Monday, June 25, 2012

Women Making an Impact in the Lives of Others

by Suzie Johnson

Strong women: 
Leaders, dreamers, achievers, caregivers, helpers, encouragers, teachers, doers, prayers….

I love reading about strong women; women who have an impact throughout history, in current events, and in fiction. Listed above are just a few of the words we can use to describe strong women. One thing they each have above all else is heart, and one thing they all need to achieve their goals is faith.

One such woman made headlines just about a month ago for being a woman of strength, a dreamer and an achiever. Now she wants to be a teacher and encourager.

Mount Everest
courtesy of wikipedia
On May 19th, 2012, Tamae Watanabe broke her own record as the oldest woman to ever climb Mount Everest. She originally set the record ten years prior – ten years where some other woman could have broken her record, and yet none did. Tamae Watanabe is seventy-three years old!

Tamae, who lives near the base of Mount Fuji in Japan, is a retired office worker who has spent years climbing mountains. Perhaps living so close to the largest mountain in Japan is part of what inspired her to climb. From Alaska, to Switzerland to Nepal, Tamae has climbed mountains all over the world.

Mount Fuji
courtesy of wikipedia
Seven years ago, at the age of sixty-six, three years after she initially set the record on Mount Everest, Tamae fell and broke her back. She was afraid she’d never climb again. Driven, she pushed forward and realized her dream.

For now, Tamae has no further plans to climb Everest. She does, however, intend to spread her enthusiasm and knowledge by teaching and encouraging young women of Japan who wish to also achieve their dream of climbing mountains.

While Tamae may be the oldest woman to climb Mount Everest, she is not the first. The first woman to successfully climb Mount Everest was Junko Tabei, in 1975, also of Japan. Junko was also only the thirty-ninth person to complete the climb.

Another woman making recent headlines is thirty-three-year-old Liu Yang of China. When Liu Yang was a young girl, she loved riding the bus so much that she wanted to be a bus conductor so she could ride every day. Later she decided to become a lawyer. But when members of her country’s army visited her school, Liu decided she wanted to become a pilot.

On June 16, 2012, Liu Yang became the first Chinese woman to be launched into space headed toward the Tiangong space lab where she and two male colleagues were to spend a week doing space experiments. She is only one of two women, and one of six people to have been considered for this space mission and China is only the third country to send a woman into space.

Learning about these two women, and other women like them – women who dare to follow their dreams, women who want to experience all life has to offer and to perhaps be an influence on other women, women who put their lives in danger for their beliefs – is inspirational to say the least.

But there are other women out there doing things right now, today, who aren’t in the headlines; women who are changing lives because of their faith and their calling – women who are giving of themselves to help others.

My friend, Amy Hauser, whom I wrote about here in early 2011, is leaving today for Haiti. She’s made several trips there since I first told you about her. Not because she wants attention or headlines, but because she wants to help those in need. Amy is a physical therapist and the first time she went to Haiti she lost her heart to the people who were hurt, devastated, hungry and grieving. Because her life’s mission is to help bring comfort and aid to those in need, and because she’s been blessed with the gift of healing hands, Amy has become involved with missions such as Hands of Light in Action and To Love A Child, Inc.

Then we have Christi Sleiman, daughter of our own Inky Dina Sleiman, who also has a heart for helping others. Christi says it best on her blog sitewhen she says, “I love helping people and making them smile.” Christi is getting ready for a mission-trip to the Philippines. Is Christi doing this for glory and accolades? No. She was called to this through faith, and she’s going with the heart and attitude to help minister to the poverty-stricken children of the Philippines.

God bless Amy, Christi, Dina who instilled her love for all of humanity into her daughter, and other women out there who have the courage to put themselves out there and make a difference in peoples’ lives.

You have to be physically strong to climb mountains and go into space. But you don't have to be physically strong to be a woman of strength and courage. Those who make the greatest impact are those who do so with spiritual strength, relying on their faith to help them make a lasting difference in people’s lives.

To read about Christi and her mission trip to the Philippines, read here.

Suzie Johnson’s debut novel, No Substitute, a contemporary inspirational novel, will be released by White Rose Press later this year. She is a member of ACFW, RWA, and is the cancer registrar at her local hospital. The mother of a wonderful young man, who makes her proud every day, Suzie lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and naughty little cat.  You can visit her at the following places:


  1. Awesome post, Suzie. Thanks so much for thinking of Christi. If you visit her website, note that she needs to update it. She just got in her remaining funds last week and her trip is now completely covered :) But I hope you all will pray for her during that time, and if you would like to be added to her newsletter please let us know.

  2. Thank you, Dina. I'm so glad Christi has raised all of her funds. I don't know if most people realize that people who go on mission trips work long hard hours trying to raise the funds for their trips. So they're truly giving of themselves long before the come into contact with those they're ministering to.

    One of my goals in life is to be able to fund two things: mission trips and homeless shelters.

  3. This is a really inspiring post, Suzie. So much so that I linked it to my own today. Yes, I should have read this yesterday when you posted it, but I was too busy trying to get mine done.

    Dina, good work on raising a child who wants to go out and help others.

    It's so hard watching them go so far away to a foreign country, though, isn't it? I wasn't worried so much when my kids went to Scotland or Australia. Nor when Jessie's trip to Trinidad had her helping people receive prescription glasses cast off by others who no longer needed them.

    But when Nick when to South Africa last summer, one part of my mind went into permanent mom-missing-her-child mode. I knew he was in God's care, but those 2 weeks were some of the longest in my life.

    I'll be praying for Christi as well as the other teens who go out on mission trips this summer.

    Suzie, thank you. Always a delight when you post.

  4. Anita, thank you. And thank you for linking you post to mine. I think it would be quite difficult to have your child go off on a mission trip. Even though you're incredibly proud if them and their decision. I know how hard it was when my son joined the army, and yet I was so proud - especially when I learned his chosen occupation: Civil Affairs - their motto was something like "hearts and hands".

  5. Anita, this will actually be Christi's 4th mission trip. Although she was 12, 13, and 14 for her other trips and is now 17, I think this will still be a little challenging for me back home. She'll be farther away than she has before, and in a rougher environment. However, I know that Global Expeditions takes excellent care of the kids, and overall I have peace about it.


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