Adults

Ministry, Russian Style

A simple man, long past middle age entered the room. Well-worn clothes and shoes that had traveled too many miles failed to dampen his spirit. He spoke of torture at the hands of the communist government. With a hint of a smile, he said churches now meet where his torture occurred—in the building where we sat. He captured our mission team’s attention and hearts.

We served with Brother Edward shortly after the Soviet Union’s fall. He arranged the first ever women’s prison visit. Through his passionate preaching, the women turned to Jesus, tears flowing. Our tears mingled with theirs.

Although Brother Edward’s wife neared death, their fervor for ministry continued. They knew their temporary suffering would soon lead to eternal comfort in the presence of their Savior. Until then, they continued to invite others to join them there.

They accomplished so much with so little. What are we doing with what we have?

“But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44 NIV).

If the Shoe Fits

Have you ever considered using shoes to help your friends discover their niche in missions by finding “what fits” their interests, lifestyles, and abilities?

God intends for each of us to find a place of service. Plan a gathering that focuses on learning about local missions opportunities as well as overseas missions efforts.

Step-by-Step To-Do List for an “If the Shoe Fits” Affair

• Publicize your event; ask women to wear a pair of shoes that best match their personality.

• Decide on a take-home gift or door prize that’s shoe related.

• Set up displays featuring local ministries or outreach events and create a display of shoes to match each. (Example: Display white tennis shoes for a healthcare ministry, children’s shoes for ministry to schools, or boots for a disaster relief ministry.)

• If your church has a missions trip planned, create a display with a map and a list of items the team will need.

• Preselect three women to briefly share about their involvement in various local ministries or missions efforts.

 

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UNEXPECTED CALL TO MISSIONS

“You’re a dutiful wife,” one nursing home resident said, noting that I visited Darrell daily. Her comment increased my awareness of the other residents. I started encouraging and loving each resident, winking at some, and promising to take care of the nurses if any of them were mistreated. Their smiles and repeated stories comforted me, giving me the strength to be there for my husband.

One resident was in a coma, unable to respond to his family when they visited. I thought about the joy I felt when my husband recognized and talked with me. He returned my kisses and gazed into my eyes. I began to pray for the resident and his family.

I went to the nursing home after my husband’s death in December but was overwhelmed with grief because Darrell wasn’t there. However, with God’s help, I will start visiting the residents whose love sustained me as I reached out to love them.

I thank God for the opportunity to share Christ’s love with the residents. Not only did my marriage demonstrate to the world the relationship between Christ and the church, but God turned our tragedy into a nursing home mission experience.


By Audrey Hector

Report More than Numbers

I like the number 3. In fact, I like it so much that when my husband asked me to marry him, I asked him for 3 good reasons why I should. Fortunately he had 3 good reasons and we’ve been happily married 33 years. We also are the parents of 3 children.

Did I mention I like the number 3? Therefore I’m going to give you 3 good reasons why reporting what your WMU has accomplished in the past year is important. Notice I said what, not how many. While it’s certainly OK to tell how many people were involved, reporting is more than that. It’s sharing the stories of what your WMU did and how lives were changed as a result.

Let’s enthusiastically report to our churches what has been accomplished through WMU this past year for 3 good reasons.

The Least Likely Listener

In high school, I was part of the Vacation Bible School team during my church’s missions trip to Latvia. In America, I could do VBS backward, forward, and practically in my sleep. However, I didn’t know how VBS would work in another country since the children spoke a different language and we had to use a translator.

I could tell so many stories from that trip, but I’ll tell you about Olaf. Olaf was the cutest kid there ever was. He was three years old—really too young for our VBS camp—and he was a mess. He could ransack an entire classroom in less than a minute, and he loved to wrestle with anyone and everyone.

We quickly realized that we needed someone on “Olaf duty” almost all the time. We kept Olaf with the other children as long as possible, but if he became too distracting, we had to take him to a separate room.

Although we loved this adorable child, he did present a barrier to the effectiveness of our VBS “system.” Was he even old enough to understand what was going on?

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.

Form an Unlikely Missions Partnership

The crowded restaurant held tables of church volunteers, local college sorority sisters, high school service club members, and families. This unlikely mishmash of people was there for a fund-raiser for The Hub, a homeless ministry in Shreveport, Louisiana. The Hub’s leadership team has intentionally worked to welcome volunteers and supporters from a variety of groups, along with its primary target of churches, resulting in a sense of community between Christians and non-Christians who serve northwest Louisiana’s homeless.

Missions projects with other organizations are fun but come with challenges. The worldviews and actions are different. The language can get a little salty at times, the politics can get a little heated, but there is a huge advantage in the fact that we can be witnesses to the other volunteers as we serve.

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