Can one little girl from an obscure village in Côte d’Ivoire make a difference? Read Responding to the Call: The Story of Jacqueline Dje Dje (Nazarene Publishing House, 2013) and you will answer with a resounding “yes.”
Amy Crofford* has written 6 missionary books for NPH, and in some ways, this is the best of the lot. Where other books have centered around the lives and experiences of Western missionaries, this biography revolves around the first ordained French-speaking female pastor in the Church of the Nazarene in West Africa.
The reader is quickly caught up in young Jacqueline’s quest to fulfill her call from God, setting out in search of a denomination that will allow her to preach and shepherd God’s flock. Obstacles are not easily overcome, but with a patient spirit and a quiet determination, Jacqueline first conquers academic disadvantages to graduate from the Bible Institute. Later, she overcomes longstanding cultural biases, planting a new church and eventually receiving Nazarene ordination as an elder. To discover the moving ending to her story, the reader can find the book here or ask to borrow it from the NMI President at a local Church of the Nazarene near you.
While strong overall, the book has its weaknesses. It’s not clear what connection two profiles of other female African Nazarene pastors have to the main narrative. Also, some missing details will leave the reader in suspense, like the name of a “life changing book” that someone gave Jacqueline. More information, please!
Whatever the book’s flaws, Rev. Jacqueline Dje Dje’s courage shines through. She became a pioneer for other Nazarene women called by God to pastoral ministry. (A French translation of the book is planned). One serendipity is that by presenting the story of a female pastor overseas, perhaps the American Nazarene reader will be more open to considering some of his or her own biases about what gender a Nazarene pastor in the United States should be.
*Full disclosure: The author is married to the owner of this blog.
Image credit: Nazarene Missions International