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Sunday, September 3, 2017


I am known for having ideas. Lots of ideas. So many ideas that my 2 sons have trained themselves to just say an enthusiastic "great idea mom!" multiple times every day to whatever thought I throw into the air that lands on their ears. They know that most of them will never come to fruition, so they just give an encouraging nod to my latest vision of how to make the world a better place. This could be as simple as how to open a banana more effectively (peel from the bottom instead of the top) or a complete re-design blueprint for a Syrian refugee camp in Greece to be more of a village with a community vibe with jobs, schools, gardens, builders, and open markets within a healthy system. 

But this summer I came up with a doozy - and we did it. I called it THE SUMMER OF BECOMING A MAN. This idea was born out of the limited time I have left to raise my sweet son Corban. We are on countdown mode. Counting down the months until he leaves for college in 11 months 2 weeks 4 days 18 hours 20 minutes and 7 seconds no 5, 4, 3.... This makes us panic. Panic. Did we raise him as best as we could? Did we teach him all he needs to know to be a man in the world without us looking over his shoulder? Hovering by his bedroom door peeking in and asking him questions about the latest task we hoped he had completed. How will he survive without us much less thrive? This was the heart of my latest fantastic idea! 

My husband and I talked about all of the things that a GOOD man would do, know about, be aware of. We made a list. Things that he had yet to do or needed to grow in just a bit. It looked something like this:

1. Have a good job - He left Burger King job and as applying for Starbucks. Not bad for 17.
2. Drive their own car. Check!
3. Play a sport well. Ping pong and golf even pickle ball, yes pickle ball. Done.
4. Grocery shop (we can't be sexist you know, and hey, it's a basic) Love how guys just get the list.
5. Cook a healthy fresh dinner - Thank you Blue Apron!
6. Know how to change the filter in the furnace. He didn't know where or what this was.
7. Climb to the roof on a ladder (every boy's dream really) to get his Gumba's half-ball. Don't ask.
8. Change the oil in a car. We nixed this as no one needs to know how with $30 oil changes. 
9. How to change a tire. 
10. Ask a girl on a date and show her a nice time. We may have to give up on this one. He is SO SHY.
11. Play in a rock band. (Juan thought this was important.)
12. Take Dave Ramsey's Full Online Personal Financial Management Class. Check.
13. Take John Bevere's Full Online Workshop on how to know your Calling in Life. Did it.
14. Plan, prepare, pack and execute an overnight camping trip with his little brother. (It rained the WHOLE time but he had a great attitude and they had a great time anyways)
15. Help the poor. Going on The Relief Bus in NYC to help the homeless is a staple in our family.
16. Invite over friends to have a fun time and be a great host with drinks and food.
17. Run errands for the family.
18. Build something out of wood for the backyard.
19. Study 2 hours a day for the SAT with consistency and diligence.  
20. Lead a devotional that is from the heart. 

I am sure we could come up with many more things. And we did do a few that seemed more like chores in the yard to be honest, but for the most part, we tried to stick to things that would help Corban to "BECOME A MAN."

We are missing some of these "rights of passage" in our American culture. The Jewish culture has the Bar mitzvah which happens at the ripe old age of 13. But what about when a young man is on the cusp of venturing out into the world? Why not have a "Right of Passage" created by his very own family full of activities, ideas, and adventures that will help to make the transition more fun. The last night of Summer, the day before his first day of Senior year, we are going to hold a ceremony. A right of passage of our own making. 

The ceremony will consist of our oldest son Corban leading a devotional at Washington Rock. A special place in New Jersey where we live that General George Washington looked out to see the British movements to keep his troops safe. We will then give him a token, a gift to wear that will remind him of his "Summer of Becoming a Man" and of his commitment to integrity, purity, and to be a man of God. Oh, and a BIG knife. Men like that. 

Maybe you would like to create a "Summer of Becoming a Man" for your son one day? If so, enjoy every moment as the countdown clock is ticking... tick tock tick tock. 

Friday, February 19, 2016


 To The Ends Of The Earth...

Just got home a few hours ago... from the other side of the earth. That scripture in Acts 1:8 to preach the gospel in Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth have now taken on a whole new meaning for me. Check. Done that. I have done lots of missions before, but never this far away. I left the iron protective gate in Dagupan, Philippines Youth With A Mission Base on Sunday morning Feb. 14th, Valentine's day, 8am. After taking a group photo with our new missionary friends and our "New York Team" - we set off home. Just got home, 11:30pm almost Tuesday the 16th... to my snow covered kitchen porch with an Amazon box from my always perfect gift at the perfect time sister. The ice crusted box that must have been sitting in the snow for days was filled with "Bath Bombs" to relax after returning home from our long journey. 

