When a couple of authors from the Voices Rising team contacted me to see if I might be interested in featuring their book for Author Tuesday, I couldn’t say YES fast enough. Not only do I believe in the work Servant Partners does around the world, but I believe in the stories BEHIND the work. Enjoy this interview with one of the authors, Janet Singleterry, below.
Tell us a bit about yourself, will you? My name is Janet Balasiri Singleterry, and I currently live in the Guadalupe Washington neighborhood in San Jose, CA with my husband Andy as well as my informal foster daughter, Nayeli. My chapter in our book shared a bit more about our family situation. I work on staff with an organization called Servant Partners that work alongside urban poor neighborhoods around the world.
Let’s talk about your book: what, in a nutshell, is your book about anyway? Voices Rising is a compilation of 13 essays written by women of color who are serving missionally and incarnationally in slum communities and under-resources neighborhoods within the United States and internationally.
Do tell, what was the inspiration behind it? My co-editor and I had been engaging in urban ministry for over a decade and realized that all the books we had seen or read on the topic of incarnationally ministry among the urban poor were written by white men. We knew that there was a variety of story and experience that were being missed, so we wanted to gather women of color who could share their stories and the wisdom of their experiences.
How do you hope readers will be changed by your words, and also, how have you been changed by writing the book? We hope that a variety of people will read our book, but we intended it as a way of inspiration for young women of color who might consider work in full-time missions or urban ministry to find themselves reflected back in our stories and the telling of our calling. Because many of us write from a place that is raw and still in process, it allows the reader to wrestle with us in the midst of questions around our work and our family life and our relationship with the Church. We hope others who are not women of color might be blessed by the reading of this book as encouragement through experiencing the diverse and under-represented perspectives in the book.
We oftentimes talk about “coloring outside the lines” on this blog: so, how do you hope your book will help readers color outside the lines? To me, “coloring in the lines” is what I’m comfortable with. I grew up outlining in heavy-handed crayon first, then coloring within that boundary. “Outside the lines” is challenging myself to go beyond what is comfortable and known to experience what is new and unknown. Because there are women of so many varying cultural and ethnic backgrounds as well as their diverse geographic locations currently as they live out their calling, it seems as though each and every reader will find some new and eye-opening perspective from which they might be able to learn and grow.
Friends, Voices Rising is a necessary GEM …and I don’t say that lightly. I admire the work these women do out on the frontlines, so head over to your favorite bookseller and pick up a copy of the essay collection today. Otherwise, if you’d like to win a copy, leave a comment here and look for the feature on my Instagram account soon!
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