immediately one of our students replied, “I am nothing.” I stopped her and said that she is not “nothing” just because she does not have a job. That led to a discussion about identity.

This was a new word for all the ladies. When I asked them to tell me who they were, most replied “I am a mom, I cook, I clean, I take care of my family…” I told them,


Those are all wonderful things, but I want to know who you are on the inside. Identity is who God made you to be, not all the things you do. For example, God tells us that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. Some other examples could be ‘I am strong,’ ‘I am beautiful,’ or ‘I am fearless.’ So now tell me, who does God say you are?

One of the older Yemeni ladies raised her hand and she said, “I am tough.” I asked her what makes her tough. She replied, “I have been through many hard things and made it through. That is why I am tough.”

Another woman said, “I am strong and I am a model!”

Our third student replied, “I like to make people feel comfortable and safe.”

So you are a safe place, I concluded.

“Yes! I am a safe place,” she said. They all cheered for each other, for the recognition of who they are and said, “I am woman!”

As the ladies left class yesterday, I asked them who they are again and they repeated their phrases back. I pray that this simple, unplanned lesson reminds these women how precious they are. They are so much more than the things they do. I pray that they would remember how beautifully God made them. I want each of these women to be able to walk around knowing they are loved, valued and known by their Heavenly Father.


*Name has been changed due to security guidelines