Door to door, this "to the ends of the earth" return trip was approximately 40 hours of travel by van, a short sleep in a hotel in dark and crowded Manila, taxi, plane to Hong Kong, China, plane to USA with 10 hours of mostly turbulence over the South China Sea and the Pacific Ocean to a Shuttle driven by my always cheerful father-in-law and to home. A place of comfort and familiar smells. It is good to be under my soft fuzzy blanket in bed, finally. Yet I am tormented.

Tormented by the girls faces. H___l, P____a, R______e, R______a, and the others, the girls who live in the slums where raw sewage runs past their shanty homes and into the river. The place where dark hovels are the only homes they have ever known. Trying to be cool, whiting out their faces to look more pale, grasping for acceptance and a future that I pray is not in the arms of a tormenter one day. Will they follow JESUS into HIS AWESOME PLAN for their lives or repeat the generational demonic stronghold that trips up even the most hopeful of children... We taught them a drama about keeping safe in the arms of a loving God, away from drugs, alcohol, prostitution, and human trafficking, do they realize that the drama was for them? 

There is a light in these slums though, the light in the eyes of the smiling children, filling the tiny maze alleys, grabbing my hands and hanging on my arms with enormous smiles like I was a long lost mama who finally came home to visit them. 

No white people. None to be seen except a glance of an older white woman in the mall who looked as surprised to see us as she her on day two during a passing glance. All 10 days we were the only non Asian people I saw in Dagupan, Philippines. People don't usually travel this deep in. 7 hour drive from the city into the Northern Philippines. We were far away, very far away from home. To the ends of the earth. Thanks Missionary Gina for taking good care of us.

We stayed at the "Youth With A Mission Beach Base" 1 block from the "red light" prostitution district that was dangerous at night. This beach was not what you would imagine. Beautiful, but a prison just down the street with shanty's on the beach. A prison built to hold 250 but currently holds 850 men in mostly open air minus the thick cement walls, all wearing yellow t-shirts. We ministered there with testimonies and music in what could be called a courtyard but was more like an abandoned factory with 1/2 a tin roof, and tarps rigged up to keep the hot sun off the necks of the prisoners. It was an uncomfortable feeling at first being locked in with hundreds of criminals sitting right in front of me. 

After they started to praise and worship, my soul was put at ease. They enjoyed my husband's band with our 2 sons and great friends playing alongside. The prisoners sang the na na naaas with gusto. Seemingly truly touched by the messages from our team. Genuinely thankful that we would visit them. Prison. That was on my bucket list. I could not believe that after being a Christian for 29 years I had never visited Jesus in Prison as He had asked me to do. I was so thankful to finally get this opportunity. Scared a bit at first, but truly thankful. Thanks Missionary Coy & friends for taking us there. 

You see, God never said He would keep us safe. I was in multiple dangerous situations throughout our time in East Asia. Danger of sickness, danger of being robbed, danger of motorcycle side car wreck or an open air Jeepney fall (not really). Danger of being taken advantage of in multiple ways. Danger. It is dangerous to follow Jesus sometimes. And therefore many people decide not to go. Not to put themselves or their children in danger. It is in the danger though where new levels of faith, miracles and trust come into our hearts. 

You see, our light does shine brightest in the darkness. But if we do not go where it is dark, we may never notice any light in us at all. Thanks Missionaries GiGi, Queenie, Analiza, Aldelfa, Dreb, Fronie, Coy, Joel, Novie, Gina & Manny and all wonderful missionaries for shining your light daily.

So back to the girls. I used to lay awake at night for years thinking of what it must be like to be human trafficked, to have to prostitute oneself to survive, to be forced to do internet porn to satisfy the nasty desires of sinful men and women and in return get paid a pittance while the evil men and women fill their pockets with cash to exploit me.  Now I have names, faces, of girls my sons age, pre-teens and teenagers, women, men, even young children to this horrific practice. I was able to spend time with them. Minister to them. Speak to them one on one and try to help them to find a way out. Their faces are flashing in my mind as I attempt to adjust, to sleep after this 12 hour time change adjustment. 

What will I do now? In the coming weeks I will be recovering, praying, seeking God as to what could I possibly do from 1/2 way around the world - it really is 1/2 way around the world. There are many things that are possible, but what is Jesus calling ME to do? I will seek His face and take action. As usual.

Above is me preaching with missionary GiGi translating.
Thanks for listening, now Go. Go into all the world and preach the gospel. What are YOU waiting for?

Serving Jesus to the ends of the earth and here with you,
Pastor Tracy Galloway

A Shout Out to our AMAZING sons Corban and Connor with whom we are so proud of for sharing their stories so eloquently, loving on the people, and experiencing a new culture with gusto and a great attitude. You rock. Literally! Thanks to my adoring husband for "making me go" it was fun; far away, but fun!

Where are you going to go? Pray about it.

Monday, May 18, 2015

My Daughter and ISIS

My 17 Year Old Daughter and ISIS

It is crazy what things come down my path of life. ISIS for instance. It is so far away, so terrible, like many injustices around the world. But when it knocks on our families door, how do I respond? Let me start from the beginning...

