We are thrilled to announce that DeAnna Sanders has joined SIS staff as Associate Area Director for Indonesia. DeAnna’s expertise in ministry, leadership, and communications meets a deep love for freeing and empowering women and girls. We interviewed DeAnna about how she got connected with SIS, her journey to Indonesia, and how we can pray for her as she moves into this new ministry.
How were you ministering before you joined SIS?
For the past 9 1/2 years, I have served as Missions Minister at my church, which meant I mobilized our church members in local and global ministries. I trained and led volunteer mission teams to work with our mission partners we had established in several locations including working among our adopted people group in South Asia, East London UK, and New York City. I also worked locally in leading members to be involved in ongoing ministries and projects as well as emergency benevolence ministries. And, I oversaw missions education programs and events in our church.
Before that, I worked 10 years as a curriculum writer for Woman’s Missionary Union. I primarily wrote materials for Accent magazine for teenaged girls and mission leaders.
How did you first connect with SIS?
Through the years, I have developed a heart for individuals caught in the traps of social injustices. A few years ago, I purposefully started being more aware of resources that would help me understand more what was really going on in the world concerning abuse, poverty and exploitation and how I could make a real difference and lead others to make a difference.
I saw the books Daughters of Hope and Forgotten Girls, co-authored by SIS president Michele Rickett, advertised on a missions website that I frequented. I ordered both books, read them and past them on to friends to read. I couldn’t seem to get the stories of those women and girls out of my mind that I had read about. That led me to stay in contact with SIS through the website and stay more current on what was continually happening through the ministry of SIS.
In the past year, as I felt God leading me to consider a ministry change, I wondered if there would be a possibility to make the work of SIS my work. I’m so glad that that is what has now happened and I feel very blessed and honored to be a part of the She Is Safe family.
You’ve gone on one trip with SIS already. What did you experience there, and how did it affect you?
I experienced a very lush and beautiful country with wonderful, giving, hospitable people. I love experiencing new locations and new people and being immersed in the cultures of new friends.
I very much enjoyed seeing the Transformation Groups (TGs) and hearing the stories of the women and the hope they had for their children’s future. I loved seeing all the children SIS ministers to and hearing them sing and loudly welcome us to their Children’s Outreach ministry. I loved getting to know the young women who were trained to start TGs in difficult locations in their areas. I enjoyed our time at the Training Center SIS built and experiencing the natural beauty of that location.
I am always humbled to know that we connect on a deep level with our sisters in Christ, no matter where we go in the world, because of our common relationship with Him. I am so very encouraged to know that Christian women of courage, passion and skill are helping women in need in their areas to live lives of hope and peace. I very much enjoyed the opportunity of first going there and seeing the work of SIS and then coming home to learn how it all works together.
I’m such a visual learner, that seeing and experiencing and making friendships first has made the ministry there personal to me.
What are you looking forward to as you grow into your new role as Associate Area Director in Indonesia?
I am very much looking forward to learning all the skills needed for this role. It is a very unique blend of skills needed for this ministry — from how to ask the right interview questions, to how to do effective research, to how to travel well, and to raise awareness and support, and building relationships.
I look forward to working with Cherylann (SIS Area Director) as she teaches me all these skills, and more. I’m looking forward to putting all that into practice with our partners in Indonesia and becoming friends with all the wonderful people there.
I enjoy telling people about She Is Safe. I’m already enjoying going to churches and community organizations in my area here in Oklahoma and describing for people the amazing ministry of SIS and what is happening in Indonesia and other locations where SIS works. I’m also looking forward to growing in relationships with my new friends and coworkers at She Is Safe.
How can our SIS friends and family pray for you over the next year?
Please pray that I can learn and apply the skills I need for this job so that when we return next year to Indonesia, I will be ready and equipped to serve in ways that I’m needed.
Pray for me that I can effectively and clearly communicate to others the needs of high-risk women in children that are in difficult places. I want them to know these needs are real and that there are real ways they can be involved and help and be supportive.
Pray that I can be a bridge builder to everyone God puts in my path — to make relationship with Him accessible and understandable.
Pray that as I learn, and serve and work, that I will always remember to nurture my own relationship with God and keep Him first.