Profiles in Ministry: Liisa Polkki

Earlier this year we posted in celebration of International Women’s Day. While this important day provides a natural opportunity to celebrate women, we want to honour the contributions of women to the church and the world throughout the whole year. We hope that starting these profiles in ministry with our female staff and faculty demonstrates just some of our appreciation of women in the ACTS community. Today's profile is in celebration of Gloria Woodland, Director of the Chaplaincy & Spiritual Care Program.

Liisa's story:

Tell us about when you felt called to ministry. How did that happen?

After my life-transforming conversion experience as a teenager… I simply wanted to give my life back to God for Him to use in any way & anywhere He wanted… entering ministry was the only “career goal” I ever had… the only thing that seemed to feed my soul. 

What’s one of your most joyous experiences in ministry?

It is hard to just pick one…

Joy for me comes from knowing that I’m connecting authentically with people in their cultures and their own language. Joy comes from sensing a deep connection and understanding of people’s pain across generations and cultures; creating shared memories.

Joy comes (OH YES!) from leading a children’s choir! And most recently, joy comes from seeing people realize their fullest potential for God. (Read: working at ACTS!)

What was it like to transition into and/or out of a ministry context?

Every transition hits the heart with a deep sense of loss; even if it is a transition you have been anticipating and praying for. Having had quite a few such seasons of transitions, I now know to anticipate this journey of loss and have learned to grieve more intentionally. I journal and I reflect. I have learned to say goodbye (in 5 languages!) and cried real tears. When my heart is ready, I eagerly welcome the new beginning and celebrate!

What words of encouragement do you have for women?

Don’t limit yourself. Stay curious. Get to know God’s heart & plan and go for it! Don’t expect things to be easy but know that on this journey you will get to know God in ways that will carry you when you are too weak to walk. On a practical level, get yourself a group of faithful prayer partners to support you 24/7. I have mine on different continents to cover all the time zones! Women who have women praying for them stay real and become fierce warriors for the Truth with tender hearts.