The Place of Exile in the Lives of Pioneering Women Missionaries

Publication Date



This study was generated by the experiences of women who have known exclusion, exile, and elimination from the present-day missionary world. The significant place of exile in both historical and contemporary pioneering women missionaries is explored.

The primary themes that emerged were those of crucible, justice, and gender bias. They are underscored and bring light to the choices women make as they take their place on the frontiers of faith. The life-defining moments of the women varied but all had an unmistakable call from God to go beyond the norm of missionary standards. Conversion experiences of the women interviewed and those examined in archival research played a dominant part in the choices made. The focus on women missionary mentors shows the galvanizing effect that exile had on their lives.

The reader is introduced to different meanings and descriptions of exile, as well as the relevance of the concept, showing how a life lived in exile is often leveraged by God and how this can be used as a prophetic statement/witness/lifestyle. Missional thinking in present day organizations is exposed and recommendations are made.

Grounded theory was used to analyze the data gathered from twenty-two missionary women. Interviews and questionnaires were utilized in hard-to-access countries. Exile theory and social movement theory were found to be the most appropriate for garnering insight and understanding in order to foster the creation of a new women’s mission.

Narratives of specific women missionaries both historical and contemporary are used. The historical context gives shape and texture as their life stories unfold and illustrates how exile played a part in their spreading of the gospel.

The conclusion ushers in the need for a new hermeneutic and a new way of seeing to be considered, as there is a change in missiological thinking that needs to take place. My hope is that a women’s mission will serve as a type of forerunner mission-community which will take its strategic place together with others of like mind who are called to similar tasks. From this new women’s mission my prayer is that it will usher in a women’s missionary movement. The vision is cast and the time is now.

Mentor: Elizabeth L. Glanville

Degree Name

Doctor of Missiology (DMiss)

First Advisor

Glanville, Elizabeth L.

Document Type





Women in missionary work, Women missionaries, Missions


Missions and World Christianity


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