This past winter, our younger daughter joined University of The Nations, also called Youth With A Mission AKA YWAM, that is just the start of all of their acronyms that can be so confusing to the newbie. Like DTS. Short for "Discipleship Training School." Maybe I have lost you already but basically, there are over 1000 YWAM locations around the world where teens and young adults can grow in their Christian faith by doing a 3 month intensive Bible training called Discipleship Training School (DTS) then go on a two month outreach (helping local people with acts of service) to a country not to be revealed until after the students are about midway through their courses at DTS. After completing the outreach, they graduate DTS, then move onto college, a job, or more YWAM AKA University of the Nations classes at whatever location worldwide they like. These courses are varied from deeper bible courses, first-aide, journalism, performing arts, photography, teaching, and more. They even have a surfing school. Yes, it is that cool. 

Our daughter's goal has been to go through DTS with YWAM and then attend what they call a "Secondary School" in Taiwan for Sequential Arts (Basically Comic Book Art) as she would like to be a graphic novelist one day.  Great. Perfect plan for our younger daughter who has been passionate about reading, writing, and drawing most of her life. Out of many YWAM locations for her DTS, she picked Orlando as she worked there last summer with their SOS - UGH another acronym, standing for "Summer of Service." Ever heard of "Christianize?" This is "YWAMize!" Lost you yet?

So, our girl loved her DTS in Orlando this past semester, great program. She was learning more about God, the Bible, Jesus, and preparing for her outreach. We were told it would be in Northern Africa, great! My husband, his father and mother, myself and our oldest daughter have all done missions/relief work in Africa. Uganda, Ethiopia, Mozambique, South Africa. Yay. We are all for it! 

Then the beheadings happened on the beaches of Tripoli, Libya. Northern Africa. Hmmmmm. I googled where that was as they replaced geography with sex education when I was in high school. I was not sure how close this chaos may be to Tunisia where our daughter was going weeks from then. Bam. It was the country next door to her outreach location, and right on the border of her country. She was even headed for the coast north of there less than a days drive.

At this point, I figured she was bound for a different country, 9 hours drive from where the Libya ISIS was currently infiltrating, which when you think about it,  it is the same distance from New York City to Charlotte, North Carolina. Not too close right? I was not too worried, but I did want to do my "due diligence" and research more about ISIS which I had limited knowledge of, find out more about why ISIS was in Northern Africa instead of just the Middle East, where they were headed, and why? 

This began my late night hours of research online for the month of March. I searched every news outlet in the US, BBC, as well as Al Jazeera. The more I learned, the more I became concerned. So I dug deeper. I read blogs by people in the Middle East, surrounding countries of Northern Africa, local towns, news in Tunisia and Libya, the most up to date reports daily throughout. I dedicated about 1- 3 hours a night to educate myself on the situation. 
Mass graves of Christians with their organs removed, sold for money to buy weapons. Killings of women, grandmas and grandpas, children, entire villages. Forcing young girls to marry them for one week only to have as a personal sex slave, then divorcing them so the next soldier can do the same, repeat, repeat, repeat to help with their guilt of sex trafficking and rape. The new knowledge that they actually want a war with Europe and America as some militants feel called of Allah to bring about the last holy war, the battle of Armageddon, well, that was worrisome. 
After a week or two, when I felt like I had a grasp on the movement of ISIS in the region, I contacted the leadership of YWAM for Orlando to see if they were aware of the recent events in the area they were bound for with their DTS team of students. Their limited knowledge concerned me. Besides the beheadings, they were unaware of the movement of ISIS headed West toward their relief work location. In addition, ISIS had the most recruits in the world from the country of Tunisia, my daughter's destination. The muslim extremist men were currently returning from the war in the Middle East with the goal of taking over their local North African towns for ISIS to carry the same clout and power locally that they felt on the battlefields of Syria and Iraq. Here is a Map of their movement from early in 2015:

We wanted to pull our daughter from the trip. Who would send their teenage child to the middle of a war zone? It  would be like sending her into Nazi Germany as a Jewish girl in the 1930's or sending her into Rwanda during the Rwandan holocaust of the 1990's. It was crazy. Our long time friends who are missionaries in Muslim Burkina Faso Northern Africa even said "Don't send your sweet daughter there."

But, our family, being a family of missionaries, who does crazy things most of the time, like working with the homeless of New York City, helping the poor in Haiti during Hurricane Sandy that struck that Island first, heading into Uganda Africa with a youth group weeks after many Europeans were murdered (hacked to death) in the forest, and many more adventures that most "normal" people would never consider an adventure much less ever consider doing, that is sort of our "thing." Maybe because all of the above experiences are truly the highlights of our lives... so we prayed about it. We found this to always be a dangerous thing. So dangerous that I regularly say, "I don't want to pray about it." But at our daughter's request, we prayed to see if God would have this team go into this area, and maybe even change the heart of one young suicide bomber that would in turn save many lives if they were to let go of hate, and learn about the love of Jesus for all people. 

