by Carol Taber
WAKE FOREST — Listening to Gale Peterson talk about the expanding ministry of The Widow’s Peek (sic) is exhilarating.
To hear her share The Widow’s Peek’s opportunity to partner with Gidan Bege in serving widows in Jos, Nigeria is to hear the heartbeat of God for other cultures. Gidan Bege is one of SIM’s (formally the Sudan Inland Mission) African outreaches whose mission is to “respond to need, proclaim the gospel, and equip the Church.”
A Taste of Africa is part fundraiser, part information session and part great night out. Think unique and inexpensive date night.
On July 19, for less than the price of a dinner out, you can sample African and American foods. Ethiopian popcorn, sesame cakes and Algerian keft are a few intriguing samples that will be available. In so doing, you can be a small part of the effort to improve lives of women and children.
In addition to food, there will be face painting for the kids, and a short drama written by Wake Forest’s Patricia Rivera.
There will also be a live auction run by Stone Auction Company and a silent auction as well.
Gale and her husband Mike Peterson founded the Widow’s Peek in 2011. They both had suffered the loss of a spouse.
Their ministry is dedicated to helping those who have lost a spouse find God’s plan for their next stage of life. The ministry provides opportunities for Bible studies, social events and community service.
Looking for a new way to minister, the Widow’s Peek is now reaching out to widows in Africa.
Widows living in sub-Saharan Africa are one of the most underserved populations in the world. The International Federation of Woman Lawyers in 2011 reported that despite the legal protections accorded them, “80 percent of their cases in West, Southern and East Africa concern widows’ property disputes.”
Traditionally, property has been passed on through the husband’s family. Property includes land, business assets or personal possessions.
For a significant percent of widows, the husband’s family will take the couple’s property away, often leaving the grieving wife destitute.
Left without the means of feeding and educating her children, widows may also lose custody of their children to the former in-laws.
The women are often unaware of laws to protect them, or lack the financial resources needed to defend themselves in court.
Churches in Africa are ideally situated to help women facing the challenge of widowhood. But the problem is huge.
According to Gail Peterson, there are 30 million widows in Nigeria alone. It has been difficult for individual local churches to know where to begin in designing ministries that aid and comfort widows and their families.
To help, The Widow’s Peek is partnering with Gidan Bege, translated as House of Hope, for a training conference to enable pastors and lay ministers later this year. Proceeds from a Taste of Africa will be used to send The Widow’s Peek members and SIM’s short term missionaries Gail Peterson and Jennifer Mohrman to serve at the conference and to provide the training materials for the conference.
The sponsors of the conference are planning to tape the secessions and make them available to pastors and lay leader in other areas through the use of video sim cards. The conference, then, has the potential to have an impact far beyond the city of Jos.
In addition to ministering to the moms, The Widow’s Peek community has been sewing handmade rag dolls for widows’ children. When Gail asked a few of the widows she knows in Jos if this is something their children would enjoy, some women mentioned that they had never had a doll growing up, so the Widow Peek made handmade dolls for the widows too. Such is the heartbeat of this endeavor called the Joshua Dolls project.
A Taste of African will be held July 19 at Burning Coal Theatre Company, 224 Polk Street, Raleigh, NC 27604 from 6:30-9:30 p.m. For ticket information, see thewidowspeek.org.