TRACEY ARSENEAULT-FARMER'S HEART is so on fire for the nations that she weeps when she's not there. One cry of her heart is for the women of Kenya.
This East African nation is graced with savannas, white beaches, wildlife, and game reserves. The diverse culture is full of life, rich with art and music. But behind the attractions lies the hidden darkness of domestic violence against rural women.
Rural Kenyan men are taught to beat their wives at least once a week, shared Tracey. It's part of their customs. Many men believe it's a way of disciplining their wives. Tracey saw this first-hand when she visited Africa in 2006 and returned in 2007 and 2008. "Women can't look at their husbands in public or hold their hands," she said. "If they do, their husbands have the right to beat them."
Tracey, a 2007 Rhema USA graduate, asked the Lord how she could bring hope and healing to these women. He told her to hold conferences for village women and share with them Psalm 139:14: "Woman, you are fearfully and wonderfully made." He also told her to take a team of godly women to help her carry out the plan.
Tracey contacted rural Kenyan churches, and one bishop there who oversees a number of congregations was happy to schedule the meetings. But when the husbands learned of the planned events, they were upset. They didn't like the idea of the women having a conference of their own. So the local bishop agreed to open the meetings to all men, women, and children. The vision God had put in Tracey's heart took an unexpected turn, but God had a plan. He gave her messages that would heal and inspire both the women and the men.
Men, women, boys, and girls gathered in churches in Muhoroni, Kisumu, Siaya, and Kakamega. Tracey and her team traveled to each city and poured God's Word into them. And that Word began breaking chains of ungodly, crippling tradition. Those at the conferences heard that they were God's creations—valuable, and fearfully and wonderfully made—and that He had a purpose for both families and individuals.
The kids gratefully received backpacks loaded with school supplies and some fun things. They placed stickers on their faces, smiled, and were thankful for pencils and pens.
The women grinned as they tried on reading glasses for the first time. They laughed as they had manicures and facials. And they joyfully took off their worn shoes and put on new sandals. They were blessed!
"You've turned our sorrow into joy!" they exclaimed. Jubilant, one Kenyan woman shared, "Words can never say how much you mean to me."
The men were grateful too. After the conferences they said they were happy to hear the teachings of how God values women. They asked Tracey how they could treat their wives better and other aspects of male-female relationships.
He instilled in her a deep, burning passion to see the captives set free and the oppressed delivered through the life-saving message of Christ.
"That's why we do what we do," said Tracey, the founder of "GO YE" International Ministries in New Jersey. "That's the only reason I live—because of people like that."
Tracey's heart cries out for the spiritually oppressed, bruised captives in the world. The Lord gave her a vision that she was pregnant with the nations. And He instilled in her a deep, burning passion to see the captives set free and the oppressed delivered through the life-saving message of Christ.
During a two-year break in missions work, Tracey held a secular job. Throughout that time she would weep for the lost in the nations. "I ached because I could hear the cries of the kids, of the women, of the men," she shared. She quit her job and has devoted her life to missions.
60 Nations and Counting
Tracey has ministered in 60 nations. The East Coast native isn't afraid to go to dangerous areas. "Most of my travels have been in remote, dark places," she said. "I really do feel God has called me to these places . . . places no man will go. I'm not afraid of doing it."
Recently she traveled to Myanmar (Burma), where it has been illegal to evangelize. Only four percent of the people profess to be Christian. The vast majority are Buddhist. For years Christians have struggled to share the Gospel there. Now doors are slowly opening.
In Myanmar, Tracey taught in a Bible school being held in a Baptist church. Students attended despite sweltering tropical temperatures and no air conditioning. They wanted to know God's Word better and grow up spiritually.
Day after day, Tracey taught spiritual truths to hungry hearts. The students' hands raced to write down every word. When it was time for her hour lunch, students approached her kindly with questions, wanting to know more. Tracey was moved with humility and compassion when she saw the spiritual hunger and deep love for Jesus in these students.
God's goodness is touching and changing lives wherever Tracey goes. She has trips planned to minister in other parts of world. Her heart and purpose are fixed—she is bringing the message of Christ to those who don't know Him. Her goal is to be His hands and feet to lost and hurting people. Her prayer is, "Lord, send me!" and He does.
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