After retiring twice, once from 20 years as an Information Technology Manager for a major oil company, and the second time from 11 years as the Director of Women’s Ministry at our church, at the age of 65, I was prayerfully seeking God’s will for the next season of my life. All I knew was that God was calling me to do something with women and business. I wanted to know how to most effectively pass along what I had learned to the next generation of women.
Carolyn Cochran was part of my women’s group teaching team, and knowing I was about to retire, she suggested I consider Bakke Graduate University, a school that emphasized both business and ministry. That sounded perfect — my two careers rolled into one. God gave me peace about this opportunity and within weeks I was enrolled and beginning the journey.
While reading for one of my first classes it was like God gave me great clarity about the next steps. Because of my technology background, I could develop an online mentoring program for Christian women in business. The idea was so intriguing, I took a semester off from my studies and gathered a group of 8 women that I knew were strong business leaders to help me determine if this plan was really feasible. Together, for about 3 months, we agreed the idea would work and we created a draft curriculum. I also went on 2 short-term mission trips to visit businesswomen in Peru and Vietnam. Were these businesswomen out there? Would they welcome my input? Yes. I came back to class energized to finish my degree. I had a plan.
In each of my remaining classes, I was able to use my idea as part of my Individual or Group project for my class. In each class, I was building a wealth of information about how to write an academic paper, about leadership, transformation, and also about myself and what God was calling me to do. My daily journal helped guide my thinking and my prayer life and in May 2014, I graduated. What next?
I began conversing with women in other countries online at every opportunity, teaching ESL to a young Syrian woman who was a refuge from Aleppo, living in Beirut, and a young pregnant missionary wife in Jordan. I loved it!
Shortly after graduation, I was asked by a local mission organization, Global Advance if I would write a Christian women’s leadership handbook that could be easily translated. They had done a needs assessment for women in ministry, and that was near the top of their requests. Together, we created a curriculum using much of the information my group of women had put together 3 years before. My BGU writing skills were put to good use.
Raising Up Modern Day Esthers has now been translated into 20 languages and is available for free download from www.2tim2.org to women all over the world. It has been used in women’s conferences and mentoring groups in 37 nations. The mentoring model that we have been using for women’s ministry is now being used for not only women’s ministry, but also Marketplace Ministry, Church Planting, and NextGen ministry in 11 selected countries with more to come.
I am forever grateful for my years in the MBA program at BGU. Not only did I refresh my business skills, but I discovered God’s unexpected calling for a new and very rewarding season of my life.