“While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child.” —Luke 2:6
We tend to imagine Mary and Joseph all alone, huddled in a stable welcoming Jesus into the world. Yet, as with much of the tradition, the reality might have been quite different. For example, they likely had a midwife and possibly even extended family members there to help with the birth.
Midwives play an important role in the Bible. In Exodus 1, Shiphrah and Puah, two Hebrew midwives, saved babies born to the Israelites in captivity. To curb the growth of the Hebrew people, Pharaoh had ordered the midwives to kill all Hebrew baby boys during their births. Shiphrah and Puah refused to comply and were honored by God.
Midwives intercede at the threshold between the darkness of the womb and the light of a new type of life. They facilitate this transition with skill and healing—soothing and coaxing babies into the world. So too, the road to faith often comes through the encouragement of another.
Childbirth is still dangerous business in many places. Every day throughout the world, more than 800 women die in childbirth, mostly from preventable causes. In rural Central Asia, Rise Development (Rise) is actively working to lower these statistics in their community by offering classes to women and men, covering basic health, pregnancy, birth, newborn care and more. These courses raise community awareness to the needs of maternal and infant health care, while working to lower significantly high rates of maternal and child mortality. Rise’s work is directly impacting life in a struggling region and creating opportunities for their Christian staff to share the Good News of Jesus with least-reached peoples.
Like Shiphrah and Puah, brave followers of Jesus today continue to safeguard and usher in new life as they boldly share the Gospel. Pray for individuals and organizations like Rise who are working toward the holistic flourishing of their communities through the transformative power of Jesus!
Learn more about Frontier Fellowship’s global partners at frontierfellowship.com/partners