Miriam Neff is on a mission to strengthen widows around the world.
Neff, founder and president of Widow Connection, is a devoted advocate for fellow widows who understands their experience and walk of life. She is the author of twelve books, an international speaker on women’s and widows’ issues, and holds 23 years of professional counseling experience.
After the passing of her husband, Robert Neff, who spent 40 years with Moody Broadcasting Network and served as Vice President of Moody Radio, Neff weathered attempted fraud of her life insurance money, loss of community, family disruptions, and other challenges.
“Everything changed. Yes, everything,” Neff recalled. Yet Neff did her utmost to use the lessons of a challenging season to serve others. As she walked through her own trials, she wrestled with the lack of resources and support for widows and sensed a calling to do something about it. Widow Connection began as a website and counseling resource that quickly blossomed into a global initiative. From books, to broadcasts, to speaking engagements, Neff began glimpsing needs and opportunities to serve widowed women all over the world.
Through her travels, Neff recognized that widows in impoverished countries faced even greater hardships, often resorting to extreme measures to support their families.
“[On] a trip to Africa seven months after my widowhood, my eyes were opened to how much worse these poor, precious widows were experiencing in their villages,” Neff shared.
Widow Connection sponsored an outreach in Mozambique that provided sewing machines to widows in need, and Neff witnessed the hope and joy that women experienced when they mastered this valuable skill, even stepping in at one point to teach the classes herself. She learned firsthand about the operational challenges of global ministry and the persistence it would take to succeed. This process led to the inception of life-changing projects aimed at empowering widows on several continents.
Today, Widow Connection provides under-resourced widows around the world with the tools they need to become self-sufficient with a view toward long-term transformation. These skills training programs help their graduates to attain financial independence, dignity, and self-esteem.
Neff detailed twelve ongoing projects in various countries, with a recent initiative in Lithuania focusing on military widows who have fled from Ukraine due to the conflict. This project offers training in tailoring, with an additional component of one-on-one counseling for those struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
“We are in it for the long haul,” said Neff, highlighting the ministry’s adaptability. “We meet the unique needs of each location.” Neff has a slate of new international proposals in hand that she hopes to accomplish this year and next with charitable support.
Alongside her Widow Connection ministry and media, Neff promotes Biblical stewardship through her “Wise Women Managing Money” brand alongside her daughter, Valerie Neff Hogan. Hogan is an attorney, Certified Financial Planner, author, and counselor. NRB member TWR International is translating Neff and Hogan’s radio broadcasts into Spanish in an effort to provide faith-focused financial literacy resources to women in Spanish-speaking regions.
Neff encourages all Christians to be attentive to the needs of widows: “Start in your neighborhood, extended family, those you know. Reach out to them. For the most part they feel forgotten and lonely.” The Widow Connection website offers resources and tips for those who want to help strengthen and encourage those who have experienced loss.
Miriam Neff has been an NRB member for many years and is a member of the NRB President’s Council.