"Whether it's a literacy class, or cleaning their wounds, we do all of this because of the love of God." -Geeta, a Sister of Compassion
See how Sisters of Compassion are blessing communities in Asia. Sisters of Compassion, GFA World’s specialized women missionaries, have hearts that ache for hurting women and those deemed as poor and needy.
Sisters of Compassion are specially trained women missionaries with a deep burden for showing Christ’s love by physically serving the needy, underprivileged and poor. After completing Bible college—and often several years of ministry—they go through an advanced six-month course of study, learning about leprosy care, family counseling, hygiene education and other practical ministries.
Before these women missionaries re-enter the field, they don a uniform of humility. Made of handspun fabric, the traditional saris they wear mirror the clothing once worn by the lowliest servants in Asia, immediately showing everyone that the women missionaries have come without any agenda but to love others.
Sisters of Compassion are eagerly welcomed as caregivers, counselors, teachers and friends. Without the uniform, they would be greeted with speculation.
Since becoming a Sister of Compassion, Saaliha shares, “I see that people respect me. They will even approach me and share their problems with me . . . and I go to them, talk to them and share the Good News.”
From treating the open wounds of leprosy patients to training others in life-saving hygiene practices to rescuing children from the streets, Sisters of Compassion commit themselves wholeheartedly to their communities.
Through their sacrifice, God opens the door for them to build strong relationships where they would normally be rejected. And for the first time, many get to hear about the greatest Servant of all.
Although it looks foreign to Western eyes, the Sisters of Compassion uniform has a special and easily recognized meaning in South Asia. Made of humble, handspun fabric, the traditional saris mirror the clothing once worn by the lowliest servants in Asia. Over the years, women from many Christian denominations have taken on this uniform to demonstrate a desire to serve the needy without thought of personal gain.
In places where traditional women missionaries face persecution, Sisters of Compassion are welcomed as trustworthy counselors and friends of the community. With this acceptance, they freely share Christ’s love where they otherwise couldn’t even set foot.
After completing Bible college—and often several years of ministry—some women missionaries elect to take a six-month course, which trains them in practical ministries such as leprosy care, family counseling and hygiene education. They commit to a minimum of three years in compassion ministry, serving widows, leprosy patients, the elderly, children and others who have been rejected by society at large.
Traditional women missionaries, while still building relationships within their communities, do not receive the specialized training that allows Sisters of Compassion to hold their distinct role. But however God leads them, all GFA (SA) women missionaries are dedicated to demonstrating Christ’s love in word and in deed.
No, they do not. Rather, they willingly give three years to focus solely on reaching the least in their societies. Oftentimes, these women will marry once they’ve completed their three years of service as Sisters of Compassion.
It’s much like our missionaries, both men and women, who serve on GFA mobile teams. These missionaries decide to remain single during their time serving as part of a GFA mobile team because of all the traveling they do.
“Sisters of Compassion really do the lowest, menial things that communicate so much love to the people that they serve, just like Jesus did.”
—Shelley, behind-the-scenes missionary at GFA
Each woman who serves as a Sister of Compassion is full of sacrificial love, just like Jesus is. They do the most unglamorous things, such as bathing someone who can’t bathe themselves, or feeding people who’ve been affected by leprosy and no longer have any fingers to feed themselves.
*This number represents the Lord’s work in 2019 through GFA and our partnerships worldwide as we follow Him in His work in 16 Asian nations, including Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal.