It was a summer mixed with joys and pains and struggles. We were at the end of it and were playing a game to recollect and celebrate our summer together as a missional team in San Fran. One of our female students and female staff had designed a fun game using trivia about our project. It ranged from things like: How many birthdays did we celebrate this summer? Into more serious questions about who is who on our project. It was definitely an insider’s game of trivia. Very clever game indeed to celebrate with. They did a great job with it.
So, the question came up: “Who was the Assistant Project Director?”
At first, the students were contemplating…and were not sure and discussing this briefly for a short minute or so. I sat there almost sweating. I was telling myself: “THIS IS IT”. What will these students say? or even staff? Will they say: It was Margaret. She is the woman and she was the Assistant Project Director or Associate Proj. Dir. I was squirming in my seat and praying for the best and even bracing myself for fear of disappointment.
You see, in some Christian and/or Asian American settings, women can only be associates or assistants, and not leaders in their own rights. We in Epic have made it clear that our Proj Directors were both co leaders together and not fixed by gender. That is our value. However, values are only as good as how people really perceive it to be. In that moment, I remember saying to God: “Well, this is the moment of truth. Did we or did we not really teach them and showcase to them that men and women both lead out of their own strengths and that one is not lesser than the other.” I was praying and hoping that they would get the correct answer.
This was also very impactful for me as I knew of our women’s stories of past pains in sometimes being a woman and/or woman leader. So, if these women who designed the game said the wrong answer, it would have been very sad for me to realize that we had failed in living out our values in front of them or that they did not catch these.
So, the contestants and the 2 teams were baffled and they even suggested some funny names like one of the staff guys. But in the end, the students said:” No one was the assistant project director.” And the answer was: “No one!”
I breathed a huge sigh of relief. And it was only after a day or so that I realised that this moment of truth helped me see that God had indeed worked on our project. The men and women there were living out our values of empowering men and women to lead. I was so grateful for that. It could have looked very different! But God really allowed us to live that out the blessed alliance of men and women leading together for God’s glory.
I was so blessed to be a part of that.