I then in addition thought about United States military moms who have their children in the thick of battle carrying guns, and knowing that their sons and daughters are currently walking on the most dangerous parts of the earth. They let their children go to protect the innocent. Would I as a Christian parent allow my daughter to go into the battle zone to win hearts for Jesus and in turn hopefully turn people towards peace, restoration, healing, blessing?

Lastly, my youngest son reminded me of the story of Abraham and Isaac in the bible where God actually asked Abraham to sacrifice his one and only son:

Genesis 22:1-2  "After these things God tested Abraham and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you." When they came to the place of which God had told him, Abraham built the altar there and laid the wood in order and bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10 Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to slaughter his son."

 I always thought this story was crazy! Why would God tell him to do that? We know that it is a foreshadowing of God offering His son Jesus as a sacrifice for all, but still... Abraham just seemed like a crazy man right? Was God asking me to be a crazy person like Abraham? Was he asking me to sacrifice our daughter? 

To top it all off, I just happened to be doing a sermon series at my church the same week of this decision called "Heroes." That particular Sunday, I was highlighting the Green Lantern who spread light in the darkness and I connected that super hero to Stephen in the bible who was Martyred (stoned to death) and his face shown like a light. I also highlighted in that sermon a modern day hero: Steve Saint - yes that is his real name -  whose father was a missionary that was speared to death trying to reach an unreached violent people group in the Amazon. Steve Saint later returned and led his father's killers to Jesus and even adopted his own father's killer into his family as his children's grandfather to replace his father. It's an amazing story of forgiveness and restoration if you ever want to watch the movie. My brother-in-law Mike did the movie poster :) Hey Mike!

Our daughter grew up around missionaries and loves superheroes. Super Heroes are her passion. She is one of the few girls who has loads of comic books and watches every superhero movie with gusto, repeatedly. She loves the idea that an underdog, or mutant, or someone of not much significance in the worlds eyes, can change the world for the better and defeat evil. That is one of the reasons she is willing to live all the way out in Taiwan, just to perfect her comic book art skills.

The more I prayed, the more I felt, I should let her go. I knew that this choice was going to make a mockery of my mothering abilities, that all mothers and most everyone would disagree and think I was crazy like Abraham. But I was sure, that God was asking me to take a step of faith, and for us, being wild missionaries already who have done our share of loads "are you crazy" things, it would actually take something this crazy, this insane, to test our faith in a very real, heart wrenching, challenging way. 

Before I called to give the "okay, she could go" I just had to speak personally to one or two missionaries on the ground in the city she was going to. All the smaller local North African news blogs and reports seemed to show ISIS was headed in the direction of her destination, and even that ISIS was already there underground waiting to attack. I needed to be reassured that this was media hype, and she would most likely be okay. After contacting our large network of missionaries friends worldwide, I got a connection from the Philippines who had an old friend who was a missionary in Tunisia. After e-mailing back and forth a few times, being reassured that he and his family were enjoying the Mediterranean Ocean, shopping at the mall, and eating out, with many tourists from around the world, in perfect safety, I made my final decision. She could go. We felt good about it. We released her to God fully, whole heartedly. She was going!

I proclaimed on Facebook, "We decided to let her GO!" I shared with my worried congregation Sunday morning who thought, like everyone else, we were insane. But they were too kind and gracious to tell me so. We only had one stipulation. If there was a terrorist attack in the city she was headed to, we would then pull her from the trip, her Orlando YWAM leaders agreed. Otherwise, we were letting her go, hoping and praying that a terrorist attack would not happen during her 2 months in that region, which was a very real threat.

It was a Wednesday morning, just a few days before my daughters planned departure. I was at my Ladies Life Group Bible Study where I talked with my friends and had to let them know "yes, I am letting my 17 year old daughter go into an ISIS area to do missions." But even though I am sure my friends were sick with worry, and wondering if I was insane (I had questioned my sanity myself a few times), I felt a peace that was indescribable in that I knew, come what may, I had passed this test. I was laying my daughter on the alter as Abraham had with Isaac, as the Father God did with Jesus, and saying, come what may Lord, we will follow you. Little did I know what was happening that exact same hour of my announcement. Little did I know as I was telling my friends that I was letting our daughter go to North Africa, that over 64 tourists and locals were being shot or injured in a museum in the exact city she was headed towards in just a few short days. 24 people murdered in cold blood by local ISIS militants who had come home from the war, out of the underground to kill the infidels (which surprises me that they don't consider themselves infidels as killing women and children seems pretty infidevilish - I made up that word) 
(running for their lives outside the museum)

Genesis 22:9-18
11 But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” 12 He said, “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.” 13 And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him was a ram, caught in a thicket by his horns. And Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 So Abraham called the name of that place, “The Lord will provide”;[b] as it is said to this day, “On the mount of the Lord it shall be provided.”[c]

That night, during my nightly ISIS research, I learned indeed a terrorist attack right where I thought there would be one weeks previous, had actually happened in the city I predicted.  I could not believe that my research was actually right. After warning YWAM  that this looked like it would happen, it actually did. I was surprised and saddened by the loss of life, the poor families, the 10 years of democratic progress Tunisia had made, was shifted into a hard reverse, all in one morning. The area was suddenly extremely volatile. 

