We’re so inspired by our KGM USA community. In honor of International Widows Day we’re saluting Maureen Barber, one of three widows who serve on our volunteer KGM Board. Maureen devotes an enormous amount of time, talent, and resources as an advocate for widows here by donating her time as a GriefShare facilitator and in India by donating her treasure monthly to help an abandoned widow. Maureen is a beautiful example of how God brings beauty from ashes (Isaiah 61:3) in the lives of widows. He welcomes them into a new community - His church family – and offers them a hope that lasts. God's church, His people, are His solution. They are the ambassadors He sends in answer to the global widow crisis. It's not a momentary social solution. It's a relationship of LOVE. And that changes EVERYTHING. Maureen models that abiding love for widows here and it stretches all the way to widows in India.
Maureen Finds Healing in Community
Gradually I came to realize one of the purposes God had for me - to bring the healing I had received from Jesus through GriefShare to other widows, and to those who lost loved ones - by facilitating the GriefShare program at my church. I started by assisting and the following year became the facilitator, with one or two assistants, depending on participation. Our largest group was 17; smallest was 2. I watched God move in each participant's heart and was humbled to see 98% of participants move closer to God through their participation in the GriefShare program."
"The natural next step, once I learned how widows in India are shunned, abandoned, and forced into begging or prostitution to survive, was to bring the hope of Jesus to a widow by supporting her through Kerusomen Gospel Ministries. One hundred percent of my donation of $15 a month provides food, medicine, and encouraging visits to a needy widow, who may be living under a piece of cardboard next to a building, or in a one-room mud hut with a tarp for a roof.
For those widows who are able, a one-time donation of $25 pays her entry fee into the ISOS Transformation Program where she can learn business skills to open her own business and become self-supporting. As a member of the Board of Kerusomen Gospel Ministries, I am humbled that through the generosity of our partners, we were able to enroll 25 widows into the ISOS Transformation Program earlier this year, giving them hope through the power of Jesus. God has truly blessed me through the gift of GriefShare and by leading me to the Kerusomen community of partners. I pray that God leads you to the purpose He has for your life. To God be the glory!"
- All Faiths Are Welcome: You don't have to be a believer in Jesus to get the benefit of the program: the speakers in the video are well-seasoned in grief work; the graduates in the video are heartfelt in their testimonies; the workbook provides insights; and the discussion in the room gets down to the nitty-gritty of living in grief very quickly. Things are shared in the room that are never talked about anywhere else - there is a freedom to feel your feelings and not be ashamed that is absent nearly everywhere else. This is a safe place; you don't have to speak till you're ready and all that is said in the room stays in the room.
- Create Lasting Relationships: Bonds are formed that stand the test of time - people I met 10 years ago still tell me today how much they benefitted by completing the program; former graduates still meet for lunch and participate in chat groups - these are people who did not know each other before GriefShare - and 5 years later are still friends.
- Set Your Own Pace: Another benefit of GriefShare is that you can participate another time or two and reap even more benefits, as you are in a different stage of your grief journey. Things that you were unable to grasp the first (or second) time come into sharp focus and relevance for you now. For example, I have been using the same workbook for 4 years, and still write new notes as I watch the videos during preparation for class!
- God doesn't expect you to carry the whole load by yourself. He uses the church and the people in it to help you in your recovery. If you want to find out what it's like to be around people who have an understanding of how you feel, accept where you're at in your grief and offer encouragement and support in the days to come, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with GriefShare in the subject line. This process is a journey, and finding peace and comfort doesn't happen overnight. It takes time to grow through this painful experience. GriefShare can help.
Go to GriefShare.org and type your zip code into the box on the home page. You'll see a list of current GriefShare classes, followed by upcoming classes. Our classes are at First Baptist Boynton Church: Surviving the Holidays (two-hour workshop) is 11/6/21; Introduction to GriefShare (two-hour workshop) is 12/4/21; then our 13-week GriefShare series starts 1/13/22.