Immerse yourselves in prayer for missionaries and their safety, victory, and Gospel-driven perseverance, Glenda Eitel told women attending the fall Widows’ Might Conference on Sept. 16. A longtime missionary and speaker for the event, Eitel emphasized the women’s crucial role in missionaries’ success.

Widows’ Might comprises widowed women across the United States who pray for the faculty, staff and students of Southwestern Seminary and Scarborough College. They gather bi-annually for fellowship, and their prayers support the ministry of the institution.

Eitel and her husband Keith Eitel, dean of the Roy Fish School of Evangelism and Missions at Southwestern, have served for 40 years in international missions, including six years in Cameroon, West Africa, working with students and their families to prepare them for evangelism and church planting. Remembering her own journey to missions, she told the women that it is imperative for them to be unwavering in their support of mission work.

Life in Cameroon tested Eitel’s courage and commitment. She washed clothes by hand and boiled water for family and visitors, all while fighting nausea, as they delivered their message of Jesus to the locals.

An emergency room nurse before leaving for Africa, Eitel operated a local clinic and watched babies die from meningitis and other preventable diseases. Seven out of 10 children perished, and she saw medical emergencies on a daily basis. She counted on blessings and prayers from home to strengthen her motivation.

The Eitels have since spent 18 years taking annual mission trips to Thailand in order to share the Gospel. On these trips, student missionaries often feel overwhelmed or discouraged, she said.

“God did not bring you halfway around the world to whine and complain,” she tells them. “Be strong.” Their important work is sharing the Gospel whenever possible, she tells them. “It’s not about the numbers.”

In Thailand and other mission fields, the Eitels have faced many dangers—coups, flare-ups of political violence, wildlife, locusts, floods, and worries of visas being revoked. Once, at a checkpoint while traveling, they had a submachine gun pointed at them. They also faced the serious medical emergencies of their own children, once receiving essential medicine for their young daughter when hope had almost run out. “It was God saying, ‘Glenda, I’m still here for you. I’m not going to forsake you,” she said.

In light of her experience, which she shares in common with countless other missionaries around the world, Eitel emphasized that the women of Widows’ Might must be resolute prayer warriors, continually lifting up missionaries in prayer. “As women, we have a lot of impact on the world,” she said. “We are the doers.”

Be specific when lifting missionaries up in prayer, she urged. “Don’t pray a generic prayer. Find out who your missionaries are, and pray specifically. Don’t just give them a ‘like’ on Facebook. Don’t just pray, ‘Oh, God, a missionary is having a birthday, bless them, blah, blah, blah.’

“There’s more we can all do. Know their names, and pray for them by name. Connect with them. Love on them.”