I felt the Lord tell me, "this is your ram in the thicket, you can pull her from the trip; well done good and faithful servant."  We passed the test, we were willing to give her to the Lord and let her go, but did not have to make the ultimate sacrifice we thought would be required of us to worry every moment she was over there, and quite possibly receive devastating news. Like I am sure Abraham did, we breathed a sigh of relief and called YWAM to let them know she would not be going with that particular team. There was an ISIS attack. That was our ram.

YWAM being responsible, decided to cancel that particular location as they are not allowed to send DTS teams of students into "Hot spots." They would not be going to Tunisia anymore after the ISIS attack. But the new location was likely going to be in the middle east, and we did not know where yet. So we waited a week to hear. Then we were told they were going to Turkey as well as Algeria in Northern Africa. I was not thrilled about Algeria as that borders on Libya as well, but after finding out that the refugee camp she would be building a school at out of sand bags in the dessert was very, very, very far away from the ISIS activity, we were okay with that. Turkey would be fine if it was Istanbul or on to coast, as it is very European and safe generally, and I have a wonderful friend from there, but if they were going near the Iraq border in Turkey, we could not let her go, as ISIS was in control of that region, it was way worse than Northern Africa in that part. After multiple calls and emails requesting where in Turkey the students would be going, and not getting a response from her leadership, we sadly had to decide to pull her from the trip all together. We could not let her go close to Iraq and no one was telling us otherwise. So the Ram in the Bush for us was also a different trip. But our journey was not over, she needed a replacement outreach to graduate from DTS.

15 And the angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time from heaven 16 and said, “By myself I have sworn, declares the Lord, because you have done this and have not withheld your son, your only son, 17 I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of his[d] enemies, 18 and in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.” 

So we did not withhold our daughter. We were willing to send her, but where? I went into "Full-Time Find an Outreach Mode" I spent up to 6 hours a day contacting YWAM bases in Africa, Europe, Asia, India, South America, Central America, Australia, America, asking if she could do an outreach with their DTS team so she could graduate her DTS and go onto secondary school in Taiwan next year. I must have contacted and personally talked with over 50 YWAM bases. I got no, after no, after no, after no, after no. Every door closed. Finally I was able to reach The Big Cheese of DTS Leaders with University of the Nations in Kona, Hawaii and he was able to ask his good friend to do a personal favor and allow Hailey to join their missions outreach team to Haiti. Thank you so very much!

Our daughter was so kind to be okay with not going with her friends to the Middle East (at least on the phone with us). She said "Dad, Mom, if you guys think it is not safe, I trust you because I know you both do crazy things for God, and if you think it is not safe, it must be pretty bad." When she found out she was going to Haiti she was excited as her good friend went there last year and she was actually familiar with the Haiti training from helping with that team during her Summer of Service (SOS), last summer. Also, her Dad, sister and friends from New York City Relief had all been to Haiti to do relief work a few years back. We were excited to get her plugged in somewhere even though the additional cost was a significant blow to us, somehow, it all came together down to the last day and off she went. It's funny to be relieved to send your daughter to Haiti, one of the poorest nations in the Western Hemisphere, that is not known for it's safety in itself. But we were. We were relieved. It was nice to have a good nights sleep, finally. 

It is crazy what things come down my path of life. ISIS for instance. It is so far away, so terrible, like many injustices around the world. But when it knocks on our families door, how do I respond? Hopefully with wisdom and faith. 

Haiti report coming soon... here is a sneak peak at our daughter in Haiti:
as well as Israel missions report from our oldest daughter who returns next week.... and West Virginia Appalachia relief report this summer from our oldest Son of 15. Yes, we are all about that. That is how we roll, almost ISIS and all.

