Today, Baptist Women in Ministry is pleased to introduce our intern, Kevin Pranoto! He will be with us until April 2016, and we are excited to have him in the office and contributing to the work of BWIM.
In elementary school, I remember being fascinated by the Civil Rights Movement. My favorite book growing up was a picture book about Ruby Bridges, the first black girl to attend an all-white elementary school. Then I learned about the Women’s Suffrage Movement, and I remember not understanding why men and women were treated differently. As a kid, I simply could not accept that women were second-class to men because the women I knew were strong, resilient, and courageous.
As I grew up, I pushed my historical interests to the side and began pursuing the dreams that I thought I had for myself. It turned out that being a physician was not my calling, and I only recognized this reality when my grades in all my pre-med classes proved to be . . . less than satisfactory. Who would’ve thought that an Asian man would be terrible at science?
I changed my major, graduated from college with a degree in nutritional sciences, and did what I felt God calling me to do next: go to seminary.
As a student at Baylor University’s Truett Seminary in Waco, Texas, I heard my female classmates tell stories about how difficult it was for them to verbalize and live out the calling of God on their lives. Some of these women were smarter than me, more diligent than me, and better preachers than me, yet I quickly understood that most churches would hire me over them based on the simple fact that I am a man. The injustice faced by my friends infuriated me. I could not understand such discrimination.
Growing up, I often heard my mother preach from the pulpit, and I saw how much the congregation was blessed through her sermons. My mother’s preaching to both women and men wasn’t viewed as scandalous but as a blessing and a gift to be shared. As I continued to read and study the Bible in a deeper way for class and devotion in seminary, I found a God who elevated the status of women, even using women to lead God’s people.
A year into my Master of Divinity program, I chose to take on a second degree in social work. When it came time for me to choose an internship for my Master of Social Work requirements, I knew that I wanted to intern for an agency that was doing work to advocate for women’s full equality in the church. I explored many options and talked with several non-profits organization leaders.
After months of emails and conversations with Pam Durso about serving as an intern for Baptist Women in Ministry, I am now here, living in Atlanta and working in the BWIM office. I am the first BWIM intern to serve in the last decade of the organization’s history and am thankful to be doing what I love, what I am passionate about, and what I feel called to do. My hope is that through the skills that I possess and through the knowledge that I have received, I will be able to become an asset to BWIM. I know that I have much to learn from the amazing leadership of Pam Durso and the other BWIM leaders, and I look forward to advocating, connecting, and networking with BWIM.
Kevin Pranoto is a student at Baylor University’s Truett Seminary in Waco, Texas. He is currently serving as an intern for Baptist Women in Ministry, Atlanta, Georgia.