Leadership Profile: Marli Spieker, Global Ministry Director/Founder, Project Hannah

Q. Tell us about your family.

A. My parents were missionaries with the Salvation Army in South Brazil. I like to think that I was raised by my own “George Muller” and “Mother Teresa.” Their lives were the embodiment of Isaiah 61.

At 17, I too started ministering in the slums of my country. Forty-four years ago, when my German husband, Edmund, proposed to me, I answered, “With you I’ll go to the moon!” Well, not quite yet; but, as TWR missionaries, we literally have gone to the ends of the world serving our King together. We have three children and eight wonderful grandchildren.

Q. Give us a brief overview of your work and ministry.

A. Project Hannah is the answer to God’s calling on my life when I saw the unspeakable plight of women and girls first in Asia, and then worldwide. Project Hannah is a ministry of TWR offering compassion and encouragement to suffering women through awareness, prayer, and radio programs in fifty-seven languages. Its main thrust is the Prayer Movement in over 105 countries.

According to Genesis 3:15, the root cause for the suffering a majority of women face is spiritual. Therefore, intercessors from all walks of life and different denominations stand in the gap for women trapped in cultural, emotional, physical, and spiritual bondage. It is a wave of prayer around the globe 24/7. Empowering women through prayer and radio programs is complemented by “on the ground” ministries in prisons, hospitals, and orphanages, to HIV/AIDS patients and their families, to prostitutes, and in literacy and micro industries. Calling the Church to action is also part of Project Hannah’s awareness programs.

Q. What is your favorite quote?

A. “Pray not for greater works. Prayer IS the greater work.” – Oswald Chambers

Q. Who has been the most influential person in your life/ministry, and why?

A. My mother was a simple, self-taught woman with Abigail’s wisdom, Esther’s courage, Deborah’s determination, and Hannah’s faith. In a time and culture where most women were to be seen and not heard, she taught me by example what it takes to be a woman of dignity, faith, and destiny. My husband has also greatly influenced my Christian walk and service with his wisdom and unwavering faith. He has taught me by example what it takes to embody Galatians 2:20 at home and in ministry.

Q. What is the best piece of advice you’ve received?

A. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not in your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your path straight.”

Q. What one issue do you believe is the greatest barrier or opportunity to evangelism, and why?

A. Prayer—or lack of it. In Christian work we tend to spend too much time developing evangelism methods and strategies and too little time listening and actively waiting in prayer for God to reveal his strategy and ways for us to reach the lost.

Evangelism. On Point.

Q. Describe a time in which you shared your faith
in Christ with someone who didn’t know him, and
then saw God clearly work in that situation.

A. Graciously, the airline company bumped us to
business class when they heard that we were
traveling because our son, Fabio, had died that
morning. Danielle, a beautiful and caring Brazilian
stewardess, took care of us the whole flight. As the
night progressed we talked about many things:
Fabio, her little son sick at home, her marriage
falling apart, her hopes and fears. “I am afraid to
die,” she said softly. “Our Fabio was not; and
neither are we,” I answered. Then I told her why:
“Jesus died for me. And he died for you, too.
Death is actually dead. I do not need to fear it
anymore. Fabio is in Heaven with Jesus and we will
meet him again when we die.” She left us for a
moment and I said to my husband, “We need to
pray for her.” When she returned and talked a bit
more, we asked if she wanted to pray and receive
Jesus into her life. Over the Atlantic Ocean, when
all other passengers were asleep, Danielle knelt
down in front of our seats and prayed to Jesus to
forgive her sins and to give her eternal life. Tears
of joy mingled with our tears of pain. My husband
gave her his own Portuguese Bible. We talked about
her need to seek a good Bible-believing church in
her city. Joy and peace were written all over her
beautiful face. She continued asking questions until
we landed in Miami.

Two years ago, a plane of that same company
crashed in Sao Paulo City. Danielle was on the list
of those who lost their lives. But I will see her in

We all know that prayer is the most powerful weapon we have in evangelism, but ironically, it is the least used, and oftentimes, it is our last resort. We forget that PRAYER IS THE WORK and that ministry is just reaping the results.

Q. What book do you most often recommend to others to read, and why?

A. The book of Isaiah (the “gospel of the Old Testament”). Isaiah is my favorite prophet. God used Isaiah’s discourses, prophesies, and songs to call me to himself and into full-time ministry.

Q. What would you like to be doing in ten years?

A. There is a fire burning in my bones with a passion to take every woman and girl back to their rightful place as “a daughter of the King.” I want to continue calling out “world changers” who will pray and work, introducing Jesus’ eternal hope to women everywhere so that their God-given dignity is restored.

Q. How can people be praying for you?

A. Please pray that my First Love always remains the first priority of my life. Pray for wisdom, strength, and grace to “finish well.”