The Galloway Family 

To learn A TON about ISIS in a riveting video great for Christians, Muslims & Jews go here:


Monday, February 9, 2015

I am amazed at the Lord. I am amazed at how His hand is upon the pen that is continuing to write my life story. It is a wonderful thing to follow Jesus into what ever adventure He calls you to. Yes, there are years of sitting and waiting, years of suffering, years of nothing special happening at all even. But overall, when I look back at my 42 years of life thus far. I am amazed. Amazed at His hand holding me up when I can not stand on my own. His direction when I feel lost. His patience when I feel like I can not wait another day. His blessings and unmerited favor that I am still surprised by. Jesus is Good. Really Good. He never promised I would not suffer, but I know that when I do suffer, I am not alone. Never alone. My prayer is that when suffering comes, that I may suffer well. He is always with me. Yet, in the midst of possible suffering always looming on the horizon, wether it be health challenges, or difficult situations that rear their ugly head, I am excited that 2015 is actually the "Year of Jubilee"

The Jubilee (Hebrew yovel יובל) year is the year at the end of seven cycles of shmita (Sabbatical years), and according to Biblical regulations had a special impact on the ownership and management of land in the Land of Israel; there is some debate whether it was the 49th year (the last year of seven sabbatical cycles, referred to as the Sabbath's Sabbath), or whether it was the following (50th) year. Jubilee deals largely with land, property, and property rights. According to Leviticus, slaves and prisoners would be freed, debts would be forgiven and the mercies of God would be particularly manifest. Leviticus 25:8-13 

 I am excited to see what the Lord has next for me, my family, our churches, our ministry, our country and the world in this "Year of Jubilee" that some say is set to start this Fall. Jesus is holding the pen and may I let His love and mercy flow through me continually into the next chapter of our lives here on earth. 


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Elephant in the Room

Being invited to be the first female senior pastor in a historic Christian church over 100 years old, I felt led of the Lord to speak about the "Elephant in the Room" for my first blog post so that anyone with concern about having a female pastor could read up in a quick and simple way on the biblical history of female ministers. If you DO NOT believe in women pastors, this blog is for you to consider biblically.

Is it okay? Is it okay She Preaches? A pastor friend asked me this week if I had a lot of opposition being a female pastor throughout the years. My answer was honestly no. I had the privilege or even dare I say "luck" of not receiving much criticism for the 28 years I have been in ministry. I happened to operate in circles where it was perfectly fine for a woman to teach the bible, to anyone, anywhere, anytime, at any location.

No one wants to say it, but many people have it cross their minds. Some even feel strongly one way or the other. Either way, we all come from different religious and cultural backgrounds regarding women in ministry and I wanted to give you a simple, yet solid, biblical answer after two short stories...

There were only 2 or 3 Brief moments of challenge for me (after which I will give a biblical reason to answer the questions I am sure you might have regarding women pastors)

1. When studying at a Baptist University with 300 male Theology students and 3 female ones, one boy was bold enough to ask me "What are you doing here?" "There is no need for girls to study Theology." I laughed at the absurdity of this statement that my friend made and just said "Really?" "Wow!" Not offended, just humored at this new experience, I was shortly after given the opportunity to pray at the University chapel service. All students were required to attend. I took this rare opportunity to get all of the non-christian students saved. The Holy Spirit fell in the room as I spoke for around 5 minutes to the non-believing students (around 100 students sitting in the back rows). ALL stood to their feet to pray to have a better relationship with Jesus. From that moment on, all 297 male theology students were behind me 100%. No one asked me why I was studying Theology ever again. 

2. A few years later, after being in full-time ministry for 8 years, my husband and I flew from California to New Jersey to interview at a church to be youth pastors. Concluding a weekend of interviews and meals, I asked the Pastor privately (who is Hispanic) "Do you believe in ordaining women?" He quickly said "Oh no, I don't believe in that." I am not going to lie, what I said in return was VERY CHEEKY. But, to my credit, the I believe the Lord put the words in my mouth at that moment and gave me no fear. I leaned in close to whisper to the Pastor "Yes, I agree, and I don't believe in Hispanic or black ones either" turned, and walked away. I know, it seems SO BAD, but honestly I felt God instructing me to say just that, so I was obedient. I am willing to risk it all (even a great job or large sums of money) when I know the Lord has me to say or do something. Surprisingly, that Hispanic pastor presented an offer to hire us later that day, ordained his wife immediately who was one of the best female preachers I have ever learned from, and then shortly thereafter, led me through the process as well with the denomination.

"I happened to operate in circles where it was perfectly fine for a woman to teach the bible, to anyone, anywhere, anytime, at any location." tg

Here is the biblical "BLOW YOUR MIND" reason why it is okay that a "SHE" preaches, just in case you are not sure if it is okay or not.

I will deal with just two of the most difficult passages for this blog:

1. "The head of a woman is the man"
2. "Woman should remain silent in churches"


Seems impossible to wrestle with these scriptures.... I know, but watch this original Greek translation that I would bet money (if I were a betting gal) you have never known...

Though some passages may at first appear contradictory, we can be sure that God does not contradict Himself. God is truthful, unchanging, the absolute source of all knowledge and wisdom. Not only that, He reveals truth to us and invites us to question Him when we don't understand. God doesn't ask us to abandon our minds when we don't understand. 

1. Blowing Headship Out Of The Water:

What comes to your mind when you hear the word head? Probably something like boss, leader, authority, ruler, top dog, the big cheese, or head honcho, Right? To be honest, it doesn't matter what you or I think. What matters is what Paul's original readers thought. What image did the word head bring to mind of first-century Corinthians? Words change meaning over time and sometimes have more than one meaning, even in the first century. Just like now how "post" means to put a picture or words up online but used to mean and sometimes still means a newspaper or a fence post.


