Adult Team Blog

So Far, So Good?

How’s your summer so far?

So far, I’ve had a picnic, seen a movie, slept in at least once, and hung out with friends. Thankfully, I love my job so I actually enjoy going to work, but I love getting off work as well to step into nature for at least a bit before dinner.

And then there’s the trip planning. Guess where I went? I was able to share about myMISSION at the WMU Annual Meeting and Missions Celebration in St. Louis, Missouri. What an amazing opportunity! So many things were going on—evangelism and service opportunities in the city, reports from all the missions agencies, connections with friends both new and old, fun food to try, and different sessions to hear more about missions. We prayed and worshipped together, attended breakout sessions for different age groups, and found out about opportunities to jump into all year long. I loved getting to talk with people about where God is leading them and what missions opportunities they are seeking. We are celebrating all that God is doing in our world.

No Sweeter Name

Jesus.

A name with a variety of thoughts, connotations, and feelings attached to it. In our culture, we hear the name used in slang or as a swear word. The name evokes opinions and thoughts as to who He was in history and, for Christians, what He means to them presently.

Many of us have grown up our whole lives hearing this name, whether it was in a church setting or in passing conversations.

We pulled into the village, unloaded our belongings at our hut compound and began to walk around meeting our new neighbors.

The desert sand was soft underneath my worn out sandals as they pressed down with each step sinking. Step after step we approached a smaller cluster of huts to introduce ourselves.

“Hi, my name is Abigail. I am from America and we are going to live in your village this summer to tell you about Jesus.” I spouted off in her language joyfully as I met the apprehensive villager staring back at me.

“Who?”

Missions Focus

A few years ago I went to Sochi, Russia, with a diverse team of women to help a local church with a special celebration of International Women’s Day. Nearly 100 women gathered at the church for music, crafts, games, and food. We encouraged the women of the church with our testimonies of God’s goodness and shared God’s love with women who would not normally be in a church.

In some ways the experience reminded me of my days as an Acteen®. One summer we traveled to New Orleans for an Activators trip. One of our assignments at the Baptist Friendship House was helping with an event for women in need. The small number of women who attended participated in cake decorating classes and Bible study while we took care of their children.

Another Activators trip involved leading Vacation Bible School in Chicago. I remember Backyard Bible Clubs in college and other trips, experiences, and projects throughout my life.

Lessons from Mexico

During my time in seminary, I had the opportunity to go to Mexico as a translator for a missions trip. The youth pastor from my former church was leading a group of teenagers, and he asked me to go along because I knew the students in the group and because I studied Spanish for 8 years. This trip was my first missions trip, as well as my first opportunity to leave the country. I was 24 years old and wasn’t married or a mom yet.

Since it was my first missions trip, I didn’t know what to expect from the week. I knew that it was going to be challenging: I was spending a week with teenagers in a foreign country that didn’t speak my native language. I was excited about the trip, but I was nervous as well. My inexperience made me feel vulnerable and insecure, not the most comforting situation to be in when you have a Type A personality like me. So, I was out of my comfort zone. However, God stretched me during that week in ways that have eternal implications. Here’s what I learned on my Mexico missions trip:

• They don’t teach “Christianese” in Spanish class.

Living a Missional Lifestyle by Refocusing

How can I refocus my life to have a missional lifestyle and take up my cross to follow Jesus daily?

Volunteering as a Missional Lifestyle

Let me begin by saying since I retired from my career in public relations and teaching public relations, I have coined the job title professional volunteer. A friend of mine calls me a schizophrenic missionary because I’m always going in so many different directions. For example, I love volunteering with WMU because it offers many opportunities to serve in various missions-related activities, from short-term missions trips to leading missions education at the local church. Additionally, I have a very missions-focused church. At our recent missions fair, we had more than 40 missions/ministry organizations participate because each had a personal connection to our church body. And yes, I wanted to be involved with every one of them.

But, alas, to be intentional about serving Christ with my best, I need to focus on the cross I am to carry daily. Or maybe just refocus. What missional lifestyle has Christ called me to live? Where can He use my gifts and talents best?

Wherever He Leads I’ll Go

For many of us, the title of this blog brings to mind the title of one of the wonderful hymns of our faith. It is one of my favorites.

I must confess that as much as I love singing this beautiful hymn, I have to be very aware of the words—“Wherever He leads I’ll go.” You see, I’m a planner and an administrator. While these can be great traits, they can also be stumbling blocks. I have to ask, “Are these your plans, Lord, or mine?” Ouch!

As I reflect on the emphasis, All for You, I’m continually challenged to surrender, sacrifice, and serve:

• surrender completely by denying self;

• sacrifice willingly by taking up my cross;

• serve intentionally by following Christ into my community, state, and world.

“Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said, ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me’” (Mark 8:34 NIV).

Missing my Dear Friend

I miss her. I do. I miss my dear friend.

We did everything together. Our kids were best friends. We celebrated birthdays together, holidays.

All Talk?

Often we concentrate on missions in foreign lands, losing focus of needs lurking close by. I was shocked to learn that an area of our city was the most food-deprived in our state. Although our thriving congregation contributed during holidays, we could do more.

Leaving a Bible in Africa

I went to hear our church missions team report on their Africa trip. Viewing their pictures, hearing about the lions calling out to each other near their living quarters, discovering how the monkeys stole their shampoo and soap in the outdoor showers, and listening to their plans to return was amazing.

Every detail intrigued my heart.

Give for His Glory

I want to introduce you to Anna. She and her family live in Moldova, a former Soviet country located between Romania and Ukraine.

Anna and her husband, Oleg, are farmers. They are believers and attend a small village church.

Several years ago, I was privileged to be in their church. Through WMU’s partnership with Moldova, I was there for the annual women’s conference, which was held in the capital city of Kishinev. Because the capital city is a few hours drive for Anna and others from her village, they were unable to attend the conference, so we brought the conference to them. It was an incredible time of worship, prayer, and fellowship among these believers. Anna and Oleg were so gracious to us. In fact, after the conference in their church, we were all packing up to leave when they told us that they had prepared a feast for us. In a side room, we all sat down to a wonderful meal, but more importantly, we shared our blessings with one another. We sang in both English and Russian the hymns of our faith. It is an experience I will never forget. As a small token of our appreciation for their hospitality, I gave Oleg a gift.

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