Annie Armstrong

Missions at Easter

It is a blessing to be a part of what God is doing in missions through WMU. As we prepare for the season of remembering Christ at Easter, we know the power that raised Christ Jesus from the dead is at work in our world today. We are drawn to love, to be light, to reach out, to share Christ, and to overcome darkness in His name. This is missions. This is our call.

I love that the offering for North American missions received at this time of year is named for Annie Armstrong. Miss Annie lived out the call of the gospel. She was a force of God’s love and power in Southern Baptist life in 1888, when she helped begin WMU.

Her biography illustrates her belief in the power of the gospel and the strength of cooperating together. She believed steadfastly in the important role of women in God’s kingdom, to serve and use their gifts for God’s glory. She loved the vulnerable and sought to go the extra mile to see God’s work accomplished. She is known for her untiring work for immigrants in Baltimore, where she lived; for Native Americans; and for women missionaries such as Lottie Moon in China.

Annie Armstrong Easter Offering

 

In 1895, the estimated population of the United States was 68.9 million. It was in that year that a special offering was first collected for missions work in North America. In today’s way of looking at things, the offering probably seems small, only about $5,000. But when you measure the value of the dollar in 1895 compared to the value of the dollar as recently as 2009, that $5,000 would equal approximately $4.52 million (based on the relative share of GDP).

Annie Armstrong

 Annie Armstrong by Louise Barbour

Annie Walker Armstrong was the first corresponding secretary (executive director) of Woman's Missionary Union. She was born on July 11, 1850, in Baltimore, Maryland. Her family was very active in Baptist life. Annie went with her mother to the missionary meetings of Woman's Mission to Woman. There she developed a heart for missions. Annie helped plant churches, served those who lived in poverty and addiction, and organized other women to help her reach out to African Americans, Native Americans, and impoverished people in rural areas. In 1882, Annie helped organize the Woman's Baptist Home Mission Society of Maryland. She was the first president of the society.

Pique Their Interest

Church members’ interest is piqued when they can support something (or someone) they can personally relate to. Capitalizing on this thought, to promote our AAEO (Annie Armstrong Easter Offering®), we’ll focus on two NAMB missionary families from our home state.

Both families send out monthly blogs, so we’ll present material and photos on Sunday mornings during April. Adults, youth and kids will portray the MKs, briefly describing aspects of their ministry. Colorful displays around the church campus will show pictures and details of things the offering facilitates.

During a Wednesday night supper, one missionary family will Skype with us, sharing an update, answering questions, and giving us current prayer needs. Sunday bulletins will include the NAMB prayer guides, an AAEO fact sheet (https://www.anniearmstrong.com/about), and envelopes.


By Ann Maniscalco

 

 

 


 

Get to Know Annie

Annie Armstrong, for whom the North American missions offering is named, was an amazing woman, yet many of our church members knew very little about her. To alleviate that, our WMU presented an informative skit the Sunday prior to the Week of Prayer for North American Missions. Women (dressed in period costumes) shared tidbits of information about “their friend, Annie.”

Here is a sampling of the information shared:

When Lottie Wrote to Annie

If you come for a tour at the National WMU building in Birmingham, Alabama, you are bound to see the letter. That’s right, the letter written by Lottie Moon in 1889 to Annie Armstrong. Perhaps the 2 most influential women in Baptist life at the turn of the 20th century, Annie and Lottie both left an incredible legacy.

So, what does a letter from the most celebrated missionary to the most recognized supporter of missionaries look like? It’s all about the task at hand.

There is work to be done. While Lottie expresses gratitude for what has already been given, she sees a need for greater commitment. She urges Annie to send as many workers as possible to join her in China. So much had already been accomplished, but with each passing year, Lottie knew she alone could not see the job through to the end.

Annie’s Example

Have you ever heard of the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for North American missions? Have you ever heard of Annie Armstrong? Chances are, if you grew up in a Southern Baptist church you would have heard of her each year at this time. If you are new, this might sound like a distant history lesson:

Annie Armstrong was a lay leader in Southern Baptist life in the 1800s. And guess what? She started out in what we would call today myMISSION. By the age of 31, this single young woman was helping to start a mission organization in her home city of Baltimore. She was soon using her gifts at the state and national levels. At the age of 37, she helped start Woman’s Missionary Union (WMU) and strategically led it to become the global influence it is today. At the age of 55, “Miss Annie” left the organization in capable hands and focused the rest of her life on grassroots works in her city.

Annie was a young woman who changed her city, state, nation, and world. Are there any “Annies” in your myMISSION group?

What could we be doing today that could change our world in our lifetime?

A Shared Love for North American Missions

I love the WMU building! When you walk in the front door, you know immediately who we are and why we exist. You are greeted with a beautifully crafted bronze replica of the world, and farther down the hallway you see a mural with the faces of the peoples of the world. All around you are artifacts emulating the culture and diversity of our world.

Many of our artifacts are gifts from missionaries and friends of missions who served as partners with WMU. One of those is the North American Mission Board (NAMB). Begun in 1845 as the Board of Domestic Missions and later the Home Mission Board, NAMB shared with WMU a love for missionaries serving in our nation and its surrounding territories.

We recently received some very special gifts from NAMB. One is the armoire belonging to Annie Armstrong, a welcomed addition to our Annie Armstrong collection. The other item is the desk of former secretary of the Home Mission Board Isaac Tichenor. Receiving this gift prompted me to dig a little deeper into the life of this great Southern Baptist leader.

Annie Armstrong

Annie Walker Armstrong fue la primera secretaria correspondiente de la Unión Femenil Misionera. Nació el 11 de julio de 1850, en Baltimore, Maryland, de una familia prominente y activa en la vida bautista. Acompañó a su madre a las reuniones de la Misión de Mujer a Mujer, donde aprendió la importancia de dar para y orar por la obra misionera. Poseyendo un corazón para la obra misionera doméstica, Annie trabajó con indios americanos, inmigrantes, afroamericanos y niños. En 1882, ayudó a organizar la Sociedad Femenil Misionera Doméstica de Maryland. Fue la primera presidenta de esta sociedad.

También en otros estados la obra misionera había crecido entre las mujeres. Simultáneamente con la Convención de los Bautistas del Sur de 1888, las mujeres de 12 estados se reunieron el 14 de mayo en Richmond, Virginia, y formaron el Comité Ejecutivo de las Sociedades Femeniles Misioneras, Auxiliar a la Convención Bautista del Sur. Annie Armstrong fue elegida la secretaria correspondiente, un puesto equivalente a la directora ejecutiva de hoy. En 1890 se adoptó el nombre Unión Femenil Misionera.

Voices of Annie

Each year as Easter rolls around, I look forward to hearing the voices of Annie. Some of the voices are male, others female. Some speak with a heavy French accent, others with a southern twang like me, yet others with a western drawl. Each voice is sweet and strong, speaking passionately about how God is using him or her to fulfill His work in North America.

These are the voices of North American Mission Board missionaries supported through the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering, telling their stories on videos provided by NAMB.

To view the many videos, visit AnnieArmstrong.com. Prayerfully select the videos to share with your group.

Kimberly Sowell reaches thousands of women through her speaking and writing ministry. Visit KimberlySowell.com for more information.

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