Adults

Spiritual Change Can Start at Home

city lights of Salt Lake City

Seven years ago, Adam and Paige Madden moved to the Salt Lake City metro after growing up and serving churches in the Midwest. It was a definite change in scenery. While the mountains of Utah are beautiful, the dismal spiritual landscape is where these North American Mission Board church planters are hoping to see change.

Much of the area is steeped in Mormonism, and less than 3% of the population of northern Utah claims to believe the gospel. The Maddens are part of a church-planting effort called Christ Fellowship, and as the executive director of the Golden Spike Baptist Network, Adam is seeking to see more churches planted.

In church planting, changes don’t happen quickly, but the same isn’t true of the Maddens’ family life.

“A couple years ago, our family experienced a pretty significant transition. We went from a family of 7 to 11 in 1 year,” Paige said.

Missionary Spotlight Update: Bart and Jane Anne Gibbs

drummers

During this very hot season in West Africa when daily temperatures can soar to more than 100°F, Bart and Jane Anne Gibbs need your prayers. “The heat and humidity sap one’s strength, resilience, and patience,” Jane Anne said. Disruptions to electricity and water service don’t help. “Cuts in service interfere with everyday life to the degree that it is a challenge sometimes to maintain a positive outlook,” Bart said.

Traveling around the region to mentor and supervise other missionaries is rewarding work, but during this season, trips are long, hot, and fatiguing.

Another source of frustration is Internet access. Burkina Faso’s Internet service has been described as “the world’s slowest and most expensive,” Bart said. “In this world of ‘connectedness,’ everyone is expected to easily access the Internet. We also must report about our work and finances regularly using Internet that is sporadic, slow, and frustrating. Waiting on downloads or uploads can seem like such a waste of time when we would much rather be with people, but part of our job requires that we communicate electronically. It can be a struggle to find a balance.”

Embrace the Nations as Your Neighbors: Help Refugees Dream Again

woman grocery shopping

My favorite grocery store remodeled recently to my frustration. Imagine your first visit to an American grocery store after spending several years in a refugee camp. Add in a language barrier, and a task we take for granted can be overwhelming.

Refugees entering the United States come seeking housing, schools, jobs, and community. Displaced by violence and persecution, most refugees lost belongings and even family members to arrive in crowded camps with limited resources and then wait up to 10 years before resettling in a receiving country. Fear of the unknown often accompanies relocation to the US, increasing stress and often leading to anxiety disorders—including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)—may surface within a few months of arrival in their new home. Refugees may have suffered a loss of self-esteem and the ability to dream, and many are living in survival mode.

Near and Far: Sharing the Gospel in New Places

praying hands

My heart beat wildly as I felt the plane wheels hit the runway on that late October night. After almost a day of traveling, I was anxious to get off the plane and hit the ground running in South Asia again.

I wondered many times if I’d ever get to return to this area after my first summer there, and by God’s provision, I was there again. I whispered a prayer of thanksgiving to God and stepped off the plane into what has been one of the most challenging but also the most rewarding seasons of my life.

Before coming to South Asia a second time, I never thought I’d attempt to learn a new language and culture in order to be the hands and feet of Jesus. I never thought of myself as someone who’d go up to a student I didn’t know on a college campus and share the gospel.

I was fortunate to grow up learning about other religions and the cross-cultural workers who gave their lives to share the gospel with people who followed other gods. But never did I think that I would get to be a cross-cultural worker like the ones I learned about.

IMS Participation Leads to Missions Involvement

Hosting the International Mission Study is one sure way to give missions knowledge to church and community members. Participation in the study often leads to prayer for missionaries and their people groups. Many times, attendees are spurred to join missions efforts.

Gwen Moor, former president of Northwest WMU and a member of Dayspring Baptist Church in Chehalis, Washington, said prayer, advance delegating, and working out details are keys to success when hosting the study.