Going deep, hold your breadth, this is for theologians, skip it if you can't follow. The word for "head" in Hebrew is ro'sh can mean part of the body, or it can mean "leader" or "ruler."  Whenro'sh meant a physical head in a passage of the Old Testament, the Septuagint translators chose kephale (the word Paul used in 1 Corinthians 11:3 to translate it 226 out of the 239 times, or about 95 percent of the time. However, when ro'sh clearly meant "ruler" or "leader", the Septuagint translators used some other word 171 times out of 180. They used Kephale for "ruler" or "leader" only 5% of the time. 

TO PUT IT SIMPLY, it is possible that Paul used kephale in 1 Corinthians 11:3 to mean that man should be the "leader" or "ruler" over woman, but that would be a rare usage of the word, as seen by evidence of the Septuagint. On the other hand, we find many, many times in ancient literature where head/kephalemeant "source" or "origin". This came from the ancients idea that semen, the source of life, was produced in the male brain, which is, of course, located in the head. Aristotle believed this and influenced generations after him. Therefore, the head represented the source of life for them.


Likewise, kephale was the word used for the source of a river.This is why the Greeks and Romans often set up a bearded head of a man or a bull at a fountain or at the source of a river. This meaning was carried over into Latin and later into English, so that we still refer to the source of a river as its headwaters. 


Back to our question for 1 Corinthians 11:3: If Kephale could be either "ruler" or "life-source", how was Paul using it here? If we were to substitute these meanings for head/kephale in the text, we could come up with two alternatives;

1. "Now I want you to realize that the authority/leader of every man is Christ, and the authority/leader of a woman is the man, and the authority/leader of Christ is God."

2. "Now I want you to realize that the source/origin of every man is Christ, and the source/origin of a woman is the man, and the source/origin of Christ is God."

The translation in number one if correct is very rare and not in line with the biblical language and A-B-A-B structure. If on the other hand number two is correct and much more common and goes in line with other writings of Paul, then well, the church leaders have been making up church policy that does not make sense and degrades women for many years, for no reason. 

For more on this, read "Why Not Women? A fresh look at Scripture on women in missions, ministry, and leadership by Loren Cunningham the founder of Youth With A Mission and David Joel Hamilton, the worlds leading expert in women's studies. Pages 162-175 address what I have highlighted in this post. I have read over 5 books on this topic, this is by far the best one. Amazon it!

2. NEXT Blow Your Mind Item: 
"Women should remain silent in churches" 

In Greek there are NO parenthesis "" Instead, they put a small n.before a statement to show that the text following is ridiculous, like saying "No Way!" to a quote from another. I bet no one ever told you there was an n. in the Greek before this famous scripture used to keep women from preaching for centuries. Paul was not saying woman should be silent, he was quoting a letter written to him from the leaders of the church in Corinth, and responds immediately with a rebuke and previous to it says "No Way!"(the greek N symbol) Interesting yes? Lets unfold that scripture.


Red = Paul encouraging women in ministry

Blue = Paul quoting a letter from someone he disagrees with

1 Corinthians 14:24-33

24 But if an unbeliever or an inquirer comes in while everyone is prophesying, they are convicted of sin and are brought under judgment by all, 25 as the secrets of their hearts are laid bare. So they will fall down and worship God, exclaiming, “God is really among you!”
26 What then shall we say, brothers and sisters? When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation.Everything must be done so that the church may be built up. 27 If anyone speaks in a tongue, two—or at the most three—should speak, one at a time, and someone must interpret. 28 If there is no interpreter, the speaker should keep quiet in the church and speak to himself and to God.
29 Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said. 30 And if a revelation comes to someone who is sitting down, the first speaker should stop. 31 For you can all prophesy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged. 32 The spirits of prophets are subject to the control of prophets. 33 For God is not a God of disorder but of peaceas in all the congregations of the Lord’s people.
34 Women[f] should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the law says. 35 If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.[g]
36 Or did the word of God originate with you? Or are you the only people it has reached? 37 If anyone thinks they are a prophet or otherwise gifted by the Spirit, let them acknowledge that what I am writing to you is the Lord’s command. 38 But if anyone ignores this, they will themselves be ignored.[h]
39 Therefore, my brothers and sisters, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues. 40 But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way.

"I bet no one ever told you there was an n. in the Greek 

before this famous scripture used to keep 

women from preaching for centuries." tg

Aimee Semple McPherson, a pastor in the 1930's who started a denomination that now has over 1,600 bible based churches worldwide

Before this controversial scripture, Paul is encouraging females and males to prophecy, "for you can ALL prophesy one by one, that ALL may learn and ALL may be encouraged." Prophesy is basically to declare the wonders and truths of God to men and women in a church setting of believers in the context of this scripture. Then he quotes the letter written to him that "women should remain silent in churches" written by what many theologians believe are new Christians who had possibly a religious Jewish background. Paul immediately rebukes them by saying "Or did the word of God originate with you? Or are you the only people it has reached?" 

