(MNN) — When Lisa Meyers first came to Austria with Greater Europe Mission
as a church-planter in 1992, she struggled to help women work through the pain
and bitterness in their lives.
"They are angry, they're bitter, or they are often depressed,
and they just can't seem to get out of it," she said. "There's a principle that hurt people hurt
people, and that's what I just saw in Austria a lot."
About five years ago, Meyers discovered Open Hearts
Ministries, an organization committed to helping the abused. Its materials had already been translated
into German. The ministry in Austria
is called "Befreit Leben," or "Hope for the Wounded." Now the ministry is changing the lives of many
women not only in Austria,
but also in Germany and Switzerland.
One Christian woman struggled so much with the bitterness
that she went through the "Befreit Leben" course for a second time.
"This woman was talking about how often she's been rejected,
how often she's been hurt, and we just asked her very gently, maybe she could
ask the Lord to show her where she hurts others," Meyers said.
Although this suggestion shocked the woman, she followed
it. The very next day, God answered her
prayer in an exchange with her supervisor at work.
"She responded with a snippish remark, and the supervisor had tears in her eyes. She didn't say anything, she was just hurt by
this comment. And the Holy Spirit really
touched this woman and he said, 'You are also hurting people.' And she was so broken by this truth."
The woman asked for forgiveness from her supervisor, and the
relationship between them improved.
"I think that is where I'm seeing real spiritual growth–"
Meyers said. "when people are realizing that
we are hurt but are also hurting others. We are in need of forgiveness, and we also need to forgive."
Many women who go through the courses become interested in
leading the courses.
"Austrian women are very shy, and they do not take on
leadership responsibility very easily because they're shy, not because they're
passive," Meyers said. "[But we are] seeing wounded women wanting to lead these groups, basically because of the
principle that we are comforted, and so we can comfort others."
Meyers believes it is critical to raise up women as leaders
in the church.
"I believe that Jesus set such a great example of how He
treated women in the New Testament," she said. "I think that a lot of our view of women, because of sin, has been so
tainted and twisted. So if we have godly
women that rise up, teaching about following Christ in their marriages,
following Christ in their singleness, following Christ in their churches — if we
have women who are passionately devoted to the things of Christ and not the
things of themselves, then we will have a transformed church."