“We use the wonderful materials from the promotion kit to try to spark interest, [do] bulletin boards, [find] posters,” Moor said. In addition to the pastor promoting the study, it is announced in the bulletin for 3 or 4 weeks beforehand. A “guess how many of something that pertains to the country” game is presented. Church members have to attend the study to get the prize given to whoever is closest.

Authenticity: Less about What I’m Doing, More about Who I Am in Christ

authenticity explanation

OK, blog readers. It’s confession time.

In a season when I find myself living in one country but longing for the comfort of the one I call home, I have to admit that being authentic in my relationships is hard.

So when I was asked to write a blog post about that exact topic, well . . . you see the dilemma.

In the country I live in, I don’t tell everyone that I’m a cross-cultural worker because, for my safety, not everyone needs to know. Several friends do know more about what I’m doing here and why, but I struggle to share the details of what my life is like even with those friends.

As a result, I tend to open up more to my American friends who understand life here and less to my South Asian friends.

The longer I’ve lived here though, the more I’ve learned about how to be authentic with my South Asian friends who are believers. I bring them into what I’m doing, share my heart about my work, and encourage them to share with their lost friends. I’ve learned that my authenticity is less about what I’m doing and more about who I am in Jesus Christ.

The Ministry of Motherhood: Following Jesus and Leading Our Children

mother leading child by the hand

This season of life is simple—exhausting, but simple. Between the diaper changes, the newborn feedings, the 2-year-old’s “magical” moments, and finding time to bathe everyone in the house, we have entered a time of basic survival mode.

There are some days when it would be easy to get lost in the sleep deprivation, toddler tantrums, loads of laundry, and singing the ABCs too many times to count and forget who Christ has called me to be in all seasons.

Where is that missionary, the woman who loves to cross cultures, try new things, and share the gospel? Who has time to plan a mission strategy? I can’t even escape my house long enough to meet my neighbors.

I know this season is temporary and motherhood overall brings more opportunities to share Christ than it limits. Yet, even through a temporary season when life and ministry can feel “limited,” it’s good to remember that my calling as a mother is just as important as my calling as a minister and missionary. If anything, the calling of motherhood brings about an important reminder that I am completely in need of Christ’s grace and presence in every moment of my day.

ESL / Basic English

This page is for people whose first language is not English. Every Christian needs to take part in missions!

WMU tries to help Christians understand God’s mission. It also helps them take part in missions—with love and excitement, and in ways that are beyond what is usual or expected! It is for women, men, teenagers, children, and preschoolers. It is for the whole church! Learn more about WMU! Learn how it can serve you and your church.


Missions Plan Book is a wonderful tool to help you learn about missions, support missions, and take part in missions, all through the year!

Experience Joy beyond the Surface

flower petal on water's surface

As a college student, I find that my life is characterized by a constant whirlwind of activity. Moving through my day, I am always surrounded by friends, classmates, and professors. But I rarely take the time to get to know these people beyond the surface level. In fact, I could probably recite most conversations I have as if I were reading off a script.

The way the Bible talks about relationships, though, is vastly different from the reality I so often experience. Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” Being in relationship with others should make everyone stronger and draw everyone involved closer to God. How can we begin cultivating these iron-sharpening-iron relationships?

Start with honesty. When someone asks how you are, it is OK to admit that you are stressed out, scared, or overwhelmed. Moving past surface-level responses, even to basic questions, breaks down the shiny façade we often present to others. This step is so vital to forming authentic relationships that build up one another in Christ.

Share Who You Are

jar of clay

Sharing who we are can be a daunting task. For some, it may come naturally, but for most, it poses a challenge. After all, we are a mix of both God’s image by creation and the fallen reality of sin. Through the grace of God, Christ’s work on the Cross, the power of the Resurrection, and life in the Spirit, we have the potential to shine God’s love in amazing ways. But most of us feel hesitant somehow, perhaps as if the world might judge us as unworthy.

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