For more depth of this study read pages 61-65 in "10 Lies the Church tells Women" by J. Lee Grady

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We must remember that all Christians - both males and females - are told in 1 Timothy 2:2 to lead "a tranquil and quiet life". Does this mean men are supposed to refrain from speaking? Of course not.



Who did Jesus use for the first ever telling of His resurrection? Women. The women were ignored though, so the first thing Jesus does when He appears to the disciples personally is to take the time to rebuke their "unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who had seen Him (the women) after He had risen."

 Mark 16:14


Priscilla and Aquila OR Aquila and Pricilla? 

(The question of female senior pastors...)

It's important to note regarding the leading of the first churches ever, Paul mentions Aquila and Priscilla as church leaders/pastors 6 times. 3 times he uses Aquila's name first, and 3 times he uses Priscilla's name first. This is very rare to use a woman's name ahead of her husband even in today's society. Therefore it can be assumed that she was at a minimum an equal and more likely, the main leader of this church for him to highlight her before Aquila multiple times in his writings. 



Paul continually promoted Priscilla, a female pastor, and strongly promoted Phoebe as a deacon and as a helper/minister. The Greek word translated to "helper" when speaking of women IS THE SAME GREEK WORD for "minister" when translated speaking of men. This shows a BIAS OF THE TRANSLATOR in the time period it was translated to English as they used two different English words for the same greek word. 

Men = Minister and Woman = Helper 
instead of the correct translation 
Men = Minister and Woman = Minister

Though yes, helper is a word used for God, the Holy Spirit is our helper, so the word is not meaning servant, but still, the correct translation from Greek should read Minister. 


"Is there any church in the world where women are completely silent when they walk over the threshold of the church door until they leave the building? "

Even in practical beliefs today. Do we actually follow this? Is there any church in the world where women are completely silent when they walk over the threshold of the church door until they leave the building? Not a word? Woman are gabbing in every church in the world, every single church. This is a scripture that has been interpreted as Paul contradicting himself from many other areas where he promotes women as ministers. This is why I believe that the n. symbol which represents quotation marks in the Greek, proceeding the statement that "women should be silent" shows clearly, Paul is quoting and then correcting domineering new Christians who are following the old way of doing things before freedom in Christ.  



Who is to say women can give announcements, or even "share" but not "preach" and all kinds of silly things that we make up to dance around this miss-interpretation of scripture? Who decides what a woman can and can not do in the church? Maybe we should just allow them to do whatever the Lord calls them to do, even if it is to Pastor. SCANDALOUS! Jesus was pretty scandalous though wasn't He? Clearly, there were women pastors in the New Testament church that Paul supported and promoted in multiple cities, should we not follow his example?

It is absurd that God would want 1/2 of the population to not teach the bible. It just smells of a trick of the enemy to me, does it not? 


How can thousands of years of women not being allowed to pastor or preach in some church communities be wrong?

It's simple.

It is similar to what happened with the Christian's when it came to slavery. Thousands of dedicated bible believing Christians were slave owners for hundreds of years. They loved the Lord, they ministered to their slaves, some even treated their slaves really well, they did. But it took hundreds of years for Christians to get THE REVELATION that slavery was flat out wrong. 

This is exactly how it is possible to have thousands of years of women being oppressed, sold into slavery, human trafficked, told to be silent, wearing burkas, kept in lowly positions of service, not allowed to teach the bible. It is because some Christians have not had THE REVELATION yet that this is wrong. Do YOU see it yet?

I personally believe it does not jive with the heart or ministry of Jesus to tell a woman it is a sin to teach the bible to a group of believers, male or female. I also think that not giving a woman the title of pastor when she is one in practice, is a hurtful man made idea that has no biblical context. I know I am stepping on toes here. I have friends who do this who I love deeply. But remember what I said early in this blog, "I am willing to risk it all, (even a great job or large sums of money) when I feel the Lord has me to say or do something." 

All I ask is to just think about this blog "post" above, chew on it, consider it, think about the heart of Jesus, and I am hopeful that if you don't agree, at least you will understand... why I called this blog "She Preaches" Hopefully one day, that will be no big deal to say.

After Jesus taught the woman at the well, she went and shared Jesus with her entire community. 

Lastly, I believe Jesus can use His followers (people who followJesus' teachings) who are Old, Young, Tall, Short, Large, Slim, African American, Hispanic, Jewish or Gentile, Male or Female to declare His wonders anywhere, anytime, in any way He sees fit. I love how Jesus rolls like that. 

Not a feminist, 
Just a Christian,

Rev. Tracy Galloway 
Senior Pastor
Garwood Church

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